Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
Most creatives and entrepreneurs simply don’t have time to put their lives on hold to study and talented graphic designer and fashion-brand owner, Mara Kosac, is no exception.
Mara is the director of Oneone, a growing activewear business that specialises in mountain biking gear featuring designs inspired by the unique flora and fauna of Aotearoa.
When her first designs sold out soon after she launched her brand, Mara realised that it was time for some formal business training. She enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Small Business) with Toi Ohomai, choosing to study on eCampus NZ so she could fit her study around her busy life.
Oneone is a combination of Mara’s diverse passions and interests. An experienced graphic designer, Mara found inspiration in the native birds she saw during the March lockdown in 2020 and began turning them into eye-catching designs.
“When I moved to Rotorua from a big city, Buenos Aires, I fell in love with the lifestyle, the nature and the outdoors. I also love how New Zealanders are so appreciative of the native flora and fauna,” she said.
“I live in a place with a lot of native birds so I started drawing the ones I could see, and when I ran out of those, I started researching others.”
After creating eye-catching designs that were perfect for fabric, Mara had to choose what kind of garments she would make. The decision was an easy one for the keen mountain-biker.
“I’ve always struggled to find mountain biking gear that’s small enough to fit me and comes in interesting designs – the clothing I’ve seen is often black or grey,” she says.
Mara hired a pattern designer, got a sample pair of bike shorts made and organised the production of 100 pairs featuring ten of her prints.
She set up a website and promoted the shorts on social media. She also began sponsoring women’s mountain bike races and engaging with social media influences.
Her designs were an immediate hit. She even sold a number of pairs to passing bikers when she was doing a photoshoot for her website.
“I ran out of stock in a month,” she said.
This prompted Mara to decided to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Small Business).
“When I was ordering my second batch, I realised that I didn’t know how much stock I should order or how business accounting worked,” she says.
“I decided to study. Of course, the only option I had was to do it online, as between my work and the business, I don’t have enough time to go to school.”
Studying has helped Mara to develop her ideas about where she wants to take her business in the future and given her to tools to set tangible business goals.
“In the short term, I’d like to automate my systems and processes, like digital marketing, so I can leave the business to someone when I take a break.
“I’d also like to keep expanding my range of gear. Now I’m making long-sleeved tees and socks as well as shorts, and I’d love to do gloves and a jacket.”
Mara is modest about her achievements but admits she’s pleased with how Oneone is going so far.
Check out Mara’s website here.
For more information about Toi Ohomai and eCampus courses here.