Maddy Linke from the Terracotta Collective on Running a Small Business


Maddy Linke launched The Terracotta Collective in October 2020, which is a small boutique homewares and lifestyle online store. Over the past year she has  expanded her product line and now stocks over 20 brands ranging from womens skincare, mens toiletries, cushions and candles.

Since being the first business to stock Clare Makes, Maddy has become a good friend and sounding board. 

I discussed her homewares business recently, the challenges of running a new business, and what the future holds for The Terracotta Collective.

the terracotta collective

Tell me about your business. Why did you decide to open your shop? Had you always been interested in homewares/home styling?
I have always had an eye for design and growing up that is what I thought my career would be! However, I just believe with so many ideas for spaces on Pinterest and an already over saturated market for the industry, it maybe wasn’t what I should be doing. I started The Terracotta Collective when I felt a gap in the market for affordable homeware products, I wanted a one stop shop for all of your homeware needs. Saving time for the consumer and having a platform where they could potentially shop for a few things at once like a baby shower, housewarming or birthday present without needing to go to several different online stores.

Ecommerce, as I can also attest to, is a really competitive space. What sets the Terracotta Collective apart from the rest?
These days it is really hard work having an ecommerce store, you have to be constantly updating and changing your website to keep up with current trends. I really try hard to ensure all of the products I source are ethically made and over 90% of my brands make products that are made and owned in Australia which is very important to me.

I’ve been to your pop up store in Dulwich Hill and loved seeing you there with all your products on shelves. Do you have plans to open a bricks and mortar store at some point in the future or do you see your future primarily online?
I would love to open up my own bricks and mortar store at some point in the near future, however I think at this stage it is a little while away. Pop up stores are a great way to dip your toes in the retail world without too much of an upfront cost, I am so lucky that I get to use a space provided to me from my friends at The General Eatery.

the terracotta collective

I know you stock a lot of brands that are also based in the inner west. What are some of your favourite local artisans? What makes them special?
If I am being totally honest without sounding like a total suck up, I really love your candle range and the female empowerment message behind each candle makes the brand itself so unique. The scents I can honestly say are the best I have ever smelt in my life! Supporting local artisans is so important for our local community, we are so lucky in the Inner West to have such a diverse range of makers and it is essential that we support them. Supporting a small business is supporting a dream!

What advice do you have for makers trying to get their products into stores? What do retailers look for when finding new brands to work with?
This is a tricky one however from a buyers point of view it really comes down to having a great product and knowing the products worth.

What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you wind down after a long day?
I have the most beautiful Italian Greyhound puppy who I am obsessed with, after a long day, which is usually everyday, you'll find us at the local park!

Every business comes with challenges, especially in the early days. What have some of yours been? How have you overcome them?
I have had a few business challenges, more than I initially thought would be the case when first starting out. I had a really awful experience with a maker who was selling faulty products and point blank refused to give me a refund. I really thought it was going to be the end of my brand new business, I had to fork out refunds for every customer I sold to and also was still out of pocket for the products I bought. It was really hard for me! I now ensure I sample all of the products I stock, I also give testers to friends and family members to let me know their feedback as well. It is such an important process and was a big lesson for me!

the terracotta collective

Let's get personal…

1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?
I am passionate about living life, keeping myself happy and content, not worrying about the small stuff, trying not to let the routines of daily life get me down, not getting overwhelmed about things that will not matter in the long run!

2. What is your most treasured belonging?
If we aren’t talking about people, then I would have to say my Nan’s engagement ring which my pop gave me to after she passed away.

3. If you weren’t running TTC, what would you be doing?
I’ve always thought being a florist would be a fun job to unleash my creative side ! Or a wedding planner.

4. What’s one thing in your home you can’t live without?
A beautiful vase with a fresh bunch of flowers.

5. In 10 years, I'd like to be... 
In 10 years I’d love to see The Terracotta Collective have a bricks and mortar store and maybe even a second one if things were going well. I would also love to be a mum by then working part time.

Want to find out more? Follow The Terracotta Collective here
The Terracotta Collective Website
Instagram
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Every Monday, Clare Makes sits down with an Aussie creator or business owner to discuss their life and work. These articles are curated with you in mind, to enjoy alongside a cup of coffee and your favourite scented candle. If you'd like to be interviewed for the blog or know someone else who would be perfect, please email hello@claremakes.com.au

3 comments


  • Erin Hood

    Love reading what happens behind the scenes 🙂


  • Alan Bainsbridge

    Great insight to a small but growing business with a look towards getting into mainstream retail naturally with as much local content as possible . Good Luck .


  • Maddy

    Thank you for having me ! xx


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