Anna Shalekoff

Ninotchka Designs


Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

Grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Shoreham, moved to Melbourne at age 19 to study and then work, then returned to the Peninsula nearly 20 years later in 2008 with partner and twins aged 3 at the time. 

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?   

I always wanted to work in the film and television industry. After completing a marketing degree I somehow landed a traineeship with a Casting company. Went on to work in casting, production office, and camera department in many different networks ad production companies.

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?  Transition came after having children and not having the flexibility to work in a structured job environment. My business was not overly planned, I just decided I wanted to make ‘something’ to sell at the local market.  I had always been creative so making things came easily to me.

What’s your why?  

Running my own business gives me flexibility (even though I feel like I work 7 days…all day) and certainly is more financially viable than employment for me.

What do you love about what you do? 

Love creating, love meeting customers and hearing their feedback, love the satisfaction of earning money for all the family to enjoy, love the travel to events interstate and rural.

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

People copying what I do. Working weekends and sometimes nights. The unknown about longevity of product. Controlling everything myself, reluctance to delegate and outsource.

What are your greatest achievements to date? 

Simply operating, growing and profiting for over 7 years.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Don’t let competitors upset you.

Try – you never know.

Smile – happy people sell more.

What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business? 

Still in process of making decision whether to/how to wholesale through tradeshows.

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without?

Facebook, online ordering and worldwide couriers.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Listen to your customers – they tell you what they want and they are right.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I don’t wear much jewellery.

What does your ideal day look like?

Early morning walk – make jewellery – wine & cheese – early to bed!

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice yours is greener.

Who or what inspires you?

New patterns and designs inspire me