Welcome to Miss Links: how it all started

02/07/2013

By Dianna

I’m very thrilled to be writing this piece as the Miss Links website launches! When I’m shopping online, I want to know who’s behind the business and how it got started. I always prefer the sites that share their stories.

So here’s mine.

It all started when I was appointed General Manager of Finance for a large, foreign-owned company. They really took conservative dressing to a new level. About this time I started wearing French cuff shirts and cufflinks. I was inspired by the golden age of Hollywood: stars like Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich.

I was quickly frustrated by the lack of cufflinks available to women on the market. I’d had enough of wearing my husband’s cufflinks. I don’t wear his suits or ties, why would I want his masculine cufflinks?

I searched high and low for an elegant, feminine pair of cufflinks. I was told the same thing in every store: “we have a unisex range.”

Dianna Butterwirth Miss Links

Dianna Butterworth, Miss Links

Driving home in the car, I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ at the traffic lights. Women like me enjoyed French cuff shirts but could not find appropriate cufflinks. Within days I was excitedly drawing sketches.

I spent a lot of time researching. So-called unisex cufflinks were masculine and boring. Women’s cufflinks were either cheap and tacky or wildly expensive designer brands.

And silk knots? I hate them with a passion.

I knew I could create something better and was excited about the opportunity to tap into this niche market.

 

In the meantime, I had two children and launched a financial consultancy business with my husband in 2012. Whilst I enjoyed my career in finance, I still had those cufflink designs in the back of my mind.

My parents strongly encouraged me. My father, a broccoli farmer, was passionate about the opportunity for me to work for myself. My mother proved an inspiration too— after selling wool wholesale for many years, she took her business online and quadrupled sales.

Mum had thirty years selling wool before she became successful online. Her experience inspired me to go for it after my second daughter was born. My husband was also instrumental in encouraging me, and his support gave me confidence.

I used my own life savings to launch the business. It was scary to spend the money I had saved for twenty years, but exciting to finally get started. I was determined that I would not create Miss Links on the cheap.

I secured a designer and created prototypes for the cufflink range, then sourced a manufacturer in China. I was hoping to find an Australian manufacturer, but, sadly, they just don’t exist.

I invested in branding, website design and marketing to ensure the Miss Links brand was just like its customers: professional, stylish, elegant and feminine. I’m very proud of the results.
I hope you enjoy the Miss Links range as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.