Heading up any successful family business comes with its own set of pressures and responsibility, the kind that don’t usually allow much energy to party. But after 22 years at the helm of Lorraine Lea, Adrian Ryan realised partying is exactly what he had to do.
“When we’re encouraging our independent stylists to party 2 – 3 times a week, we say it like it’s the simplest thing to do. It dawned on me that if we were going to ask that of them every week, I really had to understand what it took to go out there and present to a bunch of people in a stranger’s lounge room,” he said.
After chatting about his job with a sales assistant while buying a watch for his daughter, Adrian found himself booking a party date and locking himself in as the stylist – only after realising what he had done, the excitement of the challenge began to grow.
“I couldn’t believe I’d never actually done this before. I’ve been talking about the business for years and never challenged myself to go out and do what we’re encouraging our Stylists to do!”
So, like an episode of undercover boss, but without the fake moustaches and terrible wigs, Adrian stepped into the shoes of the mums, nurses, accountants, teachers and self-proclaimed “linen chicks” that run their own successful Lorraine Lea businesses under his brand.
A few weeks later, Adrian was en route to sales assistant, and now host, Hannah’s house, practicing his opening in the car.
“We tell everyone it’s easy, and it is, but I was sweating bullets.”
Finally, the time came. 13 guests had gathered, clutching their drinks and eagerly awaiting Adrian to enlighten them with his style tips and product knowledge. He stood there in silence, all the while not knowing that he would be an absolute star!
“The hard part is getting the guts to get up there for the first time to get started but once you’re in front of people it’s so easy! Have fun with them and the sales and bookings just come,” he said.
Adrian racked up $1362 worth of sales and even booked himself in to Style an additional 2 parties. While he’s not considering changing roles within his business, he strongly recommends this option to anyone who is fed up with commuting to their 9-5 jobs.
“It really is a great gig. You get to go out a few times a week and meet some new people, have a wine and a joke with them, and then you get paid! I’ve even got some more parties coming up, so I can see how I could make a career out of this.”
As a new stylist Adrian would have made $273.10 from his first party – which he is donating back into Lorraine Lea’s charitable foundation, Party For Kids With Cancer.