Neau Stories: A Passion For Planning, Organizing, and Lifestyle Design

What inspired you to start your own brand?

Since I was young, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of running my own business and working for myself! I love the freedom to be able to creatively express myself through my products and truly feel like I’m making an impact. I’ve had a passion for stationery since I was young, designing my first planner at 13, I realised that a lot of my peers at school wanted me to make them products too. Initially I shared printable planners via my health & wellness blog, but after the lockdown of 2020 I decided to convert my blog into a stationery business and move to paper products. I’m currently a third-year Business Management student at the University of Waikato, so this has also been the perfect way to utilise my degree as I’m learning it!


How did you go about launching Live Lively?

Live Lively launched in 2018 as a health and wellness blog where I simply shared my favourite gluten-free/dairy-free recipes and short articles about productivity/wellness/habits. I then began to sell my digital printable planners which enabled me to create resources to aligned with the articles I was writing. In June 2020, I began planning how I could possibly move into paper products and fulfil my dream of having a viable business. I launched Live Lively 6 weeks later after a lot of long nights, researching and testing of products.


What has been one of the biggest challenges that you have faced since starting, and what have you learned from it?

Maintaining balance. Live Lively truly is an extension of me and everything I’m passionate about. I’m still in the process of learning how to detach myself from my work/what I create and learn that I have value outside of my business. I think it’s one of the hardest things about doing what you love! But it’s taught me so much about the importance of finding hobbies outside of work, making sure I switch off work-mode at the end of the day (hard for anyone that works from home like me!), and ensure that I give myself space for creative ideas to come.


Have you had to adapt your business during COVID-19? If so, how?

I’ve had the privilege of being minimally impacted business-wise by COVID-19 (other than it sparking the creation of my business). However, it has reminded me of the importance to support local businesses! I’ve been very particular about using local and sustainably-focused suppliers for my printing and packaging. All of our paper products are sustainably printed in the Waikato!


What makes Live Lively unique?

Live Lively is focused holistically on the customer. I strive to share knowledge around how to manage your time in a way that encourages you to prioritise what truly aligns with your passions, rather than abiding by ‘should’s’ or ‘norms’. Live Lively’s products are designed to inspire you to want to take control over your time, rather than being a slave to your schedule, and to insert healthy habits throughout your day to help you live your best life.


What advice would you give others who are wanting to start a business?

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed in those initial stages! Get clear on the value you want to offer, the skills you have to share, and the areas where you’ll need to seek out more support. Break down your big goals into monthly milestones, weekly tasks and even daily to-do’s. This helps you gain momentum without burning you out. New Zealand is the best country in the world to start a business, so start now, create a plan and go for it!


Why do you think it is important to support local businesses?

New Zealand is so lucky to have such amazing local businesses with strong values. Each of those local businesses is just another business owner with a dream to bring value and make a change. Supporting those local businesses is the best way to empower others to be innovative, support our own economy and empower more people to create.


What do you love most about running your own business?

There is nothing I love more that the feeling of having an amazing idea and being able to follow it through to completion. It’s such an honour to be able to have the space in my life to be able to create products that I so deeply align with, and connect with customers who feel just as passionately about what you create.

I truly believe that enjoying your job is a human right - yet unfortunately not enough people get to experience this. Nothing brings me more joy than looking forward to getting up in the morning, packing orders, and continually working on products or projects which I’m passionate about!

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