We chatted with new Real Housewife of Melbourne, Kyla Kirkpatrick, about champagne, starting a business and empowering other women.
Get to know a bit more about the Champagne Dame!
Were you a fan of the show before going on?
I have to say no, unfortunately, because I don’t watch TV. I do an 80-hour week, as standard, across my three companies and that doesn’t leave a lot of free time.
What are your three companies?
My three companies are all in champagne. The first, Champagne Dame, I started a little over a decade ago and that’s in champagne education, masterclasses, champagne towers etc.
I’m very much a storyteller so I talk about the history and the nuances the characters of champagne, but I also do a lot of emceeing, keynote speaking and inspirational speeches, so I have slightly diversified over time.
I launched Emperor Global and Champagne Club here and in Southeast Asia. We have a luxury travel component as the third company where we do very high end luxury tours to Champagne and have just expanded out to Italy and a few other regions, so we have another business division which does that also. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Typical day is mum first, so up at 7am. Either a run or straight into action. It’s getting Miss Arlington up and at ’em for school.
Home is in Brighton and my warehouse is very strategically built just 10 minutes down the road. I don’t like anything that deviates from what I need to do, so a short drive is essential for me. Off to the warehouse and I meet and brief with my team.
We’re all systems go from there and I juggle between the big vision plays of what we’re doing versus day to day execution. I deviate between those two and also spread across the other two companies. Each of those are in also in different stages and have different needs, so sometimes I’m on the phone to Paris or – today I had a customer in New York trying to find a magnum of 1989 bottle of champagne.
It’s a lot of wheeling and dealing and negotiations and placement all wrapped up with a little bit of marketing and a whole lot of presenting. Two to three nights a week I’m on stage either talking about the beauty of champagne or giving key note speech to hopefully inspire other women in their chosen fields.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other aspiring businesswomen?
The number one piece of advice is: don’t give up. Business isn’t easy and sometimes I hear of women wanting to start their own company to give themselves more freedom. I think that’s a fallacy. Working for yourself doesn’t allow you freedom.
Entrepreneurs are the only people in the world who give up a guaranteed paid job that’s 40 hours a week for something that’s uncertain and 80 hours a week. Working for yourself takes an enormous amount of courage and there are a lot of near death experiences in business, as I call them, that will rattle the average bear, but it’s important that you fight to the death.
Don’t give up because you don’t know what’s around the corner. You could be so close to achieving success when you choose give up, and so many businesses don’t survive either through fear or through lack of persistence.
What the audience should know about you?
I think the biggest misnomer about me is I’m a very glamorous person from the outsider looking in, but I’m probably more down to earth than the average bear would realise.
I’m probably a little more relaxed and approachable than most people might perceive me to be. Quite often when I’m on stage and I’m having a laugh or telling a joke or sharing my story with people women come to my shows feeling a little intimidated and then by the end want to give me a kiss and a hug so I think that’s the biggest misconception about me.
It’s interesting for me to do this show as I’m a big supporter of women. I just think women are the most amazing and resilient and talented creatures, so it will be interesting to see how the seven or eight parts play out as a greater whole.
I’d really like to see the women on this programme inspiring not only one another, but the greater community of women out there. We will see how that happens, I’d love for that to be one of the big outcomes of this year.