Written by Starshipit
Maude is a bespoke eyewear fashion brand located along the beautiful Great Ocean Road, near Melbourne, Australia.
Courtenay Tyrrell is the owner, designer, maker, warehouse manager, packer, marketer, accountant and all-round visionary of Maude, who single-handedly launched and manages every aspect of her popular online “face jewellery” store.
“Wearing Maude sunglasses is not about being cool, it’s about confidence!”
— Courtenay Tyrrell, Owner and Creative Director, Maude
Courtenay’s creations are inspired by the shiny iridescence of the ocean nearby her studio along Great Ocean Road. Sunglasses are embellished with shimmery gemstones that sparkle like the ocean under the sun.
The shiny embellishments are arranged along the rim of a pair of sunglasses and resemble flowers, small creatures and some are entire characters all on their own that a future owner will resonate with.
To honour the ocean and all its marine life, Courtenay named her sunglasses label after a curious Irishwoman from County Donegal named Maude.
Despite being held back from studies by a strict parent, Maude loved the ocean, which she devoted her time to studying marine life and doing research. Over time she made valuable contributions to marine biology, and in particular became a jellyfish expert and was the first to successfully breed them.
Maude, the online store, launched six years ago after Courtenay returned from interning with designers in Stockholm and three years working at H&M. While at H&M, Courtenay was able to purchase bags of unused costume jewellery and after work would spend hours deconstructing large pieces. She then used these jewels to create small embellishments on fashion accessories. Her first collection was aptly named “Glittermare” (glitter + mare).
Courtenay’s incredible passion can be seen in the level of detailing; a collection of sparkling ocean-blue bees are beautifully perched on the sunglasses, one at each temple. Another pair are home to two twinkling jewel-shaped lizard.
“Maude is for people who buy things that make them happy and fabulous.”
One of her biggest challenges was finding the right market and product fit. As Courtenay explains, “I had been making fashionwear and on one of my trips to source supplies in China I found these beautiful sparkling stones and gemstones, so I decided to focus on embellishing sunglasses. That’s when my business just took off.
People really responded and then that became my focus.” So by trying different creative styles and beautifully showcasing her products online to test the market, Courtenay found success by focusing on making one product amazingly well that appeals to a large niche fanbase who defy being pigeonholed when it comes to style.
“I had to take a step back and do it my own way and not be overwhelmed by the demand. I had to slow down to move forward.”
During Covid-19 Courtenay hasn’t been able to accompany her sourcing agent to all the stone and jewel markets in Beijing, China. So what’s been a huge help is having her sourcing agent visit the markets and via their live chat on WeChat, Courtenay can see what’s available and make real-time buying decisions.
A pain point for Courtenay has been on the fulfilment side of her business. She explains, “Using Australia Post is the most reliable option, but one of my two biggest pain points is the amount of time it took to print a label. I would have to input so many fields for each package, mostly the same details every time, just to print one label. I would spend up to an hour or more a day filling in long forms. Since using MyPost Business and Starshipit I can automate all those manual entries and I save up to 60 min a day! “
“Automating all those manual tasks has unlocked so much time saving! I make my product by hand, this means I can spend that hour a day making more!”
Australia Post identified an opportunity to help small businesses like Courtenay’s streamline their shipping process. Automation has been available for Australia Post’s eParcel contract for many years and is now available for businesses of any size via Australia Post’s MyPost Business. So, Shopify customers like Maude can now use shipping automation platforms like Starshipit to automate manual tasks and small business owners like Courtenay couldn’t be happier.
No need for credit checks; no need to guarantee a minimum or consistent volumes; helps keep your finances in check as you only pay for what you use. By connecting your Shopify store to MyPost Business you can generate labels with one click, rather than having to manually enter the data. The status of the orders automatically updates in Shopify, so it’s easy to track what orders have been dispatched and customers can be kept up to date on the status of their orders via shipping notifications.
As her business gains popularity, especially on platforms like Instagram (following of 15 700 fans), she tells us, “It’s not sustainable to do everything myself anymore, so I am now looking at resources to scale, so I can focus on new collections and growing the business. Luckily this smart designer and businesswoman has a production line of sunglasses on hand as her future looks brighter than bright.
“My advice to anyone wanting a small business is to just start! It will never be perfect and you just have to keep going.”