We spoke with Kati Morgan, one half of Mast Furniture to chat all things passion, progression and productivity.
Q1: In your own words please tell us what you do and how it came to be..
I am business development manager/showroom manager for Mast Furniture- a furniture brand my husband and I started in 2012.
My current role is a fairly new development (and is currently operating on a very part time basis as I’m on maternity leave). For the early years of our business I had a homewares stall at Eumundi Markets, which provided us with great cash flow while we developed our furniture range. I sold that business when we moved to Brisbane in July of 2017 and took on my current role full time.
Q2: Where are you from and how did you come to be living life as you know it?
I grew up in the Northwest in America and did an exchange as a university student at the University of Sunshine Coast. I really loved living in Australia and decided to pursue my whole degree here. In my last year of Uni I started dating Rory, my now husband. When I finished my degree, I moved to Noosa with him, spent a few years working and travelling and then we started Mast.
Q2. Was being part of MAST always on the cards for you or did you have other dreams growing up?
It was and it wasn’t. I’m not a furniture maker or furniture designer, so I don’t get too involved on those elements and what people would think of when they think of our brand. I kind of take on a lot of the everything else involved. Logistics, quoting projects, managing our retail space, buying small homewares for the showroom, email newsletters, website updates, etc. A lot of what I do is behind the scenes!
Q3: What is your biggest pinch me career moment?
Opening our Brisbane showroom in September of 2018. It was something on the cards for so long, but finally having our own space to display our furniture has been a real highlight for me. Prior to having a baby a few months ago, I was working there full time and everyday it feels surreal!
Q4: What's your key to productivity day in and day out?
It’s fairly logical- I always try to organise my days with the most important/demanding task is first: emails, quoting, invoicing, bill-paying— whatever is on the cards for that particular day. As I usually have a few hours in the day left after that, I then look at switching over to more long term projects, website updates, email newsletters, etc. When you’re a small business I think your days are varied so much, I don’t ever feel like two days are the same.
Q5: There's obviously a lot of elements involved in MAST, what do you find the most satisfying?
Releasing new products. There is so much happening behind the scenes to get ready to add something new to our range- it’s so exciting once it’s finally ready, photographed and released into the wild! Plus it gives me a whole new topic to promote/sell, which is really fun.
Q6: What are you passionate about?
Quality over quantity. I am getting more and more enraged by the massive amounts of cheap/low quality items across so many industries (not just furniture). I’ve streamlined my wardrobe and only shop when I truly need something. I love brands like Everlane for everyday basics and Reformation for special pieces!
Q7: What are your top 3 superpowers?
I have no idea? Ha.
1) I think since having a baby my time management skills have greatly improved (except for the time I waste staring at my baby!).
2) I always try to prioritise looking after myself, no matter how busy or stressful. Eating well and squeezing in a walk are super important to me.
3) Goal planning is something I really enjoy. I think with your own business you’ve always gotta be reaching for the next goal and planning for the future. Which feels exhausting sometimes, but I think you can never really “stand still” or you’ll get left behind.
Are those superpowers?!
Q8: We've all experienced those times in business where you just feel like throwing in the towel.. what tools have your learned to get you through those difficult times?
We had a very rough patch about 18 months ago where we had bitten off more than we could chew and it was incredibly stressful. And I just kept thinking of that saying “the only way out is through”. Getting through difficult times in purely that, just doing the work and getting through it the best way you can. Try to be strategic and once it’s done, move on.
Q9: What advice would you impart on the next generation of women?
I think for women, the phrase “you can have it all, just not all at once” is so true. Having worked really hard on developing my own career in our business, I found it quite hard to switch into thinking about putting that on pause and starting a family. I think you can wear so many ‘roles’ as a woman, and that it can be a constantly shifting thing. You no longer have to choose strictly work life or mum life, you can ebb and flow between the two throughout your life.
Q10: What does happiness look like through the eyes of Kati?
I really love the simple things- spending time in nature, a good meal with family/friends, exploring somewhere new.
Q11: What does your ideal Sunday entail?
I love a good Sunday drive/adventure. We’ve had to modify our normal Sundays since having a baby, but we love getting up early and heading down south for the day. There are so many beautiful beaches within 2 hours of Brisbane. My favourite Sunday itinerary (and if we’re feeling motivated) is heading to Northern NSW, beach time in the mid morning for a few hours and then a delicious lunch at Doma in Federal. We tend to go to the Byron Bay area but go to places other than Byron- ha ha.
Q12: Where is your favourite place in the world to have a vino? and where are you off to next?
We’ve stayed at The Rolling Huts in Winthrop, Washington (in the US) a few times. Having your own modern cabin, surrounded by snow and forest, with a fire going- it’s a pretty great place to have a glass of red.
And, because I believe in enjoying the small moments of everyday life, I love to have a vino while I’m cooking dinner at home.
We actually have no travel plans right now! But hoping to do another trip to Japan soon. Feel like we only scratched the surface the first time we went.
Q13: Who or what are you listening to or reading right now?
I’m such a podcast girl. ‘How I built this’ is my fave, but I also enjoy The Goop podcast (although I have a love/hate thing with Goop), I also like No Filter with Mia Freedman for interviews and love ‘Ladies, we need to talk’ by ABC radio.
Not a huge amount of time for reading at the moment, but came across this list and am keen to get started!
Q14: One last thing... share with us a fun fact about yourself, something that people might not know about you?
I love to cook! What you eat is so important and I love so many aspects of cooking- the instant gratification of a good meal, the feeling of getting better at it over time (knowing what flavours go together, learning to make up your own meals rather than relying on recipes, etc) and of course eating delicious meals! I also HATE throwing out unused fruit and veg, so thoroughly enjoy the challenge of using everything up each week!