17-year-old designer's blossoming business unearthed
AGE is just a number.
That's the saying so many of us live by in our pursuit of a full life.
It's also the mantra most befitting of 17-year-old Kiara-Bella Moore, a Bundaberg designer and proud business owner.
Going against the grain, Kiara steered clear of the paths most high school graduates are expected to take - whether it's taking a gap year, working at a retail store or starting uni.
Instead, she started her own fashion label - Kiara-Bella Designs.
And rather than seeing her age as an obstacle, she's used her youth to her advantage.
"Friends and social media. That's how my business has been growing," Kiara told the NewsMail.
"Having grown up with Facebook and Instagram, I am really familiar with them and know how to use the platforms properly.
She said her online abilities gave her the upper-hand when it came to local businesses that weren't as competent with social media.
"Ever since I was really little I've been doing my own designs and drawings."
The teen made her own Instagram account when she was 13 and began posting her drawings on it, a move that ultimately led to Kiara-Bella Designs.
This year she got an ABN and launched her business via eCommerce. Her website kicked off in April.
"I was nervous because I didn't know how it'd go ... But I didn't know where I wanted to go at graduation either, or what I wanted to do, so I just decided to break into it," Kiara said.
"There's always ups and downs and mixed emotions, but at the end of the day I just feel really proud of what I've done so far.
"(Fashion and design) is something I'm so passionate about and have always wanted to pursue.
"It is really amazing, it just feels really good that my business is growing and I have something going for me at the moment.
"Being so young there's a lot of unknowns in the business and industry side of things. Plus, there's not a lot of demand for handmade clothes (here) and the price range is often hard to compete against the chain stores with, but it's all about finding my customer base ... and I'm just going to keep pushing."
Kiara-Bella Designs is tailored towards 15 to 35-year-old women and features a range of tie-up waistlines and adjustable backs.
The bohemian, earthy and florally line is all about loving the way you look.
"Bright and beautiful is the meaning of my name in Italian, so I want my clothes to look bright and make the wearer feel really beautiful," Kiara said.
The young entrepreneur said she designed, sewed and modeled the clothes all herself, with the help of her business mentor, her mum and her friends.
"My mum has helped me so much and backed me 100 per cent. She taught me everything I know about sewing. It's in the family. My great grandma designed for David Jones," she said.
"And my friends love wearing my samples and modelling for me. It brings us together a lot and it's so much fun getting to spend time with them."
"If they want anything customised they can just message me on social media," she said.
"That's the best part, interacting with customers and hearing their feedback."
She said while a lot of her clothes had so far been summer-themed, a winter line was set to launch next week.
Kiara is hoping to expand her business across the country by next April and grow her customer base.
"I hope to have more ranges of styles of clothing by then too," she said.