Dannii Minogue was one of the original slashies. The multi-talented actress, singer and dancer launched her career on soapies Skyways and The Sullivans at the tender age of 7. She then landed successful stints on Young Talent Time and Home & Away, as well as a hit recording career. In September 1988, Minogue released her own fashion range Dannii which sold out in 10 days across Australia. This initial foray into clothing design wouldn’t be Minogue’s last.
In early 2000, Minogue teamed up with Tabitha Somerset-Webb to launch Project D, a clothing line inspired by Minogue’s modern and feminine style. The line was a huge success worn by Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton and Kelly Brook. Minogue left the label in 2013 but was kept busy with her ongoing role on Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor.
It seemed like Minogue’s love of fashion was never far from her mind. A meeting with Target to work out how they could collaborate saw the creation of the Dannii Minogue Petites line. “We were talking about what we could do for them and I wanted it to be something really personal”, said Minogue of the project with Target. “I said to them I’m a busy mum so anything solution based would be great. So we started from that concept really, having solutions. Target said to me what are the hardest things you want solved? I said let me talk about petite clothing.”
Minogue is a pocket rocket herself so there is no-one better for Target to collaborate with on a Petites range. “We researched how many women in Australia are petite and it’s coming up at minimum 30% to 40% depending on different age brackets, so it’s a lot of people who are looking for clothes that fit”, said Minogue of the need for a Petites line. “It probably doesn’t seem anywhere near exciting for somebody who can chose any bit of clothing that’s available, but when nothing fits you, to even just be able to buy a blazer so you can feel dressed up for work, that feels incredible.”
Unlike other celebrities who lend their name to a line but don’t get their hands dirty, Minogue is involved every step of the way. “From the designs to the fit and being across all advertising media, every single thing generates from me and I’m directing it right to the end. It’s a real passion.”
Minogue’s dedication to her line doesn’t come without challenges. “The fact that I’m across everything that happens means we need to allow time in there to get each collection prepared”, say Minogue. “We are making such a big volume of items, and because I do other jobs as well, it’s a lot of work. I either speak, email or am in a meeting with Target everyday.”
Minogue’s passion for what it does makes it hard for her to step back and let other people help her. “I keep saying to myself you can have everything but you can’t do everything. I’m a complete control freak and really want to manage things myself, for everything to have a personal touch. I’m really crap at delegating. I just have to learn. People think you’re a celebrity so you must have all these nannies and a team of people but I have one person who is my PA and my nanny. I don’t want heaps of people around me. But that’s the next challenge I guess. If I want to expand I need to bring more people on board.”
Minogue also has the challenge of balancing her work with Target with her other commitments. “It’s always a hard getting the balance right”, she says. “It’s not something you have perfect all the time. It’s a constant juggle.” Minogue looks to social media for inspiration from other working women trying to balance their lives like she is. “Social media has been such a great way to connect with other women you’re inspired by. I take inspiration from how they do things, their personal notes on how they juggle it, because a lot of the women who are on social media are their own boss. All women I speak to who work for themselves say they love it. It’s gives them flexibility. However, the hours are actually longer when you work for yourself. It’s a passion. You are always thinking about it and always doing it.”
Minogue also emphasises how motherhood really made her assess her priorities. “With motherhood, I love it. It makes everything else make sense. It helps you define what is important, because anything else that you do apart from being a mum, takes away that time of being a mum so it’s got to be damn important to you to take up your time.”
Minogue has learnt a lot from time in the industry and is quick to encourage anyone looking to follow in her footsteps. “I just jumped into the deep end and gave it a go”, she says. “I had zero qualifications and I learnt everything as I went along. I left school at 16 and said I’ll just take a year off because I got offered a recording contract and never went back to school. It’s about getting involved and getting in. Internships are important. It’s a good chance to learn about the business.”
Minogue also stresses that “it’s important to stay grounded and to chose the people around you that you are working with to make sure they are as passionate as you are about everything.” Most importantly she says, “make sure what you are doing comes from a genuine place. You will always be more successful when you are doing something you love.”
Video by Thom Whilton and Jacob Medina