About Kate Hamer
I have 10 years commercial and legal experience. I’m a practicing lawyer and registered trade marks attorney. After years in the corporate world I took the plunge and started my own practice with a vision to do the law differently and to inspire women in business to be passionate about their brands and to make informed decisions about their businesses.
Email: [email protected]
Ethikate is a specialist brand protection and IP law firm founded on integrity and with a rebellious and fearless spirit to push the boundaries of conventional legal practice. Ethikate dares to be different.
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Q & A with Kate Hamer, founder of Ethikate
What’s the story behind your business?
I’ve always dreamt of working for myself and starting a successful company. I became a lawyer to develop a strong technical skill that would aid me in my business endeavours. I didn’t like the conservative and stuffy environment of corporate law firms and so when I left my last firm the thought of working for another one was not appealing. Whilst they certainly have their place, larger law firms tend to lack innovation, creativity and commercial acumen. I realised that I had business and commercial skills that most lawyers don’t plus I have the technical speciality skills that most of the small law firms lack. I saw a niche in the marketplace and thought ‘now is as good a time as any’. So, I took a deep breath and dived in. I’ve never looked back since!
What was your first job?
At the tender age of 14 I scored a great holiday job working as an assistant to one of the owners of a large pharmacy group. I was then given a casual position in one of their large CBD pharmacies. When I turned 15 and started earning over $5 an hour I thought all my dreams had come true!
When you decided to start your own business, what was your big “why”?
My big ‘why’ for starting my business was really not one single thing. But I guess the real drive was freedom to practice law in a way that would enable me to be innovative, commercial, flexible and nimble. Most importantly, I can be myself and work with clients that align with my personal value.
What have you had to give up?
Wearing black suits, being micro managed, red tape, catching the train in peak hour, justifying every 6 minutes of time, working 12-15 hour days without being compensated for it, large egos and a corporate culture that lacked leadership and senior accountability.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Without a doubt, starting up my own legal practice and daring to do so with a view to revolutionise a traditional and conservative profession is my proudest achievement to date. Starting Ethikate has also shown me that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. It has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with passion, hard work and perseverance. I’ve done it all on my own and I’ve had the added bonus of being able to inspire family members, friends, colleagues and clients along the way. It has been such a rewarding experience to date.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
A definite highlight was working with the Commonwealth Games. I had the opportunity to work both in-house and externally, managing their brand portfolio. It was very exciting to be a part of the success of a major event. I love to understand my client’s businesses and to watch them grow. As a lawyer we get a glimpse into the client’s business in a discrete area only. So, my favourite projects typically involve working onsite at the client’s premises for a period of time where I can be immersed in the business. The great thing is that, since starting Ethikate, I work closely with business owners and company directors and become an integral part of their business from start-up phase through the various stages of growth. It’s exciting!
What would you tell your younger self not to do?
At 22, I was a high energy, perfectionist and very aggressive young businesswoman. Looking back I think it worked in many ways but there’s better (and more sustainable) ways to get results. I would tell my younger self to stop and smell the flowers and not to put energy into things outside of your control
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It still amazes me how people can treat others so disrespectfully. I’ve worked in a variety of roles from the lowest of the low to the top of the pack. I haven’t had a privileged childhood and earned my right to be where I am today. A boss and mentor once said to me: “Treat everyone with respect as you never know when one day they’ll be your boss.” He told me that just after I was promoted to a position above my previous boss and I’ve never forgotten it.
What’s next for you and your business?
Growth, innovation and inspiration! My personal goal is to be a leader in my field and to inspire women in the wider business community. I want to show other women what they are capable of. It all comes down to determination, self belief and perseverance. What’s next for Ethikate? A lot but I can’t share it right now. You’ll just have to stay tuned.