I launched my first business, swimwear label Ete, in about seven months at age 22. Looking back it was a pretty gutsy move but I really was just following my passion and intuition. I had a background in digital marketing and advertising but no formal training in fashion. I had always had an interest in fashion and completed fashion internships while I was studying, and I’ve also always had a burning entrepreneurial desire to go out and start my own business. I had so many ideas, and in the end, decided what better industry to break in to than the one I am so passionate about. So I decided to take on the fashion industry and run with swimwear.
The success after launching Ete followed quite quickly, after one week I was invited to debut at the prestigious New York Fashion Week and following that I collaborated with influencer Matilda Djerf to design a collection which sold out in two days.
It really has been a dream come true and I have since launched another business, Australia’s first influencer travel agency; Somewear Elsewhere, pairing top influencers with the best brands, destinations, and resorts in one-off travel experiences. There have been many ups and downs since Ete’s launch in 2016, it has been such a joy with valuable lessons learnt along the way.
1. You’ll never be fully ‘ready’
Being 22, I didn’t even consider this at the time (probably due to a bit of naivety) but you will never be ready, there is no ‘right time.’ I have since seen people delay because they’re ‘not ready’ but no matter at what time you launch, there will always be speed bumps, mistakes, and lessons to learn. Nothing will ever be perfect and there was plenty more I would have liked to have had when I launched but I’m so glad I just hit life anyway. Your business evolves and is a journey, so as you make income and learn more you begin to up a level and add more as you go.
2. Do your research
One key advice I would give is to do your research and speak to as many people as you can. That is the best way to learn and gain as much information as possible. I continually reach out to new people to bounce ideas off, and just have a general chat with. You never know what you may learn.
3. Understand who your audience is.
Right from the get-go I really became obsessed with understanding who my audience is and the product that they were after. I put in a lot of research in getting to know what their lifestyle is, what they like to read/watch, what experience and product they were wanting from Ete Swimwear. This has been so valuable in helping me map out the business from design to marketing to customer service to ensure we’re delivering exactly what my audience wants. It means we’re always ahead of the game.
4. Focus strongly on marketing to get maximum growth.
This was one of the key things that propelled my business to really get traction with my audience. Before I had even launched I was already establishing my social media presence and liaising with people I had hoped to align with in future. By doing this I was already ahead of the game when I launched and already had over 20k followers on Instagram in just five months. This meant I already had an audience of loyal followers to sell to. Through having a strong understanding of my audience I also understood the power of influencer marketing and decided to use that as the main channel for my marketing efforts.
You can have an incredible product but you need a strong marketing strategy to go with it. The more I focused on marketing consistently the more results and growth I began to see. You should be dedicating a large number of your resources both in terms of time and finances towards marketing.