Argylica Conditsis first launched her fashion brand BABYBOO from her bedroom using the $1,000 she had saved up from her job working at Pizza Hut.
Fast forward more than a decade, and the now 29-year-old has grown her brand into a $60 million business with 45 employees, customers from 157 different countries and 1.7 million social media followers.
But it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster to get there, with Conditsis admitting that, despite being hungry and passionate, she was perhaps a little naive when she launched her business.
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“When I started BABYBOO, I had no prior experience in the e-commerce or fashion industries, zero funding, zero business or corporate experience, no connections, no mentors, no social media followers, no capital,” Conditsis said.
“However, what I did know was that I’ve always had a creative personality and always loved fashion, so I funnelled this into my ‘why’ and removed external validation and focused on my curiosities.
“As it turns out, this approach was what enabled me to build my business to where it is today”.
Having now built a multi-million-dollar company, these are her five tips for success.
1. Find something you love and work out how to make it a full-time gig
“If you're doing something just for the money, I guarantee you won’t succeed because building a solid business is hard - really hard - so if you’re not driven by passion, you'll quit,” Conditsis said.
True passion will motivate you to dig into the tough problems, help you through challenges, and push you to learn faster and make an impact, she said.
2. Get comfortable with sacrifice, adversity and trial and error
Things will go wrong and mistakes will happen, but this is how you will learn and grow.
“As a young, female entrepreneur, I’ve faced countless hurdles - ranging from sexism by landlords and bank managers, to judgement calls that didn’t serve the brand. My biggest learning was to not let it get me down or stunt my growth,” she said.
“I’ve created products that weren’t on-brand and didn’t sell, I’ve also created products that were too soon for the brand and also didn’t sell, those mistakes made me realise what was working and helped me identify a real brand voice”.
3. Find your secret recipe and master it
Know what sets your business apart, and have a solid brand story.
“Ours has simply always been about women. From the get-go, I always wanted to design clothes that highlight both femininity and strength, so every single decision we make is based on it matching our brand values,” Conditsis said.
The brand’s quality, price point and design were also what set it apart from other brands, she said.
4. Understand your operations, even the boring parts
While it’s unrealistic to do everything yourself, having an understanding of your business operations, focusing on your strengths and finding others to fill the gaps is an effective strategy for success.
“Challenges are thrown at me every single day - starting from day one to now - however, I’ve always absorbed the learnings and taught myself along the way,” Conditsis said.
“At the end of the day, understanding and managing the business operations is my responsibility, however I’ve invested in the right people to ensure everything we do is as streamlined as possible.”
5. Launch now, learn as you go
Letting perfectionism get in the way of launching your business was a common mistake many people could make, Conditsis said. But the reality is, you can’t learn until you launch.
There’s also a chance you could be wasting time and energy creating a product that people aren’t interested in, or that doesn’t solve a real problem or need.