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Aussie mum turns $59 pants into $1 million business

Pictured: Australian cash, Mel Villani. Image: Supplied, Getty
Mel Villani's Jenni Joggers are phenomenally popular. Image: Supplied, Getty

When Mel Villani was 18, she knew she wanted to own a shop.

A few years later, after the birth of her first son Zac, she knew that she had to give up the corporate life and finally pursue her dream.

And boy, has it worked out.

Now the owner of Mornington Peninsula boutique, Evergreen Clothing, Villani’s life changed when she decided to stock a pair of pants dubbed the Jenni Jogger in three different colours, and in sizes from 8 to 14.

One year later, she’s sold 30,000 pairs of the pants and made more than $1 million in sales, which now come in more colours and sizes 6-22.

According to Villani, the appeal of the pants - which retail for $59 - is in the elastic waist and stretchy material: they’re basically trackie pants but more stylish.

Pictured: Models wearing three different variations of the Jenni Jogger pants. Image: Evergreen Clothing
The pants come in several colours and longer and shorter fits. Image: Evergreen Clothing

While the success is a bonus, it was a challenging time for Villani when the pants began to take off.

“Just as the Jenni Joggers started to take off my business was running fairly lean,” she told Yahoo Finance.

“By lean I mean just two of us doing everything. We were packing orders and serving customers so we worked around the clock.”

‘Just do it - I’m not a procrastinator and I don’t overthink things.’

It was so intense that she had to recruit her husband and sister to help, and she spent late nights on the laptop after the children were in bed, and early mornings managing the business.

“As the business grew and we worked our way through lots of growing pains, we eventually got to a point where we could hire a person to pack orders each day and then scaled to a full time packer to now where we have two to three full time packers in our warehouse.”

Advice for other Australians hoping to start their own business

Villani said the surge in interest meant a “huge amount of hard work”.

But she’s also a “big believer in positivity”.

“Stay positive, you can’t let the setbacks get you down - always see the good in them and learn from them. Ride with the business changes. The direction the business takes may not have been in the original plan, so you have to go with the flow of what works,” she said.

“Just do it - I’m not a procrastinator and I don’t overthink things. When I first opened, I said to myself, ‘If I don’t do it someone else will and I will always regret it. And if it doesn’t work, at least I tried.’”

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