Tune in as we sit down with Justin Hillberg, the General Manager APAC at Surfstitch about the start-up struggle and defying the odds in e-commerce
Surfstitch helps define Australian surf culture. Founded in 2008, the Qld-based retailer has experienced the exhilarating, rocky and sometimes emotional sides of e-commerce, all in ten years.
“We were the traditional start-up struggle in the early years,” explained Justin Hillberg, the General Manager APAC at Surfstitch. “We were early movers in the e-commerce space; pureplay e-commerce. We got early investment from some of our industry partners in Billabong, and that helped us scale.”
Of course, it’s not just providing exceptional products that help an online retailer succeed; it’s also a strong customer focus and handle on logistics. “We knew that to be competitive in that space, we had to have excellent fulfilment, 100 per cent accuracy, really good delivery times and great customer service,” Mr Hillberg commented. “We built the whole business on those e-com fundamentals, and they’re still standing true today.”
In 201, Surfstitch collapsed into voluntary administration, following its IPO in 2014. Following strong sales and promising growth, the CEO, Justin Cameron, quit unexpectedly in 2016. However, after a few years of building itself back off the ground, it continues to flourish throughout Australia, Europe and the United States. “It’s important to be true to who you are,” Mr Hillberg explained. “We’re passionate about being the number on coastal lifestyle retailer. While we cross over a lot with some of the bigger players in the industry, we’re really passionate about our niche within fashion.”
Hear Justin’s story and the passion that drives Surfstitch by tuning in to the Power Retail podcast below: