In the second instalment of our women in retail series in the lead up to International Women’s Day, we chat to the online shoe retailer’s Creative Director, Yael Star.
After 20 years in the role of Creative Director, Star has the benefit of hindsight and an in-depth understanding of the type of consumer online retailers attract in the Australian sphere.
Power Retail sat down with her to learn more about her key takeaways from the local sector, and the role she believes women play in the growing online scene.
What attracted you to the online retail space?
“Accessibility was the biggest thing for us. The online space is a window to the world and to a whole new customer base. It provides access to busy, time-poor working women and mothers, as well as people living in regional areas without access to stores.”
What do you love most about the space?
“The online space is a virtual store; you can look around as much as you like without feeling intimidated by staff, price or people. The online space is a comfortable, easy way to shop and a great way to fill spare time, all while in the comfort of your own home.”
Looking at the industry as a whole, do you feel like the e-commerce sector is a welcoming one for women, especially women in executive-level positions?
“I really do. When you look at the demographics of online shoppers, the majority of consumers are women, so it makes sense to have women in executive-level positions who can relate, and potentially impact, the decision makers. These days there are countless communities supporting women in business, which is amazing. When I see a company run by women for women, I’m definitely more inclined to make a purchase.”
What have you found most difficult about working your way to the top as a woman?
“Being a woman is never something that has hindered opportunities for me. I’ve been brought up to view myself and other women as equals to men, it’s what you do and how you do it not who you are or your gender. Women and mothers are the strength of our families, and it really should be the same in business, regardless of what industry we’re in.”
What have you found most fulfiling about establishing yourself as a prominent player within the industry?
“I love what I do, and it is very satisfying when you build a collection, merchandise it on the shop floor and watch it sell and hear ladies say how much they love your product.
“Building a strong, successful business based on beautiful product that people aspire to purchase and growing the Edward Meller brand into a highly recognised local brand has been very fulfiling and satisfying.”
What advice would you have for other women looking to work their way up in the space?
“Say yes to every opportunity. Put your hand up for everything that will broaden your knowledge and experience in the industry. Find yourself a smart mentor that you can learn as much as you can from. On the job training is incredibly invaluable. One thing I strongly believe in is understanding my business at every level, I regularly am on the shop floor engaging with our customers, this is the best way to build a brand, and to truly understand who your customers are and what they want – that’s how you grow a business.”
Read part one of our women in retail series: ‘“It’s Inspiring to See Women Making a Positive Impact”, Esther & Co on Female-Driven Retail’, here.