Founder of Esther & Co, Talita Estelle talks to Power Retail about her personal e-commerce journey and what it’s like to be a pioneer of women in retail.
With two decades of experience in the retail fashion industry, Estelle has gone from running a small bricks-and-mortar boutique in Tasmania, to standing at the helm of luxury online fashion boutique, Esther & Co.
“It’s been 15 years since launching esther.com.au and while we’ve had to constantly adapt to the changing online environment, it’s been amazing to watch the e-commerce space develop and grow,” she says.
According to Estelle, her e-commerce journey has been like an “exhilarating rollercoaster”, but despite the challenges that have been thrown her way, she’s always emerged on top, in what she says has been an “incredible ride”. In the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to the fashion founder about what it’s like to be a female leader in the competitive Australian e-commerce realm.
What originally attracted you to the online retail space?
“I really enjoyed the interaction I had with customers when they came into the store to pick out an outfit. But I wanted more women to have access to affordable luxury fashion, which is why I launched an online boutique. We now reach shoppers from all across Australia and internationally as well.”
What do you love the most about the industry?
“The opportunities. The e-commerce space is constantly changing and presenting new opportunities to expand and grow, especially in online retail. We’ve started to see increasing use of virtual reality in the space which is super exciting and something we’d like to implement on the Esther & Co website and app sometime in the near future.”
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?
“Like any industry, there have been a few struggles here and there, particularly at the start when I was first launching the business. But there are so many businesswomen dominating the industry and achieving success, and I’m so grateful to be part of that movement. I see other online boutiques with women at the helm as inspirational rather than as competitors; it’s inspiring to see women pursuing their dreams and making a positive impact.”
What have you found most difficult about working your way to the top as a woman?
“As the founder of Esther & Co, I’ve had the opportunity to be in control of my business and its direction. Sometimes one of the most difficult barriers to overcome is a fear of failure, but you need to push that aside and empower yourself. I wouldn’t have got to where I am today without believing in myself, and the support of my family and friends. And of course, the support of my incredible Esther & Co team.”
What have you found most fulfiling about establishing yourself as a prominent player within the industry?
“I see women from all around the country and the world wearing Esther & Co styles, and it really warms my heart. Through Esther & Co, we’ve provided women with an affordable luxe fashion option that wasn’t always so readily available. It’s a really fulfiling feeling.”
What advice would you have for other women looking to work their way up in the space?
“Believe in yourself. And empower other women around you to do the same. Look to other successful women for advice. As we all know, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful – it doesn’t happen quickly or come easily. But if we can support each other to achieve our dreams, there will be more empowered women all around the world.”