Big Changes Our Online Retailers See Ahead

Meet these forward thinking Australian entrepreneurs who are experiencing over 100% YOY growth by embracing global demand through social media and cloud-based business innovation and hear about their survival strategies outside traditional retail.

The headlines have been full of fear about international fashion franchises over-scaling for Australian retail, local brands going into receivership and Amazon adding to the price pressure already being felt in a very competitive market.

Amidst the heartache there is genuine homegrown hope. There is another story of young entrepreneurial Australians succeeding as Fashion and Retail Technology startups, planning to take the next steps to become the next generation of Australian-global brands.

Six of these brands are meeting with a few seasoned business leaders next week at UTS to network and share their ideas around retail innovation and consumer behaviour online. They include:

  • Jane Lu – CEO & Founder Showpo
  • Julie Stevanja – CEO & Founder Stylerunner
  • Nick Molnar – CEO & Founder Afterpay
  • Prinitha Govender – Editor of PowerRetail
  • Elizabeth Abegg – CEO & Co-Founder Spell Designs
  • Gary Elphick – CEO & Founder DisruptSports
  • Julie Mathers – CEO & Founder Flora & Fauna
  • Ceinwen Evans – Head of E-Commerce Camilla
  • Paul Zahra – former David Jones CEO and now PwC Global Retail Advisor
  • Paul Greenberg – Founder DealsDirect and National Online Retailers Association (NORA)
  • Dianne Tipping – Export Council of Australia Chair
  • Jeremy Meltzer – CEO & Founder i=Change

In another world from the survival strategies of traditional retail, meet these Australian entrepreneurs who are experiencing over 100% YOY growth by embracing global demand through social media and cloud-based business innovation. Find out how they did it and what they plan next at Online Fashion Success on Tuesday 6th June at the University of Technology Sydney.

Here is a sample of what you can expect from a few of our guest entrepreneurs dealing with the pressures of growth.

      1. What Is the most challenging thing for you at work?

online fashion success jane lu founder ceo showpo

Jane Lu – founder of Showpo Managing team members that aren’t performing to our standards. I’m good friends with my team so it can be difficult to have tough conversations sometimes. I just keep in mind that I can’t let personal feelings hinder the entire team and business.

online fashion success Elizabeth Abegg - founder Spell Designs

Elizabeth Abegg – founder Spell Designs Navigating rapid growth while still holding true to our core values of authenticity, family and community, generosity and responsibility. Leading up to 2015 it felt like all the wheels were about to fall off so we actively slowed growth to put systems and management we needed in place. But as we loosened the reigns and let the growth begin again in 2016, the speeding train just kind of took off again. There have been some monumental learning curves along the way – where do I even start. Personally, I’ve found that the best way to deal with them have been with fierce vulnerability and transparency to our customers.

online fashion success gary elphick ceo and founder disrupt sports

Gary Elphick – founder of DisruptSports In a growing company, you just never have enough time or enough resource. There are lots and lots of things to get done.   What keeps me awake at night is keeping our returns at where they are, close to zero despite having a 365-day return policy). Being a stickler for quality.

      2. What are the big changes do you see ahead?

Jane Lu – founder of Showpo: In a general sense, the benefits artificial intelligence will bring to consumers. Also, we’re growing from a startup to a proper company and that takes time to get used to.

Elizabeth Abegg – founder Spell Designs I think one of the biggest changes to the fashion industry is also one of the best changes and that’s the customers’ awareness around ethics and sustainability in an industry that has a lot to answer for. Around 18 months ago we started on our own ethics and sustainability journey and it’s been both humbling and very exciting. When you’re a start up with no money, it’s often hard to put efforts in those areas when you’re struggling to survive, but once you’re turning a profit it becomes very apparent very quickly that you have to do every single thing you can to become part of the solution. A year ago we made a commitment that we wouldn’t be working with any factories who are not ethically accredited by a 3rd party auditing body such as Sedex, WRAP, SAI or BSCI by July 2017. We’ve worked closely with all our factories and we’re almost 100% there.

Gary Elphick – founder of DisruptSports My three biggest are:

  • Distributed manufacturing

This is what 3D printing has kickstarted and it’s how our business it set up. Manufacturing will begin moving as close as possible to the customer, be it in a more agile and automated way. We’re going to see less bulk manufacturing, less 12month seasonality buying cycles and much more on-demand manufacturing.

  • Co-collaboration

A lot more interaction between consumers and brands, less of a push and more of co-collaboration on designs and styles. People want to be part of the process and understand how and where things are made. Be the facilitator or people telling their own stories.

  • Retail as an experience

 Both the above play into this. Retail should be less about the transaction of buying something and more about your interaction with the brand, how do you experience their interactive design studios, talks, VR and AR.

Online Fashion Success event director, Colman Ridge, says “What jumps out at me from all of thes entrepreneurs is their absolute passion for quality of their specific proposition. We are very proud to host a day with this growth agenda for Australian fashion and retail technology industry.”

To register for the remaining seats at the event go to

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