She has appeared in OK! Magazine, Channel 7, Channel 9, The Sunday Telegraph and Grazia amongst others. Rebecca is after all, the Director and Stylist of fashion e-tail businesses GOSH Celebrity Fashion and White Runway.
(I’m obssessed with White Runway which is Rebecca’s online store for bridal, formal and evening dresses. There’s not a daggy mother-of-the-bride dress in sight – check this one out – and if I had the body I would wear this formal dress forever).
Having started her first online boutique GOSH in 2007, Rebecca was able to get ahead of the e-tail game before the other major e-tailers arrived.
As a result, Rebecca has quickly established herself as one of Australia’s leading fashion commentators, providing comment on celebrity-bridal looks, red carpet commentary and upcoming bridal-fashion trends.
Today, her businesses are one of the most popular in the industry with over 100,000 unique visitors a month to each of her sites.
We set about asking Rebecca how she started her businesses, especially in the challenging online retail space.
Rebecca, I’m sure we have LOTS of readers who love what you’ve achieved – how you came to start GOSH Celebrity? What did you do before that?
Before running GOSH, I worked for a beauty wholesaler and in advertising for magazines and newspapers.
While I was working for a magazine I was very time poor. I wanted to shop online for clothing but there was literally just one website that I could find.
I had previously lived in the UK where online shopping was the norm and coming back to Australia I was disappointed that we didn’t have any choice. I have always loved fashion and it’s always been in my blood.
So I decided to take the plunge and launch my own online store with a celebrity inspired twist.
As an entrepreneur, what were your main challenges when you first started your businesses?
A big challenge was when to decide to quit my day job to live my dream job. It then became a challenge to grow a business with minimal capital and resources.
What kind of mindset do you need when you’re starting a business (i.e. when your biz is JUST taking off but not quite there)?
Always remain positive and stay motivated.
Enjoy the aspects of working for yourself and remember that rewards are earned through hard work.
And it’s important to know when to cut your losses or admit that you made a mistake and move on.
I can imagine running an e-business with stock / inventory / fulfilment / delivery can pose its challenges.
What would your best advice to someone looking to start something similar be?
First, make sure you enjoy what you do as you’ll be spending a lot of time and effort on trying to build a successful online business.
Bricks and mortar businesses have the advantage of foot traffic whereas being online has less barriers to entry, so therefore a lot more competition. The old saying ‘if you build it, they will come’ does not apply to online businesses so you need to ensure you know how to bring traffic to your site.
Stock is a tough one as you’re not going to know how much to hold when you first start out. It’s a trial and error process to start, followed by lots of analysis.
My advice to someone looking to start an online business is to ensure you plan your finances – make sure you know what stock is coming when so you’ll be able to track your cash flow. And never over order!!!
What are you proudest of when it comes to GOSH / White Runway?
I see pictures of bridal parties or customers wearing our dresses and it makes me feel proud that we’ve been able to provide them with something that makes them look good and feel good.
I’m also very proud that we won the 2013 Bridesmaid Couture Designer of the Year award from the Wedding and Events of Australia.
Many small business owners get a little nervous speaking to media and or in public – given your wide media presence, any tips or advice to help those nerves?
Thank you! I did a TV presenting course before I started my own business which really helped me calm my nerves and get used to being in front of the camera. By doing this, you pick up on the little things that you don’t realise you do and you learn to control them.
It’s tough watching yourself on TV and I think we’ll never be able to rid the nerves but acceptance plays a huge part. Once you’ve accepted that this is the way I look, speak and sound then there is nothing else you need to worry about.
Finally – reflecting on your own businesses, what would you say were the keys to success? What set you apart from the others?
I still feel there is more success to be achieved. There’s no limit to how much you can grow and the meaning of success keeps changing as your company grows.
I am proud of my businesses and I think what sets us apart is that we are genuinely passionate about what we do and we enjoy it.
I get excited each time I see a new range come through and I’m so excited to start offering it to my customers. Basically I love working and I see it as a hobby as much as it is work!!