Monthly Archives: June 2016

Samantha Wills- Australian jewellery designer took over 10 years to become an overnight success

Australian Jewellery designer Samantha Wills went from a Byron Bay NSW flea  market stall to becoming an international exporter. Here is her story

Australia’s global jewellery tycoon

Samantha Wills grew up in small town NSW and now controls a global empire of jewellery from New York.

Think of women who have risen to the top of Australian entrepreneurship and the list gets thin fast.

Ever rarer is a woman who has succeeded with her own name as the brand, who has become a celebrity herself in the process.

Samantha Wills, who grew up in Port Macquarie and now lives in New York, is a tycoon of her time.

Samantha Wills' jewellery is now stocked in 80 countries image www.money-au.com

Samantha Wills’ jewellery is now stocked in 80 countries. Photo: James Alcock

Personable, open and yet at also guarded and private, the 34-year-old businesswoman appears to effortlessly blend an air of celebrity with social media fanaticism and a unique product.
Advertisement

But she says success has been a hard slog and she wants the many young women who worship her to know just how difficult it’s been.

“I think millennials are a generation of ‘slashies’. They’re a DJ/entrepreneur/fashion designer. With all those slashes between your job titles, you lose depth and integrity,” she says.

“Narrow down what you want to be good at, then focus on that. It might not work for the first six months or the first 18 months but it took me 12 years to become an overnight success.”

While she doesn’t go into gruesome detail, Wills was clear that growing a business took a hit on her personal life.

“I think the downside of having success was that when my friends were going off and having a good time, my business was in its infancy so I couldn’t have those normal early 20s experiences.”

samantha wills relaxes on beach image www.money-au.com

Early days

Wills started her company at the of age 21 after moving to Sydney.

“I was working in retail during the day and making jewellery at night to sell at the market. A friend offered me a spot at Australian Fashion Week which would cost $500. I though I would possibly make enough to cover the cost of the stall, but I ended up writing $18,000 of orders that day. I quit my job the next day.”

Now Wills is turning over $10 million annually and is stocked in eighty countries around the world. She has offices in Japan, Korea, Europe, the US and Australia.

Wills credits much of her success to her business partner Geoff Bainbridge who was able to commercialise back-end production and helped launch her to into foreign markets.’

samantha wills in new york fashion week image www.money-au.com

 

[2012] Presenting our bespoke couture pieces, in New York City, for Fashion Week 2012. – SWx #BelieveBig – LAUNCHING JUNE 12th, 2016

Celebrity sights

“Naively, when I first went to the US in 2010, I thought I was going over with a successful Australian brand and that would be enough. You think you can replicate that over there and it’s not the case,” says Wills.

“You need a much more refined offer. You need to know who your business competitors are and your media competitors. We ended up doing 18 months of research about the US before we moved our first order.”

The orders started coming thick and fast once actress Eva Mendes was snapped on a red carpet wearing Wills’ Bohemian Bardot ring. Wills’ jewellery has also been worn by Katy Perry, Miranda Kerr, Lady Gaga, Kate Bosworth, Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Lopez.

“That ring Eva wore continues to be our best seller and we’ve made it now in 150 colours. It kind of became our signature piece.”

Samantha Wills trys out earrings image www.money-au.com

Sometimes (and only sometimes…) the @samanthawillsofficial PR Department, let’s me play with upcoming collections…. These are definitely my lust haves; the ‘Spanish Moss Grande’ earrings, in Amethyst + Rose Gold… Just added to the Waiting List at samanthawills.com (Which I’ll too be joining, because they won’t let me keep them). -SWx #SamanthaWills #SamanthaWillsOfficial ? @alimitton | ?? @stojb

Small-town Australian

Wills has recently signed to be an ambassador for Optus’ Believe Big campaign targeting small businesses.

“We filmed a campaign flashing back to 2004 through to my life now. I really want people to know the struggles and hurdles of funding success.”

While Wills credits her naivety for much of the company’s strengths, she sometimes regrets the decision to get going without any formal business training.

“Every day I wish I’d studied business or management. But, I learn as I go. I might have learned the harder way on the job.”

Asked why a New Yorker is the right person for this campaign, Wills says she still considers herself not just Australian but a “small-town” Australian.

“I still go to Port Macquarie five to six times a year because my family live there. We stock the range at one shop in Port Macquarie and every time I notice the town is really growing and evolving very quickly.”

DDD

Henry Sapiecha

www.goodgirlsgo.com

www.www-gems.com

www.worldwidediamonds.info

www.gem-creations.com

www.collectables-au.com

Australian start-ups X 13 to watch in 2016 with more to come.

Every investor dreams of getting in on the ground floor of the next Atlassian. Invest in a few start-ups and exit with an initial public offering – it’s as easy as that, right?

The future for Australian start-ups has never looked brighter, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month announcing a $1.1 billion innovation package, including tax breaks for start-up investors, changes to crowdfunding legislation and initiatives to turn Australia into an innovation powerhouse.

These initiatives are definitely going to help more start-ups launch and grow, and make it far more attractive for investors.

Malcolm Turnbull has made start-ups a priority.image www.money-au.com

Malcolm Turnbull has made start-ups a priority. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

But investing in start-ups is still a risky proposition.

Reliable data is hard to come by for Australian-funded start-ups, due to the relatively low numbers of funded businesses and the time it takes to get a return.

In the US, Correlation Ventures released a study of 21,000 funded companies that either failed, were acquired or had an IPO during 2014-15. Sixty-four per cent of companies failed to return all the capital invested, with many of those being complete wipe-outs. The remaining 35 per cent delivered returns of five to 100 times.

Last year I reviewed hundreds of applications and pitches for some of Australia’s top incubators and accelerators, including the CSIRO Accelerator, The University of Sydney’s Incubator and Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator.

Here are 13 start-ups to watch in 2016:

Early stage start-ups

Persollo

12711106_992521387485641_6270183354099711313_o.jpg

What? Platform for enabling e-commerce for small merchants across social networks without setting up sophisticated, expensive e-commerce sites.

Why? When I first saw the founders six months ago, this was little more than a business plan and they had not started building the service. Fast-forward to December and they have a slick product, have recruited hundreds of business customers in a few months, and are processing transactions. Things don’t normally happen so fast in finance and payment processing. Great team and they have been selected for Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator.

gold dollar sign line

Simpla

Simpla co-founders Shamir Karkal, CFO, and Josh Reich, CEO image www.money-au.com

What? Simpla is a content-management platform that makes it easy for non-technical website owners to edit web-page designs, text, images and video by clicking and editing in their browser, without the requirement to understand how to code or all the tools normally needed to download, modify and upload code.

Why? Really slick solution that completely replaces the technical and antiquated tools and systems needed to modify web pages. Business web pages are still a growth area, however, web-page design and construction is overly complicated and it’s virtually impossible for most business owners and employees to modify their pages without the assistance of developers.

gold dollar sign line

Drive Yello

Johnny Timbs- Co-Founder at YELLO Pty Ltd image www.money-au.com

What? Delivery service for restaurants and fast-food businesses to outsource their delivery capability.

Why? Normally, one avoids Uber-style businesses, except Drive Yello has traction, is going after business customers and the team is led by an experienced founder with an exit under his belt already from a previous business. Our guess is that it will pick up a lot of drivers and riders who don’t qualify for Uber because they don’t have a suitable vehicle.

gold dollar sign line

Later-stage start-ups

Coinjar

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18: Asher Tan, CEO and co-founder of CoinJar poses for a photo on July 18, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. CoinJar is Australia's leading bitcoin platform. (Photo by Paul Jeffers/Fairfax Media via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Asher Tan
Asher Tan, chief executive and co-founder of CoinJar.

What? A bitcoin exchange based in Australia and now in Britain.

Why? I am a customer and it’s a pretty good experience. They have managed to combine bitcoin with local banking services, including connecting to a local bank account and a local EFTPOS card provider. Have raised significant funding and are one of the few bitcoin providers that have managed to connect bitcoin to the real banking world.

gold dollar sign line

Invoice2go

What? Invoicing app for mobile businesses, tradies.

Why? Although this business was established early last decade and probably shouldn’t be called a start-up any more, it spent many years trying to develop the right solution before it found product-market fit. It managed to get mobile invoicing right in the last two years and shot to prominence, raising $50 million in venture capital funding in the past 18 months. It now has 200,000 business customers sending 1 million invoices a month.

Founder of Invoice2Go, Chris Strode image www.money-au.com

Founder of Invoice2Go, Chris Strode. Photo: Daniel Munoz

gold dollar sign line

Bugcrowd

Casey Ellis-Founder and CEO-bugcrowd image www.money-au.com

Casey-Ellis-Founder-and-CEO-bugcrowd

What? Crowdsourced security testing for business owners, application developers and corporations.

Why? Real and pressing problem for most corporations, cost of security breaches can be extreme, high-profile breaches are becoming commonplace and reputational or transactional losses can bankrupt companies. Application and security testing is very difficult, most businesses are unable to manage this on their own. No one company or consultant can handle this for them. By building a community of 22,000 security consultants, they are able to provide testing for developers.

gold dollar sign line

Envato

envato founder cian ta'eed image www.money-au.com

Envato co-founder and executive director Cyan Ta’eed. Photo: Pat Scala

What? Created a marketplace for web designs, WordPress Themes, plug-ins and other digital assets.

Why? Probably one of the most successful Australian start-ups never heard of outside the web development and start-up community. Envato bootstrapped its way to $50 million a year in revenue and has more than 5.5 million customers and developers.

Straw poll from a few of my Twitter buddies

Steve Baxter: Shark Tank investor and entrepreneur @sbxr

gold dollar sign line

Go1

Andrew-Barnes-left-and-co-founder-Chris-Eigeland-of-GO1image www.money-au.com

Andrew Barnes (left) and co-founder Chris Eigeland of GO1

What? Online training platform for businesses.

Why? Great team including a Rhodes Scholar, lots of early revenue and they have been accepted into Y Combinator, which is the start-up equivalent of an Australian singer making it into the finals of American Idol.

gold dollar sign line

Cohort Solutions

Paul Jones (left) and Mark Fletcher's Cohort Solutions aims to look after foreign students image www.money-au.com

Paul Jones (left) and Mark Fletcher’s Cohort Solutions aims to look after foreign students

What? Provides a comprehensive service for overseas students attending Australian universities, including health insurance, telecommunications and foreign exchange services.

Why? Significant traction with more than 10,000 customers, each of whom have to transfer $20,000 to $30,000 from overseas every six months as well as handle all sorts of other banking and logistical issues.

gold dollar sign line

Pocketbook

Pocketbook co-founder Bosco Tan image www.money-au.com

Pocketbook co-founder Bosco Tan. Photo: Louie Douvis

Mick Liubinskas, Entrepreneur in Residence at Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator @liubinskas

What? Personal finance app that brings together all of your banking, budgeting and credit cards and automatically categorises the transactions on each of them.

Why? Probably the only Australian personal finance app that has managed to get integration working with all of the major banks, very slick app and significant transaction.

gold dollar sign line

Lawpath

Norton Rose Fulbright managing partner Wayne Spanner (l) and LawPath's Damien Andreasen are teaming image www.money-au.com

What? Online legal service that provides standardised legal documents for common transactions as well as access to hundreds of lawyers for customised solutions.

Why? This model has been very successful in the US and the team has significant traction.

James Alexander, chief executive of Incubate, Sydney University @jamesasyd

gold dollar sign line

Basketball Forever

Alex Sumsky from Basketball Forever image www.money-au.com

What? World’s largest online basketball community

Why? A total of 850,000 Facebook followers and 20 million views a month make this one of the most popular sports sites in the world, originally founded in Australia and run by a very small team they are in the process of working out how to monetise the business but they have massive user adoption.

Nicole Williamson, country head at Lanzatech @nicolewill100

gold dollar sign line

HerFashionBox

Kath Purkis co-founder of Her Fashion Box & founder of Le Black Book image www.money-au.com

Kath Purkis co-founder of Her Fashion Box & founder of Le Black Book

What? Monthly fashion box subscription service.

Why? Very new business has managed to achieve significant traction with 30,000 boxes shipped to customers.

Mike Nicholls is responsible for developing new technologies and prototyping products from the Invention Development Fund patent portfolio at Intellectual Ventures. He is a Telstra ICT Industry advisory board member, blogger at Startup88.com, and mentor at CSIRO Accelerator, muru-D and incubate.org.au. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikenicholls88. Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

gold dollar sign line

This is not intended as financial advice. Mike Nicholls has no financial interest in these start-ups. Some surveyed in the straw poll may have interests in the start-ups they mentioned.

tre

Henry Sapiecha

I am now of the quiet active searching mind in the twilight of my years

Shopkins success: Toy retailer Manny Stul wins EY global entrepreneurship award

Australian toymaker named best entrepeneur

Melbourne-based billionaire Manny Stul’s Shopkins success see him awarded EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year title in Monaco.

Most Australian parents probably haven’t heard of Manny Stul, but they will know about his Shopkins.

Stul’s family-owned toy company, Moose Enterprise turned over $600 million last year and continues to carve out a global marketplace for its products, with its YouTube-friendly Shopkins range of dolls beating heavyweights like Barbie and Bratz.

The Melbourne-based toy maker beat 55 contestants to win the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year title in Monaco at the weekend – the first time an Australian has won this award

Shopkins King Manny Stul celebrates his win at the EY World Entrepreneur awards ceremony in Monaco image www.money-au.com

Shopkins King’: Manny Stul celebrates his win at the EY World Entrepreneur awards ceremony in Monaco.

The global title comes after Stul, 67, won EY’s Australian Entrepreneur of the Year. Last month the BRW Rich listed put Stul and his family’s wealth at $1.24 billion.

The accolades come despite a huge setback in 2007, when a craft bead produced by Moose had to be recalled because it was found to contain a chemical that turns into party drug “GHB” in the human body.

Judges noted the disaster in their comments.

Young-children-have-been-swept-up-in-the-Shopkins-craze image www.money-au.com

Young children have been swept up in the Shopkins craze.

“Manny was our choice, not only due to his impressive growth, but also because the business he has nurtured has shown sustained global success. His mettle was tested when Moose faced a product recall that would have overcome less resilient and well-managed businesses,” said chair of the judging panel Rebecca MacDonald.

What are Shopkins?

For the uninitiated, Shopkins is a range of miniature toy characters fashioned on typically mundane items found in a supermarket.

What are Shopkins?

For the uninitiated, Shopkins is a range of miniature toy characters fashioned on typically mundane items found in a supermarket.

Shopkins have taken off worldwide.image www.money-au.com

The brightly coloured figurines are no more than three centimetres tall. Kids can collect, share and trade the figurines, which have unique faces and names. For example, there is a chocolate chip biscuit named Kooky Cookie, a candy bar named Cheeky Chocolate and an apple named Apple Blossom. They are sold with tiny plastic shopping bags and baskets, ready to be filled, much to the delight of parents worldwide.

A Shopkins 12 pack typically retails for $13 in Australian stores, while Shopkins Donatina’s Donut Delights sells for $29 and a Shopkins Collector’s Case costs $20.

Most Australian parents know Shopkins image www.money-au.com

Most Australian parents know Shopkins.

Stul has helmed the company for sixteen years, but credits innovation for the company’s success.

Movie move

Stul revealed his company would be releasing a movie based on one its products in October.

“Our next big move will be into entertainment and our next big move will be into licensing,” he said.

Stul claims Moose’s success in the US market is due to “cutting edge marketing”. Moose is the fifth biggest toy advertiser on American TV, he claims.

“We were the disrupter, and so there are people chasing us to where they perceive us to be,” he said.

“But we’ve moved way beyond that already.”

One-man band

Sixteen years ago, when Stul began his reign as CEO, he learned the nuts and bolts.

“I did everything myself, which was a very fortunate thing. Distribution, warehousing, finance, selling.

“I did all my own selling and packing for the first three years,” he said.

Now Moose currently employs around 50 people in Melbourne and 100 in China.

Stul credits his father, a cabinet maker, for teaching him how to handle staff.

“Everyone should learn this lesson”, he said.

“Whatever you pay a bad person is too much and whatever you pay a good person is not enough.”

RELATED INFO LINK BELOW

www.collectables-au.com

f9
Henry Sapiecha

RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOANS AUSTRALIA www.australianmortgageloans.com

home finance generic banners (100)

www.australianmortgageloans.com

Henry Sapiecha