Showpo CEO Jane Lu shares how she would launch a business today.
9 years ago, Jane Lu launched Australian fashion powerhouse, Showpo. Today, the CEO says so much has changed in how customers find, interact with, and buy from businesses that if she was launching the same business today, she’d do it differently.
Speaking with Lady Startup podcast host, Rachel Corbett, Jane credits Facebook for the early momentum Showpo gained in the social media space, “I had Facebook at my disposal, and back then Facebook organic still worked.”
Social media also appealed to the new startup founder for the reason that many can relate to – at the time, it was completely free, “and thank god, because I had no money!” Jane, who was recently included in the BRW young rich list, said. At the time she was $60,000 so didn’t have the disposable cashflow available to channel into traditional media.
This powerful, and then-free media is how she grew Showpo’s early audience, and it proved to be an effective strategy – they now have over 1.2 million followers on Facebook.
Then social media changed forever when Image-based giant Instagram entered the market, which Showpo seized with both hands. It’s so powerful in fact, that Instagram is what drives their international customer base.
Facebook has also changed dramatically, especially for businesses trying to connect with potential customers. With their advertising and algorithms, it’s been dubbed a ‘pay to play’ landscape. It’s so different now in fact, that Jane says that if she were to launch Showpo in 2019 – “I’d be launching on Instagram”.
She recognises that new businesses have it tougher now, with the explosion of newness on Instagram daily, but that there are so many ways to use social media to your advantage. And the number one thing she recommends is building a community to sell to BEFORE launching. You might be a few weeks away from launch, or you might be a year, but take that time and use it to your advantage to start talking to your followers, building rapport and get them interested in what’s coming.
You can share behind the scenes content, info on the founder(s), insights into what people should expect from the business, and start hyping the launch (just remember that people generally have a short attention span, so they probably won’t be hanging on the edge of their seat for 6 months).
Jane also recommends utililsing this growing audience as a resource when ordering your stock. She says posting photos of samples and asking for feedback will allow you to not only build a relationship with your audience, but also get a feel for what products are resonating. It also gets their buy in, so they feel involved, and heard, and are more likely to buy the product when it’s released.
Crediting the success of the business to its ability to make changes, Jane says it’s about making small amendments along the way, and testing. Everything. Compared to its origins, Showpo is virtually unrecognisable now, however this overhaul was done one carefully measured decision at a time.
After some more insights from Jane? Listen to the full episode right here.
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