Wondering where the handbook is for running a small business during a global pandemic? We’re sure it’s sitting in someone’s drafts awaiting shipment into our inbox. Until that notification arrives, we teamed up with NSW Government to celebrate Small Business Month to bring you our take on how to thrive in your small business. The theme this year is Rebuild, Recharge, Renew- because let’s be honest, it’s not just our routine that needs a bit of a revival.
Let’s flip whatever the hell has happened to small business in the last two years and come back in the spirit of Daft Punk: harder, better, faster, stronger + a little help from the NSW Government.
The first cab off the rank in the series was Jane Cay.
Jane is the founder of Birdsnest, an online fashion business based in regional NSW that employs more than 140 locals in a town of 6,500. It was 2008 when Jane took this country town retail store online. Fast forward thirteen years and the business has grown 30 times bigger, with 95% of its revenue relying on the digital economy.
When we asked her to tell us a bit about birdsnest, Jane said she likes to think of birdsnest as the matchmaker between a woman and her perfect outfit and can’t believe the business has sent out more than one million packages, each with a dedicated handwritten note. The goal of the brand is to create a safe and inclusive space for shoppers to find their ideal outfit.
Jane revealed birdsnest was one of the trailblazers in the e-commerce space in Australia, with many critics telling her no one would ever buy a pair of jeans online- that didn’t age well, did it?! However, although she was one of the first, she’s now competing with e-commerce giants like ASOS, but Jane said she still likes to think of herself running a small business.
Birdsnest has a unique opportunity to operate in regional NSW and still reach a global audience. Jane told us that whilst the fashion industry is incredibly grateful to participate in the space. She often looks at the giant retailers as a source of inspiration and a reminder to pull up her socks. But at the end of the day, Jane said she runs her own race
Birdsnest sets itself apart based on two key aspects: their exceptional customer service and strong culture. When asked how she maintains the personal touches at scale, she told us it took a lot of tripping up to get it to where it is today. Birdsnest learned a lot from their mistakes and were able to triple their business size three years in a row. . Becoming an accidental leader of a growing business, she discovered early on the importance of the culture at the centre of business. At the inception of the business, it was easy to stay true to the company’s values and goals. But, as the business grew, it was paramount to embed these values into everything from recruitment to internal communication.
Whether it’s her strong Instagram game or her impeccably styled outfits, Jane is an authentic, warm, and infectious leader who we love to keep up to date with. A big thanks to our partners at NSW Small Business Month for making this series possible! Rebuild, Recharge, Renew with NSW Small Business Month 2022 and join thousands of likeminded people at one of Australia’s largest small business programs. To learn more about Small Business Month or how you can take advantage of their initiatives, you can explore more here.