This article is for the Professionals
Sign up to Inside Retail Professional now for only $5+GST for your first three months.
That's an 85% discount plus you’ll get FREE access to all Masterclasses during Retail Week. 5 retail industry leaders like you’ve never seen them before.Already a professional? Log in
Here, Creswell shares her tips on driving a successful start-up.
On age and experience in business
“I don’t think you’re ever too young, I think it’s just harder to be taken seriously. Sometimes you might not have had as many business experiences, but you bring this fresh energy and enthusiasm that sort of wears off when you’re a bit older. I started when I was 18 and it was very hard to get a loan from the bank, but I could also work crazy hours because I didn’t have a family or kids and I could just be fully dedicated.”
On risk assessment
“At the end of the day, I could go out and pursue whatever ideas I had and if it all fell to pieces, I could go home to Mum and Dad’s house and crawl under my doona. Mum would make dinner and I was going to be okay. I think that the ability to have a safe place to land is really important so you know how much you can risk. I could risk everything, because I had no responsibilities then. I always knew that I wasn’t going to be out on the street and I think that that made a big difference to me.
“What I often say is ‘If you can, start [your business] without having to give up your day job.’ Then you can get a sense of whether it’s going to work.”
On getting out of your bubble
“It’s very easy to have an idea that’s fantastic for your family and friends, but when you’re standing at a table at a farmers’ market and you’re asking people to hand over their $10, it’s very different. To know if something’s sort of got commercial appeal, you really need to give it a go. I think sometimes the hardest bit is for people to start.
“You can live in the bubble of your business idea and that’s why I think it’s really important that you get out and stand against some people that you don’t know.”
On commercial appeal
“There are a few things. First, is there actually a need? Are you solving a need in the community? In my industry, we’re seeing more people moving to a plant-based diet so they’re looking for more plant-based products, that’s a need. Or it can be about looking at trends, and what things people are gravitating to.
“Then there’s the ideas that are completely different, that don’t already exist. Often the greatest businesses are because people had a personal problem. It can be something that’s completely left of centre, like a spiralizer. Ten years ago, who was making zucchini noodles? And sometimes it’s bringing a freshness or a new brand to something that might be stale and old.”
On standing out against competitors
“I think if you’re really passionate that what you’re doing is going to leave the world a better place, that it’s going to solve a problem [and] that the world will be a tiny smidge better because you brought that to life, that then gives you the passion and the drive to really push as hard as you can.
“I’ve been doing what I’m doing for almost 30 years now, I’ve been through a range of different trends. It’s more about how you pull it together. In food, people will buy something once because it’s good for them, but if it tastes bad they’re just not going to come back week after week.
“People are searching more for authentic stories, provenance – knowing where things come from – and authenticity than ever before. So, the time has never been better for people to release their ideas to the world.
On learnings in business
“The major [lesson] for me was getting listed into a supermarket and then getting deleted. What I didn’t realise is that buyers don’t care how delicious the muesli is, they want to know that it’s going to sell. I had this false notion that if they ate a bowl, everything would be okay, but really, I needed to be worrying about the consumer and that last 20 metres in the supermarket; how I was gonna get the product off the shelf, how I was going to build a relationship with [consumers].”
On Covid-19 impact
“I feel very proud of our team. We worked harder last year than we’ve ever worked in the whole history of the journey. We had to manage panic buying; all of a sudden we were increasing sales by 50 per cent in the next month. A lot of our competitors were out of stock and supermarkets needed to keep products on shelves.
“Now, we’ve got a million more people in Australia at the moment than we normally do because people aren’t travelling overseas. So there’s more people eating at home, who care about food, who care about the new product in the supermarket. We’ve worked really hard, we brought out two major new ranges that we’ve been working on for years, our ready-to-eat cereal Goodness in Grains and our Goodness Crackers which are plant-based and gluten free.”
On staying innovative
“I live with a healthy paranoia that there’s always new things we should be doing, different recipes, we don’t just sit back and think ‘Oh well that’s the range, our work here is done.’ You never do that in business.”