INTERVIEW | REBECCA OF WHITE RUNWAY
Name: REBECCA LAU MARSH
Current Title / Company: FOUNDER, WHITE RUNWAY
What was your first job out of university and how did you land that position? I worked in a beauty wholesaling company in Marketing and Sales. It was a position straight out of university and within 6 months of working for the company I was transferred to help launch their UK branch. That was an exciting experience being thrown into the deep end and a big learning curve.
What inspired you to create your business? I have always wanted to start my own business, I grew up watching my parents running their own business and have always been inspired to run my own gig. Following my stint in the UK, I came back to Australia and found there were no good options to shop online. It was the perfect opportunity to start my own online business.
Take us through a day in the life of your business? I start with coffee. After that, it’s a general catch up with everyone in the office before going through all my emails. I start a list of things that are important to complete for the day and then it can be anything from visiting designers, reviewing new collections, sitting down with my marketing manager, reviewing sales and reports and then planning for the week ahead.
Has anything surprised you about the journey to creating your business? Yes, I'm constantly surprised by how goals can shift in such little time and there's a lot that you can learn about yourself. Your decision making, your ambition, your goals and your attitude can be clearly demonstrated through your business.
Obviously, your business has grown! So, let's talk money. Tell us about the intimidating process of finding funding for your business. Any advice for women who need to find funding for their own startups? The journey to finding funding for me was a very lucky one! I didn’t start my business with any external investment; I started my business with less than $10,000 and a credit card. I think that was one of the best business decisions I’ve made as it taught me how to spend frugally. I had to watch every single dollar both in the business and in my personal life. After a few years I had built my business to show some pretty good results and that’s when I pitched for investment. It’s a very intimidating yet super exciting phase to be in. My advice would be to know your business back to front and to be well prepared to answer all the tough questions. Try to get as much information as possible, have meetings with people who have done it before and ask lots of questions. Practice your pitch and practice being questioned on your pitch. I was lucky enough to secure funding on my first pitch to my desired investors so preparation and a bit of luck definitely helps!
Your business has developed quite a following. Can you tell us a little bit about marketing your business? How did you spread the word? When we launched into the market we had a really good response with the local media. This caught on pretty quickly and White Runway was featured on various TV shows and made it’s way onto the red carpet. Social media has also played a big influence on our following. We have a great social media strategy and I think we are always up for testing new things. Our real runway images where we post customers in our dresses is also fantastic for spreading the word and keeping our customers engaged.
What do you think is the key to the success of your business? The people. Everything is created by people and I like to think we are a pretty creative and adventurous bunch. Our product is pretty great but that can’t be sourced without great people. Our website is pretty good too but that’s because it’s built and maintained by great people. The odd eggs get in here and there but overall our team is pretty special and unique. We have fun, we work hard, we have a laugh and we have each other’s backs.
Best advice you ever received? Be a Panda. He’s black, he’s white, he’s Asian.
I wish I knew how to ….. Speak several languages or motivate myself to do exercise
What is your coffee order? Flat white with almond milk please
TV show do you wish was still on the air? Sex and the City
Next travel destination? Japan
What advice would you give your 23 year old self? Everything you’re working hard to achieve will be achieved but by then you’ll want something else. The bar keeps changing. Appreciate and enjoy the journey, keep working hard, what you put in is what you get out.