I was a slave to the corporate world until I had my first baby and realised the corporate world wasn’t going to feature in my new life. It just wasn’t what I wanted. My cousin (who I now own the business with) encouraged me to take on a freelance job managing the social media for a TV network which I was able to do from home. This was my foray into television and then eventually The Block Shop. The Block Shop is an online retail store that sells the furniture and homewares featured on the popular Australian TV show The Block. The idea came about as both my cousin and I were managing the publicity and social media of the show respectively and were continually answering questions from viewers about where to buy the lights, couches and artworks from the show. Rather than answering them we thought why not sell it to them! And the idea of The Block Shop was born.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest issue was time. Like most businesses we tried to start up whilst still juggling other jobs and our families. We dedicated every waking hour (and sleeping hour) to getting the business off the ground. In the space of two months we turned the idea into a reality, launching in time for the 2012 season of The Block. This included building a fully fledged ecommerce website from scratch (thanks to my husband), signing up retailers to sell with us, marketing the site and making up processes as we went along. None of us had any ecomerce experience but we had determination.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
No I was very lucky that all I ever received was encouragement from my family and friends. In fact to date the majority of employees of The Block Shop have either been friends or family. We like to keep it in the family so to speak! I have been so fortunate that they are the most wonderful, hard working people I have even known and couldn’t have done it without their support and hardwork over the years. Not to mention the help of my family to help me juggle the business and my kids!
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
That nothing happens easily. We went into the business thinking it was going to be a quick and easy way to make a million but it’s been the exact opposite of that - its been years of hard work. But that said, if I knew that going into it I may not have started the business so perhaps its better not knowing. And the reality is the hard work has enabled me to have a job that I LOVE and the suits the needs of my family. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Don’t spend too long planning and getting things perfect - jump in and see what happens! But don’t expect it to happen over night you have to believe in your idea and be prepared to stick with it. The idea is only part of it - it’s the hard work that gets you there!