Rose gold and aquamarine Love Lockets. Image: official Facebook page

Love Lockets: From $900 investment to $2.8 million turnover

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Finding the money to kickstart a business is the very first hurdle most entrepreneurs face. The second is building on the seed money.

Brisbane’s Hayley Birtles-Eades borrowed $900 from her dad to get her jewellery business, Love Lockets, off the ground. In just three years she’s managed to build the business to generate a yearly turnover of $2.8 million.

Here she shares her tips on making the most of a small investment.

Don’t over-plan

Writing a business plan and estimating cash forecasts is 101 of starting your own company, but Birtles-Eades says too much planning can slow you down.

“All my mentors said I had to sit down and do spreadsheets, they said you’ve got to plan and do this, do that,” she says.

“I was like, ‘You know what I have to do? Sell. My number one priority is selling’.”

The mother-of-two hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since.

Shortly after starting her business in 2012, she made $32,000 in the three-week lead up to Christmas selling her lockets from a trestle table in a shopping mall.

“I was like, ‘You know what I have to do? Sell. My number one priority is selling’.”

Keep moving

“You’ve got to move,” Birtles-Eades says.

“Some people get like a deer in the headlights, they freeze and don’t know what to do.

“If something’s not working – drop it, move it and change it.”

Find the problem and solve it using customer feedback. In the early days of her business, Birtles-Eades says the quality of her products was not up to scratch.

“Some start-ups hide their problems, whereas we stuck them all up on Facebook and asked our customers to send back their lockets if they were having problems,” she says.

“I sent them back to the manufacturers in Hong Kong and asked them to fix the problems and they did.”

Sell, sell, sell

Move stock to move cashflow, says Birtles-Eades.

“Selling will solve 98 per cent of your problems,” she says.

“It will also bring you issues, problems that you want to have. No sales will bring you problems that you don’t want to have.”

“Back yourself and if you really believe in a concept and can find a way to communicate a passionate story, that’s everything.”

Believe in yourself

All the seed money in the world won’t help if you lack faith in what you’re doing.

“I believe if you do something with passion, the money comes,” Birtles-Eades says.

“Back yourself and if you really believe in a concept and can find a way to communicate a passionate story, that’s everything.”

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

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