Entrepreneur Jasmine Lindsay was working a corporate job in Dubai when the idea for her small business hit her.
It was 2009. She was an investment banker and she spotted a gap in the
Australian market for luxury sleepwear.
And so began her little side fashion project, which she dedicated the next six years of her life to before the time came to say goodbye to the corporate world and make entrepreneurship her full-time gig.
“It’s a fire in the belly,” Lindsay told SmartCompany.
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Late last year, Lindsay moved back to Sydney and re-launched Jasmine and Will.
The online store sells bespoke sleepwear including wedding packages and a recently launched silk range.
“We’re increasing by about 20% month on month [in sales] but that will slow as we start to penetrate the market,” Lindsay says.
While this is a sharp growth phase, the trajectory is positive and being a seasonal business that peaks during the Christmas period, the future looks good for Lindsay whose business is turning over in excess of $250,000.
“In November and December, we do about four times the average online sales,” she says.
Six years of compromise
Lindsay’s small business success has come through patience and compromise.
Managing a corporate job in one of the world’s leading business hubs while handling a side project meant Lindsay was creating time out of thin air.
“It’s spending your nights after work at home, late nights, early mornings, weekends but it’s all for the greater good,” she says.
“It’s mainly your social life [that] falls to the wayside for a decent period of time.”
Building Jasmine and Will put great strain on her closest relationships, including friends and family.
“But those people were my biggest cheerleaders, they understood why I was working such crazy hours,” she says.
However, burnout did happen.
“You have to become incredibly organised and [realise] sometimes it’s better to step away, take a breather and look at things objectively instead of running on empty and not making the best decisions for the business,” she says.
“I [now] very much have my processes in place with Jasmine and Will.”
With all this at stake, Lindsay made sure she had a strong business model that would eventually stand on its own feet.
When she started the business with her aunt Kaye Williams, they grew it slowly and organically.
“We kept it at a level that was manageable and it funded itself,” she says.
“We didn’t take a lot of risks, we did that in phase two.”
When Australian stores continued to ask for Jasmine and Will stock in 2015, Lindsay knew that market opportunity she spotted back in 2009 was still there.
“That really encouraged me to give it a good shot,” she says.
Before moving to Sydney, she planned carefully, first making a trip back to Australia to meet local suppliers, PR agencies and other key contacts.
Lindsay still consults in the corporate world occasionally but she proudly calls this business her main priority.
“The passion never dies,” she says.
To other full-timers wanting to start a small business, she shares a bit of advice.
“I’m a big believer in the side hussle as long as you’re wiling to work hard and put in the hours and maintain your integrity with your corporate job,” she says.
“Give yourselves a time frame. If it looks like a viable project, then go for it.”