Smart50 Awards 2016

22 Bronze Snake

Revenue

Growth

142.5%

Founders

30 and 30

Head office

Melbourne

Year founded

2006

Employees

44

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

bronzesnake.com

It’s Bronze Snake’s 10th anniversary this year, and although the founders have previously told SmartCompany the first half of the business’ life was at times a struggle, the pair now looks back on what they have done well to build the brand.

“We think the business has had the legs to do this due to our excellent customer care. We answer all emails and social enquiries with 24 hours,” they say.

The retailer operates in a true “omnichannel” fashion, with all stock available in store and online. Even with these two separate ways for customers to access goods, the day-to-day operations of the business happen without a formal management structure.

“Each store does not have a manager, so no one is boss, everybody is,” they say.

“We think this works really well, if there are any problems they can come directly to us.”

After establishing Bronze Snake outlets in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland, the business now has its sights set further abroad.

“We are dreaming big with a store in the US, which will help drive our online orders there and get the ball rolling as we know it is such a massive market,” they say.

Goals for the next 12 months include more stores in New Zealand and an expansion into Indonesia.

These are big plans for the two best friends, who had no previous retail or manufacturing experience when launching the business in 2006.

“The best part is how you tick something off your list which was supposed to be the last thing and there is always another challenge,” they say, and add the team are committed for the long haul.

“No exit plan. How can we? It is too much fun.”  

The major challenge now is managing the growth that comes with a long-term view – and the nature of the fashion industry, in which sales can be influenced by things completely out of the control of the business, like weather.

“Winter was a little late to kick in [this year], meaning we had stock which was paid for in full … but the sales weren’t ticking over.

“It is a big risk. Luckily for us it paid off and now to do it all over again for Christmas.”

* This article was modified on 24/4/19 at the request of the founders.

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