How to build and sell a successful tech startup, with Lauren (Silvers) Warwick, Founder of Glamazon
Lauren (Silvers) Warwick and Lisa Maree are the founders behind the on-demand beauty startup, Glamazon, that launched from Lauren’s bedroom floor more than 7 years ago.
Together they built Australia’s first and leading tech platform that provides real-time bookings for freelance hair and makeup artists, and connects them to clients through an app.
From a merger in 2016 to raising capital, a successful appearance on Shark Tank, plenty of ups and downs, and their recent exit in January - this is the story of what a startup is really like.
And remember to keep listening to the 6 quick questions at the very end where Lauren shares how she wins the day and where she hangs out to get smarter.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
This is Lauren Warwick for Female Startup Club. Hi guys, we're back today with another episode of female startup club today, I'm chatting to one half of the Glamazon on Duo Lauren Warwick. Lauren Warwick and Lisa Maree are the founders behind the on demand beauty startup Gammas on that launched from Lawrence bedroom floor more than seven years ago together, they've built Australia's first and leading tech platform that provides real time bookings for freelance hair and makeup artists and connects them to clients through an app From a merger in 2016 to raising capital, a successful appearance on shark tank, plenty of ups and downs and their recent exit in January.
00:01:31Edit This is the story of what a startup is really like and remember to keep listening to the six quick questions at the very end where Lawrence shares how she wins the day and where she hangs out to get smarter. This is Lauren for female startup club. Alrighty, let's get started. Can you tell us all about the Glamour Zahn origin story and why you decided to start this tech start up in the first place? Sure. Okay, so glam a Zahn started in 2000 and 13. I was a publicist at baker brand Communications in Sydney and at the time we were looking after a lot of fashion clients at Westfield in their luxury center precinct and so we would host parties pretty much twice a week on average, sometimes three times a week. And so the need to look polished all the time was just, it was such a priority for myself and for my boss and I was making you know, a lot of beauty appointments every single week calling different salons.
00:02:38Edit So the process would be, I would google a salon that was nearby and whatever suburb we were in depending on the event or the meeting we were at and I would basically be put on hold or I would ask them, you know whether they had availability and liaise back and forth. It was this really frustrating process when you do that enough times over and over. You just wish that you could see at one glance where all of the available appointments are nearby just so that you can click a button when you're in a meeting and just book and pay for it. Um But I had this thought before Uber had come around and I think that when Uber launched in Sydney, that finally validated not only to myself, but to the salons that I was trying to get on board, it validated to them that there is this new type of business model which we now know as a marketplace or a gig economy. Um you know this double sided marketplace where you're helping an individual um either business or merchant or freelancer connect with a customer who needs their services and uh it's all aggregated through a tech platform.
00:03:46Edit So yeah, I was just wishing that that existed, I researched and it didn't exist. Um and so I registered the name, the business name go amazon in february of 2000 and 13, and I was still working in pr and just in the background, starting to gather information like how do I build an app. Um And while I was working, I met this guy through a friend of my mom actually, and and he had been in startups and he said go to as many meet ups as you can to learn about startups and truthfully I thought startups was just like an abbreviation of like I'm starting up a business, I didn't realize it was an organizational structure or a new type of business model. Um And so I started to go to these meetups and I started to learn that you needed to validate your idea. You needed to build this thing called an M. V. P. Like all of the really green basic things that you learn when you just get into the startup saying that's what I started to learn while I was still working at my pr job.
00:04:48Edit And I came to understand that the more I spoke about Gammas on the idea because the first there was a secret I didn't want to tell anyone out of fear that someone would steal my idea. But then I learned the more that I shared that idea, the more connections I would get. Someone would connect me to it. An app developer they knew or a contact that they knew and that's how I met rob who became a mentor and he said you need to validate your idea like this is something you may want but how do you know that other customers will want the same thing. So um yeah went down that journey and I mean that's a story in itself but that's basically the origins of the amazon. I love it and I know that at that time or around about that time you basically moved back in with your parents and started working on this full time. Put all of your money towards it. What was that early phase like of building the mvp minimum viable product for anyone who doesn't know what that is. Uh huh. Yes. So when I learned from rob that I needed to validate this idea, I basically um I called 10 salons that I knew and I said you know, I'd love for you to come on board this platform, but I hadn't built anything yet and I was still living out of home with my boyfriend at the time, working in pr and in my mind I was like, okay, well an app cost $50,000 at the time, that's roughly what they cost to just build and and so I need to like raise money to somehow to build that.
00:06:20Edit And that's I think how a lot of people think when they start a business, they keep thinking oh if only I could just have that money to build that product, then it will become successful. But fortunately I had rob in my corner as a mentor telling me, don't build anything, just hustle your way to getting your first customers. And so what I did is I called every every afternoon I would call these 10 salons and ask them what they're available appointments were like for the following day and they would tell me and I would enter their available appointments into just a simple google sheet and that google sheet acted as the back end of a really basic website that I had built with 10 shop fronts of all the silence that I had on board and one collective screen called calendar. And it was basically consolidated all of the available appointments into a calendar. And when a customer clicked book, a form would pop up where they filled in their name, number, email address and they clicked book and they thought that that was going through the asylum.
00:07:21Edit But it was actually an email coming through to me and I would manually booking the customer. And so after 2.5 weeks of doing that, I locked in. You know 49 appointments are generated $3,000 for these salons. And that Is the moment that I went to my parents and I said I want to move back home. I really want to put everything into this business. I quit my job, remember for four October 2013 was my last day there. And and I just, yeah, I moved back home, I sold my car um I had a whole wardrobe filled with you know Australian designer clothes because I was 23 I had just gone through the 21st birthday phase. So I sold like every Sassen bite and Zimmermann dress I had on Ebay and I had a decent pool of money after that after you sell your car and you sell your wardrobe, you stopped paying rent, you move back in with your parents, you have food in the fridge, like your costs are pretty much nothing. I had a decent amount of money to start the business and I had validated the business model, I had customers.
00:08:25Edit Um So yeah, that that was the process in the beginning and then what happens after that you obviously have to build an app, you have to be like, okay, where does, where does it go from here? I have to become a tech entrepreneur. Yeah. What happens next? You google, How do I, how do I build it up? Uh yeah, like google became a good friend of mine, I made so many mistakes. I looking back, it's quite devastating to think how I wasted that precious funding that I had, you know saved for myself. Um I pretty much invested a lot of that into design. So I I there was a company called Aps to at the time when you google build an app, like they were the first ones that came up in Sydney and yeah, you just go through this process of handing over like $10,000 to a company and then $5000 to another designer. And then then you realize that you've built this app that you based on the assumptions that you've made of how people want to interact with an app and when you don't know things like UX or you are like the the user experience of the user journey is supposed to be like because you're not in the tech world, you really missed the mark on how the flow should be in an app, but you don't know these things, you're just like kind of learning it as you go along.
00:09:44Edit And so this phase of businesses, like probably what my dad would call an expensive lesson, like when you spend all your money and make the biggest mistakes ever. But it kind of gets you from point A to point B from point B to point C. And every single step that you take a mistake that you make. Like it does move the needle. So by the time I had this basic app, despite the fact that I built it really badly from a user experience perspective, without knowing I still had enough of a product to make transactions. And so what I had been doing while the app was being built, so I finished my job in October 2013. I launched the app on the app store on two July 2014. So it was quite a while. So that whole phase of building and that was pretty much handing over my drawings of an app to a tech team who was handling that for me. I went into pr mode and I just called and emailed every journalist that I knew from my pr days.
00:10:46Edit I set up a fake pr and like a head of marketing and pr email address. So it was jasmine at amazon app dot com and I wrote press releases and basically got Gamma zon or the launch of this Gammas on app into vogue in Half as bizarre and mashable before it even launched but I was able to build enough hype around it that we had a decent amount of customers waiting to use it. Um and then I would use that to get more salons onboard. So I would be like I have 5000 customers on the waiting list in the eastern suburbs and then that would help me get salons and my approach with the salons was start at the top. So I went to joe bailey, I went to Edwards and co went to like the top tier salons because I knew if they said yes, it would be really easy to win the lower tier salons um which is exactly what happened. So we launched with 30 salons in the eastern suburbs and 5000 customers. And yes, that's pretty much how we started. And you obviously pivot at some point and you realize, well you don't pivot but you introduced the idea of beauty at home having style has come to you, come to do your hair, your nails um and different things.
00:11:59Edit At what point did you think that was the idea to take it down and what happened with that? So I would actually call this a pivot. So this was 2000 and 15 like october 2000 and 15, I started to realize that I was booking delivery, I was using the app delivery a lot. Um and hey you um which was not um services to you, but it was definitely, there were all of these apps that were starting to use individual professionals in a new kind of way and I started to think of a peer to peer opportunity and did it exist in Australia? And I thought this is going to take a lot of education, the culture in Australia as we go to a salon, we don't have beauty services in our home. How can you, is it safe to send people to your home? And then Uber X became more popular than regular. Uber which originally was taxis and then black cars and then it was just random strangers like Uber drivers. Uh so I started to think about this as an opportunity, but I was in too deep.
00:13:06Edit I was like At this stage, 300 salons across um the east coast of Australia, you know, about probably 10 or 15,000 customers. And I felt as though even though my heart was telling me it was a great opportunity, I had no funding to rebuild. I didn't want to let down the salons, but I also knew in my gut and it was so obvious like by the data, the salons weren't working anyway because they, the managers of the salons or the salon receptionist didn't care about the incoming booking requests and they're the ones managing the incoming booking requests, they're accepting the appointments, they're getting paid a wage week in, week out, no matter what their salary or their wage stays the same, so they're not invested in the tools or the booking platform that I've built for them to use. The staff turnover is also really high, so I'm building new relationships with new salon managers pretty much every six weeks, it felt maybe it was every 2 to 3 months.
00:14:13Edit Um The salon owners were very concerned about the continuation of the commission we were taking for every booking um and they were basically of the mentality that we were a legion platform and once someone booked in with them that was now their customer and they should be able to keep them and text them on the side, so circumvention was huge. So even though on the customer side I could see that there was a real need for a platform like this um on the supply side and new salons weren't the way to go and I could see peer to peer as a huge opportunity, but I basically just didn't have the ability to, to start from scratch and I came close to closing the business on many occasions because the only funding we had was at that point was every dollar we were making, we were reinvesting, fortunately, we had no overheads, like I was working from my bedroom, I had, I had built the app um and so any bug that was happening that was coming up in the platform, we weren't fixing, we were just, it was there, and when it worked, it worked, and when it didn't, it was like, bad luck, it was just a customer service problem that I would try to put out a fire.
00:15:24Edit Um but we pretty much had no overhead, I was doing all the pr and marketing myself, um I had no staff, so we were taking 20% off every booking, and so that was the revenue we were making, but it wasn't enough to start the platform from scratch, and that was when I started to look at other opportunities in the market, was someone already doing this, and someone cottoned onto this idea already. Um and that's pretty much how I met lisa. Yeah, and I want to talk about you meeting lisa her business, you guys deciding to merge and raise money together and build Glamour's on as a team. So do you want to tell us about that situation? Yeah, sure. So, um, Lisa had started Glam crew in 2015, just having the same idea as me, but for freelancers. So freelance beauty professionals to your home, she had so many amazing contacts in the beauty space because she had a very successful fashion, they were called lisa Marie. Um it's a swimwear label available on net support and um shut up and just high end online boutiques, and so she would always do these photo shoots, and she would need her makeup artist.
00:16:35Edit So she pretty much had a roller depths of just all of these contacts and she basically called them all up and said, come join my platform. Um and built this really basic, an indian development company, built this basic up and after three months she was making a lot of money. Actually, the revenue was similar to that of glam a Zahn's because she wasn't experiencing churn, like I was, I was experiencing salon churn, so my role was pretty, pretty much become like just constant bdM like sails on the road, building my salon like clientele, like I needed to continue to build supply because the rate that I was losing it, I was always replenishing the supply. Um but yeah, lisa was just able to build strong recurring revenue with repeat clients and then the freelancers weren't um circumventing the platform because they're so committed to their own livelihoods and this app was bringing them then bookings and jobs and it was taking care of their payments and everything. So, um yeah, lisa and I lived two streets away from each other unknowingly.
00:17:39Edit Um and an investor connected us. It's so funny, she contacted the investor said, I think this could go really well, I would like some investment to grow this, he said, cool, let me think about it, I'll do some research and come back to you. He basically googled what was going on in the market, found Gamma Zon um found me on, linked in, He called me up, he's like, I've got this other girl who's doing something similar with freelancers, I think you should connect and if you to emerge, I'll invest in your business. And that's basically the really short version of how we connected. But after our first meeting, like lisa and I turned up to the meeting and the same outfit and we Had coffee and we shook on a deal like then, and there it was, it was crazy, it was just the stars are aligned, we had the same vision for what we wanted out of the company, even though I had invested a lot more time. She had so many skills and assets um available as well, that it was truly mutually beneficial. We had different skill sets, so that was really great. We could divide and conquer.
00:18:40Edit Um and so we merged our businesses in 2016 and then we went on shark tank together and that's how the whole thing evolved. And actually, when we first merged, we were offering salons and freelancers to you. We realized really quickly, that was quite a conflicting message to customers and salons. Um, silence felt like we were poaching they're professionals and it was just conflicting. So we eventually removed the cylons and then kept pressed ahead with a peer to peer platform And I want to talk about the shark tank episode because that was obviously a really big moment for you guys in getting sort of mass media and mass attention around the country and it was it Steve Baxter that made a deal with you guys for 25% equity in the company and then you guys went on to raise, I think I read it was like $1.6 million dollars or something like that to start building this, the tech side of it or had you already built the tech side of it at that point.
00:19:41Edit So by that stage we had already built the tech side because we had Sean who was the investor who connected us had already invested $300,000 prior to us going on shark tank. So we had the ability to build the rebuild the platform in a much better way. And instead of doing it with, um, you know, an offshore team, we were able to have more of a local team that we could have bug fixes and all the things that you dream of when you're first starting out, we had like, you know, the creme de la creme of app developers, so we'd rebuild the platform already and we went on shark tank, um, as a, an exposure opportunity and also also as an investment opportunity, like you, we were in cap raising mode anyway, so we were like, why not? It's very easy to quickly spend $300,000 as well. So we knew that that wasn't going to last us forever. So while we had momentum, we were on a roll, we were like, let's just keep going. Um So yes, steve offered um, $250,000 for 25% I think it was, which was a lower evaluation than what we had already agreed to with Sean and we didn't want to create a down round.
00:20:53Edit So we essentially accepted the deal on air. Um but unbeknownst to most people, we um, we didn't accept steve's money afterwards. You have A number of weeks worth of due diligence that you enter into and either party is able to pull out if they choose. And so we pulled out. And the good thing was that that exposure led us to other investors who jumped on board, um, and agreed to our new evaluation. So we were able to then raise an additional $600,000 I think at a $1.8 million $5 million. We raised more money. So yeah, that, that's just how we kept growing. And I want to talk about how you guys in more recent years, we're approaching your marketing and acquiring new customers. Once you'd really sort of stepped into the new tech platform that you built and you were really thriving. What were the sort of things that you were doing to acquire new people and market the business shark tank was the catalyst to our success and off the back of shark tank, fortunately Endemol Shine, who is the production company that the whole company behind the show?
00:22:10Edit Shark tank, they sort of take you along for the ride and offer you up to other Channel 10 network 10 tv shows. So you know, I was getting emails asking me to be on Survivor as you know, they needed a female entrepreneur. Then we went on like Studio 10 and you go do the rounds of all the news shows and um that was amazing because it was free publicity and we didn't realize how many people tuned into shark tank it is the most popular show in winter in Australia, there were 1.7 million viewers of our show the night it aired and then re ran three times over three weeks. And also we were the feature of the ads. So it was like these two young girls, it was like this cliffhanger kind of add that was being shown. And so we had a really, really high volume of like the viewership was really high for our episode and they saved us for the end because the sound bite that the ads were showing was steve backs are saying this is the best pitch we've ever seen on shark tank.
00:23:20Edit So I think anyone who was loving the show was like waiting for our episode to air. Um, and it just got us a lot of attention and then off the back of that, you know journalists start reaching out to you get Mom Bella you get B. N. T. You get newspapers, Daily Telegraph, the Australian. The Fin review like everyone knows who you are. And then also in the startup community, your solidified, it's like wow okay, this is a growing tech startup in Sydney. And so we truthfully we didn't do anything. It was all reactive. Pr we tried a little bit of Facebook marketing for a little while and I can't remember how much we spent, it wouldn't have been more than $1,500 a month. Um but we were very much just like brand awareness um word of mouth kind of company and we decided to focus solely on quality bringing on quality vested professionals because we knew that if you had an amazing experience on amazon you would tell your friends and um you know then more and more people would book, we would get this great word of mouth, great reviews and that's pretty much what happened.
00:24:30Edit And so we were able to invest instead of investing in marketing, we were able to invest more in building a stronger tech platform. And what we did was we built many websites for each of the beauty professionals that came on board so that you could book them so they would change their instagram bio to their own U. R. L. Which was technically a Glamour's on booking platform but it was just a website for them, You could see their services, you could connect it to their calendars and you just booked in. But we owned that booking and that was a really clever thing for us to have built and we were proud to have invested our capital into that because then also our beauty professionals became like our sales force. Their instagrams became, you know, a connection into our booking platform and that's sort of how we took, took the market on. But yeah, as a publicist, I was really just pr was like our best channel and that's what we kept pushing for years to come. And as well as emails, like emailing our subscribers and our database with um you know, V.
00:25:32Edit I. P. Discount code here. And there was also was also really great and something else that I'm just remembering is we had partnerships with like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. So we were doing hair and makeup behind the scenes there and that's how we started doing corporate jobs. So I guess the more exposure, we had two high profile events and in publications, the more scene we were um that in conjunction with a high quality service meant that we were able to scale quite quickly and when you kind of grew this business to this point and you and lisa were really thriving at what point did you guys say? Okay, maybe we're interested in selling the business and moving on to the next thing because this is obviously such huge, exciting news for you. You released that information that was at the start of this year that you announced? Yeah, in february that you had sold the business. You you guys were changing paths. Um that's such a big deal. When did that come about? That you guys had that conversation?
00:26:34Edit We've been having that conversation since we met, that was our lined vision. We knew that we wanted to build something of value to sell to a larger company to be able to continue to grow. That we were both of the opinion that collaboration is key and that competition is actually an opportunity to collaborate. So just like lisa and I were direct competitors that merged our business and overnight we Doubled or maybe even tripled the size of our business. Just threw that merger. We saw opportunities globally for the same thing. So by 2016 and 2017 we were flying all around the world to meet with our biggest competitors from Poland to New York San Francisco LA around Asia. We were just really keeping in touch with similar apps and tech platforms, were very well aware of the venture capital scene in Australia, not being as strong and supportive and that potentially hindering our ability to grow.
00:27:37Edit We were also very aware of our limitations when it came to hiring prestigious technical talent that we're going to be able to help us build a world class product because any amazing technical talent in Australia were already working for the likes of Atlassian or google Or you know, they were being poached to work for companies in San Francisco or Texas, I mean they were, you couldn't even keep anyone in Australia and 95% of developers a mail and selling them like a beauty tech platform was just not working, so we had our own challenges um just by fundamentally being a beauty app um and by just being Australian and so we recognized that early on and identified the need to exit in order to be able to continue our mission to help beauty freelancers all around the world. It wasn't that we were hard on ourselves and we were being down is that we were like, oh we can't do this, like why can't we just take on the world, we would just very realistic with our limitations in Australia and we were feeling the brunt of, I guess female entrepreneurship not being as progressive or advanced in Australia as it was in other countries, um when we went to san Francisco a few times, you know, there were female entrepreneurs being really celebrated, but in Australia we were noticing our male counterparts receiving more funding faster funding, we would have to go through more hurdles to get heard, so we were just really realistic I suppose, so always kept in touch with competitors and then it got to a point where we could either raise another round or we could look at selling the business and that's what we started to do.
00:29:31Edit We kind of started to do it both at the same time. We were like, we, at this stage we were really interested in bringing on a subscription model into our platform, which would require another round of developers to higher, so we knew we needed to raise a significant amount of money. Um, So we started to do that, but then simultaneously put out feelers out for sale opportunities. Um, and that was in late 2019, 2019 actually. And so what do you do in that moment? Do you just go on linkedin and be like, hey my businesses for sale, what's the process? How do you sell a business? Yeah, So that, I mean I've just learned how to do that. It's pretty crazy at first and everything that I've done is like winging it as you go along. No one teaches you like how to sell a business. No one teaches you that you need like to show someone what your liquidity ratio is or like show, you know, all these like finance and accounting questions as well. Like you have to remember when you're trying to sell a business, you also need to have enough capital to like hire the right lawyers and accountants and and people to support the process.
00:30:41Edit So you don't want to be in a position where you're on the down selling because then that's gonna be a fire sale. We wanted to be on the, we were on the up and we were like, okay, this is a really cool opportunity, where are they going to raise a heap of money or we're gonna sell it to someone and keep living the dream? Um, and hopefully like work for that company. Um, and there were a few personal things that were coming up in both of our lives as well, lisa I wanted to move back to the U. S. Which is where her fashion label was based. Um, and to be with her partner there and I was getting married, so there was a lot of things in our personal lives that were sort of leaning towards let's sell. And so we were really aligned on that. But yeah, the process was basically, we're raising money and that was to get to talk to the right people is either an opportunity to merge, be a joint venture or to raise capital. So you go to your competitors and sort of offer that. And the conversation would be steered towards like, well, would you guys consider selling because you're starting to talk about how you can work together.
00:31:47Edit And the bigger one of the two is usually the one to say, well, you know, like why would they partner with a smaller company when they can just acquire that small company. And despite the fact that we were the largest real time marketplace for beauty services in Australia, we were still a drop in the ocean by comparison to our competitors, globally purely based on market size. Um I think like we, you know the same amount of people, I think it's an amount of population in Australia there is in California and so yeah, I mean we were still very small compared to everyone in Asia and the U. S. So we would start these conversations around collaboration of some sorts and then that would turn into sale conversations. And then when we finally decided that we were going to sell the business, not go down the route of raising capital, we put together what's called like an asset flyer and it's essentially like a poster for everything that's great with your business, the really important numbers.
00:32:56Edit Um so it was like a six page document of what we had built pretty much and if they wanted to know more they could find out more. And that's when they would, you know, we would sign some documents like an N. D. A. Was like the first part of it before you got the asset flyer. But then after that it was signing the appropriate documentation to start the due diligence process which is starting a formal sale process. And that happened in, you know phase one, you'll get this information. Phase two, you can request further information. Phase three is this um and you get like the banks involved in your accountant and it's really hectic. It's very heavy and you're dealing with overseas companies, the hours that you're working are really crazy because you're dealing with time differences. So I'd say it was the most crazy stressful time because also once you've won't play that card, like once the card is played yet we're selling, they already know your motive is to sell.
00:33:58Edit Whereas before when we were going in with the card of like we're just raising capital and the conversations were being steered towards selling. We had the leverage of No, that's actually not what we want to do and they could kind of win us over. And I think the hardest part for me as someone who's like a terrible liar and a terrible like I'm terrible at acting. Um I'm not a very good game player. I'm not like really good from him. Yes, strategic game paying perspective and you need to have those skills. So we actually had the help of a broker and I learned so much from that process and so urban company acquired you and you now work for them and you've basically brought it to a much larger audience. You assume you have much larger budgets, you're able to do all these new exciting things. What's that process been like transitioning to actually working for someone because it's been seven years of gamma zon of you being the boss, you doing all these really hard decisions, you going through all the ups and downs and now you're kind of in this whole other phase of being like reporting to someone and you know, checking in with other people every day, what's it been like totally, it's so funny.
00:35:16Edit Yes, seven years of running your own business and then um yeah, just like the biggest change ever. One thing that I will say is which is pretty much how we decided to even go with urban company, whoever you're going to sell a startup to your startup to, if that is what your goal is, the vision absolutely needs to be aligned and the mission needs to be aligned and you need to really like the people and you both need to walk away happy and that's what a good deal is all about and that's how I knew that this was the perfect fit because the vision and mission of urban company and just the, the ambition from the founders as well and they're passionate goal to just genuinely help all freelancers become entrepreneurs and to, to really, really help them like in India there three X and four X ng incomes and it's pretty special what they're doing um that was at the core of the deal it was that we both had that in mind.
00:36:20Edit So working for a company that has the exact same goal as you is easy because you you both just want to win like winning in your mind is the exact same thing. So that first of all that makes it really easy to work for them. Like I don't really feel like I work for them in the sense that I've joined this corporate position, there's so much autonomy within my role and there's a reason why they've acquired gammas on and they've hired me to help with the market entry in Australia, they see value there. Um And so I'm given a lot of freedom and flexibility and autonomy to help make that happen in whatever way, shape or form that I think that that should be in as well as like everyone else on the team that are really the culture is pretty special and incredible at urban company. Um So I think the transition um was made easier by those things, but just generally I guess the main challenges for me, we're getting used to working with a team based on somebody else's clock, like when it was glad amazon, it was 24 7, I took the amazon to the shower with me, I took it to the beach, I took it to my parents house, I took it to a party on the weekend, like it's always with you 24 7 in a much more spread out way and that if I'm having a freak out or just like I can't take it anymore.
00:37:54Edit I like have a break and go to the beach or like for a walk or I'll go for a swim and I'll, you know decompress, whereas you can't do that when you're working with a team collectively day and day out, you have set working hours, like you've just got to show up and be there um and so that was a big challenge to transition, but I'm loving it, I'm absolutely loving it and I love working with the team, you know, monday to friday. Obviously the weekends were still like on slack and communicating, but I really do feel like I switch off on the weekends and I allow myself to have tech free time and to spend time with the ones that I want to spend time with in my loved ones because that is a big sacrifice that I did make and you do make when you have a startup is that it becomes your heart and soul and your baby and you lose friends and inevitably because you just don't have time, there aren't enough hours in the day to devote yourself to everything that you want.
00:38:54Edit So I remember even in the early days of amazon being asked to come to this christmas party or to that birthday and just saying no way because I didn't have the money um but b I just didn't feel like I had the time and I couldn't afford to have a hangover because I needed to be up at six AM for customer service on a saturday because I was pretending to be Phoebe from customer service and you know I needed to have my being on my A game. So yeah there are so many sacrifices you make um but no I'm so privileged to be working with urban company and for urban company because they truly have nailed the business model. They are exceptional leaders. The company itself, like the systems and processes are flawless and I'm learning so much and that is something I really miss is that when I was building the amazon, I was winging it every day and learning through making mistakes and now I'm in an environment where I'm learning by being taught how to build certain systems and processes around the things that I'm doing, how to structure um certain marketing plans and things like that and that feels really fulfilling right now for me, I'm just so happy for you.
00:40:11Edit So, so happy. That is so cool. What advice do you have for women who are wanting to launch their own business? So first of all tell as many people and friends as you can collect really good feedback, that's honest. Don't just ask your mom, like ask friends who will give you an honest opinion. Um and uh and also because they can connect you to the right people, the second thing would be get a mentor because uh someone who's been down the same road that you're about to embark on before you is go, going to steer you in the right direction and will save you a lot of time and energy and money and stress. Um and one of my most common questions is how do you get a mentor? But the only way you get a mentor is by putting yourself out there, going to every made up, If you're really going to commit to starting a startup, get onto meetups dot com, get onto any kind of facebook startup, group, community, um, join like minded bitches, drinking wine, like show up, be there, go to every seminar, buy a ticket to every talk because you're going to be surrounded by like minded people and one conversation will lead to another conversation which will lead to an introduction which will lead to a mentor.
00:41:34Edit Um, so yeah, I would say there are two huge pieces of advice um as a woman specifically, I've learned that there is a huge advantage and benefit to being the only woman in a room full of men and how you can command a space and a room and attention in a way that a man come when you're the only woman doing it. I think also because maybe it feels a little bit unexpected still so we can leverage the fact that whilst uh society has grown in terms of women having more power and rights, there's still a long way to go and we're in this sort of golden opportunity where you can still in a way leverage that and just do it. Like don't be afraid, put yourself out there, record yourself on instagram and put it up like I don't, I think fear squashes so many dreams and I think just this is very cliche to say, but we regret the things that we don't do.
00:42:39Edit So if you don't put up that video on instagram, if you don't put up that post on facebook, if you don't put yourself out there, how are you ever going to know? Like if you never try, you'll never know. That's really cool. That's going to be one of my quotes that I use on social media. I also just really quickly wanted to ask you, you mentioned about the industry in Australia for investors supporting female founded businesses, How do you imagine that can change, what can everyone do to change that? I think it is changing just as everywhere else is changing. Its just that females tend to build businesses that relate to problems that they experience in their day to day life i around beauty, fashion parenting, a lot of money kind of platforms and that inevitably doesn't connect with a male investor instantly. You have to really explain it to them. The penny doesn't drop until like maybe the second or third meeting and you're really lucky to even be able to get a seat at that second or third meeting.
00:43:51Edit So unlike a guy who might start a car startup or something that's very male oriented, it's easy to connect or communicate the value proposition instantly. And so I think that's where the real challenge is. I don't think it's a misogyny issue or I don't think it's um that we're not progressing as fast as the rest of the world. I just think um inherently women solve women problems. So I'm seeing like fertility kind of startups or like subscription, um female hygiene products startups. I'm seeing you like tampons and startups coming up, like that's a really hard thing to sell to a male investor. Um and majority of the investors are mailed in the scene in Australia, but my advice would be um try to get a female mentor, try to talk to female investment groups.
00:44:51Edit There are so many that are popping up now and just surround yourself with like minded females to be able to have a female at that meeting so that they can connect with the problem that you're trying to solve. So good. I am really loved this episode. This was amazing. I have the six quick questions that I want to ask you, yep number one is, what's your, why my, why in general is to have a fulfilling life. I always, I consider success to be waking up every day feeling challenged and making that and that would make me feel fulfilled because I'm learning every day. I never want to stop learning. Um, my wife or for what I'm doing right now specifically, is to genuinely move the industry to help beauty professionals become entrepreneurs, to change the way the salon industry is.
00:45:55Edit Um and to liberate these beauty professionals from a low earning salon wage. So that's, that's my mission. But my general, like life mission is just to live a fulfilled life. I don't want to be on my deathbed and I wish that I did something or have any regrets, I just want to go go for everything. So I'm a big dreamer and I just go after every, every dream that I have pretty much and if it fails, that's fine because I always learn from it. You absolutely do number two is what's the one marketing thing that made your business pop? And I'm sure I already know the answer. Yeah, South Tank for sure. So any kind of free tv exposure that you can get is fantastic or free radio exposure, um I think that that absolutely. Um, was, but also as a little tip, something that really worked for us was signing up to Social Diary. Uh Social Diary is basically an online platform that has a lot of journalists and media people who are searching for stories or their um searching for products for certain, like sponsorships at events and a newsletter will go out every day at midday and you find out what these journalists are looking for what media people are looking for, what publicists are looking for and you can fit your brand into one of those boxes and that we got so much press that way and it's like $1000 a year and that is way cheaper than any pr agency.
00:47:29Edit So I would say that's like a big hack as well. Yeah, that's a great tip. Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? Well I have like a little group of like entrepreneur friends, I mean you're the same doing you surround yourself, it's funny just like wake up and you're 30 and it's like your closest friends are all entrepreneurs because naturally entrepreneurs gravitate towards each other and I think you are the company you keep and so over the years I've definitely created a small group of friends at all. Um they're either leaders in whatever industry they're in, whether they work for, you know Airbnb, no one of my best friends is um as you know him as well as the head of marketing for Australia at Airbnb or they're just running their own businesses have started their own businesses um and that's how I get smarter on top of which podcasts are incredible. Obviously such incredible information learning from interviews with people who have done it all before and books, although I'm not into physical books as much anymore audiobooks just from a time saving perspective, I think it's great to be able to go for a walk or be in the shower and be consuming information without having to set aside that hour or two hours to sit down and read a book.
00:48:51Edit The book thing is really tough. I've been using that blink ist where it gives you the 15 minute kind of recap of the top line points and I bloody love it. It's so good. Yeah, it is so good. It can, it's like a rabbit hole though, like you get a bit addicted. Um and it's good, it probably is good to still read that. I'm just very much in love with the podcast medium and audiobook medium. I think it's, I consume information and I retain it really well from listening. Yeah, question number four is how do you win the day? And it's around your am and PM rituals that set you up for success and productivity and happiness Winning the day is 100 About waking up early like 5:30. If you can set your alarm for 5:30 and wake up do exercise in the morning and then come home and make your bed and make sure your room is clean that sets me up for success.
00:49:53Edit It sounds so silly but everything comes down to waking up early I think um being able to watch the sunrise as well, there's something about the metaphor almost of like the sun coming up and that being like a new beginning and a new day for you to attack the day attack that you know, whatever is going to challenge is going to hit you that day. Um Yeah, doing exercise in the morning because endorphins are great and it just sets you up and just making a bed and having a clean space. Makes you feel super organized and starts me off on a productive road for the day. So that's how I win the day and I go to bed early. I just get eight hours sleep minimum every night. So I'm always in bed, like I'm in bed at 99 30 like dead asleep by 10. Oh my gosh, it's nearly your bedtime. I'm still a few hours to get question. # five is if you only had $1,000 left in your business bank account, where would you have spent it?
00:50:56Edit I mean this is a tough question because it depends where, what stage of the business you're at and how great the product is if your product is working. Um I just invested in marketing because The more you invest, the more customers you get back, like that's an easy one. The challenge with startups is while that sounds really easy to just build a product and then market it. The product is never right when you're building supply and demand, there's always churned, there's always, you know, so many other overheads to think about, but I think if the product was in a really great position and supply wasn't an issue. Um Yeah, I'd invested in in probably facebook ads. Yeah. And last question is how do you deal with failure? Um I don't know why I've never it's never fazed me at all. I don't know where that comes from. We could I probably need like a therapy session over like why something in my upbringing has made me quite resilient to failure.
00:52:05Edit Like of course I have my off days and um I think it's removing the ego. I think if you don't, if you're not attached to something, there's no way for you to let it get to you that badly that it can ruin your life or even your day. I think there's been a lot of disappointing moments. There's been so many tears that come out of frustration because you're putting in so much energy and maybe that doesn't get the R. A. Y. That you want for that particular day or that particular task or project. But in terms of failure, like as long as you're quickly failing and just moving on, failure is actually amazing because every time you fail, you're just one step closer to solving the problem. So I've I've genuinely never been that faced by failure and I actually had one wish it would be to probably change the word failure to like lesson or yeah failure should be called lesson. It's not even failure, it's just learning something learning that something didn't quite work and that you should pivot towards something that does and try again.
00:53:11Edit No, thank you so much for being on the podcast. This is the best loved it, loved it. Where can people find you? They can find me on insta um at Lauren double underscore Warrick new last name, last name. Yeah, that's exciting. They can find urban company um at urban beauty, sorry, at beauty underscore urban company. Um And then we do at home beauty services all around Sydney, but we also do at home cleaning services that's like pretty much getting a hotel cleaner to come to your house. Um and it's just epic. So that's at urban company underscore Australia. Amazing! Thank you so much.