What I learned from Hannah Vasicek (Founder at Francesca) and Tobi Skovron (Founder at CreativeCubes.Co)
“If you have conviction, which is a huge ingredient to starting a business, you can convince your customers that you’re passionate and that you believe in your business, you can convince your employees that you believe in this end-goal, and you can convince any of the haters, and also your family.” – Hannah Vasicek
“Knowing what your brand looks like in the future is essential. That was instrumental in us deciding whether we go down the wholesale route, or the retail route. So that week I winged it and found a place to open a retail store. It was $400 a week, and that’s peanuts in retail these days, but I thought that was huge. I literally opened the doors the following week, put freedom australia everywhere and just made do. We opened the door in March 2013 and 18 months on we had opened our huge flagship store. And it was from hustling. I was working a 2-day law job to ensure I could pay the $400 a week rent, and then working the other 5 days in the store direct with my customers and building this community.” – Hannah Vasicek
“Surrounding [myself] with [visionaries] and having lunch with people who have wild ideas… really turned me on. It was exhilarating.” – Tobi Skovron
“When we scaled the business, I knew how to pick, pack and send. I knew how to dare-I-say sweep the floors. I knew how to answer the phones. If I can’t do it myself then there is no way in hell I can get compliance from someone else. I tell my daughter all the time: Leadership is rolling your sleeves up and doing it with the people. Being a boss is someone that tells you what to do and I’m not a boss.” – Tobi Skovron
“Go for it, embrace the fear of failure, and learn from every single mistake. That’s one thing I didn’t enact sooner and it’s something that’s really shaped me.” – Hannah Vasicek
“No one wants to talk about failure. It’s not until you talk about it that you actually start learning. Thrive off failure.” – Hannah Vasicek
“I’m not sure it’s me that needs to convince you. I think it’s you that needs to convince you. And I need to show you that it will be OK even if you do fall flat on your face.” – Tobi Skovron
“Don’t think about money as the barrier. Leverage your community. Leverage your networks. Don’t be a bull but don’t accept no. Just [see] no as a speed bump to get to the next corner, and just keep going. And if you have the heart, it will start to stack up. And let’s talk about ego: If I would have executed Pet Loo the way I thought we were going to execute Pet Loo at day 1, and where it finished 10 years later, I wouldn’t have made it.” – Tobi Skovron
With thanks to
Hannah Vasicek is the founder of the designer jewellery label Francesca. When she started selling her handmade designs at Hobart’s Salamanca market she had an idea that she might like to have her own shop one day. Less than 10 years later Francesca has a shopfront in Hobart and Melbourne with online sales going globally. Hannah explains her bumpy road to building the business and provides a glimpse into what’s next for Francesca.
Tobi Skovron is the founder of co-working space Creative Cubes. But first he invented the Pet Loo and built a business that he sold after a decade. Tobi describes the challenges of relocating to the US in the middle of the GFC and outlines his plan for enabling more entrepreneurs with Creative Cubes.
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Question of the day
What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.