ENTERING OVERSEAS MARKETS WITHOUT BANKS

ENTERING OVERSEAS MARKETS WITHOUT BANKS

BOASTING growth of 145 per cent for FY10/11, the founder and director of consumer electronics company E3 Style has forecast turnover of $23 million in the next financial year.

Mother of four Vanessa Garrard (pictured) says the biggest challenge her company faced this year was access to finance.

“We’ve grown from $6 million in 2010 to $14.7 million in 2011 and we’re looking to hit $23 million in 2012,” she says.

“We’ve managed our own growth, with our own cashflow so far and could grow even further but banks want bricks and mortar security. So we have to manage our growth within our own cashflow – if we had access to more cash flow, we could grow the company even further so we need to look for alternative funding options.”

After launching E3’s sister company Zenixx in Hong Kong last year, the company has entered international markets.

“E3 was set up to help major retailers including Dick Smith, Aldi and Target in Australia and New Zealand source products more efficiently and cost effectively, providing consumers with top quality consumer electronics products at affordable price points,” she says.

“Zenixx was created around being retailready and developing products for retailers and we’re able to sell our products to other countries internationally. In Hong Kong we deal with 60 factories where the staff don’t always speak English, so we have developers here that are fluent in the language and we’ve also set up an office in China. I think this process would be a real challenge without these features.”

Garrard started the business with $30,000 in savings and says striking a balance between work and family life is down to having good systems, strategies, transparency and processes.

“In the first year E3 was started, I didn’t take a wage and there were times when the credit cards were racked up. There was one day when I drove my car home and it broke down because I had no fuel and no money to pay for it,” she says.

“I knew the orders were coming in though, so I walked to the office for the next few days until we started paying ourselves a wage. I know the hardships of starting a new business with little money, but knowing you’re on to something at the same time.

“That was five years ago and since then we’ve had almost $15 million in turnover for FY10/11.”

Garrard has secured exclusive license agreements with brands including Glee, Hotwheels and Barbie and says that youth electronics will be a focus moving forward.

“We’re also establishing a distribution partner in Australia that can deliver to smaller supply chains and we’re hoping that will double our turnover again,” she says.

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YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR FINALIST
Vanessa Garrard
E3 Style
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Age: 33
Business Est: 2006
Staff: 16
Growth: 145 per cent
Turnover: $14.7 million

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