MANY young business owners fold when the chips are down, but adversity is often where the real guns find their niche.
In true entrepreneurial spirit, Kelly Nyssen has faced the worst market conditions in her company’s 15-year history head on – and came out on top.
The founder and director of designer art and giftware company Kelly Lane, admits the last few years have been tough, but the 37-year-old epitomises the ‘glass half full’ philosophy.
“Low retail spend and a lack of consumer confidence within the industry has slowed down our year-on-year revenue growth,” says Nyssen (nee Lane).
“Our niche market was even more affected as our buyer activity relies on offering a wide range of products to consumers to choose from. When things got tight retailers not only ordered less quantities but also reduced the product lines down.”
While other retailers grew despondent and hoped for the economic tide to turn, Nyssen used the last year to streamline operations and revise and update procedures.
“Our company has taken many positives out of this period, one of the most important being that we’ve learnt to design our stock to have more longevity and resilience against changing retail trends and fads,” she says.
“We had never had so much excess stock in our warehouse and in the past anything left over from the last season would be written off. Now we are creating for the future in a safe way by using classical designs that will last longer in circulation while still appealing to the modern consumer.
“New marketing and sales techniques have been implemented; we’ve also become experts in clearing stock and are savvier and conscience of all the little costs. Our revenue has taken a hit but we’ve brought our expenses right back and improved profitability.”
Nyssen will be the first to admit that Kelly Lane was created almost by accident, after the then 22-year-old began selling excess photo frames she had built for Christmas presents to local Surfers Paradise retailers.
Nyssen is exploring further export opportunities in Asia and some parts of Europe, while a boom in e-commerce will also play a major part of Kelly Lane’s growth into the future.
Young Entreprenur Profile
Business Est: 1995
Turnover: $2.5 million
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