Leading young game-changers from all over Sydney were dressed for success on the city's night of nights in entrepreneurship, but it was the sibling founders of dress purveyor BABYBOO who won the top prize following a year of soaring revenue growth and warehouse expansion to keep pace with demand.
From humble origins in a garage more than a decade ago to building a social media-savvy, style-driven international fashion empire with sales in 157 countries, BABYBOO founders Argylica and William Conditsis won the 2023 Sydney Young Entrepreneur of the Year award last night at a gala event in Pyrmont's Doltone House.
Whilst the ethos of the awards is more about community than competition, the brother-and-sister duo received the highest accolade in an outstanding field of finalists that included William On and Rob Hango-Zada of logistics software group Shippit, Anna Podolsky of all-natural pet food subscription service Lyka, Johan Misquitta of rapidly-growing automation consultancy Simplyai, and many more high-achieving entrepreneurs from a wide variety of sectors and backgrounds.
Having only founded his business in 2019 and now employing 150 specialists across Australia and New Zealand, Misquitta took out the coveted Trailblazer award, following in the footsteps of Sean Crook and Christopher Makhoul of supply chain specialist Neolink last year, and Mina Nada and Michael Johnson of e-bike innovator Zoomo in 2021.
The Conditsis siblings fill the shoes of 2022 winners Chris Shaw and Xavier Orr, two engineers who founded deep-tech powerhouse Advanced Navigation, which within two weeks of receiving the award announced an eye-watering $108 million Series B raise.
Unlike Advanced Navigation however, BABYBOO hasn't raised a cent of outside capital since it was started by Argylica at just 17 years of age in 2011, drawing on $1,000 of her savings from a job at Pizza Hut.
"BABYBOO's strategic vision is to empower women to look and feel incredible and sexy, head to toe. We are here to be her go-to reliable brand, providing timeless, stand-out looks, for all their events no matter the occasion," says Argylica, who dropped out of university to start the business after seeing a gap in the market, and was soon joined by her brother.
"BABYBOO has not only built a demand for exclusively designed garments that are trend-based yet timeless, of impressive quality yet affordable, but has mastered building a brand and providing impeccable service of accuracy and speed, resulting in our cult-like audience and customer base," she says.
"We plan to continue scaling with no external funding."
In the 12 months to April the company reported revenue growth of 264 per cent, with more than half its sales coming from overseas amidst an "extreme amount of growth in the US" - a market where the founders plan to set up a physical office, and another in the UK, within two years.
The size of the full-time team has tripled to 45, in addition to seven new hires for the offshore team - working remotely - to enable 24-hour coverage in customer service, product development and graphic creative work. BABYBOO has also acquired a new headquarters in Sydney that will accommodate headcount growth to 60.
BABYBOO was just one example of the impressive finalists on display at the 2023 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Awards which was supported by corporate partners Maserati, Coraggio, VentureCrowd, Stone & Chalk, Fishburners, Sydney Events Studio, NiceTo, and iVvy.
See below for all winners from the night, and we thank all participants for sharing their stories with Business News Australia.
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Argylica Conditsis & William Conditsis (BABYBOO)
- Trailblazer of the Year - Johan Misquitta (Simplyai)
- Digital Disruptor - William On & Rob Hango-Zada (Shippit)
- Finance - Bishara Hatoum (Fundo Loans)
- Food & Beverage - Anna Podolsky (Lyka)
- Health & Medicine - Abdul Razak & Samira Razak (Maple Community Services)
- Manufacturing, Wholesale & Distribution - Neil Fabry (FAB Industrial Logistics, FAB Bloodstock, FAB Industrial)
- Marketing - Jeremy Yang (Veridooh)
- PR, Media & Events - Matt Purcell (KYU Media, Social Kung Fu)
- Professional Services - Sam Jamsheedi (Trademark Group of Companies)
- Property & Construction - Dr Benjamin Coorey (Archistar)
- Retail & Services - Argylica Conditsis & William Conditsis (BABYBOO)
- Specialist Services - Mike Anderson & Chloe Anderson (Think Again Laser Clinic)
- Startup - Sam Hardy (Mercha.com.au)
- Sustainability & Social Responsibility - Mladen Jovanovic (BindiMaps)
- Technology - Johan Misquitta (Simplyai)
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