VANESSA GARRARD: E3 STYLE

VANESSA GARRARD: E3 STYLE

AFTER opening a new office in Hong Kong to further develop electronic retail products, E3 Style co-owner Vanessa Garrard expects to boost turnover by more than $20 million within 18 months.

“We’ve launched our Hong Kong sister company Zenixx Ltd and the difference there is that E3 is set up as a home brand or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) product specialist, so we develop for retailers under their own brands,” she says.

“But Zenixx is developed around being retail-ready so we can distribute around the world. We just presented at an electronics show in Hong Kong and there are people from India, the UK and the US who are interested, so were still in talks but in the coming weeks we’ll start to see orders coming out.

“We deal with five clients in Australia and we’ll have about $14 million in revenue this year. After Hong Kong we came back with 200 contacts in countries that are much larger than Australia, so we expect strong growth.”

The company already has 106 products and six registered brands, but with the sales office in Hong Kong and a representative in Shenzhen, E3’s sister company will be able to develop products more efficiently.

“It means we can be a lot faster in developing our product – we have done product development before but now we can spend a lot more on R&D,” says Garrard.

“For example, we have an iPad Bluetooth case, a leather case with a keyboard built into it. A touch screen is nice but with a keyboard you can send emails a lot faster.

“We have kids’ cameras, with a packing tool that is shaped like a little lunchbox, so they can use it afterwards as a carry case, and we’ve launched a sleeping aid for babies with the sounds of the womb.”

Garrard is an E3 Style co-founder with Richard Chen, who both bought out business partner Jillbert Mulder recently after he decided to move back to the Netherlands with his family.

E3’s local clients include Dick Smith and Kmart, but Garrard points out companies like Akai and Samsung often prefer to source technologies from companies like hers.

“We want to focus a lot more on going into those type of arrangements – there’s very little that they develop themselves. We’re a product development company. We develop products for other brands,” she says.

“It’s about having an idea, observing say a niche or improvement on a business model, product or service and making it commercially viable.

“We’d only need another three more people if we put up revenue by $20 million or $40 million and we expect to be able to do that easily within 12 to 18 months. We’ve already done last year’s turnover in the first quarter.”

For a full profile list on Brisbane’s 2010 Young Entrepreneurs, including interviews with all of the finalists, get a copy of the special annual edition of Brisbane Business News – out now in more than 500 greater Brisbane newsagents.

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