The elements needed to grow a business

early stages, grow, start-up

Personalised Favours is an online business that has been designing and producing unique personalised products for more than 10 years, selling to more than 100,000 customers each year. It started as an online eBay store operating on NSW’s Central Coast, to now a leading $10 million Australian gift business.

The business almost doubled its annual turnover in FY21 compared to FY20, when the impact of COVID-19 on the wedding industry-inspired Personalised Favours to diversify into gifting for major events such as Christmas, Father’s Day, and birthdays.

Growing my business has had its challenges, but there are some key elements that have helped it grow.

  1. Support: Personalised Favours wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of my family – who are also part of the business! I left a full-time job to start-up on my own and my husband was incredibly supportive, so much so, he’s now our National Sales Manager. Our CEO, Matthew Mosse-Robinson – who happens to be my brother-in-law – did the same thing, leaving behind a career in finance in 2013 to help support me and my small business. Having the support to do what you want to do from those closest to you is everything.
  2. Quick-thinking: We pride ourselves on being quick to adapt to market changes and being proactive rather than reactive. When the nation got hit by COVID-19 and we faced extensive lockdowns, we lost 60 per cent of our wedding sales overnight. We had to pivot quickly and focus on gifting for other occasions, like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. This turned out to be the best thing we could have done, and these categories now far outweigh wedding sales. We also anticipated that some of the first freedoms post-lockdown would be outdoor gatherings, so we launched a premium picnic range, and arranged for containers of stock to be delivered well before peak-seasons.
  3. Networking: We are constantly networking. Over the past 10 years we have exhibited at wedding expos all around Australia (approximately 20 per year) and networked with hundreds of wedding planners and like-minded businesses. We’ve networked within our industry to keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest wedding trends and styling to help us develop ranges that we know engaged couples will love. We also make it a priority to visit at least four conferences per year, including Business Chicks, Retail Global and Online Retailer. You never know who you will meet and what information you’ll come across. I am also never afraid to ask for a business card or connect with someone through social media. I have asked favours from many school friends who have gone onto become lawyers, accountants, marketing and IT specialists – leaning into their skills and specialities to help me grow the business. My biggest tip is to make the most of your networks. 
  4. Failure: No business succeeds without failing first. One of our biggest failures so far would have to be trying to set-up shop in the United States. We opened a small office in Delaware, which was over before it even started! We hired one employee to run the office and two weeks into the job, she quit. We couldn’t find a replacement and ended up shutting the office down, despite investing so much into it. We learnt a great lesson though – we don’t need to physically operate in other markets, overseas customers genuinely love Australian businesses. Today 5 per cent of our sales are from the US and 10-15 per cent are from New Zealand.
  5. Persistence: Above all, our growth is testament to our dedication to the business and working tirelessly to help it succeed. We take risks, and if we fall down, we get back up and keep persevering.