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Bachelor of Commerce 1987
I chose Deakin because...
It had a good course for Commerce and was not too far from home in Geelong. I also combined a maths degree for the first year but then the classes clashed so I stopped this in favour of Commerce.
After leaving uni...
I went through the usual employment recruitment cycle on campus and accepted a job with Price Waterhouse in their Melbourne-based Audit Department.
At uni I was inspired...
To enjoy myself, but I also importantly to do well and learn. I was particularly interested in economics which I found quite interesting with a Dr Lee at the time and didn’t like accounting all that much. Around this time I was offered a place at the London School of Economics, however I chose accounting in the end as I had the offer of money and employment instead of additional study. I do sometimes regret not having followed my favourite subject and gone on to LSE, but there was not much at that time in the way of career advice or where studies in that area might lead. Now I realise that actually every large organisation has economists so it didn’t have to end in a government based career in Canberra like I thought it might!
Tell us about your multi award-winning business Labels4Kids:
I guess my initial thoughts were to train to be an accountant and then use this knowledge to go on and run my own business in clothing retail. However after I qualified I ended up deciding to use my accounting qualifications to work and travel overseas and so I eventually ended up in London.
About six years later I took up a job with a start-up business in London in the film industry, where I headed up their finance department - I loved working there, however the hours were very long. I then moved up to Scotland about 2 years later with my new Scottish husband and took up a role as a Management Consultant for Coopers.
Eventually kids came along and I took 7 years out of the work force. Then one day a spark of inspiration came to me that there was no way to label children’s clothing adequately and get the labels to stay on. I started Labels4Kids as an online business after 2 years of research and testing and my business has gone from strength to strength ever since.
We won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011, Online Retailer of the year in 2011 and 2010, and were the only Scottish finalist in the Dell Small Business Excellence Awards in 2009 and 2008 on top of numerous other award finals. I work with a small team from home however we are getting to the stage now where we will soon need to move into office premises with franchise expansion plans taking off among many other exciting projects on the go including possible expansion into Australia.
Today, I am motivated by...
The desire to learn and better my business and personal development. I love the buzz of running my own business and improving on targets and seeing the benefits. It is not just money that motivates me, but meeting new people, learning new things, finding that deal or that new supplier and keeping ahead of the competition.
In my profession it is important...
To stay up to date with the latest e-commerce and e-retail developments in social media, techniques, databases and new methods of online data capture, as well as labelling solutions and competitor’s new developments.
Professionally, my proudest achievement is...
Winning Entrepreneur of the Year in the UK Women in Retail Awards in November 2011 in London. The competition was strong and big companies like Marks and Spencer, Morrisons Supermarkets, Asda, Vodafone were also in the awards, so it was a great buzz to win.
I feel a strong connection with…
Australia and particularly Geelong, having studied at Deakin, having family still there and having worked frequently with Deakin’s sister university in Stirling, Scotland, where I live. I recruit a lot of summer temp staff from Stirling University, where my husband studied Commerce weirdly enough - it’s a strange how things work out!
Success to me is…
Having the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it. It is also about having enough financial security not to have to worry about how the next bill is being paid and having the ability to choose where you spend your free time. It is also nice to have the public recognition of your business progress to some extent in the media.
In the future I would like to…
Continue to grow Labels4kids internationally into a future investment that works for me but also without me and just do my own thing supervising the show and reaping the rewards! We are currently looking for franchisees for many countries including Australia. Labels4Kids is a really good business opportunity I believe for a new graduate wanting to be an entrepreneur and just requires some initial investment.