Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Miranda Gillespie, founder and CEO of Luxe.It.Fwd, an Australian-based online platform for buying and selling authentic preloved luxury bags, watches and accessories.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I was working as a commercial lawyer for ten years and had been made partner but was feeling restless and was looking for a change. I’ve always loved designer bags and was looking for a Chanel bag online one day when it struck me that there wasn’t an Australian based online seller of preowned luxury bags which offered great pricing, fast delivery, and guaranteed authenticity. That was when I came up with the idea of Luxe.It.Fwd, which promotes sustainable shopping through the buying and selling of luxury items, with the convenience of being all online.
Describe the process of launching the business.
With startup funding being challenging to obtain, I worked on Luxe.It.Fwd on the side while I continued to work as a lawyer for almost three years, in order to fund the business. I had my first child during this time, so those first few years were very challenging. I would spend every spare moment away from my job at the firm working on the business on my own with no employees at that time.
In the early days the business setup was pretty unglamorous, I was working from my dining room table and I had a make-shift photography set up in my spare room which I used to photograph bags. Luxe.It.Fwd was fortunate to achieve growth quite quickly so it wasn’t long until the business had outgrown my humble home setup and I was moving us into an office and hiring team members to assist me to run and grow the business.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since we sell pre-owned luxury bags, watches and accessories at up to 60% off retail prices we attract the attention of customers who have a real passion for designer brands already. These customers often prefer to buy preloved over new to either save some money, or to be more mindful about their shopping choices, so we provide them a platform to do that. It’s not uncommon for us to sell bags within minutes of listing them to our site where they gain wide exposure – they almost sell themselves!
It’s one thing to attract customers but we really pride ourselves on retaining our customers. We have many loyal customers who regularly purchase and sell with us, and we think that aside from the products we sell that is due to our emphasis on customer service, something our customers seem to have noticed too judging for our stellar reviews online.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Since launching six years ago, Luxe.It.Fwd has grown its revenue by 100% year-on-year and is projected to reach a revenue in the double-digit millions by 2025. We’ve been fortunate that unlike many brick-and-mortar stores, as an online business we haven’t been impacted negatively but rather have thrived during Covid times, as it has brought so many shoppers online. On the selling side, Covid has also urged people to take stock of their closets and sell anything they no longer need, so we’ve grown that side of the business too. Since starting the business on my own we’ve grown to five full-time employees, and I hope that we can continue to expand in the future.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The most important thing I’ve learned is building resilience. At Luxe.It.Fwd we’re fortunate to have had a lot of things go well in our journey but there are also a lot of things that go wrong, as is the case in any business. In those cases, I’ve learned to try not get too affected by the issue and instead straight away go into problem-solver mode to work on getting through the issue.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
As a small business it’s important for us to make sure our processes are as automated and efficient as possible, so I’m big fan of cloud-based accounting software like Xero which saves us a lot of time on repetitive tasks. As an online store it’s also crucial for us to reach our customers at multiple digital touchpoints, so we advertise on social media and through email marketing software to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I enjoy the old-school approach of reading books over podcasts. I’ve found Mike Michalowicz’s books to be incredibly helpful in the earlier stages of building Luxe.It.Fwd and even now in working on our growth, particularly The Pumpkin Plan and Clock Work.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Starting a new business venture is inevitably high risk, and that can stop many potential entrepreneurs from not making the move to do it. But you’ll never regret giving it a go even if it doesn’t work out, whereas you’ll always regret not trying – so I highly recommend jumping in and giving it your all.