This article is Part 3 of a Q&A between the LH Agenda community and me, and all about rebranding a business. Prior to this year, our brand was known as Leaders in Heels but a desire to expand our product and customer base drove us to change our brand name and logo to LH Agenda mid-2021. I hope you find some practical takeaways in this article to help you, no matter what stage of the rebranding and/or business journey you’re at!Continue reading →
As we celebrate our 10th birthday in small business, I’m looking back on what I’ve learned along the way. Everything from day-to-day operations hacks to how to balance business with motherhood. I hope my answers encourage you to take a chance on your ideas, give yourself a well-deserved break, and invest in loyal, reliable team members to share your business success with.Continue reading →
Running your own small business: it’s not all sunshine and roses (or awards and profit). Ask anyone who runs their own business and they’ll probably (hopefully!) say the same thing. I believe that part of the LH Agenda mission to empower the leaders of tomorrow is sharing insights to our own business and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. In this article, I share the great, and sometimes uncomfortable, realities of entrepreneurship and running a small business, and give you practical tips to start using in your business right now.Continue reading →
Major media placements can be a boon to entrepreneurs. They increase brand awareness, build credibility, and generate massive amounts of traffic and sales. To give you a competitive advantage, below is a step-by-step checklist that teaches you how to go about securing media coverage without spending tens of thousands of dollars on hiring a PR firm or onboarding a freelance publicist.Continue reading →
To say that launching a start-up is challenging is an understatement. Particularly when you throw a horrific Australian bushfire season and a global pandemic into the mix.
Frustration with ill-fitting swimwear, that often compromises quality and durability for fast fashion, is where Ellenny Swim began. Most women dread shopping for swimwear, and I, Megan Davis, was one of them. I noticed a gap in the market for swimwear designs that were sun-safe, supportive and sustainable. A brand that caters to the ‘average-sized’ women.
The launch of my eco-conscious swimwear label was delayed not once but twice. Back in January, the bushfires first delayed my progress and soon after COVID-19 sent the world into a spin. Now that it’s spring and we are coming out of COVID-19 hibernation, Ellenny Swim is already growing a strong online presence.
Here’s four lessons I’ve learnt since starting Ellenny Swim.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It is often expected you should know everything about the industry before starting your business, although this isn’t usually the case. I had little fashion experience, but I had a clear idea of what I wanted my product to be. As a graphic designer, I have an eye for design and a strong attention to detail. I knew where my strengths were.
I knew the importance of creating a strong visual brand was essential to connect with an audience. My skillset was an ultimate strength, but I knew I had many gaps I needed to fill. Realising very quickly that I couldn’t do it on my own, I sought help from business mentors, manufacturing agents and garment designers.
I joined a number of business groups to learn from the advice and experience of other business owners. Also, don’t underestimate the power of social media. I have collaborated with female models and influencers on Instagram that have continued to grow my strong online presence.
Resilience is key
Launching Ellenny Swim was a really challenging time as I had already bought all the stock but had to keep delaying the launch. I kept finding myself back at square one as disaster after disaster hit. Like most businesses this year, I had to shift and find other ways to get my brand out there.
Despite all of the hurdles I faced launching Ellenny Swim, my passion for the brand never faltered. Maintaining a clear goal in mind for my label helped me stay motivated and on track through those tough times. The reason I created Ellenny was to fill a gap in the market.
I wanted to create a brand that aligned with my personal ethos of being as environmentally friendly as possible. I can also empathise with women of all shapes and sizes that are often let down by brands that don’t cater to them. I’ve always been curvy and have felt frustrated with swimwear that doesn’t fit properly. I’m very proud to help women feel confident and empowered while relaxing by the pool or beach.
Be patient – it’s a long process
I was determined to create swimsuit designs that were sustainable and durable, instead of producing fast fashion that only creates more problems for the environment. However, I didn’t realise how complicated the process was from idea to prototype. It’s much more complicated than other clothing garments.
I had to be patient. Sourcing an eco-friendly fabric manufacturer took time. My research led me to Carvico – an Italian textile manufacturer that uses recycled old nylon products such as discarded fishing nets to create material that is perfect for swimwear.
There were many features that I wanted to include in my designs that took time to perfect. We’ve all experienced swimwear with removable pads that scrunch and fall out, so I wanted to create a secure rashie design with a built-in-bra that didn’t move around in the water. It was also important to me that my designs provide strong support while also being sun-safe with a UPF50+ rating to block out 98% of the sun’s harmful rays.
Once I got the samples, I tested the swimsuits on myself for at least six months, to make sure they survived the harshest conditions. I tested them in chlorine, salt, 45-degree Celsius temperatures and ran them through the washing machine to ensure they were durable and didn’t fall apart.
Despite the lengthy process, I have created a product that I am incredibly proud of. A range of swimwear designs that are high quality, eco-friendly, flattering and durable.
Support other business owners
I couldn’t have launched Ellenny Swim without the support of other small businesses. I feel very proud to support a whole line of small businesses, particularly in Australia, who are benefiting from my business.
Supporting women in business is also very important to me. I worked with a number of business owners and leaders, some who are also mothers, that helped me navigate the process.
About the author
Perth stay-at-home mother of two, Megan Davis is a former graphic designer who created a brand aligns with her personal ethos and is environmentally friendly. Check out Ellenny Swim.
There are few steps during the hiring process that are more important than the proper training of employees. However, many businesses fail to recognise this fact, which can lead to high turnover rates and unprepared workers.
When you equip your new hires with the tools, resources, and training they need to succeed, however, you’ll lay down the groundwork for an effective first few months. This, in turn, results in higher job morale and increased productivity.
Here are some tips on how to develop an employee training program.
The first step in creating an employee training program is to identify the goals that need to be met for success to be achieved. Every business is unique, and therefore the goals will be dictated by the requirements in the workplace.
For instance, when training hotel employees you may want to set goals that are related to customer service, while the goals of a firefighter training program may focus more on safety. Depending on the type of business your organisation runs, you will need to tailor the steps in the training process to fit the knowledge and skillset that will best serve your new hire and prepare them for success.
Utilise Training Resources
With the emergence of technology, training resources have been taken to a new level. Gone are the days of flipping through manuals and writing on chalkboards. Instead, there are an array of software platforms on the market that can be programmed to meet the demands of nearly any business.
By utilising these, employees will have a more interactive and dynamic training process. This also shaves numerous hours off HR personnel’s work days, allowing them to allocate dedicated time to more personalized, one-on-one training as needed.
Implement a Schedule
In order to create the most efficient training process possible, employers need to consider implementing a training schedule. There are jobs where the training programs can take weeks to complete, and accommodating the individual schedules of the employees can cause delays.
For this reason, it is wise to have a set schedule in place which can be accessed by all those going through training. Not only will this ensure that every employee is properly trained, but it will also expedite the process.
Hire a Trainer
Hiring an experienced trainer can help the process move along more smoothly and it can be an incredibly effective way of onboarding employees. While there are costs to consider when using a professional trainer, it is certainly one of the most efficient ways of teaching.
You may also want to seek out the assistance of a seasoned employee, as this can also go a long way in showing the new hires the details of the position.
Keeping track of the progress of the trainees can be crucial. After all, it can cost a significant amount of money to put employees through the hiring process, and the results can be disastrous if they are not properly trained.
Whether your business is using software for training purposes or the learning is more hands-on, you will need to develop a set of criteria to gauge the progress of those being trained.
It is important for a company to gain feedback during and after the training process. This can help to show areas that need to be improved upon, along with pointing out the strengths of the program.
To do this, arrange one-on-one meetings with employees so that their opinion will not be skewed by that of other workers. Have them list a few of the obstacles they encountered during the process and the places where they feel they benefited the most.
Training employees in every facet of their job will significantly increase the chances that a business will succeed, and it helps to maintain employee morale. If your company is implementing a training program, be sure to identify the goals that need to be met and take advantage of the array of training resources available.
Furthermore, it is necessary to put in place a schedule so that the training of employees can be streamlined, thus reducing training-related expenses. Take note of these points and you are sure to develop an effective employee training program.