Zjoosh is a family-owned Australian Business created by women for women. We are pretty much an "All Girl Team". We are comprised of 100 excellent women across our Head office and Warehouse in Lane Cove West with a 14 store network mostly in New South Wales with our first Queensland store opening in Brisbane last April.
The most important thing about our business is the people. Many of our core team have worked together consistently for more than 11 years and we are all equally passionate about the Zjoosh brand. I also love working with my 2 daughters and my husband Wayne is a retail data scientist who works with us closely analysing, planning and helping us to execute better.
We don’t really do ego at Zjoosh. We are a very collaborative workplace and we don’t focus on who gets the credit for our wins. Every decision is thrown to the team. Everyone has a voice and we really trust eachother.
What made you start your business?
I have always been passionate about fashion, accessories and homewares. I studied Arts/Law straight out of high school and practiced briefly in Sydney and London, but my heart was always in retail. I had worked as a casual for Country Road Australia every Thurday night and Saturday from the age of 14 and 9 month birthday all the way through school and university. My passion for retail was officially ignited. I love people, I love beautiful things.
My legal career came to a stop following the birth of my first baby. I had 3 more children in relatively quick succession while travelling the world with my husband's business. This time provided me with fertile ground to explore creative pursuits. I learnt to sew, make jewellery, and paint and I discovered I had an urge to retail the things I made. I dabbled with importing and thrill of seeing people loving what I loved totally consumed me. I found myself dreaming of creating a brand and opening stores.
There are challenges every day when growing a business, but I would say the biggest one (which I actually love) is keeping our assortment fresh and inviting. We have a very loyal customer base who return sometimes more than once a week, so it’s important to keep creating products they will love. We are on a constant quest to source and create new and beautiful things. Covid obviously presented huge challenges with port delays and factory closures. I still find it painful to think about those dark days when I really thought all might be lost. Hard work and sheer grit got us through. I will never forget the incredible comradery amongst the Zjoosh women who rose to the challenge of ensuring Zjoosh survived Covid. We banded together and did everything we could to keep swimming.
Another big challenge for me has been handling what I like to call “sideline critics” or “backseat drivers”. I’m very sensitive and when you put your heart and soul into something, it can hurt like hell when people who have not spent the blood, sweat and tears criticise you. And it’s even worse when they’re right!!!!
I’m a bit of a self-help addict. I HATE feeling bad, so I always try and understand how to turn what might feel like a negative into a positive.
What I’ve learned over time is that sideline critics might feel annoying— doing none of the hard work but always desperate to tell you what’s wrong. I’ve worked hard to understand their mindset and see that their feedback is sometimes useful.
I’ve had to remind myself that the goal is to succeed. I’ve had to learn to LOVE the feedback “feedback is my friend” no matter how painful it is when I first hear it.
The thing is, being in the thick of it, living it and breathing it every day, you’re in the moment, analysing and over analysing everything that’s happening in real-time. The backseat driver can sometimes see more than you. Their advantage is that they get to look at the outside appearance without being weighed down by the attachment of having done the work or reflecting on it for very long.
So Why is Zjoosh Different?
Very early in the creation of our brand we formulated some core values which we really do adhere to. They really provide a framework to which we can refer to constantly. They describe (and remind us) who we are and what makes us unique.
We value positivity, kindness and warmth above all else at Zjoosh. We focus on making our people and customers FEEL cared for and valued. We consciously try not to linger on the negative but instead use our warmth and positive attitude to promote great outcomes for our team and our customers.
WE DON’T DO MEAN. I don’t do it in my personal life, and we don’t do it at Zjoosh. We empower each other to do better. I like to see very young employees grow to their full potential. I like to “listen to the kids” because they know so much about the everchanging digital marketplace.
Our extremely high level of customer service is our real primary differentiator. We believe in providing a level of service to our customers and to each other which is above expectations.
Having spent time in America, I decided to model our service style on my direct experience of American retailers. We take time to go above and beyond. We acknowledge that all people are equally important no matter what they are spending, and we take extra care to ensure that our customers, colleagues and collaborators love the entire Zjoosh experience. We create meaningful relationships with our customers and our people, who in turn, return to us repeatedly, and stay loyal to us. We provide the icing on the cake, the cherry on top. We wrap the gifts in beautiful papers, tie the satin ribbons and walk the customer to the car if there are lots of bags.
We trust our team members and we really value them. We aim to build an enduring and loyal relationship with our colleagues, giving them a sense of continuity and community.
My career at Zjoosh
My career at Zjoosh has changed dramatically over time. I feel as though at one time or another I have performed almost every role in this business. This has really helped me understand the value of the people I work with. There were many years where I performed most of the tasks myself (at times not very well.) I’ve emptied many containers, packed orders, cleaned warehouses, wrapped gifts, designed clothes and jewellery, taken photos, set up new stores and spoken to hundreds of customers. I feel as though actually performing each role in the business gives me a greater understanding of what goes into every task and a real respect for the importance of each and every person who works at Zjoosh.
I have always been responsible for buying, product development and the general creative direction of the brand. I do this in close consultation with our head office team and we really do listen to our store teams who tell us what our customers are loving and not loving and what they would like to see more of. Everyone has a voice. There is a collective goal of success at Zjoosh and there are no particular heroes.
I guess I am enjoying my career more than ever now as our business has grown sufficiently that we now have team members performing all kinds of functions with far greater skillsets in specific areas than I could even dream of having. I am now at a stage where I can focus on doing the things I really love to do and the things I am good at rather than doing a little bit of everything.
A career turning point for me was taking the leap of ending my legal career, taking a break as a new mum and taking time to consider what career path I really wanted to take. Living in America really made me believe that anything was possible. The people there are imbued with a "Can Do" attitude and a level of positivity that I found infectious and so inspiring. To be honest I miss that warmth and positivity. America is not a perfect place, but for me it was a happyplace where I found my feet and really identified my passions and the possibility of making a career out the them.
Some Other Things About Me.
I am a mess maker and have been described as "slightly chaotic". I am a lover of all things beautiful. I get fixated on and obsessed with projects and new product ideas. I go off and tangents and find it hard to stay on topic. I rely on my team to “reign me in” and focus me down on important tasks at hand. I thrive on having many different things at play at the same time. I love a good laugh. I am fiercely driven and I like to do better. I think the secret to business success is to surround yourself with people who are much better at doing things than you. I love coming to work every day and I love the people I work with and that is the thing I am in equal parts most proud of and most grateful for.