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​​Proof that you can start a multi-million dollar business at just 20 years old, with Prene's founder Tammy Green (Part 1)

by Female Startup Club
March 15th 2023

This is Tammy Green for Female Startup Club.

Hey guys, welcome back to the show -

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This is Tammy Green for female startup club. Hey guys, welcome back to the show. Today's episode is sponsored by the donut, a 100% free newsletter committed to making the news more enjoyable sign up today at the donut dot co forward slash hype. And if you're new here, hi, I'm Dune, your host and Hype Girl and Business. Every week we learn from 78 and nine figure female founders to understand their blueprint in business when it comes to money, marketing and mistakes. Women like Tammy Green, the founder of Prin. Tammy founded prin from her bedroom in her parents' house when she was just 20 years old. And it's one of those right place, right time type stories that's jam packed with plenty of insights for anyone in the fashion and accessory space that's looking to get started today. The gold in this episode is when we dive into partnerships, how to run them, what makes them successful and what makes them not so successful. And while I've got you here, remember that you can access our dock for every grant that's currently live around the world right now.

For female founders, you can get the list at female startup club dot com forward slash grants. Alrighty, let's jump into today's episode. This is Tammy for female startup club. If your brand has a social media account, archive can save you three hours a day. UGC is a powerful marketing tool that helps brands promote audience engagement, boost conversion rates and build consumer trust. But manually monitoring every social media platform is inefficient and costly and there's no way to guarantee you'll catch every post in a busy feed. Ready to end the daily scroll. I'm excited to introduce you to archive. Archive is your content goldmine. It automatically saves and stores the social media post. Your brand is tagged in before they disappear. Instead of checking your feeds 24 7, check your archive library whenever you want, easily organize your UGC into custom collections that you can share securely with your team partners or agencies. You can even request usage rights with just two clicks using archive. You'll never miss another post and it's easy to download and repurpose your assets for your brand campaigns.

Get started for free today at archive dot com forward slash F S C. That's archive dot com forward slash F S C. Find your best UGC with archive and say goodbye to the daily scroll, Tammy. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hello, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to speak with you today. Me too. How's your day going? Do you have any wins or ocean moments that have happened already. No, no ship moment, but we are currently gearing up to launch our new Chloe Fisher collaboration which launches on Thursday. So just working on the final touches, they're prepping for the big, the big moment. I feel like these collaborations have so much build up. They take about a year to actually come to life. So it's been a labor of love and yeah, I couldn't be more excited. So that's happening on Thursday. And then yeah, just working on the day today, my new show of running a business that never ends. Oh my gosh, that's so exciting.

I love the editorial. By the way, I was just looking at the pictures of how fun and bright and cool everything looks on the website. Thank you. Well, that's exactly what I wanted to capture. I feel like Khloe has such a bubbly and bright personality and we really wanted that to shine through and just totally reflect who she is as a person and she was so involved from start to finish. So you could not be happier. Oh, my gosh, I'm so excited to get into that and I definitely am going to circle back to partnerships and co labs a little bit later in the episode. But I love to start kind of at the very beginning of trying to understand where your entrepreneurial story began. So I want to rewind like pre like pre 2015. What was getting you into launching this business? How did you land on bags? What was getting you kind of started? I have always been very entrepreneurial from a young age. I was very privileged to grow up with a very entrepreneurial dad who always had his own businesses and always encouraged this side of me. So I was always making things or having a little shop set up outside my house.

And then in my teen years, I started to sell things online. I used to be obsessed with Justin Bieber because what teenager wasn't and I still guilty. Um I would make and sell Justin Bieber T shirts at the peak of his fame when I had a Tumbler blog and they just went viral and they just went crazy and I was hand making these shirts and I got so many inquiries and I just couldn't understand why other people didn't think the same way that I did and didn't think of making them them, but I was more than happy to sell them. So I was making those for a while which did very well. Then I would scout through op shops and markets and up cycle vintage clothing or designer clothing and sort of, you know, hem the pants or cut the sleeves off them, sell them on ebay for a profit. And I would also rent out design addresses. I would buy the designer dress and continue to rent it out and rent it out until I'd made my money back tenfold. Essentially. I feel like most of these things all revolve around fashion, which has always been my passion.

So I was always doing something. Um I always had a little project on the go, which eventually led me to my next project, which was spring, it was just a side project originally, how it started. And as I say, the rest is history now. And how did it actually start though? Like, did you, were you kind of hand making the bag or did you think? Hey, I'm actually going to try and work with the manufacturer. I'm going to try and make a sample to get this design that I have in my head out into the real Real world or like, what was that early kind of way to getting it started? Absolutely. I think in terms of the genesis of the product itself at the time, the handbag industry was very much dominated by expensive leather goods. Min Ko was really big at the time and I personally just could not understand and forgot about it. Does, it does. Um, but personally I couldn't justify or comprehend or understand how you could spend so much money on a designer bag that spends all of its time on the floor and it gets dirty and you can't really wash it.

I mean, you're not going to put a Chanel handbag through the wash and I was really looking for something that was practical and versatile. I was going to uni at the time, I needed a tote bag that could take me to uni and then out on the weekends and to the beach and in between. So I really identified a gap in the market. And as I mentioned, leather, leather bags were good, but there was nothing that was really vegan, which is something I'm quite passionate about and is a huge, huge movement. So I started to play around with a few samples after I was inspired by some international designers like Alexander Wang, who was using neoprene in some clothing garments at the time. And I just thought it was something cool, it was something different, but it was also, I mean, neoprene is essentially wetsuit material so you can wash it, which is super, super cool. So as I mentioned, I was always making things. It wasn't unusual for me to be playing around with a few samples. And so I just started working on a few sample bags that I just wanted for myself essentially played around for a very, very, very long time. The first few samples are laughable if you look at them very, very scrappy.

But one sample I ended up giving to my mom who carried it out to dinner one night. And in that night, about five people stopped her in the street and they asked, where did you get your bag? And that has never happened before. I mean, she's had every designer bag you can think of, but this was the bag that got noticed and that's when I thought okay, there's something here, I'm onto something. So that's when I did have to look for a manufacturer who could bulk produce the design that I decided on. Essentially. Again, that was very much trial and error. And really luck of the draw, I just kind of played around with a few samples with that manufacturer picked the best one and hope for the best and the minimum order quantity was 600 units. So I really had to commit to, to this first design. Um And I did, I placed the order, Then I set up a website myself again just on weeks. It wasn't great. I took all the photos myself. I have very beautiful friends.

So I took a few pictures on them. I set up an instagram and within one month I had sold all 600 bags sight unseen on pre order, which was shocking, shocking, shocking. I thought I'd help them for the rest of my life. Oh my God. Wait, Okay. Let's pause. First of all, when you have to think about your kind of launch capital that you needed to invest for that 600 kind of order unit and samples and maybe a little bit around the website and things like that. What did you kind of spend to get started? It wasn't a huge investment. To be honest. So, alongside my side projects, you know, the Justin Bieber T shirts and the dresses and all of that. I was also, now I was working part time at a retail store. I was working in a frozen yogurt store. I was 20, so I was living at home. So I didn't have a lot of expenses. I was very lucky to have quite a significant amount of savings, but I was always advised never, ever, ever invest more money than you can afford to lose. And that's exactly what I did. I spent all the money just on the product itself, everything else I did on my own.

Um, and again, very, very limited spend on websites and all that. I wasn't paying for a model or a developer. So it wasn't a huge investment and I just felt like it was worth taking the risk based on the feedback I got just from one person seeing that were five people seeing the bag out in person and it paid off. I'm not the type of person who, um, if I have an idea, I just act on it, I don't spend months and months, sort of working out the data and putting in all the pros and cons, I just take a risk and hope it pays off and understand if it doesn't, then it's an amount of money that I can afford to lose. I actually love that. I think that's a great piece. Of advice that we should all remember is like, if you're gonna go out there and do something, make it an amount that you're happy to lose. If it's $10,000 if it's $100,000 if it's $1000 make sure that, you know what that like limit is for you and stick within that and then golden, it takes the pressure off. You're not kind of like scrambling at the fear of losing, you know, potentially whole house deposit or you know, your life savings or something like that.

I love that. My next question was while we're pausing here is 600 orders sold out in a month. How, how do you sell 600 orders in a month? That's like insane to me. That's amazing. Obviously, it shows to kind of this new product, it gains vitality really instantly. But like what were you actually doing to get the word out there and sell 600 units? Yeah, back in 2015, Instagram was still relatively new. So you could still grow quite organically on there. And that is really where my business started. So I always say my success is 50% luck and 50% hard work. The luck element really came in this timing. Um so I did start working with a few very small micro influencers. I had friends post about the bags, they just gained a lot of traction quite organically because you could then it's as simple as that. It was also a product that was very different at the time, you couldn't miss it. The first bag we launched with was the Brighton bag, which is still our best selling product today.

Seven years later, and it's a simple black tote with the black and white rope handle. So it's very identifiable and it was just something different at the time. So quite organic in the first month and then the following month is when I did start to branch out and, and pay some personalities online, which again just took the brand to the next level and it kept growing and growing and growing. And this is where I feel like cream started to get the monopoly on the handbag business in Australia because we would work with these names that meant other handbag businesses or competitors could not work with. So I kind of went for the mass approach. You could not escape print on your feed and it paid off. Amazing. Are you also at this time, you know, you're working with kind of some personalities, you're doing some paid stuff, you're doing some micro stuff. It sounds like are you gifting at scale or is it quite hand selected and picked who you're working with?

No, no, I wasn't doing much gifting at this time. It was very much hand selected. I wanted to ensure that whoever I was partnering with reflected preen as a company and our brand values and our design ethos. We're so lucky to have such a wide ranging customer demographic. One key portion of that is Yung tran, the stylish active moms. So that's what I was focusing on at the time because I loved using the Brighton bag as their everyday chic bag that just happens to be very suitable as a baby bag. So I think the first influence that I actually paid for was Nadia Bartel and she just had a new baby at the time. And I remember her posting and within minutes the on my phone from shopper fiber, ding, ding, ding. It was crazy. I know it was the perfect alignment. So it was very much picking the right people, particularly when your brand is starting out. It's so important to establish the partners that you work with and not just pick them for the sake of it, which is what I've always stuck with and still do do today.

It's very important. I love that. And in those first kind of years, you know, you're starting to work with these influences. It's kind of having the viral moment because it's a unique product. It's different in the market. It's something people haven't seen before. What else are you doing to kind of keep that momentum up? What are the key things that are shifting the needle in those 1st 23 years? Yeah, I would say establishing your branding and your presence online, your tone of voice, your colors, your campaigns because that really establishes your brand and how people recognize it for the rest of time unless you do a bit of a rebrand. So we've always gone with very simple, classic branding which reflects the design of our products. They're simple, they're classic, they're practical, they're versatile as well. Another thing that really helped us to grow and take the brand to the next level. Social media was great with direct sales online For our website was also great for working with retailers and brick and mortar stores who started to take notice of the brand on Instagram and would reach out directly.

And this was fantastic for getting the product physically in stores, for customers to see because there are certain demographic of customers who do want to touch and feel a product before they purchase it. So this happened also very, very quickly, we had stores reach out directly to us, but we also had wholesale distributors reach out who would really push the brand out. We had a stalker's in every suburb at one point. We still do. To be honest, we have over 400 stockers at present. So this got the brand visible in stores. But it also meant that customers who were purchasing from those stores, for example, moms would buy the bags and then they would go to school pick up and then their friends would say, oh, where did you get that bag o from that stock is down the road and it would keep growing and growing and growing. And then that stalkers would tell their stalkers brand and someone else would see it. And yeah, from the smaller boutiques, we had larger stores like the iconic and David Jones eventually start to reach out to me, which is amazing. I mean, I've grown up with those stores.

I look up to them. David Jones is the largest department store in Australia, the iconic, the largest online retailer, a huge huge privilege. That was also a huge learning curve. Again. At 20 years old, I had no idea what I was doing. I dropped out of uni at this point, I quit my business entrepreneurship degree because I was failing. Ironically, I don't have a mathematical mind. I could not pass accounting statistics. Just very ironic. Um so I didn't even know how to create an invoice. I didn't know how to negotiate terms. I'm so lucky to have the guidance of my entrepreneurial dad who really did help me with that and working with David Jones and the iconic is absolutely what elevated the brand got us the most incredible exposure. And yeah, there is power in numbers for sure. They are beasts in Australia, they placed huge orders, they have been incredible to work with. Um and a lot of recognition and opportunity has come from partnering with stores like that. What was it like, you know, partnering with those kind of companies and those kind of businesses at that scale.

What was it like transitioning then, you know, from the supply chain point of view, like, was it easy? Was it a nightmare? What did you learn? I learned a lot. Um I think nightmare would be closer to reality with that line. So originally when I started the business, all stock was being delivered to the family home in the garage. It was my mom and dad and me packing orders night and day. Very quickly, we outgrew that. I got my own warehouse. Cute. Shout out to your mom and dad. Oh, they are the best. Honestly, I could not have done it without them. I am so so, so grateful and thankful for them. Eventually I rented out my own warehouse which again the truck would get delivered. We didn't even have a pallet lifter. We would unload boxes by hand. Again, we outgrew that and working with the iconic and David Jones. You do need a pallet lifter. You do need to politicize all your items. There's all these terms and conditions and delivery requirements that you have to meet. So there was a stage, it was the pivotal moment where I decided this is not going to work as it currently is.

I need to move to a three pl third party logistics center who deals with these people on a daily basis who can store my product, who can politicize it, can meet all the requirements with ease. And this also frees up my time to work more on the business rather than in the business. So that actually changed everything. That was the best decision I ever made. It also was a lot of pressure trying to forecast the numbers for stores like that because they do plan so far ahead at least six months. And so it's very difficult to work out from placing an order to actually getting here in time, the time frame and how it's how it's going to meet their deadlines. So that's been difficult and something that you do obviously improve on with practice over time, it's just a matter of planning ahead, particularly with COVID, you can never anticipate something that's going to come up and influence your supply chain in a negative way. So I just like to plan ahead as much as possible and I actually like to sit on more stock than I need just in case.

Mhm. And I'm also wondering like, you know, you're going through that kind of time of upscaling essentially, but is it just you or are you bringing other people into the business in addition to your mom and dad to actually help with this kind of like scaling up moment for the first few years? It was, it was me, it was me and my mom and dad. I have never worked in a corporate job or corporate environment before. So to be totally transparent, I had no idea how to be someone's boss and I was scared of it. So I took on the pressure of doing everything on my own from all the marketing and web design and customer care inquiries and packing the orders and delivering orders at some point and dealing with the retailers and negotiating and bringing it was a lot, all the accounting everything and like I said, I can't deal with numbers. So that was a nightmare. I have learnt, don't do that, do as much as you can whilst you can in the early years because it is absolutely the best training and then you will know your business inside and out but do not outsource too late because you can only come crashing down at one point and it did and I absolutely burnt out numerous times.

I just could not cope praying with my life. 24 7 was devoted to print. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I sacrificed all my weekends again. As a 20 year old, I wasn't out partying every weekend. It impacted on my relationship at the time. It was just, yeah, I, I lived and breathed it and that is not necessarily healthy. And over the past few years, I have learned to outsource and also just let go of this level of perfectionism I have learned is just unattainable, which is what any founder who has a baby in, in this business is scared to do. It's, it's just you need to, you need to grow a team again so that you can grow a business. And I know what my time is most valuable spent working on and it's not the day to day my new share of scheduling Instagram posts and writing copy and things like that. I am the creative director. I am the designer. I oversee my team now and I've learned to delegate. Yeah, absolutely done is better than perfect is something that we all need to continuously remind ourselves of because I can even, you know, sometimes you can catch yourself getting caught back in the trap of being like, but this with this, with this and then you're like hang on, take a step back.

This doesn't matter in the big scheme of things. This doesn't matter. Let's just like move quickly, get it out iterate as we go. I don't know if you feel the same as me, but today's mainstream news is not engaging, not unbiased and not enjoyable. The donut newsletter is all these things. It's also 100% free and hilariously witty join 85,000 daily readers and get news that lets you make up your own mind at the donut dot co forward slash hype. That's T H E D O N U T dot C O forward slash hype to sign up for free today. Something else I'm wondering during this time of you kind of getting into the iconic, getting into David Jones and scaling up is definitely the capital piece. Obviously, working capital is so needed in brands, physical product brands. It's a lot I was reading, you know about your story and your partnership with N A B and I just wanted to talk a little bit about how that works. I was reading that you were kind of getting support from them on the financial side.

You were getting credit from them on the financial side for small business owners listening in who aren't fundraising. What is the pathway? What's the journey? Again? My advice would be to just start small. My whole kind of the crux of this business for me has just been ensuring that I keep it as profitable as possible and I keep costs as low as possible. I'm someone who's very frugal with money besides my online shopping addiction. But with my business, yeah, I like to do as much as I can on my own or with people. I know or use resources around me or I use air task or, or virtual assistance all the time, which is why I've tried to keep my team quite small. I have a lot of contractors and agencies. I don't have many employees and that's just what has worked so far. But again, it's just being realistic with numbers. I mean, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars on stock and marketing and promotions. And I have learned the hard way um, of what happens when you do that and it's not necessary and that's how you get yourself into a little bit of trouble with the business.

So my advice to be, run your business as lean as possible. Um, a lot of work we have brought in house, we see our, with our team just because it's much more cost efficient and yeah, it just works. I've trimmed the fat, as you could say, with a lot of expenses that I thought was necessary, particularly watching other businesses. As I was building mine, I saw they had a big team or they had this big office, it's just not necessary. And if COVID has taught us anything, it's that you can run a business from home. Most of the time, your team was happy to work from home. Most of the time I have my own little photo studio set up for campaigns. Now I've become the photographer. I love that. I love the creative side of the business and that has saved a lot of money. So, yeah, my advice is, and you're great at it. By the way, I love your pictures. That's cool. Thank you. Yes. So definitely just try and keep the business lean. Keep your costs low, constantly re evaluate what you are spending. Make sure you are looking at that P and L shape because those costs do add up very quickly.

Look, numbers are not my forte, it's, it's not my area of expertise, but that's all I know is I just try and keep the business as lean as possible if something doesn't look right or something looks extremely expensive. I see. Speak up about it. I look at it. I think how can we change this? How can we improve this? I've also learned that everything is negotiable and a lot of costs are not set in stone or not necessarily, um, correct. I feel like I have been taken advantage of a lot throughout the years just because I am a young woman in business and I haven't been taken seriously and I think I've got all this money and I'm clueless and I can just spend it on them. It's not the case I negotiate everything and it works out. Basically, you have to speak up. Do you mean like with manufacturers or do you mean service providers like agencies and things like that? Like where are you kind of like what advice can the business owners listening in? Take from that? Like who, who are they thinking about right now when you're, when you're saying this all of the above? For sure. Yeah, manufacturers um, influences marketing agencies, any job that you are trying to outsource.

Um It's, it is negotiable. I can assure you you need any partnership needs to be beneficial for both parties and if something doesn't seem right or you feel like you're being taken advantage of or taking for a ride that is where you need to say something and you need to be on the same level and if they can't meet you in the middle, then it's not the right partnership. Yeah, that's great advice. I love that. Everything is negotiable, including terms like you said earlier terms with your manufacturer, terms with your retail partners. Absolutely. When we started this conversation, we were talking a little bit about the new collab, the launching on Thursday. And I want to talk a little bit about coal labs and partnerships in general because it feels like when I read about your story, it's really been a key part of your growth and your brand identity. Um I was reading that you had designed sports bags for the Australian Open. You've done partnerships with people like Judd and I just want to know um kind of your approach to partnerships and what makes a successful partnership and what makes a not so successful partnership. Yeah, I highly recommend collaborations and partnerships for business growth.

You essentially both benefit. I mean, whoever you partner with gets the benefit of your audience and your following and then you get the benefit of this. So that has been integral in prince growth over the years. The first partnership was the Australian Open who actually reached out to me, which again, a gob smacking. It was a privilege. I live in Melbourne. I have grown up with the Australian Open every summer. It's like the biggest event here. So that was definitely a pinch me moment, but they wanted to design a custom sports bag for the tennis tournament which is going to be gifted to all players as well as sold in the merchandise store. Um These collaborations take awhile. That was another year in the making. But when it launched, sold out on the first day of the tournament, really repeated the collaboration two or three times since. And now we have an ongoing relationship with them, which is just incredible. But the exposure you get from that is amazing. I mean to have my bag on some of the biggest tennis players in the world is just crazy to me. Another collaboration we did was with brown brothers who is one of Australia's largest wine companies and they wanted to create a custom wine bag for their new mascot, a range again.

So Australian Open was more of like a sports luxe sporty gym bag customer. This is more about our younger demographic who liked to drink something a little bit slow. They like something pink, it was pink wine and we created the cutest little pink wine bag which was sold in all Coles and liquor land stores nationwide. And in New Zealand again, sold out immediately. That Cole's actually sent me a message saying please take down the promotion. We are being inundated with phone calls, we cannot cope stop. So that went crazy again. Incredible exposure and coverage there. But I think the most prominent collaboration we have had was partnering with Rebecca Judd, who is someone I have followed for many years. I absolutely admire her. She is the most incredible mom and businesswoman, an entrepreneur and fashion icon and All of the above. So I felt like she was the perfect representation of the ultimate praying customer. And do you know what I just reached out to her via cold email, you know, 100% of the shots you don't take.

And I think she liked my story and something just stuck. And so we spoke for a while, we talked about a few options of how we could best make this work. And then we ended up meeting up working on a few design ideas. The first bag we launched with one massive tote bag bag, very glam and loves a bit of luxury. So we added some metallic accents in there. And Howie that bag when it launched, we sold a bag a minute, it sold out immediately. It's still one of our best selling products today. And we've had that release for several years because it went so well. We expanded the collaboration last year into a 10 piece range and is the most amazing person to work with. She is such a hard workout. We are so on the same page and again, her exposure is just incredible. Absolutely incredible. I love that. And it really speaks to the power of finding the person that really is your ideal customer is the person that's speaking to the audience you want to reach and when you find that person or that brand, who is able to come together with you and it's just the perfect partnership.

Magic can really happen. I love that. I'm wondering on the flip side if there's and we don't need to go into detail about who or anything like that. But have there been partnerships that haven't worked? And what like what did you learn from those experiences? Like what makes a successful partnership versus what makes a partnership kind of not so successful? Yes, absolutely. There have been so many ones that you just would never have seen or known about because they have not come to light. I have learned to not jump the gun and really make sure that anyone we are partnering with is aligned with the business and the brand and maybe just taking a bit of time to ensure that what other projects they're working on aligns with our biz and our brand. Um keeping communication very clear and open as well and not diving into heavy handed on stock. For example, if you do have a co branded collaboration lined up because if something doesn't work out, then you do get left with a lot of stock that you have to do something with.

Again, I think that kind of comes down to me maturing over the years. I've grown up a lot in the past seven years and my business has grown with that and I have learned a lot about how to negotiate deals better, how to ensure that any partner is on the same page. But yeah, I think it's just taking your time to really evaluate who you will decide to bring on as an ambassador or work with because they become a reflection of you. And if it's not, if it's not aligned, it's only going to be detrimental in the long run. So a lot of consideration needs to be put into that. And just again, always starting very, very, very slow just in case anything happens because you never know what's around the corner or what could happen. Yeah, absolutely. And I love that kind of advisable. So starting small, start slow, start small. See how you go. Is there any kind of like when you're building out your kind of deals and your contracts and things like that? Is there any kind of, this might be the wrong word? But like guarantees you can put in place where it's like, you know, if we don't hit this amount of, I don't know, sales or something, like something happens or is it more just like if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out and then you really are just kind of like left with a bunch of stuff?

No, that is, yeah, that is my other piece of advice. Absolutely. Have a firm contract. In place. Something else I have learned the hard way you need to cover your back in all circumstances. I highly encourage anyone to spend the money working with a lawyer to just ensure that that contract is watertight and that you as a brand and a business are protected. Should anything go wrong? Mm. Yeah, I love that great advice. If anyone's listening at the moment, who was a small business owner who's obviously kind of earlier on in the journey, what advice can you give them in terms of partnerships and starting on a smaller scale where it doesn't require, you know, kind of these huge campaigns and huge scale partnerships. Yeah, I would be considering micro names and micro personalities. You don't need to go straight to the top immediately just because it can be such a huge gamble and for a small business, you are investing a lot whereas a larger name might not factor that in, I mean, for them, it's not such a big deal, but I understand the hard way of how much as business you you are potentially a loss when something can happen there.

I would actually recommend working with influencers and personalities on your own affiliate program. That is a great place to start where they can act as an ambassador for your brand. They essentially get paid for however much traffic or however many sales directly attributable to them. And that is a great way to test whether they are worth spending the money on with a co branded or a larger scale collaboration. We've just set up our own affiliate program which has been extremely successful over the past few months, particularly with the change in influences and the social media landscape. Over the past year, I feel like it's gone from macro influences and look, there's always going to be a time and place for the back judge and Chloe fishes of the world. It depends what you were wanting to do and what you are trying to achieve. But I know that for Prion, we were spending so much money every week just doing some paid collaborations with Macro influences and gradually the response and the results was going downhill. And I have heard the same feedback from so many other businesses and brands and I think that is because of the pivot towards yeah, micro content creators, but also UGC content creators and the everyday person and less polished content and the rise of tiktok.

So that is actually who I would be focusing more on at present because they have the reach and they have the loyal following and they have the engagement and it is much lower risk. Yeah, I love that. And I think it also gives you really an opportunity to get to know someone and build that relationship first before you dive into, you know, the nitty gritty of those bigger scale partnerships. I love that advice. This is a good segue to talk about tiktok and things that are shifting the needle for you. Now, what is your kind of focus and energy on and where besides the micro content creators and UGC, what are you seeing that's working for you at the moment, Tiktok? I feel like Instagram is going to have its day very soon. I feel like over the past few years, they have tried to become a platform that they are not, they tried to become Snapchat with stories, they've tried to become tiktok with the reels. They're just a bit confused. The algorithm has completely changed. You cannot grow organically anymore on there. As a business, you need to spend a lot of money to have your posts and ads visible.

It's, it's not there. Whereas tiktok, you can go viral overnight. I still think on tiktok, it is quite difficult to grow as a business. Once you have, have set up your own business page, the algorithm does change slightly. You can't use the trending songs and sounds becomes a little bit more tricky. However, it's important to have a business page where you can have your more sort of product posts and things like that, but also have a personal page if you are a founder, which is something I've started to do over the past few months, I've set up my own tiktok page just talking about business and day to day life and behind the scenes and just trying to show people who is behind Preen and, and what I am passionate about and what a day in the life looks like and what actually went into that Chloe Fisher campaign that you're about to see because that's what people are buying into. They are buying into a brand, not a business. And tiktok is amazing. It's like the less polished the video is the better. It does, the more scrappy, the more unprofessional, the more real, the better. So it's super simple for anyone to get started on there.

It's really about consistency and posting every day. I wish I had more time to devote to it. It's something I'm very focused on this year, but I have seen the most incredible results from posting stories about the business on my personal page which have then led people to the business page, then led them on to the website. So it's kind of a domino effect and you need to cover all bases. But yeah, I would start showing behind the scenes particularly on tiktok for sure. I feel like I often hear people be like, oh, you know, on tiktok, I've missed the boat. It's too late. I'm not going to have that same success. What would you say to people who are sitting here listening and being like, no, I've missed it like we've had the moment. No, it's never too late and it's never too late to get started. You just need to get started, the more you think about it, the more planning you put into it, the more time you're wasting. There are so many other people with incredible business ideas ready to take yours or they might have the same as yours and they might be getting started the minute that you're saying it's too late for you. It's never too late. Just get started. Just take the plunge. What do you have to lose? I love that.

What advice can you leave us with especially early stage small business founders. So back to what I said earlier, please bear in mind that everything is negotiable. Do not let yourself get taken advantage of, do not be afraid to speak up, particularly if you are a young woman and now because it is so competitive and you know, you can't really be scrappy with launching a business like I was, if you look at my first post or the website back then it was horrific. But if you're not embarrassed of your first product, you have started too late. So really focus on your branding and your messaging and make sure that your brand and product is red recognizable. And again, get on tiktok, start your tiktok the second you start your business show the journey before you start your business build and engage loyal following of people who are invested in your story and who you are. And then you will find that they follow you into the launch of your business. Love, that great advice. Thank you. Hey, it's Dune here. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode of the female startup club podcast.

If you're a fan of the show and want even more of the good stuff, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our free newsletter. We send it out weekly covering female founder, business news insights and learnings in D C and interesting business resources. And if you're a founder building an e commerce brand, you can join our private network of entrepreneurs called hype club at female startup club dot com forward slash hype club. We have guests from the show joining us for intimate, ask me anythings, expert workshops and a group of totally amazing like minded women building the future of DTC brands. As always, please do subscribe, rate and review the show and post your favorite episodes to Instagram stories. I am beyond grateful when you do that.

​​Proof that you can start a multi-million dollar business at just 20 years old, with Prene's founder Tammy Green (Part 1)
​​Proof that you can start a multi-million dollar business at just 20 years old, with Prene's founder Tammy Green (Part 1)
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