Australian online fashion boutique St Frock has made good business out of being ahead of the tech curve.
It all started back in 2005 when Sandradee Makejev started selling trendy women’s dresses at a Bondi Beach market stall.
In 2009, she started a Facebook page for St Frock. At the time, social media’s potential as a driver of eCommerce success was yet to be tapped.
“I decided to start posting pictures of the clothes on social, invited a few friends, and then overnight, I had $350 worth of orders,” the founder and CEO shares with Startup Daily. “And I thought maybe I was onto something.”
When she reached 1600 followers, Sandradee quit her PR and marketing job to focus on St Frock full time – a bold move that would pay off.
Flash forward to 2022
Today, St Frock’s Facebook page is nearing 1 million fashion-forward followers from across the globe. As a social-first brand, St Frock has a ready-made audience hungry to see the latest from its eCommerce store. Case in point: On Black Friday 2021, St Frock had their first $1 million week and grew 20 per cent year on year.
Through clever use of social media and constant innovation, Sandradee has turned St Frock into a $20 million business with more than 120 staff – all while remaining self-funded.
While St Frock’s story is inspiring, rapid growth can also be overwhelming for business owners. Often, a shift in mindset is needed to manage the bigger picture while staying agile along the way.
“I remember what being overwhelmed used to feel like,” she shares. “But then I also got out into the eCommerce community. I went to conferences, I did research, I found experts. So as your business grows and you meet people and being part of networks, you learn a lot. And I’m always about being better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.”
Watch the interview: The secrets to Sandradee’s success with St Frock
Seven Network’s resident technology correspondent Valens Quinn speaks to Sandradree Makejev about technology and how she’s grown her business. Post continues after video.
“Technology is what saved us”
With the onset of COVID, many companies had to rapidly transition to a hybrid working model or face dire consequences. Thankfully, St Frock already had employees set up in different countries, however, it needed to get its local team working from home quickly.
“I remember staff were coming into work and we told them to turn around and go home, so we had no time to change. Technology is what saved us,” Sandradee says. “And we grew 100 per cent last year through the first round of COVID. And if we didn’t have all the amazing, shiny things that you can play with to collaborate, we wouldn’t be able to grow 100 per cent. Companies wouldn’t have been able to survive.”
In terms of collaboration, St Frock relied on team sharing and video conferencing tools for its day-to-day operations.
“You’ve really got to think about ways you want to interact with your team, whether it’s using channels or scheduling meetings and collaborating,” she says. “Obviously, there’s Microsoft Teams [so] that you can communicate with your staff. We use it because we have a team in the Philippines, we have a team in China, we have all our partners and suppliers. But I think, more than ever, it’s for a work-from-home environment.”
When asked what advice she’d give business owners around staying up to date with technology, Sandradee says it’s best to do “a regular review” and “consult with your staff”.
“They are the eyes and the ears of your company,” she says. “They’re across different pieces of technology, they notice stuff. And one of the things we have at St Frock, is if it doesn’t look right, smell right, or it seems off, then tell someone. Investigate it. And then consulting your staff is also great as well, because they’re going to be the first ones that tell you what their blockers are and what technology you need to upgrade.”
St Frock has been on the forefront of modern technology throughout its growth. To keep up with rapid growth and any unexpected changes, make sure your startup has the latest PCs with Windows 11’s zero-trust ready operating system, with secure, anytime access to your data. For the latest on how to prepare your business for security and success, visit the Windows 11 Security website.
This article is brought to you by Startup Daily in partnership with Microsoft.
Feature image: Supplied.