This week, we’re profiling Argylica Conditsis, founder of Babyboo Fashion, who came in at number 8 on the list. Here, Conditsis discusses how she went from being a teenager working at Pizza Hut to building her own womenswear empire.
Inside Retail: You were 17 years old when you launched Babyboo. You had just dropped out of uni and were working as a casual at Pizza Hut. Did you have any support? What was that experience like?
AC: Honestly, what a ride. It has taken 10 years to learn how to successfully run an e-commerce and fashion business, and I’m still learning every single day. I had zero support and mentoring when I started; I was often overwhelmed.
Everything I learned in those startup years can be attributed to trial-and-error, tackling everything head-first and learning from our mistakes really quickly. We learned to fail fast. The quicker we failed, the quicker we found what worked for us. Without every single lesson learned throughout the journey, neither I, nor Babyboo, would be where we are today. When we first launched, I had no degrees, no business courses, no mentors behind me. Everything I learned was from self-development and self-learning.
IR: Is that why you’re so passionate about mentoring your teams now?
AC: Mentoring and developing your team is so important. I believe your brand is only as strong as your team. You need to build and strengthen the skills of your team to allow them to work towards a common goal. Recently, I mentored a junior fashion designer with no degree and zero experience, [and she entered] top designer ranks within the company, hitting the highest month [in sales] with instant sell-out designs.
I feel as a leader, you have a responsibility to contribute to society. This is why, today, I share tips and hold monthly mentoring sessions on my personal social media channels of over 30,000 followers – to give back to hungry entrepreneurs, who don’t have support available. I want my actions to inspire others to hustle more, learn more and become more. I love my people – my team, my customers and the Babyboo community that we have built. I just want to lead them all to achieve greatness and feel empowered.
IR: I understand you’re working on a project that involves helping other businesswomen. Can you share any more details?
AC: This is still in the works so I can’t share too much. But I’m working on something to help and inspire many up-and-coming female entrepreneurs. My main passion for this project is to offer confidence and knowledge to other women who are struggling to get started in business, while assisting them in achieving greatness.
IR: How would you describe the past year for Babyboo? What are you most proud of?
AC: The growth we have experienced, particularly within the past year, has been remarkable. While a lot of businesses were suffering through the past 12 months due to the pandemic, we doubled in size.
We quickly pivoted our strategy – the goal should never change, just the execution strategy. We evolved our system, structure, and processes and came out the year with a much stronger business and brand.
It has been a roller-coaster ride of learning. We have achieved so much in the past 12 months. We have built the key component of an e-commerce machine – developing high-converting products, which can be scaled upwards of 100 per cent year-on-year. We’ve onboarded international employees from four countries, and we will have a revenue run-rate of $50 million [in] 2022.
This year, we donated $2 million worth of usable inventory to multiple charities. I believe your greatness is not what you have or achieve, it’s what you give.
IR: What does the Babyboo customer look like and what are they looking for?
AC: I don’t think the Babyboo customer has a certain look. I think the Babyboo customer is defined by an outlook. The Babyboo audience is a collective of like-minded badass women, who all dress for the lifestyle they either have, want or are working towards. The Babyboo customer is a power force to be reckoned with; she is confident, sexy, ambitious, fun-loving and she likes to express that through her fashion. She likes to look good, and is empowered to do so in its entirety. She is the life of the party, she is best dressed and dresses to look and feel powerful and confident. From a product POV, she is always wanting to look and feel her best self, and strives to turn heads when she leaves the house. She is looking for quality and ensuring that her ‘fit is on point. She has come to expect only the best from Babyboo; that’s where we have set the bar, and nothing else will do. And on a more personal level, I’d say she wants to feel like part of a community. She is looking for a brand to mirror her own best attributes and that embodies her values within its brand output. She’s looking for a brand to connect with that gets her on every level – her humour, her dress sense, her values, her priorities. She’s looking for a friend; she’s looking to be inspired by and motivated by us. The customer wants to know she is our priority, and we empower her at every opportunity – through our product, our content and our brand ethics.
IR: What are your plans for Babyboo this year?
AC: Babyboo has no plans for slowing down, we are on track to double in size again this year in revenue and team members, and to continue expanding internationally.