lady startup

"Let go of perfection." 3 lady startups on exactly how they levelled up their business.

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Starting a small business can be a heady mixture of promise and enthusiasm, and of course, a fair share of trial and (oh-so-many) errors.

But once that flurry of start-up energy wanes and your business settles into its groove, you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll be searching for ways to take things to the next level. 

Whether it’s standing out within your industry, increasing your product offering, honing in on brand identity or even making your mark in the wider community, there are a number of ways to navigate raising the bar.

So, if you’re on the hunt for ideas to level up your business, here are some golden pieces of advice from lady startups who’ve been there, done it... and done it pretty damn well. 

Keep doing what makes you unique, but do it better.

Floss Kelly, co-founder of TileCloud

Reality reno shows are not only addictive TV viewing, but they’ve also turned many of us into wannabe house flippers. So, when Floss Kelly decided to undergo her own home renovation, she was surprised to find the experience of tile shopping to be “stale, uninspiring and a bit confusing”. 

Ultimately, this experience served as inspiration for co-founding her business TileCloud, an Australian online tile store that “reflects the joy and excitement that goes with creating a new space”.

After establishing the business in 2017, Floss says it took two solid years before TileCloud began to gain traction. “That’s when we’d learned from previous mistakes about what our brand stood for as well as which products our customers were most interested in,” Floss tells Mamamia.

Being a user-friendly online store in a predominantly bricks and mortar (not to mention masculine!) industry made TileCloud a disruptor from the get-go. But the clincher was playing in the online space, which allowed customers to virtually share their dream bathroom or kitchen tile reference images – and have it paired with a spot-on match.


Floss. Image: Supplied. 

Floss also says that embracing social media has been a massive brand booster – particularly as their customers organically share their home reno pictures. “Who doesn’t love a good ‘before and after’ transformation?” adds Floss.

As the business goes from strength to strength, Floss says “staying agile” and “evolving based on customer feedback” keeps her driven and motivated. “Moving forward looks like consolidation of the things we do well and refinement of the things we can still improve on,” explains Floss.


So, what would Floss’ one piece of advice for anyone seeking to take their business up a notch? “There’s no single magic bullet,” Floss says. “All our ‘wins’ have been small, incremental gains. When you stack little gains on little gains over time, the compounding effect is powerful.”

To get more done, let go of perfection.

Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

There was a time when the phrase ‘home workout video’ conjured up images of fluoro leotards, leg warmers and ultra-cheesy aerobic dance moves. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic and suddenly the home workout medium was revolutionised.

While stuck at home like everyone else in March 2020, Chloe de Winter says she was “forced to quickly pivot and take her ten years of physio and pilates experience online” – and thus, Go Chlo Pilates was born.

At the click of a button, Go Chlo Pilates offered clients a virtual clinical pilates studio featuring hundreds of safe, high-quality, evidence-based workouts that can all be done from home. “PJs optional,” Chloe laughs.

Chloe’s home workout platform stood apart for offering “physiotherapist led pilates, which had previously always been limited to private physiotherapy practices”. 

And she believes the “accessibility” of the online forum even saw her unlock an entirely new clientele base. “Pilates used to be only for the elite – but our subscription model means you can access a whole month of classes at home, for the same price of one in-studio class,” she tells Mamamia


Chloe. Image: Supplied. 

But becoming an overnight success story meant Chloe had to quickly swallow some hard business lessons – and she still lives by her top three:

“Number one: You have to spend money to make money. (And spend it you will!) 

“Number two: Let go of perfectionism, otherwise nothing will ever get done.

“And number three: You need to stop and celebrate the wins along the way.”


So, what keeps Chloe driven to do more? She says her “drive comes from knowing that Go Chlo Pilates is making real change to people’s lives.

“I wake up daily to emails from members all around the world, telling me about the huge transformations they’ve had in their bodies, pain levels, mindsets, overall health and confidence.”

Sell online. But don’t discount the real world too.

Crystal Maros, founder of Strap The Label

Once upon a time in fashion land, everyone had the exact same handbag in the exact same style, print and colour. (How boring.) Thankfully, in recent times personalisation has become a major accessories trend – and Crystal Maros spotted it coming a mile away.

Crystal grew up working in her parents’ handbag and luggage retail store. So, in 2020 as accessory personalisation like monogramming took off, Crystal spotted a “niche opportunity” to launch her business, Strap The Label, which offers stylish, interchangeable straps to create a bespoke handbag. 

“Strap The Label is all about allowing you to choose something that suits your style,” Crystal explains. 

Honing in on an entirely overlooked market instantly made Crystal a unique player in her industry. “There are lots of bag companies out there – I’ve worked with lots of them. But no one has taken on stocking straps to this capacity,” Crystal tells Mamamia.

Crystal. Image: Supplied. 


Although Crystal’s business resides in a virtual marketplace, the “retail saleswoman at heart” recommends online business owners stay aware and open to “real world sales opportunities” to further drive sales.

“Yes, we do all those commonly used online tactics like social media advertising or sponsored posts with influencers. But I also suggest looking for organic in-person sales – whether it’s word of mouth, through your network or hosting a stall at an event,” says Crystal.

“Combining old school sales methods with new online sales methods works for me.”

Feature Image: Supplied.

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