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Showpo Jane Lu reveals biggest business mistake she made

Founder of Showpo Jane Lu has revealed the biggest mistake she made before turning her brand into a $30 million fashion empire.

The entrepreneur, who hails from Sydney, may seem like she’s leading the dream life now – but her journey to success has been far from easy.

Speaking to Mamamia, the 30-year-old spoke candidly of the major setback she faced after her company couldn’t recover the money they’d lost.

Founder of Showpo Jane Lu has revealed the biggest mistake she made before turning her brand into a $30 million fashion empire

The entrepreneur, who hails from Sydney, may seem like she's leading the dream life now - but her journey to success has been far from easy

The entrepreneur, who hails from Sydney, may seem like she’s leading the dream life now – but her journey to success has been far from easy

‘I’ve made several big mistakes, but the one I think other people could learn from the most was not knowing my numbers,’ she said.

‘One December I thought we were killing it because the sales were rolling in at an all-time high. It wasn’t until I actually looked at the numbers and reviewed our margins the following month that I realised that we over-discounted and our cost for acquisition was too high – I should’ve looked at our numbers much sooner.’

Instead of dwelling over the loses, Ms Lu said they decided to put the mistakes behind them by working ‘extra hard’ for the next few months to make up for the ‘s*** December’.

And it’s a simple mistake she believes anyone going into business could draw from after she learned how important it is to base her decisions on numbers.

‘I always check numbers now. I look at our sales daily, our stock expenses weekly and overhead costs monthly. And I review it comparing with the prior month, the prior year and keep an eye on key ratios,’ she said.

Instead of dwelling over the loses, Ms Lu said they decided to put the mistakes behind them by working 'extra hard' for the next few months to make up for the 's*** December'

Instead of dwelling over the loses, Ms Lu said they decided to put the mistakes behind them by working ‘extra hard’ for the next few months to make up for the ‘s*** December’

After quitting her corporate job at 18 and quickly falling into debt,  30-year-old Jane Lu from Sydney (pictured) went on to found fashion e-store, Showpo, from her parents' garage in 2010

After quitting her corporate job at 18 and quickly falling into debt, 30-year-old Jane Lu from Sydney (pictured) went on to found fashion e-store, Showpo, from her parents’ garage in 2010

Her latest interview comes after she opened up about her brand to Husskie. 

After quitting her corporate job at the tender age of 18 and quickly falling into debt, she went on to found the fashion e-store from her parents’ garage in 2010.

Ms Lu was working at Ernst & Young when she quit and launched her own business:

‘When I started my first business, I had no retail or fashion experience – then my first business turned out to be an utter failure, I was over $60k in debt, and I’ve never had a business plan,’ she told Husskie. 

The 30-year-old admitted she has ‘never considered myself entrepreneurial’; she didn’t have an interest in setting up her own venture.

After quitting her corporate job at the tender age of 18 and quickly falling into debt, she went on to found the fashion e-store from her parents' garage in 2010

After quitting her corporate job at the tender age of 18 and quickly falling into debt, she went on to found the fashion e-store from her parents’ garage in 2010

Ms Lu was working at Ernst & Young when she quit and launched her own business; however, her first business failed and she was over $60,000 in debt before Showpo

Ms Lu was working at Ernst & Young when she quit and launched her own business; however, her first business failed and she was over $60,000 in debt before Showpo

Ms Lu was working at Ernst & Young when she quit and launched her own business; however, her first business failed and she was over $60,000 in debt before Showpo

'My parents and I immigrated from China when I was eight, so all they wanted for me was to get a secure job working somewhere in upper middle management,' Ms Lu (pictured) said

‘My parents and I immigrated from China when I was eight, so all they wanted for me was to get a secure job working somewhere in upper middle management,’ Ms Lu (pictured) said

Jane Lu’s top tips for business success 

  • Make sure your business model works.
  • Good marketing will help you scale a business. Social media has helped grow the brand into a global success.
  • Hire great people to make the business scale even further.
  • Don’t compare yourself.
  • Never invest more than you’re willing to lose.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

‘My parents and I immigrated from China when I was eight, so all they wanted for me was to get a secure job working somewhere in upper middle management. But that didn’t exactly go to plan,’ she laughed. 

However, the ambitious Ms Lu soon got the hang of business, and when she co-founded Showpo in 2010, it was quick to take off and catch the eyes of fashionable men and women all over the world:

‘Once I took over, I was able to do whatever I wanted,’ she said. ‘So I removed the shipping charge, optimised Google and Facebook ads, provided impeccable customer service and packaging, scheduled frequent social posts.

‘Sales just kept doubling month-on-month. We went from $5k, to $40k, to $75k, to $140k within the space of four months,’ the CEO continued.

'Sales just kept doubling month-on-month. We went from $5k, to $40k, to $75k, to $140k within the space of four months,' Ms Lu said

‘Sales just kept doubling month-on-month. We went from $5k, to $40k, to $75k, to $140k within the space of four months,’ Ms Lu said

Speaking about her drive and ambition, Ms Lu said she believes her experience in various areas has helped with Showpo, as well as her desire to prove people wrong:

‘So many people said I couldn’t do it and thought I was an idiot for giving up my great corporate job in the middle of the GFC, so it was spite to prove them wrong,’ she said.

The 30-year-old has also spoken in the past about the fact that an important part about running a business is hiring great people and letting them do their own thing:

‘Sometimes I think I’m a bit of a phony if I don’t know everything that’s going on but it’s important to remember it’s okay not to be the smartest person in the room,’ she told Jules Sebastian in May. 

Speaking about her drive and ambition, Ms Lu said she believes her experience in various areas has helped with Showpo, as well as her desire to prove people wrong

Speaking about her drive and ambition, Ms Lu said she believes her experience in various areas has helped with Showpo, as well as her desire to prove people wrong

'So many people said I couldn't do it and thought I was an idiot for giving up my great corporate job in the middle of the GFC, so it was spite to prove them wrong,' she said

‘So many people said I couldn’t do it and thought I was an idiot for giving up my great corporate job in the middle of the GFC, so it was spite to prove them wrong,’ she said

The 30-year-old now works with digital influencers including Pia Muehlenbeck regularly (both pictured)

The 30-year-old now works with digital influencers including Pia Muehlenbeck regularly (both pictured)

These days, Showpo boasts over 2,000 different styles and turns over $30 million each year.

The business works with high-profile ‘digital influencers’, including Sydney-based bikini model, Pia Muehlenbeck. 

Ms Lu also does things differently within her business, taking colleagues and employees on weekend trips to Byron Bay and on a boat around Sydney Harbour – all a far cry from the ‘cubicle’ life she used to abide by in her corporate career. 

‘The best part is that my parents, who gave up so much for me to immigrate here, don’t have to stress about money anymore. 

‘I can’t believe I can offer them that,’ Ms Lu previously said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk