Make a decision to take action, and know that you need to chose to take the action regardless of how you feel. Don’t use how you feel or how motivated you are to be the driver of what you do in your day.
Asa part of my series about “Grit: The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Miranda Gillespie.
Miranda is the CEO and Founder of sustainable luxury shopping platform, Luxe.It.Fwd. Through championing the re-use and re-sale of unwanted luxury goods, Luxe.It.Fwd also brings accessibility back to luxury, stocking a curated selection of luxury handbags by designers such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci at up to 60% off the RRP new. And for sellers who have unwanted luxury items languishing at the back of their wardrobe, Luxe.It.Fwd provides a hassle free way for them to “luxe it forward”.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path
At the time of first launching and growing Luxe.It.Fwd, I was also working in a demanding career as a full-time lawyer. I’ve always had the itch to be in business and I had also realised I didn’t enjoy working in law, despite having a very successful law career and making partner in my late 20s.
So when I came up with the idea for Luxe.It.Fwd, I was excited (and incredibly nervous) about launching what I hoped at the time would be a very successful business, and it also provided me a great avenue to focus on something other than law.
Can you share your story about “Grit and Success”? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
For almost 3 years from launching Luxe.It.Fwd I worked full-time as a lawyer while spending every free moment running Luxe.It.Fwd. So I would work early in the morning on Luxe.It.Fwd, during the day as a lawyer, and then work on the business at lunch, nights and on weekends. I was also pregnant during this time, enduring incredible all-day sickness and awful back pain for my entire pregnancy.
At that time I had no staff and it was just me who did absolutely every single task in the business. It would be 10pm on a weeknight and while absolutely exhausted from a day’s work in my legal job and feeling awfully sick from my pregnancy, I would be packing up orders and photographing handbags in my very amateur light tent setup in a spare bedroom in my house. And then I’d get up in the early hours of the morning and do it all over again.
To say this was a challenging time was an understatement. It was not only physically exhausting, but the emotional and financial stress on my shoulders was huge. Whilst in an ideal world I would have loved to have quit my job in law at that time to focus fully on Luxe.It.Fwd, I needed to ensure the business was viable before taking that risk and I was also using my day-job salary together with my own savings to fund Luxe.It.Fwd.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I had really clear drivers in my mind for needing to make Luxe.It.Fwd work. I got to a point where I really didn’t enjoy my law career at all and was therefore at a somewhat unhappy point of my life, and Luxe.It.Fwd was my opportunity to move to a career that I was really passionate about. I also invested a lot of my own money into starting Luxe.It.Fwd, and I felt a (self-imposed) responsibility to my family to ensure I didn’t lose that money.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
I was at point A in my life (ie. miserable in my career) and I really wanted to be at point B (ie. passionate about what I do), and I decided I was going to do whatever level of work was needed to get there — which in my case meant working insane hours for a few years on both Luxe.It.Fwd and at my day job. That period was arduous, relentless and insanely stressful. And the only reason I could do it was by applying every bit of relentless grit that I could muster in myself.
For me, grit means choosing to take necessary action every day over long periods of time, irrespective of what I “feel” like doing or how unmotivating the circumstances. And this grit is the key trait that has led to Luxe.It.Fwd’s ultimate success. Motivation and excitement wear off pretty quickly when starting a business, and for me the key ingredient to growing a successful business is employing the grit to compel myself to persist and move forward with action each day, irrespective of how unmotivated or under pressure I was feeling.
During these early days of growing Luxe.It.Fwd while also working full-time I woke up each day exhausted and often incredibly stressed in terms of wanting to get Luxe.It.Fwd off the ground to make it a success. But I knew what I needed to do, and so I gritted down and just did it.
After almost 3 years this hard work work had paid off, having grown Luxe.It.Fwd to a level that I could leave my legal career to focus fully on the business. Luxe.It.Fwd now has a team of 6 and has grown more than 100% year-on-year to be turning over $2 million this year.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
- Make a decision to take action, and know that you need to chose to take the action regardless of how you feel. Don’t use how you feel or how motivated you are to be the driver of what you do in your day.
- Don’t have expectations of everything needing to be enjoyable, but understand what’s important to you that you’re willing to suffer in the short term to get there.
- Have a very clear focus on your own “why”. Why are you doing it and what are you trying to achieve.
- In addition to the “why”, know your timeline for how long you need to apply grit to a situation to get to where you want to be. In my case, I worked insane hours for almost 3 years, but that’s not something I could or would choose to do for years and years on end.
- Know when to compel yourself to keep going when you feel unmotivated, but equally also know when to give yourself a break. We’re not robots and can’t operate at insanely high levels all of the time.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
The downside of being a solo founder is feeling as though you’re bearing all of the problems on your business on your own shoulders. Therefore during tricky times I’ve always turned to my husband because he has seen the evolution of the business from the start and really understands where I’m at. Back when I first started the business from my spare bedroom at home, my husband would help pack orders and all other random jobs, so he understands how far the business has come.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
An inherent part of Luxe.It.Fwd is to champion the re-use and re-sale of unwanted items that would otherwise be unused at the back of someone’s wardrobe or go to waste. We are proud to facilitate a platform that allows both buyers and sellers to participate in sustainable shopping practices and reducing unnecessary waste.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
With our items are one-of-a-kind because they’re pre-owned and with the strong reputation of trust that we’ve built with our community, our popular items sell within minutes and therefore the challenge for us is ensuring we have as many new-arrivals coming in as possible to meet the buying demand. We’ve been tapping into a number of new sources for our stock and are very excited to be in a strong growth phase of bringing a much large range for our eager buyers.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I’m very open with our team including to share the highs of the business. The result is that the team becomes very invested in the business achieving great things and doing the best to help ensure that happens. I’m a big believer in creating an environment which allows employees to find their own space to thrive, rather than dictating how things should be.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My focus is to really push for the reduction of unnecessary waste in the fashion industry. So rather than buying fast fashion on impulse that doesn’t get used or doesn’t last long because of its quality, I really want to promote a more ethical fashion cycle of mindfully choosing quality items and then ensuring they are re-used over and again to their fullest extent. It’s unrealistic to say that the fashion industry won’t have unnecessary waste, but I really want to contribute to reducing that as much as possible and making that movement more widespread.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do” — Mark Twain. First deciding to start a business has the scarily high prospect of failure. What propelled me was that I knew I could live with the failure if that eventuated, but I wouldn’t be able to accept missing the opportunity if I didn’t do it.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook — https://facebook.com/luxeitfwd
Instagram — @luxe.it.fwd_
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.