4 secrets to thriving as an entrepreneur in uncertain times, from the cofounder of a multimillion-dollar swimwear brand that was just an Instagram account and a $30,000 loan 6 years ago

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Natasha Oakley

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Natasha Oakley didn’t reach CEO status by playing it safe or thinking inside the box. 

She and Devin Brugman, her partner and fellow cofounder of Monday Swimwear, took out a $30,000 loan in 2014, and every year since they have doubled annual revenue, and are now on track to do $20 million in annual revenue before 2022.

She said it started off with a following generated off devoted Instagram fans, but she has used many other tactics to position herself at the top.

Oakley shared the strategies that have played the biggest part in her success with Business Insider.

1. Be proactive and quick to adapt

“Being a leader, and starting a business, it’s important to recognize when change is necessary for your brand,” Oakley said.

In the old days before Monday Swimwear, when Oakley was leading photography shoots, it was the weather. “If there’s a storm whilst shooting, quick changes need to be made and you need to think on your feet to course-correct so you can hopefully salvage the shoot and make your client happy.”

The storms look different now, such as this year’s COVID-19 outbreak. But the principles of how you react to uncertainty is the same.

“After planning our entire 2020 year with steep goals and objectives in mind, we were met with something no one can prepare for — a pandemic. Very early on, I recognized that major changes needed to be made, and I quickly met with our teams across the board to revise our goals and plans.”

Making that correction so early on was crucial, she said. “We not only met our goals but had the biggest sales on our Launch Day to date and doubled our sales from our original goals. Had we waited to make changes, or not made changes at all, we could have been in an entirely different predicament.”

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On a day to day basis, she said she’s recognized when certain styles weren’t selling as well and had to remove them entirely from the collection. She’s also revamped systems or introduced new ones to make certain processes more efficient or successful.

2. Take smart risks 

Designing and ordering, and buying for a new collection requires a lot of risk-taking, Oakley said. “I, of course, have the right systems, people, and use the correct data to make decisions, but ultimately you cannot guarantee consumer behaviors,” she said.

Every season, she said, a few styles sell out unexpectedly or others that she thinks will do well end up over-bought. “Year after year, this process gets easier as you learn more about your customers, but when you’re scaling your brand, you need to take some calculated risks in order to grow. This year, we introduced our first print and over a handful of new styles entirely to the collection, which were all well-received and best-sellers.”

3. Retain your customers

Monday Swimwear was born to serve specific market and solve the problem of providing swimwear for larger cup sizes and curvier women, but Oakley wanted to build a community, too. 

“Since launching the brand, we’ve …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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