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  • Angela Allan
    Technology Journalist

    Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

    Angela Allan
    Technology Journalist

    Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

    Rebecca Owens – 2014 Tasmanian Telstra Young Business Woman Award winner – gained the necessary skills to open her small business, babywear wholesaler Mizzle, from her time as a franchisee. Here’s how she did it.

    After a foray into the financial planning sector and a number of years as a franchisee with Howards Storage World in Hobart, Rebecca Owens’ creative flair and passion for product design led her to explore other options. As a result of her skills and the business nous she picked up at Howards Storage World, Mizzle was born.

    Her experience as a franchisee taught her a lot about how to run her business. Here are four areas that benefitted. 

    Rebecca Owens

    Marketing and branding

    Owens says the skills she picked up for Mizzle, including marketing and branding, were things she learned running the Howards Storage World Hobart store.

    “The skills I learned in the retail franchise have all been transferrable to my own wholesale business, which has been so useful.

    “From purchasing, lease negotiation and fit out, to employment, sales and store presentation - having the franchise helped with it all. The strength of branding was also strongly emphasised at Howards Storage World".

    Finding a niche

    As a first-time mother, Owens felt overwhelmed by all the expensive and fashionable “must-haves” for her baby. She says it was instinct that drove her to create a company to sell quality designer clothing, gifts and accessories for babies at affordable prices. Just as Howards Storage World had catered to a niche market, she believed there was a market for designer babywear. She was right.

    “Certainly picking a specialist area to focus on … was something I took away from my time running Howards.

    “Howards focuses on storage-related products and is very specific about that, Mizzle is very specific in gift and accessories for newborns through to one-year-olds,” Owens explains. 

    A regimented routine

    Owens says her franchise training has also influenced her daily practices for Mizzle, from working with stock, counting inventory through to crunching the numbers.

    “My daily business routines, I’ve also brought across from running Howards. Practices from my previous career in financial planning, along with life skills as a parent, have also influenced the way I have set up and operated Mizzle.”

    The routines that Howards instilled have helped Mizzle from a structural perspective, ensuring the business runs smoothly, and required tasks are ticked off.

    Managing business relationships

    As managing director of the wholesaling and online retailer, Owens is responsible for design, importing from China, as well as warehousing and distributing her range from Hobart. But being able to manage these business relationships is a valuable asset she gained from her franchise.

    “Having operated from a retailer’s point of view is invaluable in the way that I now operate as a wholesaler. I can take my personal experiences dealing with suppliers to pick out the good and the bad points and influence the way I operate and the service I provide to my stockists.”  

    Rebecca's top tip for better business:

    Seek out a business or career that can help shape the lifestyle you desire for right now. 

    “I feel sometimes like my working life is on hold having a young family, and having such limited time to commit to growing the business. In actual fact, the time that I am spending here is growing an asset, producing an income and providing the lifestyle to be the type of parent I want to be,” Owens says.  

    “This business model is working really well for the stage of life I am in. I loved the fast pace of the Howards Storage World franchise, and can also see in the future I will change businesses or careers again when I am able to commit more time to working.”

    Do you know a brilliant business woman like Rebecca? 

    Nominate her now for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.   

    Nominate nowDo you know a brilliant business woman like Rebecca? 

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