Jodie Cresser is the Founder of P.S. Frocks, Australia’s no.1 e-boutique for maxi dresses, kaftans and accessories. Jodie is a mother of two girls, caffeine lover and entrepreneur. Through passion, perseverance and hard work, she has built a successful digital fashion business from the ground up.
And this is how she did it…
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
Freedom, a creative outlet that made me money, control over my own destiny – to name a few.
After many years working full time in a corporate environment, I made the decision to resign to spend more time with my girls. My daughters were still quite young, but they were growing up fast and I wanted to be there for those small moments like picking them up from school. They had been bounced around day care and after school care for years. I knew that time with them was irreplaceable. It was super special to be able to dedicate more of my energy and time to them.
Accustomed to working long corporate hours, I realised I had something that I had never had before: time. I wanted to use this time to challenge myself and do something different to what I knew – something where I could be creative and control my own destiny.
My husband and I already had a creative design agency, so the appeal of doing something in the digital space was ever present. It was obvious to me at the time that e-commerce was undoubtedly the future.
The big question was, “What am I going to sell?”
Then I had what I call, “a light bulb moment.” I’m sure many other entrepreneurs can relate. It’s that moment where you just have an overwhelming gut feeling mixed with sheer excitement and inspiration. This light bulb moment came after I experienced a series of compliments from total strangers on the street about the dresses I was wearing. While I’ve never studied fashion design, or worked in fashion retail ever, I think I have a pretty good idea of what women like me, want.
Like most women, I want to feel confident in what I’m wearing, whether I’m 8 months pregnant, at a wedding or just going to a barbecue with family and friends.
And that’s how P.S. Frocks was born.
We produce dresses for every kind of woman. We make it our mission is to inspire self-love and confidence, one dress at a time.
What is the vision for your business?
P.S. Frocks was founded on the idea of producing high quality maxi dresses that make you feel confident and comfortable, without the high-end price tag. The business and product line has grown in line with what our market wants. We now offer incredibly popular embellished kaftans, accessories and a large range of bridesmaid dresses.
Our ultimate goal is to be a household name in Australia and New Zealand. Our vision is to be the go-to e-boutique that everyday women turn to when they want a frock that flatters, for any occasion.
What did you want to be when you left school? Did you study?
I left school quite young and studied as a Travel Consultant. At the time, it was a great career that granted me access to many free ‘work trips’ to lots of different cool places.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I honestly don’t think I would do anything differently. We are the sum of our experiences, good or bad. Everything I’ve learnt from previous roles has been invaluable in helping me run my own businesses.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I was 39 years old and feeling burnt out by years of full-time work. It was difficult to have two young children and a 40-hour work week. Children grow up so quickly and it was scary to think about how much I was missing out on. With my husband’s business venture starting to take root, the ideal opportunity presented itself. So I made a leap of faith, with nothing but an idea and some blind optimism!
Was your entrepreneurial journey linked to your personal one?
Yes, it was very personal. I wanted real work/life balance and to be in charge of my own future.
Initially, what difficulties did you face?
I was starting an online fashion business with absolutely no experience in the retail space at all, let alone dress manufacturing. Between my husband and I, it often felt like it was the blind leading the blind! I literally started from scratch. I spent countless hours searching for and speaking to manufacturers all over the world – it was a steep learning curve and probably the most difficult and important problem to solve.
Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?
My husband was integral to getting P.S. Frocks off the ground. His advertising and design experience meant I could lean on him heavily. This meant creating the brand and implementing a high functioning website that felt established and trustworthy right from the get-go.
What was your initial marketing strategy, and how has it changed?
Initially we had some very clear objectives. Firstly, we prioritised customer service, price point and quality as our foundation. Then, to reach our audience, we focused 100% on building our Facebook audience and email database. Nowadays things are very different. Our marketing strategy has evolved to incorporate creative content marketing, relationship building, paid and organic search, social media, and database marketing.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
A bit of both. I think it’s wise to choose your battles. If someone else can do it better, and you are focused on the best results, you would be sabotaging your business by not outsourcing.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having the freedom to live my life on my terms is by far the best aspect of running my own business. I also love the office environment we have created. We are located in a relaxed part of the world (Currumbin, Gold Coast) and our office reflects that.
Any advice/tips you’d like to share?
If you have a passion for something or if you are asking yourself, “Can I make this happen?”
You owe it to yourself to give it a go! But don’t ever think it will be easy. You need to be prepared for hard work and financial stress. Arm yourself with all the information you can – know your competition, your product and your market. But most importantly, you need to back yourself and give it your all.
I am proof that after spending 20+ years in corporate land, you can do anything.