Introducing your new Entrepreneur in Residence: Stacey Head of She Wear
Stacey Head is the Founder and Managing Director of She Wear, a safety workwear brand designed specifically to fit women. She is an innovator and disruptor in a very male-focused industry where women’s requirements and comfort aren’t seen as a priority.
Stacey has taken She Wear from a boot-strapped home-based start-up, and developed the business into a national brand manufacturing, retailing, and wholesaling globally. During that time, she was also named 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards and received a 2018 Global Innovation Award for the Women to Watch in Business Disruption.
We are thrilled to welcome Stacey Head as our latest Entrepreneur in Residence, and to connect her with our Freelancing Gems members to support, empower and encourage you to reach your business goals. Get to know more about her with the following Q&A.
1. What was the key driving force or inspiration for you starting She Wear?
I launched She Wear because women who required quality, good fitting safety work boots were just not catered for. I had a “career sea change” and left my operational management career to become a property developer and it was on one of my builds, I stood on a nail in totally inappropriate footwear. After that incident, I searched high and low for a pair of women’s work boots and all I could source were heavy, ill fitting men’s boots .. I was dumbfounded with the lack of choice for women. I imported a pair of work boots from the UK and they fell apart within a month, and I thought someone has to do better!
2. What has been your most satisfying moment in business to date?
Can I say proving the naysayers wrong? Haha! No seriously, there have been so many great moments whilst I’ve been running my business it’s hard to name just one or two. Launching as a home based, start up (basically as a side hobby) and then having the female contestants on The Block wear our boots just 3 months after launch was very satisfying. This exposure enabled the business to grow and move into commercial premises very quickly and assisted the organic growth with our products and design. We launched in 2013 with just three work boot options and we now design and manufacture over 35 footwear lines (and stock another 100+ lines of workwear and PPE) and have branched into different markets due to positive customer feedback and amazing customer loyalty. Building relationships with our customers has definitely been an enjoyable experience and those customers have allowed our brand to grow and compete against large multi-national companies.
3. When did you know the entrepreneur life was for you?
I would say my first taste of entrepreneurial life was when I was property developing and flipping properties. I had always worked in large organisations prior to that point however had learnt invaluable skills which were transferrable to running my own business. Whilst I was property developing, I loved the different aspects and day to day variety – from the design and creativity, to planning, budgeting, liaising with my tradies and being physically “hands on” on the tools. When I launched She Wear, the idea was to continue the property development and have She Wear as a side hobby – but She Wear had other ideas!
4. What does a typical workday look like for you?
Typically I’m at our HQ, but other than that, there is no typical day! I’m still very hands on operationally in the business which is something I’m actively changing. I’ve always kept the business very lean in terms of staffing numbers however that can come at a cost as the business scales, so I’m currently growing our team further to enable me to focus on the core elements of the business – product design, development, growth and strategy. My day can consist of many functions such as liaising with our factories and third party certifiers and QA auditors, product design, R&D, budgeting and forecasting, chatting with our team in customer support, dispatch or marketing. We have just re-platformed our website and tech stack, so many hours have been spent on the development of our new improved site and functionality to future proof our brand for further growth.
5. What is your favourite business quote that inspires you?
There are a few.
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it” – Amelia Earhart
I’m a firm believer of working hard and getting your hands dirty!
“You can’t be what you can’t see” – Marian Wright Edelman
A part of our business ethos is to showcase our customer’s journeys (particularly those we are smashing gender stereotypes) and share their stories with our followers and on our website – it’s imperative we support and inspire other women.
“If you’re not embarrassed by your 1st product, you were too slow to market” – Reid Hoffman
Keeps it real, ha.
We are delighted to bring Stacey Head to our members as our Entrepreneur in Residence, and for our Ruby and Emerald members, make sure you ask her all your burning business questions this month. Not a member yet? Here is why you should be.