When her then-two year-old son Oscar was ready to move into a ‘big boy bed’, Kristy Wither’s frustration at finding the perfect one was the catalyst for a career-altering business. As the marketing manager of a global marketplace company, her searching skills were perfectly honed but that didn’t make her search any easier.
“I had an image in my mind of a dark brown iron bed,” Kristy tells Collective Hub. “I searched high and low for it. I tried to get one made, I tried to buy old ones off eBay but they had lead paint and I tried to import one but I just kept coming up with barriers.”
That’s when Kristy and her husband stumbled on the answer.
“I harped on and on at anyone who would listen about my quest for this bed. Finally, my husband said to me one day ‘for god’s sake, stop talking about it and just do it!’”
It was in 2011 that Incy Interiors, a retailer stocking adorable children’s furniture, as well as seriously sophisticated offerings for older kids was born.
Asking “millions” of questions and reading anything she could get her hands on, Kristy made it her mission to educate herself on the missing pieces of business know-how that her previous marketing experience didn’t quite illuminate.
“My entire career before starting Incy was corporate marketing so my biggest challenges early on were understanding freight, logistics and manufacturing. I knew these aspects were integral to the success of Incy so I made myself an expert on them.”
Her hard work certainly paid off. With the site now selling upwards of seven million dollars’ worth of product annually (with a clever 200% boost in sales once the site was made mobile-friendly), Kirsty, who relocated from Sydney to the 600-strong community of Millthorpe in country NSW two years into Incy Interiors, has truly turned a pain point into a thriving venture. Opening a bricks-and-mortar store in Bathurst followed by a second in Sydney, Kristy proves that location is also no obstacle.
For Kristy, money is a “necessary evil” that takes up a fifth of her working week but she’s still managed to incorporate a creative aspect to that too. Utilising a PayPal Working Capital business loan, Kristy secured $20,000 from the online payment platform (within a few clicks no less) to aid the global growth of the business. With a percentage of funds taken from PayPal sales to pay off the borrowed amount, Kristy secured the financial flexibility necessary for expansion.
“The [PayPal Working Capital loan] has been integral in allowing us to launch internationally,” she explains. “Our expansion into the US required us to duplicate our business: as a result a large investment was required.”
Although the US expansion has pushed working hours up to the ceiling once more, Kristy wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I know it sounds cliché but I do really love all aspects of the business,” she insists. “I am such a nerd so I love looking at spreadsheets, gaining insights and testing new things. Bizarrely, I also have a real creative side so I love nothing more than designing new ranges, photoshoots and redesigning the store. The one thing I love above all [though] is chatting to our customers.”