REBECCA MARSH: RUNWAY REALITY
Name: Rebecca Marsh
Business Name: White Runway
Instagram handle: @whiterunway
WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I founded and run White Runway, a speciality dress retailer specialising in beautiful evening and bridesmaid dresses. I love my job as I get to deal with fashion, fabrics and beautiful dresses on a daily basis. Running the business means I get to use both my creativity and my problem solving skills, the role is both challenging and rewarding. I love that I work with a group of smart, witty and fun loving girls that makes coming into work so much easier.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and I believed in my ability to make good business decisions. I wanted to prove that to myself and knew that starting a business in an industry that I loved would be very rewarding. I have always loved fashion from a young age and after a few years in publishing and advertising, I decided I needed to work on my dream of running my own fashion business.
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION / STUDY BACKGROUND?
I studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and International Business.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WOMEN STUDY OR DO TO BEST EQUIP THEMSELVES TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?
Even though it can be super boring, I would recommend women get to know their numbers. Studying accounting or finance would mean a strong background from the start and allows you to be able to account for your business finances. It’s important for every business owner to know their numbers and track them from the start – often you could be doing better than you expected!
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS GROWING BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
Human resources and when to recruit new staff members in a growing challenge. As a young business you want to have control of your expenses but you want to accommodate for growth periods too. Ensuring all your staff are happy and creating a positive environment for everyone is a challenge, you want to ensure you recruit the right team members and not disrupt it.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Recruiting and encouraging the personal and professional development of my key staff members. I love my core team and seeing them in action making great business decisions of their own is one of my greatest achievements. Opening our Sydney and Melbourne showrooms have to be up there too.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR BRIDES?
When it comes to picking their bridesmaids dresses…
Enjoy the process and don’t get hung up on the little things! Have fun and enjoy the time with your bridesmaids. Often brides can be very stressed leading up to the wedding, it’s a good idea to take a deep breath, look at the bigger picture and remember that the wedding is for you and your groom. It’s also important that relaxed brides are decisive when they need to be so their bridesmaids are given direction. Sometimes being too relaxed means decisions are never made!
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT FROM A MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN THE PAST?
Make sure you work ON the business and not IN the business. Being a business owner you want to do everything yourself and have full control. Plan big, plan ahead and start taking those little steps to remove you from being IN the business. It’s great to delegate so you can focus on growing the business the way you plan it.
HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU NOW?
Yes it certainly has! It always makes me feel uncomfortable when someone tells me I’m successful. Although I do acknowledge that my business is very successful, my own personal success is a different thing and I’m not sure I’ve reached it yet!
REFLECTING ON YOUR CAREER TO DATE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING?
Don’t underestimate yourself and what you can achieve. Be prepared that the meaning of success changes itself frequently.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE STRESS / ANXIETY / WORK LIFE BALANCE?
Work life balance is always a work in progress, however I do find my yoga practice is very beneficial to my stress levels and my overall wellbeing. My mind is always ‘on’ and I’m always thinking of business, I don’t switch off as thinking about business is fun. It is only during yoga that my mind can be completely off and I can focus on my poses and breathing. I think it’s also important to remember the advantages of running your own business – planning meetings over breakfast and brainstorming ideas over drinks and lunch is always fun.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU / WHITE RUNWAY BUSINESS?
NYC here we come! We are planning to expand White Runway both within Australia and internationally. We’ve had a lot of demand from our US customers so it’s a natural step for us to expand there. That will open up some exciting opportunities for the business and myself.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Ambitious, loyal, fun.