How To Live The Life You Want
A few wise words with the Chief Executive Pony
It seems to me that I’m always going on about finding your passion and turning it into your career. Or following your dreams. You know, all that kind of clichéd stuff. And if you’re anything like me, this all seems a bit skeptical – is it really possible? I’m here to tell you it is. This time, I come with an example of how one woman started her career in commerce and is now running her own fashion start-up company (and doing very well, might I add).
I had a little chat with Jane, the CEO and founder of online fashion start-up Showpo, or as she likes to call it “Chief Executive Pony”. If you haven't already heard of them, Showpo is an online women's fashion store not only known for their funky clothes but also their clever social media marketing. Jane is here to shed light on her own journey & to give some advice on how you too can follow your passion!
What did you study at University?
Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance
What made you choose this degree?
Because at the time I aspired for a career in management at a large multinational... I thought working in a big skyscraper would be living the dream!
Have you been able to use this degree in your career?
Not really... though I don't regret doing the degree. It's given me some common knowledge that's been great to have, but nothing that directly relates to my job now.
Do you wish you had studied something different? If so, what?
Well seeing as I'm not using my degree anyway, I've always loved film production so something in that area would've been interesting. Perhaps studying fashion and marketing would've been more related, but I almost think it's one of our competitive advantages - to think outside of the box and to think from the perspective of a typical customer.
How did you transition from this degree to where you are now at ShowPo?
As part of my degree, I went on exchange in Sweden, which is one of the best things I've ever done. When I left this utopian student town and went back to work at Ernst & Young I just knew it wasn't for me anymore. I felt like I was slowly dying away in my boring grey cubicle... I decided to quit my job to commit fully to a business that I had already started with some friends. That business failed shortly after I had quit my job. This was devastating. Determined to prove myself and not to go back to the corporate life, I started Showpo within the next month!
What do you think is the most important thing to consider before choosing a university degree?
What do you actually what to spend your life doing. It should really be as simple as that - but that doesn't mean taking the easy option! Don't let what your family wants you to do dictate what you choose. And don't benchmark yourself on your friends.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
That I love every day of it! I love everything that I do, and I delegate away everything I don't like doing! And I love working with my amazing team!
Jane & her Showpo team!
What are the top three things you look for in a potential new employee?
1. Cultural fit. That they get us and they get our brand.
2. Problem solving and lateral thinking skills. We don't care at all what degree anyone has, but we value someone's ability to think on their feet. I want someone who when they come to me with a problem, come with also three potential solutions.
3. Passion. Nothing retains a staff member more than passion and love for what they do, and retention is really important for a small company like us.
Lastly, what do you think is the most important aspect of choosing a career path?
Choose something you love and something you're good at. It really sucks working somewhere where you're not good at what you do and don't really get it - trust me, everyday I would walk into the big 4 accounting firms trying to get away with having no idea what I was meant to do, and it was unnecessarily stressful and boring.