Miranda Gillespie is the founder of e-commerce business Luxe.It.Fwd which buys and sells authentic pre-owned luxury bags, shoes and jewellery online.
Previously, Miranda had a demanding senior corporate role as a lawyer, which she wasn’t enjoying, when she decided she wanted to flex her creative side. While she loved fashion, she had no experience in the business of fashion. However this didn’t deter her from starting up her side hustle Luxe.It.Fwd.
During the early days while she learnt about the business and got things up and running, she continued to work full-time.
Firstly, because she needed to determine that the business was viable before stepping away from her full-time career, and secondly (and more importantly), she self-funded Luxe.It.Fwd and needed the ongoing pay cheque that her full-time career provided in order to fund the start up phase of the business.
Two years after launching Luxe.It.Fwd, Miranda had grown the business to a level that her side hustle became her full-time hustle and she was able to step away from her legal career.
While in all honesty she didn't enjoy the early stage of the startup journey, it was very much worth enduring through it to reach the point she is at now (although ’now’ brings its own issues due to the pandemic and lack of money for most people to now be spending on luxury items!).
For Miranda, it was very much a question of the age-old saying “what are you willing to suffer for?”, which she feels is very apt during those early days of starting Luxe.It.Fwd. She was okay with the exhaustion, stress and sacrifices made at that time, because she had an end goal of making the business a success and that’s what really drove her through.
Before your current career, why did you want to be a lawyer?
I wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age. I can’t even recall the reason how that came to be although I think as a child it just sounded like an exciting career to have!
What was the main thing that made you switch from your original career to being your own boss in the fashion and retail space?
After almost ten years working in law, I came to the realisation that I really wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I’ve always been so interested in starting my own business and after developing the idea for Luxe.It.Fwd, I was really excited to create a career that I could be incredibly passionate about, working across all sectors to create a business.
What are three takeaways you can share about your transition from corporate to creative?
You’ll never know whether your business is going to ‘work’ or not, and all you can do is just give it a go.
Having said that, starting a new business is incredibly risky and if possible I’d recommend starting the business as a side hustle while it builds up, which is what I was able to do.
While having your own business brings such an incredibly high workload, the payoff is the autonomy over your time that it gives you.
What is the main challenge of being your own boss?
The biggest challenge is that you never switch off from the business – ever! Not on weekends or on holidays.
What is the unique value of Luxe.It.Fwd?
What sets Luxe.It.Fwd apart is that we don’t just sell luxury items, but we offer our buyers the full luxury experience they’d expect if buying new from the boutique.
How has Covid–19 impacted your business?
Covid–19 is such a preoccupation for everyone right now and therefore initially we actually saw less enquiries to sell items, because everyone is understandably focusing on critical things at the moment. Although, in the last couple of weeks there’s been more stabilising around the crisis in Australia and we’re seeing some more normality returning around that.
Besides Covid–19, have you had any other impacts or have you had a learning curve?
Luxe.It.Fwd is a very fast growing business and what inevitably comes with that is constant change and constant learning. In particular, working out when and what roles to hire to match that growth has been a challenge I’m constantly learning from.
How can people on social media and your buyers help you in a time like this?
We’re very fortunate to be an online business in a time like this, meaning that we can still connect with our customers in the same way that we normally do. What we are emphasising for our consignors is that we do offer free courier pickup from their home, meaning that even if stuck at home we can still help to sell their bags!
If Luxe.It.Fwd was a _____, it would be a _____:
Flower: A rose
TV show/film: Sex and the City
Iconic woman: Grace Kelly – a true fashion icon
Colour: Dusty pink – with our lovely handbags being elegant and accessible
Dessert: Gelato – a fine Italian indulgence like many of our beautiful items
Song: Fancy by Drake
Cocktail: Old Fashioned – a timeless classic