QUT Alumnus, Laura Saperstein, founder of Boxxerworld.
(Reprinted courtesy Linad Apelt, Agent-General for Queensland in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – Europe)
“My business, Boxxerworld makes customised boxing apparel and boxing gloves. We are an online only business with manufacturing in Thailand. Our software allows our customers to design really quite complex outfits easily and that’s been the key to its success."
"The career path that lead me to this business was pretty typical. I started out as a TV reporter, became a corporate lawyer in the UK, a property developer, a professional boxer and finally, logically a clothing manufacturer. I never set out to be an entrepreneur. What I did do is notice opportunities in the situations I found myself in. Often these situations were the direct result of emotional decisions I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to anyone else."
"An example. In 2008 my mother came to visit me in Thailand where I was boxing training and befriended the maids at the place I was staying. One of them, Tob, was 21 and heavily pregnant; the other, Tan, was a former tailor who didn’t speak a word of English and was employed, oddly and unhappily, to build a horse stable. When my mum returned home I felt honour bound to continue the relationship she had built with these ladies. I couldn’t think of any way to help and came up with the idea of paying Tan to make me a fight outfit. With no language in common that was harder than it sounds. Nine years on, Tob, who I had to teach to turn on her computer, is 30 and Boxerworld’s general manager. Tan became boxxerworld’s head of production and now speaks fluent English. Boxxerworld has 22 in-house staff plus external contractors"
"I believe there is just one reason that throughout my life I have been able to turn ill-conceived ideas into workable propositions. And that quite simply is staying power. The grit to stick at it; to try and try again. And when things don’t work… to try again. Second to that isflexibility… don’t keep trying the exact same thing."
"So that leads me on to where we are at now. Boxxerworld has grown by 400% in the past 2.5 years. With that success comes new opportunity but therein lies a problem… there’s only one of me and quite a lot of opportunity. I never wanted a business partner (who would probably slow down all that emotional decision-making) and cant’ yet afford big management salaries."
"So I’m experiencing what seems like a bottle neck. Do I join forces with someone else to whom I will then have to answer, or can I outsource and employ more staff with defined key skills. I don’t yet ha ve the answer to those questions. But I’m confident that some random set of circumstances will show me answer and determined that I’ll be looking closely enough to see it.”