Ally, When did you first decide to start your own business?
To be honest I have had the idea of starting my own compression label about 3-4 years ago. I left Australia to travel the world, get some experience, do some networking, suss out some materials and also what the overseas market was like.
Did you go to university or tafe? If so what did you study?
I studied at Victoria University from 2005-2008. I studied three different courses in the first year. Law, Event Management and Financial & Strategic Management. I didn’t enjoy any of them and to be honest I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do as a career (thats clearly obvious – 3 courses in 1 year). A family friend suggested I look at studying Entrepreneurship. My father had just started his own online business at the time and that was something that really interested me, so I finished my studies and came out with a Business Degree – Small Business and Entrepreneurship. I absolutely loved this course, it was very hands on, very me and I knew that soon enough I would start my own business!
Where did your business name come from?
The SIX30 (pronounced six three zero) name arrived from the idea that…
There are 6 main benefits of compression clothing – 1. accelerates blood flow, 2. boosts performance, 3. helps reduce muscle damage/injury management, 4. improves muscle efficiency, 5. helps you work harder for longer and 6. helps you recover quicker.
There are 3 main uses for compression clothing – work, rest and play. And the 0, well there are no negative effects of compression clothing.
I felt it screamed sport, lifestyle, experience, performance and passion, which is what my label is all about!
Did you need to find funding prior to starting your business?
As I started pretty small with only 15 products in my range I didn’t need to borrow money. I saved hard for a year and had enough capital to get my business going.
What were the processes you needed to go through before you could start selling your products?
Through this process I have learnt there is a bit more to starting a business then meets the eye. Thankfully I had my father who had already started his own successful Online Cycling Store (Velogear) to mentor me. First I had to find a supplier I was happy with. This was definitely the hardest part. Once I found one that I liked I still went back and forth with my supplier getting the right materials, the right design and the right fit. Numerous testings of the compression gear also took place using scientific and medical experts, athletes and of course myself and family members. The entire design of the product took about 6-12 months.
Designing the logo, undergoing my business plan and starting the website were the easy steps.
Did you design your products? Or if you used a designer how did you find them?
The supplier I used already had a good foundation of products, there was just quite a few tweaks that needed to be made. I had a family friend design my logo and mark. I then designed the layout of my product, logo and mark with the help of my family and friends. However, the design process is ongoing, and always will be. Fashion and style changes every season and so you need to keep ahead, or atleast up to date with the fashion and style of the moment.
Who did you go into business with? Was this an easy choice?
I am the sole founder of SIX30. But I get a lot of help and advice from my father, who has 25 years of manufacturing experience. I also get a lot of product input from pro athletes, which has been extremely beneficial to the success of my brand I think.
What makes SIX30 different to other compression gear brands?
Our price point!!!
Our first one hundred customers were asked to write a review on the products they received. We received some outstanding reviews stating our products as good as if not better than Skins and 2XU.
We have also had independent AFL players, VFL players, Dual Olympians and Physiotherapists review our clothing and they all raved about SIX30.
We believe our products are the best on the market and are of the highest quality, but for a third of the price of the other major brands!
What benefits have you had from having a head of advisory panel?
Our head advisory panel includes:
Roman Shaw BSc (Hons) – Who also happens to be my father. As a research chemist he had a great scientific knowledge and understood what was required of a material to make it have that compression effect. Having 25 years manufacturing experience he also helped set up the business side of things.
Johanna Lyle – Dual Winter Olympian was one of many athletes we used to test our compression clothing on. With her vast knowledge and contacts she was a great asset to the team in developing SIX30 products.
Numerous medical and science consultants were consulted on a project by project basis.
Myself (Ally Shaw) BBus & Dip (Sewing & Design) the founder, creator, designer, marketer and director of SIX30.
And ofcourse our Pakistan supplier and their team of medical experts and scientific researchers.
How have you found is the best way to reach out to your consumers?
Being in the same industry I was lucky enough to have contacts from my fathers cycling business. I am now switching my focus to online marketing to further improve my business and get the SIX30 name out there.
What has been the hardest part of running your business?
The hardest part has been getting the SIX30 name out there and entering the market with 2 of the biggest brands in the sporting world.
I have worked extremely hard on my business and I want to see instant results. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. But I should consider myself very lucky. The first 4 months have been extremely successful, much better than I anticipated.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own business?
The most rewarding part of my job is hearing customers’ feedback. Their feedback has been extremely positive, and it really does prove that all my hard work is starting to pay off.
It’s also amazing when you see someone in your product. It’s a great feeling!
If you could give advice to someone wanting to start their own business, what would that be?
Just do it! There is nothing to loose, besides perhaps a little money. But as long as you back yourself and have a solid business plan and direction you will not fail. Strive big and you will succeed!
My girlfriend is thinking of starting her own business. She always comes to me for advice and help with her business plan. It is very flattering.
So what does the future hold for SIX30?
SIX30 will be launching its summer range in November. The SIX30 sportswear and yoga wear range is unique, bold and colourful and ofcourse our prices are low!