Phebe has only been in her industry for a short time now and is already making waves. After becoming a semi-finalist for the Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future, she’s now on the look out to grow her business and her personal branding.
What is your business (include name) and when did you start?
My business is called Articfit, which is a women’s specific therapeutic brand, which is predominantly online (ww.articfit.com). I started this 2.5 years ago with my now husband Scott who is a graphic designer and I am a Physiotherapist.
What inspired you to start your business?
See this link for our story: https://articfit.com/pages/our-story
Tell us about the journey you have been on with your businesses?
Gaining initial credibility as an unknown brand was always going to be a challenge initially, however pretty early on I was a semi-finalist in the Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future competition for the development of our tights which are our main product. They combine the concept of activewear and joint supports and help women with joint issues stay active. Being recognised by one of Australia’s most iconic magazines and brands really helped us gain this credibility. Since launching we have had a gradual increase in traction however sales can vary quite significantly each month. Last year we were lucky enough to be a finalist in the Lexus x Collective Hub start-up competition where we won a mentoring session with Lisa Messenger, advertising in the Collective magazine and the loan of a Lexus car for 3 months, which was a cool perk! We have also begun working with a mentor through the Australian Sports Tech Network, which has challenged us in new ways and made us think outside the box.
How do you handle the naysayers?
We haven’t had too much negativity toward our business. Most people have been pretty encouraging but you do always get the people who question how we can compete with the big brands. I usually just explain that we are not trying to be better than them, we are simply different.
Where do you envision yourself in the next 5 years? How do you plan to do this?
At the moment we are working more towards developing my personal brand as Physio Phebe, alongside launching my Physio Phebe chatbot (see www.physiophebe.com). This is an approach we are taking under the guidance of our mentor Chris, with the long term vision of increasing awareness about Articfit. We will be utilising a PR agency in the next few months, so I am excited to see how this will play out.
What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome that has shaped you and your business?
We were notified we were infringing on a patent. Long story short, it was a few stressful months and a lot of legal fees, but resulted in licencing agreement moving forward and a big lesson learned regarding IP.
What has been the biggest tip you have received off someone that has stuck with you?
“If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Sometimes I really have to remind myself of this. Also when we started developing my Physio Phebe website, our mentor Chris said to me “You need to pump your own tyres, no one is going to do it for you.” So this has been something I have had to become more comfortable with as sometimes I find myself resorting to being quite modest about our business and achievements to date.
What is a tip that you would give to a young person thinking about starting a business, but not sure how to start?
Try not to be too impulsive. Really spend some time researching and sorting out your IP early on before you launch as although those processes can be tedious and expensive it could come back to bite you later on (as it did us!)
What are your top 3 biggest lessons you have learnt in your business?
- The importance of IP
- The role of mentors and how they can challenge you for the better
- That competitions are an awesome platform for awareness & credibility
What is a book you can recommend?
I quite liked reading Janine Ellis’s book- Secrets to my success.
If you could choose one place in the world to work, where would you go?
Queenstown NZ. It is my favourite place to go for skiing and general adventure activities and they have fast Internet!
What was one of the first goals you smashed in your business?
Getting some pretty awesome ambassadors for our brand. Our niche is in the alpine sports where joint issues can be prevalent and our brand ambassadors are Britt Cox, current world champion mogul skier and dual Olympic mountain biker Bec McConnell.
Where can we contact you?
Follow me on instagram or facebook @physiophebe or reach out via my website http://www.physiophebe.com