Jane’s story does not, however, begin in the world of fashion. Upon finishing school, Jane commenced a cadetship at KPMG, combining work with a full-time commerce degree majoring in accounting and finance ("like every Asian kid does"). She finished her degree and internship, but was bored by her career in corporate finance.
For a diversion, Jane joined her friend in a pop-up fashion store, and quickly realised it would work better as an online play. Without telling her parents, she quit her job, but then her friend pulled out of the venture and it folded. In the middle of the GFC, at just 24, Jane decided that her only option was to start another business. She took on a partner and launched Showpo (or Show Pony as it was then called) in September 2010. Too scared to tell her parents she had left her job and failed at her first startup, for six months, Jane would put on a suit and pretend to her parents that she was heading off to KPMG.
In 2012, Showpo had its first million dollar month with just four staff. Jane bought out her Co-Founder, streamlined the business and appointed her General Manager Alex Durkin, a key part of the brand’s success. By 2014, Showpo had turned over $10 million in sales and by 2017, it hit a run rate of $30 million, with international sales representing between 30 and 40 per cent of the business, mostly in the US. This year, Jane made her debut on the Financial Review Young Rich List and her goal is to turn over $100 million by 2020.
A huge part of Showpo’s success can be attributed to Jane’s approach to marketing through social media; Facebook (1 million followers) and Instagram (1.3 million) are her key marketing platforms and the social branding is what Jane calls her “biggest competitive advantage”. She has created an ecosystem for women where they not only buy clothes, but enjoy the same lifestyle and connect with a community based on similar values. The world of Showpo is on show at all times – its culture, its team, its values and ethics – and even a job ad is a chance to sell the dream of what Showpo is about.
Part of Showpo’s sense of community is its power to make a difference. The brand has teamed up with The Hunger Project Australia, a non-profit organisation that aims to break the cycle of poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centred strategies, and advocating for their implementation in countries around the world. Showpo supports an initiative called Unleashed Women, recently selling samples to raise over $35,000. Jane is also extremely passionate about promoting entrepreneurship and women in business. She co-founded the group "Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine", a business group that promotes and encourages girl bosses around the world. Since its inception in August 2015, the group has experienced enormous traction with 37,000+ members and meet-up events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, LA and San Francisco.
Jane’s ambitions for the future are crystal clear: she wants Showpo to turn over $100 million by 2020 without external funding, and to be the world’s number one online fashion destination.