February 2014 – Louise Curtis: Growing An Online Business

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This is the return of the wonderful Small Biz Intelligence (SBI) Breakfasts (professional development for business owners) that we used to hold in 2001-2003 at the National Press Club.

Our first SBI speaker in 2014 was one of our first business members of the original SBI, Louise Curtis.

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Louise started her first business from home in 2001, which was a gift hamper business. Thirteen years later, Louise has an amazing story to share about growing two highly successful online businesses, Hamperesque and Lollypotz, franchising her business model and taking her brand across Australia and New Zealand.

Louise shares some entertaining stories about being an IT novice and finding herself in a highly competitive online gift market, in a world of SEO, Google Adwords and social media, with zero understanding of what to do or how to do it. Louise explains how she navigated her way through the maze to drive her businesses to the heights.

After relocating to Canberra from Sydney 12 years ago, Louise founded her first business
“Hamperesque” in 2001.Hamperesque is now considered one of the largest gift hamper companies in Australia and boasts an impressive national client base.

Louise’s achievements were recognized in 2008 with Hamperesque winning the Telstra Small Business Award and Louise also winning two Telstra Business Womens’ Awards the same year. At the same time, the economy was entering the GFC and Louise saw a need to diversify her product range and attract the retail market.

“Lollypotz”, a chocolate bouquet company, was launched as a national franchise operation and was based on the Interflora concept of same day delivery across Australia and NZ. Lollypotz was recently listed in the BRW as Australia’s 4th Fastest Growing franchise in terms of growth and 2nd fastest in terms of outlets with 27 and 3 in New Zealand.

Louise now has a staff of 16 operating from Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and Louise spends a great deal of time travelling the country managing the franchised operations, as well as managing a busy family life with two young boys.

In 2010 and 2011 Louise was awarded the Franchise Council of Australia’s Franchise Woman of the Year Award. Louise was recently recognized in the House of Representatives as one of 100 Great Women in 100 Years, to celebrate Canberra’s Centenary.

Early in 2013, Louise was selected as one of 10 female Entrepreneurs to travel on a study tour of Silicon Valley, and in October of last year, Louise was awarded the Telstra Business Women’s Award for Business Owner for her second business, Lollypotz. Louise is the only woman in Australia to have won two Telstra Business Women’s awards for two separate businesses.

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