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  • 4 Apr 2022 · 6 min read

Meet the Ecommerce Experts Leading Swanky’s Unleashed Teams!

Say hello to the ecommerce experts in charge of leading our Swanky Unleashed teams to success as they compete for a winning business idea to be transformed into our very own Shopify D2C store.

Written By
Han Dickson

In this third instalment of exclusive, behind-the-scenes content about our inaugural entrepreneurial competition Unleashed, we’ll be getting to know the five people leading our teams to hopeful victory.

What appealed to our team leaders about the competition, what challenges have they faced so far, and what inspires them as budding entrepreneurs?

Let’s ask them!

Alec Wayman – Shopify App Developer in New Builds Team

Can you sum up your Unleashed experience so far in one word?

Challenging!

What appealed to you most when you first heard about the competition?

Experiencing the process of starting a business from scratch.

What have you learnt from having to create a business plan?

Projecting sales figures is complicated when starting from nothing!

What have you found most challenging in the process so far?

Leading the team, something I have never done formally.

What inspires you most as an entrepreneur?

Making money is probably the wrong answer!

What do you think it takes to be an effective team leader?

Recognition of others’ strengths and the ability to match tasks to those strengths.

Zoe Jarrett – QA Engineer in Growth Accelerator Team

Can you sum up your Unleashed experience so far in one word?

Educational!

What appealed to you most when you first heard about the competition?

A chance to learn more about the process our clients go through, and to understand more areas of business.

What have you learnt from having to create a business plan?

There are a lot of areas that you need to consider, working out how they might work independently as well as together is tricky. Also, trying to be creative and original whilst fitting to a budget really highlights the limitation new and smaller businesses can come across.

What have you found most challenging in the process so far?

The market strategy, there are a lot of potential options to consider and finding reliable data that can let you see where is the best place to start pushing your product is hard work.

What inspires you most as an entrepreneur?

The opportunity to change the way consumers think as well as how a business can be run. The chance to move away from tradition and hopefully bring the world forward into a better and more sustainable way of thinking, not just about our products but about the way a business is run.

What do you think it takes to be an effective team leader?

Listening – an effective leader will take the team’s ideas and help them make it happen, guide them to collaborate and lift each other up.

Harrison Cully – Digital Marketing Manager in Growth Accelerator Team

Can you sum up your Unleashed experience so far in one word?

Interesting!

What appealed to you most when you first heard about the competition?

The prospect of building a brand from scratch, and hopefully seeing a vision come to life and grow.

What have you learnt from having to create a business plan?

It takes more than just an idea! The space for researching specific queries around tech and marketplaces can be hard to navigate.

What have you found most challenging in the process so far?

Finding out where to stop! You can go down a rabbit hole of areas you want to focus on and talk about. But you need to spread your time across all areas to pull a pitch together.

What inspires you most as an entrepreneur?

Owning a brand and having the ability to affect people with that how you want to.

What do you think it takes to be an effective team leader?

Trust and respect. I think one of the most important aspects is to lead from the front. But without trust and respect from your team to you, and also the trust you have for the team itself, there will only ever be a select few who are able to do the work. You have to trust that the team will do the tasks you want to the standard you need and let them do that. Otherwise you become a bottleneck.

Becci Bayliss – Data Insights Analyst in Growth Accelerator Team

Can you sum up your Unleashed experience so far in one word?

Inspiring!

What appealed to you most when you first heard about the competition?

It’s a great opportunity to learn about all aspects of building a business. I have been able to work with a wider number of colleagues than I would usually in my day to day role, and have had the opportunity to be creative and challenge myself to think in new ways. It has been great to be able to work together as a team and see how far we have come from an initial idea to having a (hopefully!) viable business to pitch.

What have you learnt from having to create a business plan?

So many elements that go into creating a business plan and it is a team effort! You have to be confident in your idea, as it can easily start to unravel if you aren’t able to back up all areas of the plan.

What have you found most challenging in the process so far?

There are endless questions to answer and it can sometimes feel like you need to be able to predict the future when you are a brand new startup! I think it has been a challenge to make sure we are all really sure and confident of the route we are going down and decisions we have made, as there have been lots of ways we could go with the idea.

What inspires you most as an entrepreneur?

The opportunity to make a difference and create something that will solve a problem – no matter how big or small.

What do you think it takes to be an effective team leader?

Being able to listen and know when other people in your team are more knowledgeable or skilful in certain areas.

Stef Gross – Lead Project Manager in Growth Accelerator Team

Can you sum up your Unleashed experience so far in one word?

Adventure!

What appealed to you most when you first heard about the competition?

Being able to learn about business propositions, entrepreneurial skills and much more. Also, how to start with an idea which eventually ends up as a hopefully successful business.

What have you learnt from having to create a business plan?

Lots. How many things there are to consider. How valuable and needed a P&L (profit and loss) statement is. That a business plan sounds very straightforward but there is a lot to do which first doesn’t meet the eye.

What have you found most challenging in the process so far?

To come back fighting with heaps of motivation after a particularly challenging start.

What inspires you most as an entrepreneur?

The sheer skill of transforming an idea into a business.

What do you think it takes to be an effective team leader?

To be able to lead by example, to motivate and clearly communicate with the team. To step in where required, but also delegate where needed. To create an enjoyable work environment/atmosphere. To be that person a team trusts, relies on and looks up to.

 

We can’t wait to see the ideas our teams have been conjuring up at next month’s gala pitching event! Make sure to keep an eye out across our socials and on the Swanky blog for the grand reveal of the winning Unleashed business plan, decided by our expert panel of judges.

Find out more about Unleashed and our upcoming D2C Shopify venture in this previous blog post.

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