Hall of Fame Alumni
About Me - My Biography
As an 18 year old, Jane Cay committed to being part of the online revolution. It was 1996, and the internet was just becoming mainstream when Jane began her Commerce degree at the University of NSW; it completely captured her imagination. Her learning curve remained vertical while she worked as an e-business consultant with IBM before she fell in love with a farmer and had a tree change, landing in the NSW Snowy Mountains. It is here she founded birdsnest.com.au – a unique online retail store for women that has proved being independent and in a regional location is no obstacle to online success.
Birdsnest has doubled its size each year since launching in late 2008, it is in the top 40 most visited apparel sites in Australia and employs over 80 fabulous birds. Jane is passionate about ‘inspiring confidence’ in her customers and discovering new ways to solve their wardrobe dilemma’s using the latest technology. It must be working with 70% of birdsnest revenue coming from return customers.
The best bit is she gets to live in the slow lane, and work in the fast lane. Her home on their working farm is a 130km round trip for a litre of milk!
At an early age, Jane Cay committed herself to being part of the online revolution. In 1996, the year the internet was becoming mainstream, Jane began her commerce degree at the University of New South Wales, which completely captured her imagination.
On completing university, Jane worked as an e-business consultant with IBM, and not long after, she fell in love with a farmer and moved to the Snowy Mountains. The move gave her the opportunity to establish Birdsnest, a unique online retail store for women that has proved being independent and in a regional location is no obstacle to online success. Jane loves to live in the slow lane, and work in the fast lane. Her home on the working farm is a 130km round trip for a litre of milk.
Since its launch in 2008, Birdsnest has experienced double-digit growth; it is within the top 40 most visited apparel sites in Australia and employs over 90 ‘birds’. Working with women on the shop floor, Jane discovered that the notion of retail therapy was real and became passionate about inspiring confidence in all her customers. It must be translating, with a big 70% of all Birdsnest revenue coming from return customers.
Birdsnest has grown faster than Jane could have imagined, and she admits that she has made lots of mistakes along the way. Yet, these mistakes have proved to be her best lessons. Jane understands the importance of creating a positive work environment with a strong team culture. She ensures that every new team member understands that they can be generous and have fun with customers, which is something that you have to invest time in.
“If the birds in the nest are happy, then every touch point with our customers becomes a happy one. This philosophy is shared amongst our team on a daily basis, it is the small things we do each day to help each other feel good that make a difference: saying ‘thank you’, telling someone they look gorgeous when they do, throwing spontaneous celebrations for small milestones and turning the music up to have a team boogie.”
Strategies for Success
- Start by surrounding yourself with the right people who share the dream and compliment your skills (it is even better if they are smarter than you!). It is great if you can all think big together but work with the resources you have, so act small.
- Understand and become passionate about the problems you are solving for your customers.
- Always give yourself time outside the daily running of the business to think outside the box.
- Be flexible. Embrace all things new and adapt if circumstances change.
- Have a realistic cash flow budget and monitor it - if you are going to win the game, you’ve got to keep the score (a lesson learnt from my father).