We recently chatted with Lorenza, one of our recent participants from the OBL program to see what her journey through the program was like, and to talk about her business, Bini Gallery.
So, Lorenza, why don’t you tell a bit about your background
Well, it started when I moved to Australia about 14 years ago and noticed a gap in the market for this particular kind of jewellery. It wasn’t as popular here but was in high demand overseas. The idea became a reality about 10 years ago when I opened Bini Gallery, a physical shop located in Collingwood. I focused on sourcing products from 23 designers from Italy with attention on design using alternative materials.
Eventually, I created a mix of local and international selections as I needed to stand out amongst other art and jewellery galleries in Melbourne. We hosted regular exhibitions and events to showcase new season designs and products to allow our customers embrace the designs and all the different materials involved.
Wow, so you’ve had your business for a while then. So, if you already had a well-established business, what made you decide to take part in the OBL program?
Over the years I’ve always thought that having an online shop would be a good idea but I wasn’t sure where to begin. Also, sometimes you get caught up in your own business just doing the things that get you by and you need some support or something to push you to think in different ways.
In a way, I feel that I should’ve done this program earlier! Having an online shop is one thing, but really making it work is another.
The OBL program has made me understand the work involved – I’ve always wanted to expand to international markets and sell my jewellery.
I started the program in March, which was the right time for me, especially with everything that’s happened this year with COVID19. Over the years I’ve seen the online store as sort of a side business for the shop. I’d always focused on the events, exhibitions and pushing the product from a physical store, but now I needed to transition. I knew I needed help, I wanted to focus on what the business needed and to concentrate on building my online store properly.
That’s key isn’t it – thinking about growth and your businesses next steps.
Tell us about your experience through the program – how did you find each of the modules week to week?
I completely threw myself into learning. It was such a useful course because it makes you understand how things work, what efforts are involved and what you need to do specific to your business or idea. It was good for me because it allowed me to make informed decisions on where I wanted my business to go. I’ve found myself beginning to change my mindset on moving the physical store to an online one, and this course has helped me to see it from a different perspective.
I also wished I had spent more time on each of my subjects! Going through this process was good but I still had a business to run. Some weeks I admit I was a bit distracted but I did maintain the commitment and see the course through. Luckily for me I was able to absorb some subjects easily so I was able to catch up. There was a week on websites, which I already had, but it allowed me to go through the process and see what I had missed and refine what I have. I feel you need a course like this, something challenging to push you, because sometimes in life you don’t know what you don’t know!
So what aspect of the program did you enjoy the most?
I really liked the mentoring and level of support. I personally feel I didn’t take full advantage every week but I liked the possibility to have a discussion with our teachers or the community manager, Zay. It was really valuable listening to what they had to say and then learn from the feedback and advice given to make changes.
How did you feel getting to the end of the program?
It was a little scary but it was perfect timing for me because I knew I needed to have this properly up and running! I’m not a member yet, but I will be working on this in the meantime. I’ve currently got another job keeping myself busy and supporting my income for now, so I will work on Bini Gallery in the background and begin preparing for what spring season launch will look like. I really want to keep the social media going and be present, as I know that’s important.
If you could share the experience with someone else, what would you say?
I would suggest diving in and immersing yourself really quickly. The more you put in, the more you get out. The regular group check-ins and level of support is great, it’s nice to be working on something together even though everyone has separate businesses – it’s like you’re looking for answers together. The feedback is also amazing – the OBL team is proactive and always ready to help.
Thanks, Lorenza, for the feedback, it was great to have you as part of this course and we’re excited to see where your business will grow!
Our Online Business Lift-Off Program is a great program to help you get started – or even to help you refine if you’re already an established business – like Lorenza. If you’re ready to make a change, take our eligibility quiz today!
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