Erica and Deborah discuss the early days at hardtofind and how Erica managed her young family and the self-belief and hard work required to turn her passion into a full-time, successful new business.
Erica started hardtofind as a hobby in 2008 while working as a National Sales Manager and looking after two small children. It wasn’t until Erica’s eldest two were at school she was on maternity leave with child number three that she had some “downtime” while the baby slept to focus on building the business.
How Erica Stewart turned her passion into a successful business
“It started to gain traction quickly and I knew that I had to give this a go, so chose not to go back to work and took that leap of faith and did the hard yards, worked out of the kid’s playroom on my own for two years before I was actually able to pay myself a salary out of the business,” said Erica.
“But by then I was so invested in it in terms of my own money and time, (but) I really did believe in the idea,” said Erica.
For many sole traders, the isolation of building and working on your own business can sometimes lead to moments of self-doubt, so Deborah asks Erica how she coped in those early days.
“It’s not easy and it was hard. There were moments where I did think, gee, this is a slog and I’m not contributing financially to the family,” said Erica.
“I was lucky in that my husband was, and still is, hugely supportive,” said Erica.
What it takes
“I’ve always just had a lot of self-belief. I wasn’t the smartest kid at school but I work hard and I get on with the job at hand,” said Erica.
“I’ve realised that so much of the success of hardtofind has been, partly smarts but also just tenacity and really one foot in front of the other,” said Erica.
Tomorrow Deborah talks to Erica about what it takes to find a balance in her busy life.
About Erica Stewart
Erica Stewart is founder and CEO of online curated marketplace hardtofind.com.au
In 2008, Erica saw a gap in the market for shoppers looking to locate beautifully designed, handcrafted, unique products and used her skills and experiences working in lifestyle magazines to launch the online retailer.
While on maternity leave from her position as National Sales Manager with News Life Media, Erica decided to prioritise the growth of the platform and began working on the business full-time.
hardtofind has its home in Sydney’s vibing inner west and works with sellers from all around Australia and as far away as London, Lithuania and Puerto Rico.
The site brings together an expertly sourced global community of cottage industries, independent studios and hole-in-the-wall retailers with people looking for something different – and creating a much more personal maker/manufacturer-to-customer shopping experience.