This month marks the 2nd anniversary of the launch of our Laybuy business, and it’s hard to describe the feeling of pride, yet at the same time unfinished business, as I celebrate with the team.
Just 24 short months ago, Laybuy recorded its first sales with three ‘anchor’ clients; Hallenstein Brothers, Glassons and Red Rat. Wind the clock forward to 2019, and we now have thousands of online and physical stores using our platform, and hundreds of thousands of consumers paying by Laybuy. This amazing growth has been the culmination of a lot of hard work by a dedicated group of outstanding people. A genuine team effort with everyone contributing along the way. You all know who you are, so thank you.
As I sit here in our London office, (yes you read that right, we have offices in Auckland, Sydney, and London now), and think about the opportunity we have ahead of us, I am so excited for what the next 24 months will bring. Our New Zealand team continues to dominate and grow in that market, whilst our Australian team is making great inroads into a highly competitive landscape, with Laybuy now widely regarded as an extremely credible player in this market. Meanwhile, in London the team is onboarding retailers by the day, and our reputation as an innovative, customer-focussed and trustworthy payment option is growing too. Needless to say, it’s not hard to be motivated to get into the office early every day!
I have been asked many times what I have learned over the last two years, as compared to the 39 years I spent in the corporate retail world before starting this business. My answer is always that the most important thing I have learned by far is that the need for passion and resilience cannot be underestimated when you start a new business. I always considered myself a passionate and resilient CEO, (anyone who has been in retail will know you can't survive without those traits), but the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurism - especially when working alongside family - requires whole new levels of these attributes. I am blessed to have married a very talented woman, Robyn, (we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on 20th May) who is also my business partner, and to have two sharp, dedicated and focussed sons willing to work alongside us to make our collective dream a reality. Don't get me wrong, working with family is hard and not without its own unique challenges, but we have (and continue to) navigate those sometimes stormy waters as a unit that continuously grows stronger as a result.
Laybuy has given us the opportunity to live and work in London, meet and collaborate with some amazingly talented people, and explore everything the UK and Europe have to offer. How lucky is that at our age and stage in life?! As we focus on a growth plan that will see us operating in Europe and the US by year end, I could not be more excited by where we might be writing a third anniversary update from, this time next year. For those of you who are interested, watch this space. A lot has happened in the last two years but there is plenty more to come. We are only just getting started!