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Top 50 Q&A: Travis Wright, Esther & Co

Welcome to our weekly Q&A with Internet Retailing’s 2019 Top 50 People in E-Commerce. You can find this year’s Top 50 report here, and see our previous Q&As here.

This week, Internet Retailing interviews Travis Wright, general manager of Esther & Co, and number 33 on our list.

Short on time? Here are the three key takeaways from the interview:

  • A key to rising through the ranks is spending time outside of work on self-development.
  • Working with charities has been part of the business vision from the very beginning.
  • Travis is working on a jewellery brand which will donate 20 per cent of profits to mission trips.

Internet Retailing: What went into creating the marketing around the rebrand of Esther & Co? What did you learn through the process that you hadn’t considered before?

Travis Wright: We rebranded in 2017 due to becoming a marketplace. The rebrand was a balance of continuing the momentum of our current identity and conveying to customers that we were an improved version of ourselves with even more to offer them.

We worked through several rounds of logo designs and press releases. The marketing creatives consisted of Esther The Label products as well as gorgeous pieces from our marketplace partners.

It was throughout the rebrand and beyond that I learned the difficulties of getting the promotional mix right when advertising your core brand alongside complementary brands on the marketplace.

Since the rebrand we’ve continuously fine-tuned the messaging of our marketplace identity and today we have a dedicated space on our navigation as well as a brand directory to highlight our offerings to customers.

IR: You also recently had a hand in the development of a mobile app. What part did you play in bringing this to life, and what functions were the ‘must-haves’? Is there anything the team is working on adding in?

TW: Ah yes, what a project! For several months [before] the launch on January 1, 2019, I was in discussion daily with the company building our app with edits and user feedback.

The main must-have and purpose of going down the app avenue was to offer customers a better speed experience – most of our traffic is via mobile as well so the app naturally seemed like the next step.

Additionally it was important for us to match the minimal aesthetic of our website, video enablement, strong filter and search functions.

We’re currently working on adding an integration with our ESP so that we can recover abandoned carts on our app and allow restock requests as well. We are also working on integrating our VIP program (Royal Rewards) as well as our on site product recommendations.

Essentially we are working towards having all of the same functionalities of our website (and more) on the Esther App.

IR: You’ve worked your way up to general manager of Esther & Co over the last four years. What advice do you have for women seeking to rise through the ranks of a retail business?

TW: One key to rising through the ranks is spending outside hours on self-development. Learn new skillsets that will make you stand out in your role.

During my first few years in the retail industry I spent a few hours most week nights dedicating time to up-skilling.

Whether I was expanding my knowledge of social media tactics, excel formulas or simply watching a TED talk, I know it was the effort I put in after-hours which ultimately brought me to where I am today.

It put me in a position where I could confidently raise my hand to lead the company in new initiatives and therefore make our CEO confident in promoting me to my current role.

They say “champions are made in the hours no one is watching” – that’s essentially what I’m getting at.

Additionally, I’d encourage them to continuously push themselves outside of their comfort zone and reach for new heights.

Even when doors close or you’re told you don’t have what it takes – keep going. The reality is at some point you’ll receive negative feedback, have set backs and hard days during your career.

Learn what you can from each of those experiences – then you need to remember your value, have resilience and move forward.

IR: Esther & Co has sponsored several charities in the past, and donates $5 from orders over $300 to a charity of the month. What led to this focus for the business?

TW: The brand Esther & Co was inspired by an ancient Queen who saved a nation. Our CEO and founder Talita Estelle had the vision for Esther to give back from the very beginning.

She is so inspiring! Talita is also the Creative Director at Be Hers – an anti human trafficking organisation. Over the years Esther & Co has been part of several different charity initiatives.

From donating $1 of all orders to the now model of $5 of orders over $300 we continue to trial new ways of giving back.

We also offer customers the opportunity to add donations to their orders so that they can join us in efforts to create global social change.

IR: Is there anything else you wanted to add?

TW: I’m currently also working on an exciting project of my own! In October of 2019 I’ll be launching a jewellery brand which will donate 20 per cent of profits to mission trips.

To be clear, this is a side hustle and I will remain in my role at Esther & Co. I’m beyond passionate about online retail and I’m thrilled to be part of the journey for two amazing brands who are both working towards improving lives around the world.

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