by Jane & Phil Sahhar, startup founders from Warragul

Luxury Athleisure headphones and speakers perfect for gym and everyday use
Founders Jane and Phil Sahhar
From the humble audio splitter, friendie has quickly grown into a successful web-based business, selling high-end, sports-luxe headphones and speakers Australia-wide, thanks to this winning husband and wife partnership.

 

Beyond their own website, friendie products can now be purchased through major online retailers including; The Iconic, Myer Market, Red Balloon, Amazon, Hard to Find and Catch of the Day.

As a co-creator of a successful startup in the Gippsland region, we were initially asked to be Ambassadors for the new Startup Gippsland program. I was asked to tell the story of our business – friendie – a sportsluxe headphones and accessories company. It was so lovely to be part of the startup journey of Startup Gippsland, and I felt there was still so much to be learnt and to be gained. I applied to take part in the actual program, and was lucky enough to be included in a great group of businesses from my region.

Creating your own business is a pretty cool thing- but it only comes about from a huge amount of stress, tears, financial hardship, being overworked, technical issues, malfunctions, learning, failing, learning again. It’s a wave of ups and downs- huge highs and huge lows.

One of the most valuable things I gained from being part of this program was to become part of a ‘team’. Each business in my zone was very different, and very unique. Yet, as small businesses, complete start ups and existing start ups, we all had so much to gain from one another. We could ask the hard questions amongst people who got it. We could give each other advice and share connections. We could share our wins, big or small, and commiserate our losses. Creating a unique business can be very isolating and very lonely, and Startup Gippsland gave us the framework of friendship and collegiality that we were lacking in our own endeavours. The great thing is, the teamwork is reiterated consistently through our team Slack channel, where we can connect to all of the businesses and staff and share knowledge. The 12 week program is officially ‘over’, yet we are still catching up every month as a team and supporting each other. This allows us to keep ourselves in check. We can set goals, and share each month how we are tracking. This keeps us accountable and challenged- and allows our friendships to grow.

The actual 12 Week Program was full of knowledge. My business turned 4 this year, and initially I wasn’t sure if I would be the right candidate for the course, because my husband and I had already created this functioning, successful, growing business - and we had done it all ourselves this far.

However, I have learnt so much. Each week, I learnt new concepts and I was given planning tools to help lever our business into the next level. I left the meetings feeling inspired and reinvigorated, which allowed me and my co- creator (also known as my husband, Phil!) to breathe new life into existing ideas.

We have had many wins and successes over the past 6 months, including new customers, new collaborations and new ideas. We are constantly striving for more, and the Startup Gippsland program absolutely revived my quest for success. It solidified things we knew, and taught me things I lacked. It reminded me that in the country, we can do it just as well- if not better- than those in the city. And we can do it just as well as anyone in Australia - if not, globally. It reminded me again that I love where I live, and we plan to help create jobs, training, leadership and opportunities for people in Gippsland as we take on the world. We hope to inspire other businesses and entrepreneurs that they can do big things if they have big dreams, starting with just one small idea.

We were so very lucky to be able to take part is such an important program.

Could this be you?

Jane and Phil were one of six Startup Gippsland Ambassadors. Watch their startup story and ask yourself - could this be you?

Testimonials

"Startup Gippsland program absolutely revived my quest for success. It solidified things we knew, and taught me things I lacked. It reminded me that in the country, we can do it just as well- if not better- than those in the city. And we can do it just as well as anyone in Australia - if not, globally."

Watch Jane's Startup Gippsland Pitch

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