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The make-or-break moment for all business owners

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
03 August 2017 1 minute readShare
Decision

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, especially when it is your own brainchild and livelihood on the line. The owner of one well-known multimillion-dollar business reveals the moment that could have ended it all.

“I can even visualise exactly one instance where I was like, ‘That’s it, end of story’,”  reveals Sean Ashby, founder of global men’s swimwear and underwear brand aussieBum.

“I’d flown to Melbourne, hired the car, the car rental [to] drive down the Great Ocean Road, because there’s all these surf shops and they'll all buy my product, all my swimwear.

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“So I’ve got in my car and I’ve literally gone door-knocking at the retailers. I got to this one major retailer and talking to the salesman, he goes, ‘Hang on, let me just get all the staff together.’ And there was about like a dozen staff. And he says, ‘Okay, now start’.” 

Thinking he had finally struck a winner, Sean excitedly went into great detail about his product – a quick-drying nylon ‘Speedo’ style swimming costume.

 

“At first, they’re all smiling. I thought, isn’t this just killing it? But little did I realise they were pissing themselves laughing because I am the anti of what they represent. I was trying to sell them something that’s the last thing on earth they wanted [which was boardshorts and surfwear, not swimwear].

“When I realised what the manager had done for his own amusement and also for the staff’s amusement, walking out the door I thought, ‘That’s it. I’m gonna prove them wrong’.”

During a chat with the My Business Podcast crew, Sean reveals that was not the only time people he had been pitching to had given him a ‘bum steer’.

“The second instance was with a major department store. They too had [said], ‘Yes, sounds so interesting, so interesting’, and Id call them back and always this buyer wasnt available. Like, ‘Oh no, hes in a meeting’, [and] Im thinking he's truly in a meeting,” he recalls.

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“Weeks went by and in the end I called but I didnt say it was me. And he said, ‘Look. Didnt you get the point of the meeting and why I havent spoken to you? Itll never sell. Its a ridiculous idea. Just stop annoying me’.”

Sean adds: “It was those two instances that had me go, ‘Game on, buddy, game on’.”

Hear more fascinating insights from the founder of a brand that started from just $30,000 and has now achieved sales of more than $150 million globally on the My Business Podcast.

 

The make-or-break moment for all business owners
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at [email protected]

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