Kiwi entrepreneur Phoenix Renata is on a mission to beautify the world. She already has 11 stores across Australia and New Zealand - eight with fashion designer Annah Stretton – and four more are on the plan.
Stretton is more than just Renata’s business partner, she’s a mentor with 21 years’ experience in the fashion industry.
In fact, Stretton says the business relationship goes beyond mentoring.
“A mentor is too fleeting, I prefer to encourage and occasionally tweak.
“I help her move forward by guiding her. I have 21 years of experience in this industry, and I use this experience in steering them to avoid the school of hard knocks I went through.”
Renata and Stretton’s stores are called Birds of a Feather and offer Stretton’s clothing, Phoenix cosmetics and café cuisine.
Their locations - including Invercargill, Hamilton and the Auckland suburb of Howick – seem at odds with luxury brands. But they’re a key part of Renata’s growth strategy.
“I don’t care about glamorous locations, I care about the business. I target small areas so I can make money and build my brand until I’m ready to open in larger cities.”
The pair plans to open a Melbourne store soon, and then expand into Perth and Sydney.
Renata’s advice for would-be startup founders is to do the groundwork. “You need a solid business plan, plenty of capital and a thorough understanding of the market and industry,” she says.