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Simple Wisdom from Decjuba’s Owner & CEO, Tania Austin

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Tania Austin, Owner and CEO of Decjuba at a fireside chat hosted by Emma Isaacs as part of the Business Chicks Business Club.

Tania is a truly remarkable woman and I loved spending time with her. I got so much out of our chat and I’m sure you will too.  

A little more about Tania… after exiting the Cotton On Group as co-owner, Tania purchased Decjuba in 2008. At the time she was a single mum with three kids under the age of six. In the 12 years since Tania bought the business, she’s grown it from 5 stores to 140 stores and created two new brands under the Decjuba banner – D-LUXE Basics and DECJUBA Kids. Tania is also a committed philanthropist and under her leadership, Decjuba has raised more than $1.5 million for The Hunger Project. 

One overarching theme of the conversation with Tania’s was simplicity. There is such a beautiful elegance in keeping things simple so let me get straight into sharing the who, what, when, where, why and how of Tania’s simple wisdom.

Why does the business exist…

When Tania was asked about how she transformed the Decjuba brand she explained that when she exited Cotton On she felt the need to prove herself and she felt that her next move needed to reflect this. But she quickly (thankfully) realised that she really didn’t need to prove anything to anyone and she based her decisions around what she wanted and what makes her happy.

She didn’t care what people thought and just did what she loved and wanted. And the irony is that she “proved herself” by not needing to prove herself.

I think this is such a good lesson in simplifying the reason why we are doing things.

We can all take a moment to get really clear on why our businesses exist.

What is your brand promise…

A brand is a promise. When you put a brand out there you are promising something to your customers.

Decjuba’s vision is to deliver amazing at every touchpoint.

It’s that simple.

And she reminded us that simple is best and perfection is unattainable. When you have a really clear, simple vision, delivering on the brand promise becomes much more doable.

And I love the concept of striving for progress rather than perfection. Perfection is impossible and a really sneaky way of keeping us stuck and small.

How you operate your business… 

A lot of businesses over complicate things. 

I think the reason that we business owners tend to complicate things is to prove that we are smart and talented and capable, however, there is such a beautiful elegance in simplicity. Something I think we need to remind ourselves of often. 

She did joke and say that if her logistics team heard her say how “simple” things are they’d die. And I think this is such a beautiful reminder that the vision coming from the company’s leadership has to be simple. As does the user-experience. However, the execution can have a lot of moving parts, of course. But even this should be kept as simple as possible.

Who else is in your space…

I’ve always been baffled by huge competitor analysis reports. I’ve stayed in my lane and run my own race. 

Tania absolutely confirmed this and said that every minute we spend thinking about what our competitors are doing, it’s a minute less your focus on our own business and delivering your own brand promise. 

Once you have a clear brand vision, run at it as hard and fast as you can. If you’re worried about what others are doing then you’re not focusing on yourself.

When to let go…

When you bring out a new product your customers will tell you if they love it or now. 

Tania tells her team that you can love your product so hard, and you can justify its existence until the cows come home, but at the end of the day your customer will tell you what they love. And they’ll do this with their dollar by what they buy. If your customers don’t love something, let it go.

Where your products are displayed…

We constantly tell our students to keep their website needs to be simple so their products can shine. When you walk into a Decjuba store, or visit their website, you are always greeted with a clean, simple and functional layout. Yes to this! 

Final word…

I kinda feel like this blog is like a photo of the sunset… you can never really appreciate the truly wonderful nature of it unless you were there. But hopefully, you’ve got a little taste of Tania’s wisdom from my words. If you have any questions about my chat with Tania please comment and let me know. Thank you to Business Chicks Business Club for organising this chat.