May 15, 2018 2 min read
Lorena Phegan's gift business really took off when she posted a photograph of one of the mugs she sold on Facebook. It was a mug emblazoned with "I'm not feeling very talkative today, off you f-ck." "It got 9 million views and so many orders came in they crashed my website," Phegan says. "That's when I thought the idea had legs."
Lorena Phegan's gift business really took off when she posted a photograph of one of the mugs she sold on Facebook.
It was a mug emblazoned with "I'm not feeling very talkative today, off you f-ck."
"It got 9 million views and so many orders came in they crashed my website," Phegan says. "That's when I thought the idea had legs."
The 45-year-old started her online gift store, The Inappropriate Gift Co, using a "basic website" and eight products with about $500 in 2016.
"When I started my husband said 'They are funny, but no-one is going to buy them," Phegan says. "So I really did it just to prove him wrong."
But savvy use of social media has seen the business grow to around $1 million in turnover this year for the business.
Inappropriate Gift Company has 139,000 Facebook followers and 12,000 Instagram followers.
"The power of social media these days is brilliant," says Phegan.
Phegan runs the Inappropriate Gift Company from Sydney home by herself with the help of one part time employee to assist with customer service.
She creates about 70 per cent of the product stocked herself and uses an outsourced warehouse in Sydney and the United Kingdom to store product.
Appearing on Shark Tank's season launch for season four on Tuesday night Phegan created a feeding frenzy amongst the sharks with offers from all five.
Naomi Simson secured the deal with Phegan paying $250,000 for 25 per cent stake in the business and Phegan says "I'm still pinching myself".
"Naomi was the one I wanted from the start because what she does is synergestic with what I do. She has led the way with Red Balloon all about not being boring gifts."
Phegan says she "enjoyed every second" of appearing on Shark Tank.
"I was scared of making a fool of myself on national TV but I actually watched all the episodes beforehand," she says. "It was like revising for an exam and I saw what questions they asked and thought of the answers to them all."
Simson says she knows a great business when she sees it.
"With any pitch I’m looking for a founder that is driven by passion," she says. "Passion is an energy and it’s infectious - and Lori was definitely that. The second thing I’m looking for is persistence - Lori is tenacious and committed to growing a big enterprise. Thirdly, I’m looking for positivity, Lori has that in spades. Positivity breeds positivity. And also, that the founder is clear about his or her sense of purpose. Lori’s sense of purpose is infectious."
Phegan is predicting turnover of $3 million next year and then $20 million in three years for the business.
"We want to be the global home of inappropriate gifts," she says.
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