With an unusual career background that has seen her move from roles as a corporate lawyer to working with fashion brand Camilla and then making her way into the beauty world, Fabiola Gomez’s latest role sees her enter into the world of entrepreneurs. Late 2015, Fabiola launched her app LUXit onto the Australian scene – helping customers receive premium beauty, wellbeing and personal care services delivered straight to their door.
And it’s an idea that is being applauded. Last year, LUXit was named the silver winner in the Design100 Best App Startup Awards 2016 – an award that recognised LUXit’s innovative method of connecting beauty and wellbeing professionals with door-to-door services. To find out more, Husskie had an exclusive chat with Fabiola about her background, top tips for developing a successful app, and key start-up lessons to take on board.
You’ve had quite an unusual career. Can you talk me through where you started to where you are now?
I look at my career as an evolution. I went directly from high school to university to complete my law degree, after which I opened my own law firm with my brother. I knew my next industry needed to be fun, and after eight years as a corporate lawyer, I was offered a position at Blink Speed Dating. My time at Blink was crucial to my understanding of how internet businesses functioned, and the importance of affiliates and links.
Working with Camilla was also fun, and it all began as a start-up project to convert the old Jackie’s restaurant into her flagship retail store and commercial office. [This turned into] a two month contract to roll out her vision, which developed into my role as General Manager. [With Camilla] I had met the yin to my yang in business, and the rest is history! Working with Camilla and the team was an amazing source of inspiration, she’s truly a unique artist and now a lifelong friend.
Fashion and beauty have always gone hand in hand, so it was an easy flow into the beauty industry. My focus on beauty began with my role as the director of ASYANA, an Australian sunless tanning brand that reflected my ethos of self care, premium cosmetic-grade ingredients and luxury. This extended into The Modern Day Alchemist, a business catering to the demand for affordable manufacturing solutions for cosmetics and skin care in Australia.
I now lead LUXit as founder and director.
What made you decide to leave law for fashion and then beauty?
Although it gave me an invaluable foundation of knowledge, law did not provide me with the opportunities to express my full creativity. The fashion and beauty industries captured my creative spirit and truly engaged all my elements, allowing me to utilise my marketing, business and law background.
Did you always feel you had this entrepreneurial side to you that just wanted to get out?
Absolutely. I’m a Capricorn, so yes! With my career developments over the years, my entrepreneurial spirit and vision has grown and I’ve truly hit my stride with LUXit.
What inspired you to develop an app?
LUXit was created from a need that I saw for premium, convenient mobile service from elite professionals. I’m a natural connector and had experienced this first-hand working with Camilla and being the go-to for arranging a makeup artist or hair stylist to travel to homes or offices. I knew there had to be a more streamlined way to connect beauty professionals and customers – it’s the logical progression for the beauty industry in Australia.
How did you go about developing the app?
I spent time meeting and investigating various app development teams both locally and overseas to ensure their energy and drive matched my vision. I wanted a team that was hungry for the project and most importantly believed in the bigger picture. My vision and mission for LUXit was to use my time in the luxury industry to capture the essence of premium service with the convenience of a mobile business. I began the development for the beta-version of the LUXit app, and we’ve grown from there.
What are key lessons you’ve learnt from launching a start-up?
One of the most important lessons (which I’m still learning every day!) is how much you need to know. I’ve learnt there is always so much more for me to understand and master. It’s important to embrace this and really make each day a positive learning experience rather than being overwhelmed by where you need to be. The people you surround yourself with are key. All of my team members are passionate about what they do, and it’s essential to have others just as passionate about the project as you are.
Is “being your own boss” and all the other cliques that come with launching a start-up the dream it appears to be?
I have always worked as if I’m my own boss, and thinking about my role as if it was my own business. I’m always looking at the bigger picture, the trajectory of the business, and at the end of the day, I have myself to answer to. So in terms of being a dream job, there is some amazing freedom to carve your own path and move to your own beat, and I am my own toughest critic so I have to answer to myself entirely and make sure I am satisfied.
What would be your five tips for anyone wanting to develop their own app?
- Find support from people who will both criticise and encourage you: choose a business mentor and make the most of them.
- Staying flexible and adaptive is key!
- Be prepared to listen to the good and the bad.
- Investigate your team members and their experience. Check up on your app developers and ensure they have first hand experience and aren’t just the middleman for offshore subcontractors.
- Stay focused and swim in your own lane. It’s easy to get distracted by what others are doing, but always identify what makes your business unique and never lose sight of it.