Early retirement cut short for thrill of the chase
"“I'd like to create or be associated with the first global flash sale business" ... Jamie Jackson.
Jamie Jackson left the UK for the shores of Australia to soak up the sunshine and enjoy an early retirement.
“After about three months, I was on the beach in Mosman getting bored. It wasn't me, I was a serial entrepreneur in the UK, I was trading all the time,” he says.
Six years on, he is running one of the country's most successful retail websites - Ozsale - turning over more than $250 million in revenue.
Jamie Jackson, winner of the technology category of the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year eastern region awards. Photo: Wesley Nel
Jackson, now 46, was the first to introduce the concept of the 'flash sale' website, where customers can buy dramatically discounted retail goods ranging from clothing to wines.
Ozsale now has more than 5 million members and is continuing to grow at a rate of 12,000 members per day, according to Jackson.
Last night Jackson took out the technology category in the eastern region of the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
“When I saw all the previous nominations, I was daunted and somewhat emotional about getting to the stage where I was out, “ says Jackson. “I was thinking 'we're not at that level, we're not at that category, there's too many great businesses in front of me'.”
Jackson said he could not comprehend winning the award and was still in shock.
But this isn't Jackson's first dig at entrepreneurship; he started early on in life.
“We lived on a golf course, most mornings I'd watch these golfers hitting their balls into our garden which was right on the golf course. I'd pack them up at the end of the evening, walk around to the start of the course [and sell them back to the golfers].”
A remarketing agent back in the UK, Jackson had built a career around understanding how companies disposed of their excess stock without cheapening their brands.
Companies work tirelessly to create a brand image, says Jackson, and do not want to see their products in shops with a huge discount.
When he came to Australia, Jackson took up the opportunity of buying and liquidating all the old stock from Sydney menswear retailer Gowings, which had recently gone under.
“We did it for two years until we launched Ozsale,” says Jackson
“I called my brother and I said 'Carl, I can either make this a lifestyle business and do very well. I've got 500,000 members, we're turning over a lot of money or with your help, I can project it,” he says.
In 2010, Jackson secured a $14.5 million investment from US-based venture capital fund Insight Venture Partners, the same fund which invested $100 million in Twitter.
The investment has allowed for Ozsale to expand rapidly and Jackson hopes Ozsale can become a global retail leader.
“I'd like to create or be associated with the first global flash sale business," he says. "We're entering into south-east Asia, there's an awfully big gap there but if we linked our business now with a European and an American, we could click a button, send a notice around the world and liquidate anyone's stock within two or three hours.
“That's where I see us, being part of that global network,” he says.
Other winners of the Ernst & Young 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards eastern region included:
*Emerging – Michael McGoogan, UberGlobal
*Industry – Dan Collins, Genesis Care
*Services – Dr Andrew Kuper, LeapFrog Investments
All winners and award recipients will contend for the national 2012 Ernst & Young 2012 Entrepreneur Of The Year, to be decided in November. The winner will go on to compete for the world title in Monte Carlo next year.
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