With a family background in the shutter manufacturing business, sisters Cassie Yang and Megan Wu have entered into the window furnishings industry with a hands on approach to manufacturing shutters, standing out in what is usually a male-dominated sector, WFA reports.
“Our dad has been manufacturing shutters in China for over 20 years, so we grew up exposed to shutter manufacturing,” Cassie says.
“During school holidays we spent time in the factory, learning every aspect of manufacturing shutters.”
“As our dad’s business grew and his distribution expanded, he went from being hands on, to having to employ good people and invest in high end machinery. We learned some valuable lessons from him in terms of investing in good people and taking a long-term approach, not just looking for quick wins.”
Before making the plunge into manufacturing shutters in her own right, Cassie was running a retail shop with friend, which she exited just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had started manufacturing shutters in a small way and I saw that as a better more sustainable, higher growth business.”
With a background in accounting, Megan worked at PWC after graduating but was always interested in running her own company.
“We had both decided we wanted to run our own business and as our degrees were in business and our background was in manufacturing it made sense to make the step full time into shutter manufacturing,” Megan says.
“We saw an opportunity in the market for locally produced shutters, so our efforts are focussed on building that side of the business.”
“We are also the factory office for our father’s factory, so we can give retailers factory direct pricing for both Australian Made and imported products.”
Cassie says that running a business is most people’s dream, but there is a lot of hard work involved.
“We like that our time is flexible, and we love the challenge of building our own business.”
“We’re fortunate to have had a good and experienced mentor in our dad and we have connected with experienced people in the shutter industry who are helping advise and also build our local industry knowledge.”
“The people we have met to date in the industry have been very welcoming and supportive.”
Megan says that because of their background in manufacturing and business she felt like she had to “walk the talk”, so began making the shutters themselves.
“Not too many women manufacture shutters, but we did. We rolled up our sleeves and did it ourselves, even down to operating the CNC machinery including maintenance of the machinery.”
“On occasions we have had to replace belts and do calibrations. We’ve done it all.”
“The other area we’re really proud of is that 98% of our customers have given us really positive feedback, and 90% of our customers have introduced other customers, which has helped us grow organically.”
Cassie says her greatest influence in her career in the industry so far is their father.
“He has manufactured shutters for over 20 years. We have learned from him that you have to earn everything, nothing is given to you.”
“The harder we work the more successful we will be.”
Megan adds that the sisters’ strongest points are their business education and the fabrication background from their family.
“We try hard to provide the best customer service we can, as we know retailers have a lot of choice.”
“That has been the hardest part in that we are relatively new to the industry and don’t have contacts that other companies might have.”
“It is also a great area of opportunity too. Some advice we received was that people buy from people they like and trust. We are building that trust and whilst we might not always get things right we are determined to learn from any challenges and put corrective action in place to stop the same problems occurring.”
“Another piece of advice we received was, not to just tell customers what they want to hear; be honest and realistic about the solution you can offer.”
The pair are not under any illusion that they will end up the biggest in the market.
“We want to build a thriving, sustainable, reliable and profitable business,” Cassie says.
“It is also important for us to become an integral part of the window furnishings community, operate ethically and help our customers grow.”
“We will do that by providing great value products, aligning ourselves with industry bodies and listening to the market about what products to introduce.”
“Luxsol might not be a name everyone is familiar with now, but in five years we would like the majority of the market to know about us, even if they are not ordering from us.”