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Change and adaptability are e-commerce's only constants

Eight years ago, Tessa Hartnett and her husband, Nathan, embarked on an e-commerce adventure in a market that had not yet woken up to online shopping or global sourcing. They started their online jewellery business, Vurge Jewellery, to cater to a niche audience-base that was being underserved in Australia: men in search of alternative, affordable wedding rings. 

In order to cater to this clientele, they relied on a variety of suppliers from China found through the Alibaba.com wholesale platform who were able to provide them with quality products at realistic price points that could then be sold to local customers. “Without the ability to source from China, we actually wouldn’t have our company and we wouldn’t be able to employ the team that we do,” says Tessa. 

When they first started their business, the Hartnetts wanted a business that could give them the type of lifestyle that would allow them to travel and work remotely. In the span of eight years, their online business has taken them from Australia, to New Zealand, to China, to Thailand and now back, to Australia. The business had expanded to include nearly a dozen wedding related businesses, including onesies and women’s dresses, but has since narrowed its focus to concentrate on five main sites.

“With the help of the internet, we’re able to shift gears quickly and concentrate on the side of the business that is seeing most growth,” said Tessa. “Seasonality is part of any business but we’re able to adapt to trends and to what our customers are demanding at a moment’s notice. Our suppliers are able to provide us with what we need very quickly.”

The nature of e-commerce is fast-paced and Tessa says, “You have to change and adapt in the online world.” In that sentiment, the couple decided to rebrand Vurge Jewellery a year ago to Men’s Rings Online Australia. They’ve also made a number of changes to their back-end e-commerce systems that would allow them to centralize their online orders, print address labels and provide them with more information on their client’s needs in Australia, New Zealand and the US. 

“When we started out experimenting with e-commerce, there were very few resources available for people wanting to source from abroad,” said Tessa. “We worked closely with our Alibaba.com suppliers throughout the years and learned about what we should be looking for to ensure we’re dealing with quality suppliers. But it would have been nice to have local resources from Australian business owners.” To help other aspiring entrepreneurs, Tessa and Nathan recently developed a mentoring and inspiration blog (www.ecommerceuncovered.com) to help give young business hopefuls insights into the ever-changing e-commerce environment. 

Men's Rings Online website: www.mensringsonline.com.au