From golf to sailing - on a shoestring

Tracy Bolt and Trudy Hynes of Tee2Sea
Tracy and Trudy

Tee2Sea in Mandurah lays testimony to the fact that you can start a very successful small business on a shoe-string budget!

British sisters Tracy Bolt and Trudy Hynes came up with the idea for their exclusive golf and leisure wear shop in Mandurah as a way of satisfying business migration requirements while providing local sailing and golfing enthusiasts with stylish, practical sport and leisure wear.

But with very little retail or business experience, Trudy and Tracy were wary of gambling too much on their new business venture.

"We were cautious with our spending in the set up phase with the biggest outlay being bond and rent in advance for the shop premises," Trudy said.

"This took a lot out of our available funds, so we had to cut back on other things.

"We painted the shop ourselves, our husbands built the changing rooms and we found the perfect sales counter for sale in the Quokka for $250!

"With what was left, we purchased our first shipment of stock, and then spent the money we got from that, on the next shipment."

Trudy and Tracy are both keen sportswomen and have found a niche market for their exclusive range of sportswear which includes locally manufactured labels Shock and Oar, as well as Crew Clothing, Nautica, Greg Norman and Jamie Sadock designs from the USA.

"We have plenty of golfing clubs around the Mandurah area and our clothing range is also perfect for boating enthusiasts at the Mandurah Marina," Tracy said.

What the sisters lack in business experience, they make up for in good organisational skills, clear procedures and commonsense. They both have strong secretarial skills and with that, comes the ability to keep track of many things at once.

"We've informally divided the roles into Trudy handling the business side and me looking after the shop floor, but our basic philosophy is not to overcomplicate things," Tracy said.

"We do the basic accounting procedures in-house and employ the services of a local bookkeeper to take it to the next level," Trudy said.

"We also use a commonsense approach when it comes to marketing. We've co-sponsored golf tournaments and charity golf days to help support the community and raise awareness of our business."

Tracy says choosing the range of clothes is very enjoyable, but they have learnt from early mistakes. "In the beginning, we made the mistake of buying too much of the same style," Tracy said.

"Now we have a better feel for what our customers want, and when a new range arrives, we contact our database, to give existing clients first choice."

Since opening in August 2008, Tee2Sea has gone from strength to strength.

"We could not have guessed the business would be so successful, so quickly," Trudy said, touching wood.

"We've taken on a junior employee, purchased capital equipment and exceeded our sales forecasts - all with no major financial outlay."

Trudy says the future may see more Tee2Sea shops opening around the country, but for now she and Tracy are busy with clients from as far away as The Vines and Joondalup.

Trudy and Tracy have visited the SBDC on two occasions. First time was to seek advice and guidance through the State Migration Centre on meeting the requirements for permanent residency and secondly to get information from the Business Information and Licence Centre on how to employ staff and how to meet their Australian Taxation Office obligations.

Go to the State Migration Centre website for more inspiring success stories about business people who have migrated to Western Australia.

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