Meet the entrepreneur fusing technology and fashion on a path to business success

Clothing and fashion has always been important to Danielle Johansen. Not just as an expression of self, but also as a meaningful career.

Danielle Johansen Threadicated

The Sydneysider knew early on in life that she wanted to work in fashion. “I was that annoying kid in the family who changed their outfit five times a day,” she laughs.

For her, clothes were an expression of how she felt for that day. “I did every single job in the fashion industry imaginable, trying to find a feeling that I remember as a kid of putting on clothes and feeling amazing.”

Those roles included working as an assistant designer, senior sales support, a designer and buyer, and also as a fashion account manager in the marketing team. Working in fashion roles meant she understood how people feel in the morning when trying to pick the right outfit for the day that lies ahead.

That challenge opened her eyes to the world of fashion and got her thinking about how she could make sure that the right clothes ended up on the right people so that everyone felt great about their outfit choice each day.

“We all feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of choice or because we have too many of the wrong clothes hanging in our wardrobes,” Danielle says.

A tech solution

But she could see that by developing technology in the fashion selection process, she could streamline the process of personal styling while also making it a more cost-effective service for clients.

This led Danielle to launch Threadicated, Australia’s first online and shipped-to-your-door personal fashion style service in 2019 from her North Sydney apartment.

Threadicated is a personal fashion styling service that aims to not only enhance its clients’ outward appearance, but also empower them from within. It’s a service anyone can tap into for less than $100. “We believe that fashion is more than just clothes, it’s about self-love, self-esteem, and self-empowerment,” Danielle explains.

Her mission is to help her clients discover their personal style and feel confident and empowered every day. “We strongly believe that the right clothing has the power to bring out the best in someone, and we feel privileged to be part of that journey for our clients.”

She continues: “We understand that fashion is a personal and emotional experience and it takes a lot of vulnerability for our clients to open up to us about how they feel about their body and style, and we work hard to ensure that our clients feel value and heard every step of the way.”

But funding the business wasn’t always easy in those early days. She applied for an American Express Business Explorer Credit Card, which provides cash flow for her business. The card offers up to 55 interest-free days1 and a fixed credit limit, which has proven particularly useful for businesses wanting to iron out the financial ebbs and flows.

Having an American Express Card has been a critical piece of the puzzle for her. It’s enabled her to offset business expenses with points that she could use towards flight and travel via flexible transfer partners.

“My Amex Card offers us a rolling line of credit that allows us to extend payment terms on all of our purchases, which I find really useful for tracking the business,” Danielle says.

The rewards through her American Express Card also served as a benefit for her when she first launched. “When I started the business, I wasn’t drawing a wage out of the business. So I would use the Amex Card perks kind of like that was my bonus because when the points accumulated, I could use that for flights and a holiday,” she says.

The American Express Business Explorer Credit Card offers complimentary travel insurance when you pay for your return trip with your Card2 and two lounge passes to the Amex Lounge, which has rebranded to “The Centurion” now, each year3. Via the flexible American Express Membership Rewards Program, it’s possible to redeem points for travel across a range of leading airline and hotel programs as per Amex.com4

Danielle Johansen Threadicated

Dressed for success

Making sure the numbers are taken care of means she can focus on Threadicated, which caters to a diverse range of clients by offering a selection of more than 1,000 brands. The collection features pieces for every price point, with pieces under $50 through to designer styles well over $1,000 apiece.

Danielle has assembled a group of dedicated stylists to style both men and women from across the nation from the comfort of their homes. The service also includes styling notes on how to wear each item, and clients can directly communicate with the stylist directly.

She admits that during her honeymoon, she would take quiet moments to take phone calls from the hotel lobby across Italy and France to speak with developers. “I wanted to be able to return and hit the ground running,” she explains.

But technology is only one part of the service. “Each client receives personalised attention from a dedicated stylist who takes the time to understand their unique style, needs and preferences. With every order, the client’s experience improves as our stylists get to know them better,” she says.

On average, sales have tripled every year since launching due to the high demand for the personalised service. It has been a hugely successful business. She employs 20 people, including contractors.

Behind the scenes, she’s constantly ensuring that clients have a phenomenal experience. “I’m committed to making sure our clients feel valued and connected to our brand’s story. This means going above and beyond to meet their needs and exceed their expectations”.

Threadicated grew in Covid lockdowns as Australians looked for ways to feel good about themselves for when the day arrived that they could get out again.

This allowed further growth during the pandemic as Danielle artfully steered Threadicated through its first successful capital raise, raising $500,000 from outside investors which has enabled her to further develop the technology and service offering. She has also attracted angel investors who share her vision and have proven to be a confidence booster as she finds her feet in the startup scene.

She admits that having an American Express Card in her back pocket was akin to having a financial lifeline as she rode the ups and downs of growing her business.

Being in business and being first to market is a high-stakes game, but the rewards are endless, she says.

“In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, I believe in the importance of taking calculated risks and being willing to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances. This mindset was ingrained in me when we launched our business right before the Covid pandemic hit, which taught me the necessity of being nimble and flexible in the face of uncertainty.

Lifelong learning

Constantly innovating and learning are all part of the job, especially in the world of technology. For Danielle, that means there’s always a book to read, an event to attend, or a call to make.

“I’m passionate about continuous learning and growth, both for myself and my team. I love to read and stay up to date on the latest industry trends and insights and encourage my team to do the same. By promoting a culture of learning and development, we can continually improve our skills and knowledge and improve the service for our clients.”

Danielle Johansen Threadicated

She has a new addition to the service in the pipeline, which will redefine what’s possible in this space. But it was too early in the design phase to elaborate. “Fashion is an extremely competitive industry, so you’ll just have to watch this space,” she says.

Danielle shares her top tips for business success:

Don’t jump without a safety net: Danielle had the financial security of a full-time job when she launched the business, which gave her the financial safety net to create and launch her business.

Get your financials in order: Articulating your vision to the banks when you’re launching a business isn’t always easy. Once your business is established, consider out-of-the-box ways to fund growth, such as applying for the American Express Business Explorer Credit Card. For Danielle, unlocking travel with her points has been a game changer, enabling her to travel with confidence.

Don’t spend for the sake of it: Too many startups spend without needing to. Be certain that any expenditure is necessary and bootstrap a business launch where you can.  

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable: Allowing vulnerability by trying something new can be challenging, but it’s also where the best ideas come from.

Learn from your failures: Failing is learning, so don’t be hard on yourself and treat something not working out as a chance to do it differently next time.

Innovate, always. Steering constant innovations and improving technology are also central to her leadership style. “I believe by embracing technology, we can better service our clients and stay ahead of the curve in our industry,” Danielle says.

Hire carefully: Make sure you’re careful that the people you hire in your business really understand the vision, have a passion for the cause, and are a good cultural fit for what you’re working to achieve.

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