Jenene Crossan: Digital media in New Zealand is lucrative

Jenene Crossan is one of New Zealand’s most successful internet entrepreneurs, with the country’s largest social magazine sitting comfortably in her portfolio, along with four other very successful online businesses. How’d she get there? With determination, incredible business acumen, and a lot of hard work.

Jenene was first inducted into the world of digital when she was 16, scoring a job at Auckland company Info Tools. She then moved on to do logistics at Nike, and later, Project Management at WebMasters, where she learned how to design award-winning websites.

It was during her time at WebMasters that Jenene launched her first business, which is now New Zealand’s leading digital magazine for women, nzgirl.com. With her bedroom as her office and a second-hand computer as her main asset, Jenene grew the website quickly, causing it to be noticed by prominent investors. 

It’s now 2014, and Jenene is onto her fifth business, Flossie.com. The website sells quiet time for hair and beauty appointments. “[It’s] like wotif.com,” she says, ” but instead of hotel rooms, we sell hair cuts and waxes.”

After throwing her business plan out 3 times and spending countless hours researching, Jenene launched Flossie.com two years ago. The service has grown exponentially since then. Flossie.com’s social footprint already claims over 10,000 fans, and there are 160 salons signed up to the service with another 600 expected by the end of the year.

The secret to Flossie.com’s success lies in the fact that it fills a very specific, very real void in the market. It’s a problem to a solution, like Troy Henikoff spoke about when he was here. Salons are suffering as a result of not having as many people through their doors, and women do not have a definitive place to go if they want to book time to treat themselves.

“Flossie.com was created because the Global Financial Crisis had a fundamental impact on how people spent money on themselves,” Jenene said. “Women effectively halved what they spent on services. Salons were really hurting and we came in at the right time to offer them a sustainable solution to that problem.

“We help get people back into salon more frequently.”

The service is largely supported by people Jenene calls “number one fans.” These are the repeat customers – the ones that come back weekly or daily.

“Then there are those who just pop in as they need,” Jenene added. “Lots of new people. We’re growing very quickly – so a lot of discoverers.”

These discoverers often learn about Flossie.com through word of mouth, and Jenene credits that to her direct, everyday involvement with the brand.

“It’s all about, ‘How do we make something that engages people, that is a community, that they enjoy being part of it?'” she said. “The ‘face’ or as I call it ‘personality marketing’ component is vital to that – people interact with other people, not with brands.

“Being the face isn’t about my ego being stroked, it’s about putting a real person to it. I’m very involved in the brand in many ways, and it pays off.”

Flossie.com has been three years in the workings and has been running for two, but this is just the beginning. Jenene says that a “secret squirrel” new app is coming out very soon. Also, there has been talk around franchising Flossie.com so that women in other countries can enjoy quiet time in salons, and salon owners can reap the benefits of new clients.

If you’ve read this and are contemplating starting your own career with a foray into digital media, the one piece of advice Jenene Crossan would give you is, “Don’t rely on advertising to make money.”

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This article was written from a live interview with Jenene Crossan.

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