Family furniture business Jimmy Possum began from a small shed in Victoria and in ten years grew to six stores across Australia’s eastern seaboard, enjoying over $25m in annual sales. The business opened in 1995 with husband Alan and the experience of several other successful enterprises behind them. Designed for the Australian market the Possum range is constructed from all-Australian recycled and sustainably farmed Victorian Ash. Margot’s belief in business success stems from passion, absolute focus and hard work.
Margot Spalding is co-owner of Jimmy Possum Furniture, and a multi-award-winning and successful Entrepreneur.
Jimmy Possum was started by Margot Spalding and her family in a shed they could barely afford. Now the furniture business turns over $25 million annually and operates six stores across Eastern Australia.
Jimmy Possum designs, manufacturers, promotes and sells its own quality furniture from its Victorian home of Bendigo.
"We started with nothing. We actually couldn’t afford the labour to build the shed, so our mates built it over a couple of weekends and we paid them in food and alcohol". With an initial capital injection of $15,000 and just one employee, Margot a teacher and graphic designer, and her husband Alan, also a teacher and industrial designer, opened the business in 1995.
Prior to the success of Jimmy Possum, Margot and Alan had a number of successful businesses until the 1990’s recession. As Margot explains, “We made all of our big mistakes in those first few businesses".
In 2006 Margot was awarded the 'Victorian Westpac Business Owner Award', and 'Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year'. She was also named the 'National Winner of the Westpac Business Owner Award 2006', and then, 'National Telstra Australian Business Woman Of The Year 2006.
Jimmy Possum currently employs over 150 people in its factory and its own retail outlets, and supplies to seven exclusive retailers. One of the many unique aspects of the business is that the Spaldings have maintained complete control of the supply chain, from concept, design and manufacturer to marketing and sales.
The furniture produced by Jimmy Possum is high quality, designed and manufactured for the Australian market, and is constructed from all-Australian recycled and sustainably farmed Victorian Ash.
Margot is passionate about her family and business. She admits to “living, breathing, eating and sleeping Jimmy Possum". Add to that the fact that she and Alan are parents to seven wonderfully talented children and this one demanding mix.
Ever the mother, Margot has over of 150 highly skilled and enthusiastic employees to care about and, with voracious energy, she travels from state to state, from store to store, and back to “Possum Central" in Bendigo, almost on weekly basis.
* Absolute Focus
* Hard Work.
“Passion is infectious," she explains. “It drives hard work but it also means that you enjoy the challenges and you have fun while you’re doing it". She also says that effective communications, good relationships and keeping firmly to your values will pave the way for a strong company ethos. Like most business owners, Margot says that managing staff is always a primary concern.
“In the future there may be more Jimmy Possum stores, but we have to balance our manufacturing capacity with our sales potential, which is a constant juggling act.
“We have had several offers to write a book about Jimmy Possum and the way we do business. Our culture strikes people so strongly and is such a profound part of our business, it seems people are curious to read about how we do it".
“Thank you very much for your great contribution to the Conference… I have been delighted to see very strong formal evaluations and the informal feedback has been outstanding. “
“The breakfast went very well and Margot was brilliant. The feedback has been fantastic, with a comment from one of our more critical but regular participants, that she was "the best speaker we have ever had". Nothing was too much trouble and she certainly didn't want a fuss made."
Maroondah City Council
“Great story, told with conviction. Her style worked well for her and she was very true to herself. She was highly regarded by the majority of the participants."
Proteus Leadership Centre - Adelaide