Starting out as a single man operation from his mother’s dining room table, Peter Alexander’s belief in setting high goals now has his product in bedrooms across the globe. He identified a gap in the market when his female friends were unable to find comfortable women’s pyjamas that weren’t flannelette nighties, or lacy lingerie.His direct mail approach to distribution revolutionised the industry.
Peter Alexander is a true entrepreneur. Founder of Peter Alexander Sleepwear, Peter grew the company from a single man operation on a living room table to an internationally recognised sleepwear business and brand name.
At age 24, having worked for four years in the retail industry, Peter decided it was time to be his own boss. Identifying a gap in the market when his female friends were unable to find comfortable women's pyjamas that weren't flannelette nighties or lacy lingerie styles, Peter decided to establish his own business.
With the support of his parents, Peter began making women's pyjamas for the wholesale market, working from his mother's living room table. He worked like this for four years and in the early days was the only person working in the company. When the phone rang, in order to make the business seem bigger, Peter would pretend to be someone else.
During this time, many people tried to discourage Peter because he had no formal training and no business experience. However when a department store cancelled an order for 2000 pairs of pyjamas, Peter's biggest setback became his biggest opportunity. In desperation, Peter put a mail order advertisement in Cleo magazine. The response was overwhelming and Peter was flooded with 6000 orders from one advertisement. Since then, he hasn't looked back.
Voted the least likely to succeed at school, Peter's teacher suggested he leave and go to TAFE. Peter didn't like being told what to do and decided to stay at school anyway. He successfully completed Year 12 and says this is what gave him the confidence to believe in himself and trust in his own abilities and decisions.
Believing in the importance of setting high goals, Peter says people with high goals have far more chance of achieving them, than people with lower goals or no goals at all.
For Peter, the most satisfying thing about running his own business was being able to take both the blame and credit for his work. He says "When you work for someone else you often get blamed for something that's not your fault, and when you deserve credit, you don't' get it. When you work for yourself, you only have yourself to blame if you mess up and you can also take the credit."
A few years ago, having felt he had taken the business as far as he could, Peter sold Peter Alexander Sleepwear to Just Jeans.
At the time of sale, the business was making $6 million per year and growing by 40% each year. Part of Peter's arrangement with Just Jeans is that he continues to run Peter Alexander sleepwear for five years. He currently manages the company and employs eight full time staff and twenty casual staff .
• Success story
• Life experiences
• Challenges and obstacles
“A fantastic personality. Great stories and a great success story."
“Excellent. Peter was a humble and down to earth presenter. His personality is reflected in the way he represents which is very informal and unarticulated, having said this it was these characteristics which made his presentation so unique and his experiences seem so real to the audience. Peter's account of how he commenced his business is entertaining and humourous. The audience could not help but laugh at his antics and stories. By the end of his presentation the audience felt uplifted and inspired to succeed, just as Peter had done. Dealing with Peter has been a fabulous experience - he was approachable, flexible and friendly. From a coordinator's view he was easy to deal with and forthcoming in providing quality interviews to local media. I would highly recommend Peter for any business or motivational presentation purposes based on the comments above."
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