Founder of One Empire, Bridgette Bidner
An 18-year-old marketing student with no prior design or business experience has created a luxury pyjama label that is on track to make $1million this year - and COVID-19 restrictions helped the business boom.
Bridgette Bidner, now 21, started One Empire in June 2018 after struggling to find pyjamas that she liked and that were equally as affordable.
'I initially had half a warehouse in my bedroom at my parents' house which only grew bigger and slowly got out of hand, with boxes in the hallway and a car packed with parcels,' the Darwin-based entrepreneur told FEMAIL.
'I then had everything in a spare bedroom in my apartment which became crowded over time, as it really started to take off.
'This progressed to having everything shipped from our warehouse in Melbourne, which lightened the load while studying full-time.'
Initially the marketing student had 'zero idea' of how to start a fashion label and searched for manufacturers on Google, before flying overseas to meet them.
'I visited their offices and we would go over different fabrics, cuts and measurements directly. I gradually got better at designing the pieces with continuous trial and hell of a lot of error,' she said.
The pyjamas are all one block colour and feature a satin fabric interwoven with lace
Miss Bidner poured over Pinterest images for two months, gaining inspiration and creating an overall theme for the brand (influencer Emilee Hembrow pictured right)
'Later on I worked with a consultant to grow the business even more. I used LinkedIn a lot to connect with brand owners who knew what they were doing.'
Miss Bidner poured over Pinterest images for two months, gaining inspiration and creating an overall theme for the brand.
She describes the range as prioritising 'simplicity' and 'class' which she couldn't see other sleepwear labels doing at the time.
Never one to like prints she preferred the 'plainer' satin sets, believing that other women must feel that way too.
'I knew I was on to something early on when I used influencer marketing, which was an Instagram story with Big Brother star Skye Wheatley, and made $5,000 in less than 24 hours,' she said.
'I knew I was on to something early on when I used influencer marketing, which was an Instagram story with Big Brother star Skye Wheatley (pictured), and made $5,000 in less than 24 hours,' she said
Since coronavirus hit Australian shores, and states were forced into lockdown, Miss Bidner saw a huge surge of support for One Empire, because more people were staying home
Since coronavirus hit Australian shores, and states were forced into lockdown, Miss Bidner saw a surge of support for One Empire, because more people were staying home.
'Coronavirus has been huge. With staying at home becoming the new way of life, we marketed the range as a stay-at-home essential, which skyrocketed our sales,' she said.
Being exclusively sold online has benefited the brand during the crisis as they didn't have a brick-and-mortar store to worry about.
In the last two months sales have been scaling from $20,000, with a fast-tracked goal of reaching $1million by the end of the year.
Miss Bidner hopes to develop different lace and satin styles that don't exceed $30 a pair in the coming months so more Australian customers can access the range.