It’s been almost 2 years since Shira and the gentSac team opened the doors to the gentSac Flagship store in The Galeries and almost 4 years since the inception of the gentSac concept was born. After graduating from the early days as a Paddington Market stall and a Galeries pop up shop, the gentSac journey took an incredible turn with it’s first Bricks and Mortar store.
Much like any start-up journey, it has been filled with highs and lows. We wanted to ask Shira all about that journey in the lead up to this upcoming milestone.
The men’s grooming space has come a long way in recent years – and is still evolving. How did you come up with the idea for gentSac?
The idea was born out of my natural instinct to gift these products to the men in my life. After a conversation with my partner it was clear to me there was a gap in the market for a one stop shop, curating niche products for men. It was also really heartwarming to hear that he felt much more confident when he looked after himself with a morning routine and upgraded his grooming products.
The gentSac retail experience has evolved from a stall at Paddington Markets to a ‘pop-up’ to a ‘bricks and mortar’ store in The Galleries. What has changed in that time and what has stayed the same?
The biggest change would for sure be my personal growth as a Founder which has supported the growth of our team and processes. The thing that hasn’t changed is the overall vision and mission of the company. We curate essential and bespoke products for men, supporting habits of excellence through grooming and opening conscious conversations that inspire gents to look after themselves and invest in a daily routine.
For many founders and solo-preneurs, the ‘startup-journey’ can be a rollercoaster. What are some of the challenges you faced in growing a company from its infancy?
Yes it certainly is! I think the key challenges that have the biggest impact on the business would have to be: hiring the right people that can champion your vision, implementing processes that support growth, cashflow. My personal challenge has been to ask for support and delegate more.
What advice would you have for those who are beginning their own ‘startup-journey’. What are some of the processes that helped you along the way?
My advice when starting your business, whilst in the ideating phase and before investing too much is to get proof of concept. When gentSac started we took our idea to market by literally going live with a market stall, talking to customers, trying different locations and different specialty industries. This affirmed there was interest in our concept, who our demographic was and it also opened up a lot of opportunities by being on the ground and present.
As a leader and Founder of the business I also advise prioritising self care and your own personal mental health. It is very easy to get caught up in the ‘hustle’ of starting a business, but as soon as I committed to looking after myself better – everything and everyone in my business was looked after better and it is now an instrumental part of our culture at gentSac.
The concept of ‘habits of excellence’ underpins everything at gentSac. How does it inspire the way the in-store team operates?
It absolutely does. The team at gentSac are always reminded to lead with devotion to service. This means operating with intention, we prioritise connection and communication with our customers and our community, we value education and ensuring customers have the best experience. It also means each individual team member is always reflecting on their own personal self care and habits of excellence. We’re all striving to be our best and support others to be their best. We’re all human and make mistakes, have bad days etc… but we constantly rise to the occasion of growing and having a positive impact.
What are three truths you’ve learnt about yourself on the journey in starting gentSac?
Everything starts with self care – I am able to be a better leader, creator, mentor, business owner when I have prioritised some form of self care daily.
I am a CREATIVE, although I am motivated by strategy and clever thinking, I draw a lot of inspiration from ideating and collaboration.
Connection and purpose is at the heart of everything meaningful, this means having a deep connection to self first, supporting others and leading with curiosity and compassion. I LOVE building community and creating a safe space for others to open up and grow.
Shira’s top three kits of all time