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Sydney Small Business Spotlight

Success Stories and Lessons Learned

Sydney’s thriving start-up scene is a testament to the city’s supportive ecosystem for small businesses. In this blog post, we highlight three successful Sydney-based start-ups and discuss the lessons we can learn from their journeys to success.

Canva: Democratizing Graphic Design

Canva, a graphic design platform co-founded by Melanie Perkins, has revolutionized the world of design by making it accessible to everyone. With a simple drag-and-drop interface and a vast library of templates, Canva has become the go-to tool for millions of users worldwide.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Identify a gap in the market: Canva’s founders recognized that professional design software was both expensive and complicated for non-designers. By offering an affordable and user-friendly alternative, they tapped into a significant market demand.
  2. Prioritize ease of use: Canva’s success is largely due to its intuitive interface, which empowers users to create professional-quality designs with minimal effort.


Koala: Disrupting the Mattress Industry

Koala, co-founded by Mitch Taylor and Dany Milham, has transformed the mattress industry with its innovative, eco-friendly, and affordable mattresses. By adopting a direct-to-consumer business model, Koala has eliminated the need for traditional showrooms and passed the savings onto its customers.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Disrupt traditional business models: Koala’s direct-to-consumer approach allowed the company to offer high-quality products at competitive prices while maintaining control over the customer experience.
  2. Emphasise social responsibility: Koala’s commitment to sustainability and wildlife conservation has resonated with environmentally conscious consumers, helping to build brand loyalty. Also being a certified B-Corp company


Showpo: Fashion with a Social Media Twist

Showpo, an online fashion retailer founded by Jane Lu, has harnessed the power of social media to create a loyal customer base and drive sales. With a focus on affordable, on-trend clothing, Showpo has become a go-to destination for fashion-forward shoppers.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Leverage social media: Showpo’s success can be attributed to its savvy use of social media platforms, such as Instagram, to engage with customers and highlight its products.
  2. Embrace a customer-centric approach: By staying attuned to customer needs and preferences, Showpo has been able to continually offer fresh, relevant products that resonate with its target audience.


The success stories of Canva, Koala, and Showpo demonstrate the potential for start-ups to thrive in Sydney’s dynamic business landscape. By identifying market gaps, disrupting traditional business models, prioritizing user experience, and leveraging social media, these companies have carved out their niches and emerged as industry leaders. Their journeys offer valuable insights and inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to make their mark in the world of small business.