This month we're chatting with the talented Jenene Crossan, who recently picked up the award for the Most Inspiring Individual at the 2016 New Zealand Innovation Awards with Flossie Concierge. She explains what innovation means to her and why she's so excited by the possibilities of the digital realm.
Congratulations on your award – how do you feel about receiving it?
It was pretty overwhelming at the time - I spent much of the following week saying, “oh gosh, thank you, you’re too kind”. It was rather special to receive such a positive amount of feedback and an injection of feel-good vibes from my peers - something that often when you’re in the thick of tackling a start-up, can often be lacking. It helped finish off a challenging, but rewarding, year on a wonderful note.
What does innovation mean to you and why are you so excited by it?
Innovation means never sitting still or resting. It means questioning everyday what we can do better, and how to push harder, faster and further. It means having a team of people on a similar journey, making it up as they go along, using the bare basics to help find the smallest of threads and then pulling it, untangling it and turning it into something spectacular and useful.
There is nothing more rewarding than conceptualising an idea based off insights, then developing it, marketing it, selling it and watching people use it and love it. Watching a dial shift is motivation to get out of bed and keep fighting the good fight.
Tell us about your business, Flossie.
Flossie is a mobile market-place on both iOS and Android devices that makes beauty and hair appointments easy for customers to book and salons to sell. Over the last year Flossie has grown in revenue by over 400% and we now have a large habitual customer base.
What is it that excites you about your business the most? Is it the beauty industry, helping women or the platforms around digital?
While I may have taken well to the “Flossie” aspect of the role (I’ve become known for particularly well-groomed hair and rather excellent brows), my drivers are most certainly driven by a desire to use technology to fix pain points.
This is an industry ripe for disruption as technology, connectivity and lifestyle have driven a shift in customer behaviour. Less customer commitment has meant salons have last-minute appointments available every day and this “spare” inventory is costing them money. I saw an opportunity in being able to fix that, was encouraged by the size of the prize (a $1b industry in New Zealand alone) and thus began my interest in this industry. I love that what we do helps businesses as well as consumers and grows NZ Inc at the same time.
Where are we headed in the digital space in your view?
What the future may bring excites me, and I hope the things I dream up at 3am are all possible. I get particularly amped by the positive opportunity that AI (artificial intelligence), and innovation in finance, food, transportation and agriculture are going to have on the wellbeing of our planet, Third World countries, employment and lifestyles. I think we’ll have a fair few teething problems (to say the least) through this, but the possible outcomes and benefits are immense for the human race.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I’d like to think I paid it forward. That I helped others on my way up, and instilled in them a desire to do the same. Leave things better than you found them.