Stay True To Yourself – Tracey Mathers – Australia
As a third generation shoe retailer from the Mathers shoe family, I always felt like one of the lucky ones. I remember sitting on my dad’s lap in his office in Mary Street, Brisbane City, at about the age of 6 and saying one day this will be all mine. I will run this business one day. That was not meant to be, but I am grateful for the journey it started me on, and the incredible values it instilled in me.
I started working casually for Mathers Shoes when I was 14, and I truly loved it and knew that when I finished school I wanted a full time career in the business. I was so excited about this because I already knew I wanted to travel the world, buying amazing shoes for women that would make them feel fabulous, empowered and beautiful.
At 17, I asked for a meeting with my dad. You did this in my household when you had something serious to discuss and I told him I had decided to join the family company. He was very excited. However I said to him, if this is to work you need to stay out of my career going forward. I need to do this on my own, I need the proof that I am worthy of climbing the ladder not because of my last name but on my talent and merit. He agreed to that, and so my journey began.
It was difficult at first. Being the boss’s daughter taught me very quickly how to manage conflict, how to work out who is with you, and who isn’t, and most importantly, how to handle the ones who aren’t. All this at the age of 17 made me grow up extremely quickly.
I survived, I loved it, but eventually the day came when my father organised a successful buy-out by Woolworth America, and I was shattered. My dream of potentially taking over and being that third generation to run the company was now gone. That did not last long thankfully, as the new owners were fabulous, very motivational and I loved working for them. I moved further up the ladder and was learning heaps.
One day, they decided to close a division of the company which was a more upmarket branding. In my opinion, this was going to leave a huge gap in the marketplace. I had recently found a fabulous new retail site in Brisbane City and decided it was time to do my own thing. So with a fire in my belly and a business plan in my hand, I jumped on a plane to Italy and went shoe shopping. That was the start of Tracey Mathers Shoe Studio in 1991.
I owned my retail stores for 25 years. I had massive highs and some impressive lows but what a journey it has been and what I have learned, both good and bad, along the way has set me up for my new career path.
I decided to sell my stores. After 25 years, I just felt it was the right time to put all I have learnt over the years into helping others. I am now mentoring, speaking and consulting to small and medium businesses who can benefit in any area in which I have expertise. I am absolutely loving my new career. I now help others to achieve their goals, to help them get positioned where they need to be, for the results they are going after. And I am there with them on the journey the whole way.
Being in small business can be a really hard, often we feel alone, and we have so many huge decisions to make, often they have to be made on our own.
A few big lessons I have learnt along the way are:
1/ It is okay if others don’t believe in you, if they don’t get your “why” as long as you do. Don’t ever let anyone take away your dreams or your goals, stay true to your beliefs and stay true to yourself always.
2/ Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. People that are going to challenge you, teach you, support you and believe in you. This is when magic happens, and we get great results on our own journey.
3/ Don’t ever give up, we are only limited by our own imagination.
About the Author
Tracey Mathers is a trusted advisor to those wanting to build and maintain success in business. With retail running through her veins, third generation retailer Tracey Mathers has been continuing the family tradition for over 24 years. As the Grandaughter of the founder of Mathers Shoes it was inevitable she would become a leading retailer in her field. Having had up to six stores she has learnt to deal with all areas of running a successful business.
To contact Tracey:
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