Soft spoken, exuding an air of modesty, Jo Ryan’s last two-and-a-half years of entrepreneurship have been nothing short of bold and ambitious.
After spending 14 years in the cosmetic injectables industry, during which Jo Ryan reflects upon it as a time where she was “just not overly happy and making other people a lot of money,” she decided to take the plunge.
“It was actually the team that I worked with at another company that pushed me into entrepreneurship,” she explained. “It was pretty much the girls that I worked with that talked me into making the leap. I never had the confidence before that to do it.”
And with that, Jo Ryan set out to do what she loved most while creating the clinic environment that she wanted her and her team to be a part of.
First, she and her business partner bought SILK Fairfield in North Queensland, only to follow that up with another purchase several kilometers away at SILK Townsville after a few months, and last December, launching into the Gold Coast and buying a location in Burleigh Heads.
However, for Jo Ryan though, she maintains that her business’s fast growth and success today stems from the strength and the support of the women around her – the ones that pushed her into carving her own way in the industry and the ones that help her run her three locations today.
“I’ve got an amazing team. I’ve got great managers at each clinic and they take control. I have total faith in the girls … It’s just keeping everyone motivated and that’s not hard to do when you have such a great group of women to work with,” Jo Ryan explained confidently while reflecting on her initial team of five, which has since grown to 24 across the three locations.
This tight-knitedness has been especially important during the turbulence Jo Ryan has faced launching her businesses amid a natural disaster and a worldwide pandemic.
“We went through the Townsville floods right before we opened Fairfield and I thought that was going to be the biggest hurdle I would ever face in my career. Fairfield had just been five months previously, a metre under water. The whole suburb was pretty much flooded, inundated.
The houses were torn apart and there were no families living in the area so I was a little bit concerned by how we were going to go with Fairfield,” Jo explained.
But little did Jo Ryan know, the floods would better prepare her for COVID-19.
Citing the lipstick effect – a phenomenon that points to a positive correlation between unemployment and increased spending on personal care and cosmetic products – Jo added, “we saw it after the floods and it’s definitely happening again during COVID so I was not worried at all when we did shut down last time because I knew we would come back bigger and better – and we did”
The success of each location is also attributed to the local communities. Although after the floods, it took residents around 12 months before they moved back into their homes, Jo Ryan witnessed growth from day one. “We were just so busy and everyone welcomed us and supported us and really wanted to see the shopping centre grow.”
And for Jo Ryan, this community is exactly what she always wanted. The community of women that pushed her into starting her own business, her team that helps her run her clinics today, the SILK head office which, despite experiencing significant growth, going public and undertaking some major acquisitions, Jo Ryan says is still one big family and the local communities that continue to support her and her staff withstand the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
I wanted to work in an environment whereby I could “go to work every day and feel like we were a family.”
And, after 14 years in the workforce, Jo Ryan finally has that today.