Sunday, October 1, 2023

Luggage startup July grabs Joanne Smith from Little Birdie as its first CFO

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Fast growing Victoria retail startup July has appointed Joanne Smith as its first Chief Financial Officer.

Smith moves to CFO luggage brand at deals platform Little Birdie. Previously, she held roles at KPMG Australia and the UK, as well as a five-year stint at Kogan, where she played a key role in the company’s IPO as Deputy CFO.

Co-founder Richard Li said Smith’s appointment is the latest in a string of new hires as the brand expands to keep pace with local and international demand.

“More than 80% of the July workforce has joined the luggage retailer in the past six months, after the brand grew more than 640% year-over-year,” he said.

“Following a successful US launch in mid-2021, July is turning its sights to the UK this year and is looking to leverage Smith’s experience in the expansion.”

Smith’s appointment also follows the July exec team participating in LaunchVic’s 30×30 program helping 30 startups with the potential to achieve unicorn status by 2030 – a $1 billion valuation.

Mentors from Atlassian, Canva and Judo Bank, among others, support and advise them to meet the challenges of scaling.

general manager july Zhoe Low said the the program helped the management team sharpen its focus.

“We are pleased to have gone through the program armed with both the hard and soft skills needed to achieve our long-term goals,” she said.

More about 30×30 and how to sign up here.

Smith said she was already a fan of the July brand, which launched in 2018.

“I have a particular passion for working with fast-paced entrepreneurial companies, so I am thrilled to be part of the July team at such an exciting time,” she said.

Li and co-founder Athan Didaskalou have expanded the range to more than 33 different products, including personalization offerings. The brand now has four stores in Melbourne and Sydney, and fans of celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen, Celeste Barber and Apple Martin.

Richard Li said they “couldn’t be happier” to have Smith there.

“Her deep retail knowledge will be increasingly useful as we scale the business, both in Australia and abroad,” he said.

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