Hosking recognised early on that the internet would forever change what it means to run a business.

Redbubble – Know your customers

Redbubble is both an online retailer and creative community that launched in February 2007. Its list of accolades include winner of the BRW Fast 100 company, the SmartCompany Best Website and Deloitte Fast 50 2012 awards.

Cofounder Martin Hosking puts its success down to providing a “compelling and significant proposition for consumers”.

Hosking recognised early on that the internet would forever change what it means to run a business. He struggled to carve out the right business opportunity until he cofounded the online arts community.

But identifying a start-up opportunity isn’t the same as communicating the aims of the business that follows. It’s a lesson Hosking learned firsthand at his previous online startup, Looksmart.

Now, there is no ambiguity about the brand Redbubble seeks to project.

Redbubble clearly targets its artistically minded and creative customers, boasting unique product designs that are continually updated on a daily basis. It also provides a ‘marketplace’ where artists can sell, admire and discuss work.

“When we started Redbubble, we had a clear view that the artists were the main people we wanted to serve and we haven’t deviated from that,” says Hosking.

Redbubble’s best piece of advice for businesses launching a website is to know your customers and be clear about who they are.

“The problem with any start-up is not a lack of things to do, but too many. If you’re not clear on who your customers are, you end up prioritising the wrong things,” explains Hosking.

Vinomofo – Create a great user experience

Vinomofo began as a mobile site, but following a three-month redesign, the website was relaunched.

Since shifting from mobile to include web, the wine-selling business has focused on creating an engaging user experience on their website – capturing attention with photographs and images which fill the length of the screen.

The significance of user experience became a reality the second their website crashed during a feature on TV show A Current Affair, spurring them to invest in a ‘gun developer’ to improve user experience.

Vinomofo has also gone to great lengths to attract an extensive demographic by connecting wine enthusiasts to deals and a wide range of winemakers with their welcoming and aesthetically appealing site.

“Really think about the user experience, and work out the one thing you’d like your users to do on each page,” advises cofounder Andre Eikmeier.

Adioso: Enable search flexibility

Adioso is designed to help travellers find affordable flight deals to destinations by offering flexible search categories such as regions and seasons.

Customers have the option to type in sentences to a single search box such as: ‘Melbourne to Asia next month’ or ‘Adelaide to somewhere warm tomorrow’, and the site then delivers the best results.

Another feature is the conversational approach to filtering and narrowing search results. It emulates a conversation a consumer would have with a travel agent.

Adioso’s top tip to other businesses is to think about how people do things in the offline world: “Understand the thought processes that underpin those things, and try to build interactions that mirror those thought processes. Spend a lot of time looking over people’s shoulders as they use your product.”


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