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The 7-year journey that finally paid off for Booktopia

Booktopia Telstra Biz Awards - 2
Booktopia Telstra Biz Awards

Image supplied: Telstra

And how it sets itself apart from Amazon.

Booktopia CEO and founder CEO took little time to address the finalist-shaped elephant in the room at the NSW Telstra Business Awards in Sydney last week.

"People ask us, including our judges, 'Why do you want to enter again?'" This was Booktopia's seventh year as a state finalist for the awards. This year the online book retailer took home the 2018 Medium and Making Waves Award, for businesses with revenue over $3 million and employing less than 200 people, as well as the overall 2018 NSW Business of the Year Award.

"Entering is a rigorous process. It helps you articulate your story, focus on what is working and what still needs work," said Nash.

And Booktopia's story is an interesting one. The business started not long after the dot-com boom and bust back in 2004 as a side project with a budget of $10 a day.

"By 2008, a decade ago, we were in 500 square metres and had sales of $4 million a year. We employed about 25 people," Nash told the crowd.

Today, their sales exceed $120 million and they employ 190 people. Soon they won't be eligible for the Medium and Making Waves category.

"In the climate, where everyone has been talking doom and gloom for the book industry, can you believe that all of that that we have done has been accomplished from such a small investment of $10? I am confident that in the past 20 years, in particular in retail, that no other company has accomplished so much with so little."

While it started in the same category as Amazon, online bookselling, it has not followed the same line as the American retail giant. Nash says that while Amazon markets itself as "the everything store", Booktopia focuses on being one thing to its customers.

“Our vision is to be Australia’s bookstore, and we’re achieving that by focusing on our customers and making them the centre of decisions and our ecosystem,” he said.

Other category winners from the night include:

  • Manly Spirits Co for 2018 Telstra NSW Emerging and Energised award winner.
  • Flora and Fauna for 2018 Telstra NSW Small and Succeeding award winner.
  • Foodbank NSW & ACT Limited for 2018 Telstra NSW Social Change Maker award winner.

Nominations for the Telstra Business Awards are open year round for a range of categories.

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