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Idealog's Most Creative: Onceit's Jay Goodey talks creativity

Jay Goodey was one of the People's Choice winners for the retail category in Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. Goodey was just 22 when he quit his job as a television editor to launch Onceit, an online store where retailers can sell their outlet stock and consumers can get a bargain. The membership-only site has grown like topsy, it has embraced the bricks and clicks trend with a pop-up store in Newmarket, it now handles over 20,000 orders a month across premium apparel, homewares and beauty. Once It differs from most online retailers in that it doesn't hold most of its stock at a warehouse and send items quickly. Instead, it holds sales on behalf of brands, shooting campaigns, processing orders, and sending items out once they arrive. Here, he talks creativity, resilience and finding your best ideas.

What does creativity mean to you?

Trying to solve problems with innovative solutions.

What do you think it is about your nature/habits/interests that makes you creative?

My drive to push the status quo and a desire to create something our team and me can be proud of.

What first drew you to your chosen field?

An interest in ecommerce and really how many people you could reach with a pretty efficient operation.

What was your upbringing like, and how do you think that led you to where you are today?

I grew up in a really supportive family and they always backed my pursuits which I had many. I think I tried most sports at school and wanted to do about 50 different occupations at one point or another through my schooling years. I think growing up in a smaller town made me pretty industrious, at one time in high school I was screen-printing 100s t-shirts a month in my bedroom, which I sold to various local stores.

Where do your best ideas come from?

I sometimes find I have to remove myself from the busyness of the office and create some space to let ideas come. I don’t have a particular place I go or thing I do, but I think removing yourself from your normal responsibilities allows ideas to flow a bit more.

What does inspiration look like for you?

Recently I almost shed a tear watching the Warren Buffet documentary. Here is a guy who is the best in his field and loves what he does and then at the end of it all he is going to impact so many people from his philanthropy as well. For various reasons that really moved and inspired me. 
 

Is there an ethos/motto you abide by in your work?

In the work place we have some values that all try to adhere too. The most meaningful to me is, having a positive attitude with those I work with/ staff/ suppliers etc. I think people gravitate and want to work in positive environments and with positive people, so I'm always working on that. The other is “Get shit done”. Really that is just about execution, you can have all the ideas in the world or be the most creative, but if you can’t execute them you won’t make an impact.

If there were a secret to success, what would it be?

I think that is determined but what you think success is. If I was on my deathbed right now I would deem how I treated people the most important measure of success. One of the things that I am trying to work on putting other people before myself and I think that comes back around.

What were some of the challenges that you faced early on? What went wrong? Any regrets?

Too many to list here. But the main thing I did despite the challenges in the early days is to show back up every morning and try and put on a performance that I could be proud of.

Do you work a lot? Do you have an obsessive part to your personality?

Unfortunately and fortunately I am relatively obsessive which in the early days resulted working long hours too. I am fortunate now that I have a great team, which means my hours for the most part aren’t too bad.

What’s the secret to resilience?

Have a good reason.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

We have been fortunate to win a few business awards along the years but I think the biggest highlights for me are when customers validate something new we are doing. For instance we have recently started selling furniture, which has exceeded expectations.

What do you think New Zealand is like for creativity? Is there something about ‘Kiwiness’ that helps or hinders?

I think we are good at embracing new ideas.

What would be the advice you’d give someone who wants to turn their creative passion into a full-time gig?

Before I ventured out for myself I looked at the downside and thought what was the worst that could happen/what I could lose if it didn’t work out. Once I had processed the downside at that point I was willing to take the risk for the upside.

Where to next? Do you have a goal you’re working towards?

I get a thrill out of growth so growing our reach, team and offer still gets me excited. We want to be the number one in our field and keep pushing what we do.

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