With her sleek blonde hair, petite build and bold red lips, Julie Potter may look more aligned with her past-life in advertising, television production and makeup artistry, but these days, her passion for educating women on green slips and navigating gear shifts is a 24/7 priority.
Juliet’s career trajectory as a driving force behind female automotive education (via Autochic and Diva Denim Car Seat Covers) came about by accident when, as a pregnant mother upgrading from a two-door car to a four-door model, went in search of half-decent car seat covers.
“There were none!” she reflects. “They were foul and all in pink so I decided I’d make a new denim seat cover and they were the bomb!” With their mobile pocket, magazine pouch and fashionable denim fabric, Julie thought that having them distributed was a no brainer. She was wrong.
“I went to all the car companies and women loved them, but as they were deemed a male product, they didn’t see them fitting in their dealerships.”
So was the impetus for her career about turn. Juliet set up her own website – autochic.com.au – to sell them. In record time, the traffic coming through went from choosing car seat covers to asking Juliet about green slips and car finance, roadworthy certificates and child restraint safety checks.
“I thought ‘holy hell!’ this is amazing that women are buying more cars than men, but they are not armed with the right information! It’s the second biggest purchase of your lifetime in a multi-billion dollar industry, and no one was catering to the biggest customer; women…” she says.
Fast forward 15 years and Juliet has built on her empire with a PR company – GirlPR – to cater for automotive marketing and public relations from – and for – a female perspective.
With such a solid success, Rescu. asked Juliet to take us through her top 7 steps for the smooth ride into success.
Don’t Get Even, Get Angry:
Cars may not be Julie’s first love, but female empowerment is, and this is what continues to propel her. “Women are in control of the automotive industry but it doesn’t treat us well. I had so many setbacks when I was trying to set up Diva Denim Car Seat Covers, but as a woman I wasn’t heard and that anger kept me going for years!” she laughs. “I look back now and see a very angry girl. But I used it as a positive. I got angry, and changed things.”
Keep It Big Picture:
“It’s not about the website alone,” says Julie of her career focus. “I know I’m not curing cancer, but I am offering a service for women who are crying out for help with everything from finance and dealerships to which car is safest for their kids. It’s a can of worms, so you just have to follow their lead to the big picture.”
Serve Up What’s Palatable.
“Tyres are the most boring thing in the world!” laughs Juliet. But they are essential in order to keep you – and your children – safe,” So Juliet’s advice for those starting a business that is not ‘sexy’ is to at least keep it conversational, inviting and akin to your target markets life. “That way, even the boring – but essential – elements are easily navigated for the client.”
Ignore the Noise:
Although Juliet admits her anger has subsided, the external ignorance she is faced with continues. “It’s hard to work in an industry where they don’t like you,” she admits, “but I haven’t overcome it, I just ignore it!”
Look For An Untapped Market:
Statistics show that women make up to 80% of car purchase decisions, but – as Juliet puts it – many dealerships work on what she calls a ‘one night stand theory.’ “They only like you and talk to you to when they want one thing; a sale. It’s not about anything else. Women are absolutely open – they are literally walking into dealerships and saying ‘this is who I am and this is my budget. You tell me what to buy!” Juliet says. Autochic tapped into this, offering women education before they even crunched numbers for a car. “Now they can empower themselves before purchase.”
Find Your Fire:
“Whether it’s ego or money or sheer determination, find your validation and draw on it everyday to keep going,” says Juliet. “You have to be unshakable in your belief of what you are doing. You have to have that. For me its helping women but whatever it is it has to be strong enough for you to cut through the negatives. Ask yourself; ‘Why are you prepared to keep going?’ You really have to believe in what you are doing.”
Focus on your strengths and farm out the other tasks, Juliet advises. “I hired someone to do all the finances. I am the first person to say outsource the stuff you are bad at. I have dyslexia with numbers so it’s the stuff you are good at you need to focus on, and outsource the rest.”