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What is 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Elliot Ramler (b. 1986) & Jonathon Green (b. 1985), VIC
Name: Elliot Ramler
Age: 26 (Born: April 1986)
Name: Jonathon Green
Age: 27 (Born: June 1985)
Known for: ELJO.com.au
Two guys, one business, zero bricks and not a trace of mortar.
Elliot Ramler and Jonathon Green are in their fourth year turning ELJO.com.au into a superstar online retailer, selling electronics and appliances from the best-known brands on the market. Their ability to grow dramatically with a “Why not?” attitude in an unforgiving industry not only has them drawing publicity for their ages; it’s also got their competitors glancing uneasily over their shoulders.
The pair started off, by Green’s recollection, as “arrogant young uni students who felt like we were invincible.” They founded ELJO (as in ELliot and JOnathon) because they thought that their online model — an alternative to the commission-based structure traditionally used by retailers — could save them operating costs, while cutting the consumer a better deal on prices.
“We were sick of having to haggle every time you needed to buy a kettle,” says Ramler. “We thought, let’s just offer them the best price the first time.”
Fast-forward four years, and their initial $20,000 investment in ELJO in a barren office space has transformed into $4 million in revenues, and counting. Beginning with electronics, they’ve added whitegoods and appliances from everyday manufacturers including Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and Yamaha.
Ramler and Green’s emphasis on transparency with the customer is another selling point. ELJO strives to respond to questions around the clock via live chat, phone and e-mail. They also make themselves conspicuous by targeting consumers in online forums and through social media for feedback.
“Consumers are so used to have to physically seek service from businesses,” says Green, “that when you go to them and reach out to them in ways they can relate to, they are often blown away and see fit to mention you to friends and family.”
There have been some serious setbacks along the way: the loss of a major supplier, a drain on startup capital from credit card fraud, and the usual chorus of naysayers insisting that online could never work. Yet each stumble has strengthened their resolve. The duo’s July profile in BRW magazine was but one of the latest triumphs allowing them to strike a confident, “how you like us now?” pose.
ELJO’s first round of capital raising earlier in the year proved that business movers too are finally growing confident. And for the haters who remain, every day is a new opportunity.
“What gets me out of bed in the morning,” affirms Ramler, is “knowing one day, the same people will be banging down our door begging us to sell their goods.”
Anthill asks: Elliot Ramler and Jonathon Green, what motivates you as entrepreneurs?
Green: “To see the fruits of the initiatives that we believe in enough to make happen.”
Ramler: “It’s a personal mission to prove that online is the answer, not the enemy.”
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.