From idea to execution
Gary first considered the appeal of a third-party, digitalised lay-by facility while in his former role as managing director of mail-order clothing company Ezibuy during the early 2000s. The technology wasn’t there to support this service at that point, but last year, Alex independently proposed the same concept while arguing with his father about an outfit he wanted to wear out one Friday night.
“Alex was bemoaning the fact that I was too miserly to lend him money to buy a pair of jeans,” Gary says.
Then a student, Alex told his father he wished he could get the jeans immediately and pay them off in instalments based on what he could afford from his part-time job. Gary mentioned that he’d already thought of a business based on this idea many years ago.
“In typical 20-year-old fashion, Alex challenged me to go ahead and do it.”
Gary took the bait. He retreated into his office and spent a few weeks producing a business plan, before deciding the business was viable. From there, he and Alex spent three months planning and shaping the details of the solution they wanted to offer.
Strategy and implementation company Spring carried out extensive research to validate the plan, and produced a 60-page ‘product specification’ document to guide the developers in building the software that drives Laybuy. After a tender process, local web design and ecommerce provider Blackpepper was chosen to create Laybuy.
Following a 16-week build, Laybuy launched on May 12 with two foundation retail partners, Hallenstein Glasson and Red Rat. Westpac and DPS manage the financial back-end, while Heartland funds its loan book.
Its success has been significant: in the two months following its launch, Laybuy signed up a further 150 retail partners; 18,500 consumers had joined the platform; and Laybuy had transacted just over $1.6 million.
Its retailer base is mostly independent clothing boutiques right now, but Laybuy hasn’t restricted its ambitions to apparel – it’s also talking to toy companies, a spa retailer and many others. Any retailer based on the Shopify platform can use it now, and it’s also building a Magento extension.
“Our strategic plan is actually world domination across any retail or service,” Gary says.
He intends to see Laybuy move into in-store payments as well.
Laybuy can’t release exact numbers around the sales and order value growth its retail partners have experienced for reasons of commercial sensitivity but Gary says the average percentage uplift for all of the above is in double digits – “and I’m not talking teens.” He confirms that this is consistent across all retail partners.
Laybuy will embark on a capital raise at some point, but currently, it’s working on continuing its rapid growth streak and consolidating that progress. Gary, Alex, plus wife and mother Robyn Rohloff are excited to work together as a family to build Laybuy into a company that supports retailers and helps customers shop.
“We’ve got big aspirations and we’re a little New Zealand company that is going to fly,” Gary says.