Adelaide-based Davie Fogarty – one of the youngest-ever Shark Tank judges and the AFR Young Rich Lister behind the internationally successful Oodie – kicked off his online business in 2018 at age 23 with just $500 in savings and one idea.

Thanks to an innovative digital model, the young entrepreneur has since grown his and a handful of e-commerce brands that collectively have brought in more than 8.1 million units in sales to date – and more than $500 million in revenue – landing him a coveted spot on the AFR Young Rich List in 2021.  

Fogarty believes success follows when a product or service solves a problem. His brands are designed to solve common health and lifestyle problems. The Oodie is Davie’s best-selling brand, having secured deals with Disney and Warner Bros to launch Harry Potter and Star Wars product lines.  

Fogarty has endured several challenges and business failures, but his perseverance for results has seen him amass digital skills and knowledge. He taught himself about algorithms and systems behind social media platforms, growing Instagram accounts to around 600,000 followers in the early days.  

The key to building a successful business is about trying, testing and endless learning, according to Fogarty, who shares his learning and strategies for fledgling digital entrepreneurs looking to achieve the same levels of success. 

1. How to build a million-dollar brand with less than $1,000 in investment: Fogarty has developed a tried-and-tested roadmap for entrepreneurs starting out on a budget, from sourcing products, launching an online store, creating a brand, product photography, customer service and marketing, through to supply chain management. For instance, he recommends investing small to avoid losses.

He says it’s possible to build a $250,000 brand through drop-shipping alone, which requires little inventory spend. 

2. How to select an ecommerce product that will sell successfully: In the highly competitive $54 billion Australian ecommerce market, Fogarty says it is essential to have a product that stands out.He reveals how to firstly identify and source a product that will sell successfully online after in-depth primary research to understand what products not to launch based on market saturation and competitiveness. Once the product is decided on, Fogarty reveals his tips on upselling, how to create a face behind the brand, using Google trends and keyword planner, reviewing drop shipping sites to conduct further research on the chosen product and how to reach out to, and partner with, manufacturers.  

3. Get customers purchasing from your website: Put simply, brand and product clarity equal customer conversions. If customers do not understand how the product works, do not see how it will achieve their desired outcomes, do not trust your brand, do not like the lack of guarantee if the product is not liked, and doesn’t address pain points, they just won’t buy your product.Fogarty also suggests learning and excelling at an online marketing skill and leveraging that to convert customers. 

4. D2C predictions revealed: The Oodie is a ‘Direct-to-consumer’ (D2C) product producing products in its own facilities and distributing them to customers through its own channels. Fogarty believes automation will lead to cheaper delivery for D2Cs, and there will be an increase in localised production. The ‘creator economy’ will drive more social media consumption and continue to attract new talent. He also forecasts a growth in AI marketing and content creation, that Shopify’s fulfillment network will compete with Amazon, and there will be emerging, high-growth markets such as Brazil and the UAE. However, D2C threats include an increase in privacy regulation and entry of legacy brands.  

5. Partner with top brands to build your own: The Oodie has partnered with major brand names including Marvel, Warner Bros, Pokémon, Disney, AFL and Barbie. For Fogarty, brand licensing has generated over $100 million in sales. He reveals that brand licensing can draw in new customers who would never have considered shopping for your product before. While it requires a lot of planning and research, he says the opportunities that come from brand licensing are worth it.