Luggage startup July nabs Little Birdie’s Joanne Smith as its first CFO

- January 30, 2023 2 MIN READ
Joanne Smith
July's new CFO Joanne Smith. Photo: supplied
Fast-growing Victoria retail startup July has appointed Joanne Smith as its first Chief Financial Officer.

Smith moves to the luggage brand from CFO at deals platform Little Birdie. She previously held roles at KPMG Australia and UK, as well as a five-year stint at Kogan where she played a key role in the company’s IPO as deputy CFO.

Cofounder Richard Li said Smith’s appointment is the latest in a string of new hires as the brand expands to keep up with local and international demand.

“Over 80% of the July workforce has joined the luggage retailer in the past six months after the brand experienced more than 640% year-on-year growth,” he said.

“After successfully launching in the USA in mid-2021, July has its sights set on the UK this year and looks to leverage Smith’s experience in the expansion.”

Smith’s appointment also follows the July exec team taking part in LaunchVic’s 30×30 program which is helping 30 startups with the potential to reach unicorn status – a $1 billion valuation – by 2030.

Mentors from the likes of Atlassian, Canva and Judo Bank support and advise them to address the challenges of scaling.

July general manager Zhoe Low said the the program helped the management team hone its focus.

“We are glad to have come through the program armed with both the hard and soft skills needed to achieve our long-term goals,” she said.

More on 30×30 and how to apply here.

Smith said she was already a fan of the July brand, which launched in 2018.

“I have a particular passion for working with fast-paced entrepreneurial businesses, so I’m thrilled to be joining the July team at such an exciting time,” she said.

From a single product, the July Carry On, to start, Li and cofounder Athan Didaskalou have expanded the range to more than 33 different products that include personalisation offerings. The brand now has four retail stores across Melbourne and Sydney, and celebrity fans such as Chrissy Teigen, Celeste Barber and Apple Martin.

Richard Li said they “couldn’t be happier” to have Smith join them.

“Her deep retail knowledge will be increasingly helpful as we scale the business, both in Australia and beyond,” he said.