I was so ashamed when I quit my job I lied to my parents – now I’ve turned my sneaky side hustle into a £60m empire | The Sun

A WOMAN was left so ashamed when she quit her job that she lied to her parents – but she turned her side hustle into a £60million empire.

Fashion guru Jane Lu, 36, started her online clothes company in 2010, but she kept it hidden from her parents for two years, who thought she was working as an accountant at a well-known firm.


Despite being broke and unemployed, Jane said she would put on a fancy suit, have breakfast with her parents and catch a bus to a job she no longer had.

Jane's parents Queeni and Frank Lu were migrants from China and worked as cleaners in Sydney after arriving in Australia when Jane was eight years old.

They had high hopes for their daughter who worked at Ernst & Young, an accountancy firm in Australia, and Jane didn't know how to tell them she hated it.

She told 7Life: “I went behind my parents’ back because I didn’t want to disappoint them.

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"I had to keep pretending to my parents that I was still working as an accountant. I was living at home so I used to get up early every day, and put on a suit for ‘work’.

"Then I’d ride the bus with my mum because she worked at a bank in the city."

But she was secretly sitting at a café or a library hatching plans for her second start-up – Showpo, which now makes up to £60million in sales every year.

“I was working on it at the State Library until we opened our bricks-and-mortar store," she said.

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"When I was doing that, I could see how much more scalable an online store was compared to bricks-and-mortar.

"So it seemed like a natural progression to move the business online.

"The first six months of Showpo, I was pretending to work full time while still living at home.

"My parents knew I had started Showpo, but thought it was just a side hustle."

One year into her business, Jane set up a warehouse in her parents’ garage – but still her parents thought it was a side hustle.

In the space of one month, Showpo reportedly shot from 3,000 to 20,000 followers online, and by 2012 Jane moved out of her parents' garage and into a warehouse.

Up until this point, she still hadn't told her parents, but by then, she was making enough money to support them too.

She was able to pay off their mortgage and buy them a car, which made them finally accept her successful career path.

"This is where the business really took off," she said.

"I finally told my parents exactly what I did. They were genuinely shocked."

What started with a laptop and two shelves of clothing in her parents' garage is now a massive fashion empire, shipping "affordable clothing" to more than 120 countries.

And her hard work paid off after she made her debut on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2016.

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Jane said she "never expected" her family would "actually live the immigrant dream" after her parents were able to retire early.

Despite her millions, Jane, a mum-of-one, remains humble and married the man of her dreams in a bargain £161 dress from her Showpo wedding collection.

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