How young WA entrepreneur Brittany Garbutt built her Pretzel empire and now makes $9m in annual revenue | PerthNow

WA entrepreneur Brittany Garbutt attributes the success of her multi-million dollar pretzel empire to her youthful naivete.

Ms Garbutt was a 23-year-old university student when she opened the first Pretzel store in 2017 in a pink sea container in Northbridge. Since then, Pretzel has grown to 13 stores across Perth and Melbourne, making about $9 million in annual revenue.

Ms Garbutt said she was able to grow the business because she was not afraid to fail and was prepared to take a gamble.

“I didn’t think about what would happen to my house or my mortgage, or my kids. I was really lucky to be in a position where I could say to myself, ‘Worst comes to worst, you’re just going to be as broke as everyone else you know’,” she said.

“When I was 23 years old . . . I was so confident. The attitude was pure, 100 per cent, unadulterated, ‘I’m just doing what I’m doing because I’m a kid and I don’t really know anything else’.”

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Pretzel opened its latest store at Curtin University at the end of August and marked what Ms Garbutt described as a full-circle moment, having graduated 10 years ago.

Ms Garbutt, who studied creative advertising and graphic design at the university, admitted she would not normally invest in a university, given its seasonality and most people were only on-site during semesters.

“But they pitched this whole idea about bringing in more all-year around amenities, which I thought was amazing,” she said.

“Curtin was supposed to be open more than a year and a half before we actually did but obviously COVID-19 stalled a lot of things but (the timeline) just ended up real nicely.”

Across Australia, Ms Garbutt employs between 270 and 300 staff, aged between 16 and 25. She also takes on Curtin University students as interns.

“I get to offer opportunities (to students) that I would’ve died for when I was at uni,” Ms Garbutt said.

Franchising will be the next move to grow the business.

“We want to be able to allow our staff members from the corporation into owning them,” she said.