This is Priscilla Haji and Tony for female startup club. Hello and welcome back to the show, it's Dune here, your host and hype girl of the female startup club podcast, oh my God, it has been a hot second since we launched new episodes on account of the holiday season. So now we are officially back in action with our regular programming and I'm so excited about it today, we're gonna be learning from Priscilla Haji and Tony, who is the founder of the cult beauty brand in Australia called banging body. Chances are you've probably spotted the famous yellow tube in your feeds at one point or another, Priscilla started her brand after going through her own painful journey with Acne and feeling desperate for a solution that didn't seem to exist, she decided to take her house deposit. Yes, her house deposit a lot of money and go all in on building this business. And in two years she grew it from just 32 sails on launch day to $8 million Mecca too.
But one quick thing before we get into it, if you've been hearing about our new tool for founders and future founders magic now is the time to join us. We're closing our doors to founding members at the end of this month and our rates are going to increase. We've packed it out with video master classes and workshops with some of the amazing guests that you hear on the show. And if you're in Sydney, we have our first meet up RL on january 31st and I would love to meet you. So if you're in need of guidance in building your brand or getting your ideas together or you just want more cheerleaders and support on the day to day, pop over to magic. That's M A J I C with a J Magic dot female startup club dot com and sign up before the 31st. Let's get into it. This is Priscilla for female startup Club. Priscilla. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast.
Hi, thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to be interviewing you today, my first episode back in the game for 2023. Love it. How's your day going? Do you have any wins or ocean moments that you want to share slash events slash rant about? I feel like it's just nonstop people say like, you know, the start of the yard is a little bit quiet. People ease into things. No, that does not exist where all systems go in a big planning stage at the moment for a few big retailers that we're going to be launching in soon enough Australia and new Zealand, but also globally as well. So it just doesn't stop. I can't, it's just like one thing after another and you know, something's gotta plan other things, not so much, you've got to always be agile and proactive in finding new solutions. So yeah, there's always something to um I guess tackle or put in place, so yeah, it's all fun but stressful at the same time.
Oh my gosh, well, I love that for you, it sounds like you've got a really exciting Q1 coming up. Yes, very exciting, lots of work, but no, we're very excited for what this year will bring and um I guess even just as a brand, we're really excited to spread our creative wings and really kind of push the brand forward in a new light, I guess. So we're excited for that. I'm excited for you to let's jump into the good stuff straight away, where do you like to start your story with banging body and let's rewind to that time. Oh my goodness, okay, the very beginnings of my journey. So I'll start back when I was in corporate and I yeah, ultimately felt like I had to look and dress and be a certain way and it was such a stigma, but I think ultimately the stereotype of, like, you know, that professional attire and your skin all glossy and julie and I just didn't have that, I was hormonal, I was stressed, I was breaking out left, right, and center, nothing would fix it and I just felt, ultimately, if I didn't look at myself in the mirror, as sad as that was, I could actually do my job and be good at it, but as soon as I looked into the mirror, I just felt so self conscious and that everyone was staring at me and I just felt mentally just challenged every single day.
So I think for me, you know, the journey with her body has been, and a very, very emotional one, it's very emotionally lead, because I truly understand the vulnerabilities of what people feel with their skin, and especially with X men, that runs through my family and just not finding those effective solutions. Yeah, it was really, really challenging. So, for me, I guess I would, you know, spend all my hours during the day trying to do the best that I could for my job and try to feel satisfied and accomplished, and, you know, I felt like I was achieving things which I did, but ultimately, in respect of that, I was also being extremely challenged by my skin and on the way home, when I got home, I was just treating my skin, I was just, that was the other job. You know, I would go from one job to another job, and, you know, I guess for me, that's when ultimately the day that I was on the train to work, and I just called my mom crying for the entire commute because I just couldn't do it anymore, and I was just like, mom, you know, they're staring at me like, I feel like they're not taking my work seriously.
Like, you know, obviously all the self doubt, all these self conscious, you know, messaging you flood into yourself, which just isn't the case. And I think for me really kind of communicating that self love to others and to embrace who you are, because I think back then, there wasn't a lot of people being advocates for that. So you did feel really alone. You did feel really challenged a lot of the time. So ultimately, I think for me when I just cried almost three hours, I think it was on the train. Um I'm always like, Priscilla, I just, I don't know anyone more committed, you know, educated and you know, passionate about their skin. Like, I feel like you have over the years, you know, created your own version of what you would want to see in the skincare products. You know, you would be pulling products looking and researching at the back of the bottle or packaging, you know, because I've got very hypersensitive skin as well. So I feel like I had a lot of different skin concerns that I guess a lot of other people would be suffering with.
But for me, I think at that time I was just wanting to find a solution for myself so I could actually function and be free of my skin as silly as that sounds, but that's what it was. I just wanted to stop thinking about it and being so consumed by it. So I remember speaking to my mom and she was like, you need to take this seriously. She came from a background of hair and beauty, so she had hair and beauty salons growing up and the clients would always feel so good when they left the salons, they would always say, wow, I feel so amazing, not thank you for transforming me and that kind of really stuck with me, that was really kind of like a moment that I was like, oh my goodness, the thought of feeling good with yourself, Like I haven't felt that in a long time or even felt that because I was always so mentally challenged with my skin and I think now, you know, I've spoken to a few people and I'm like, you know, it's sad that there's diagnoses for anxiety and depression, but what about skin related issues? What about things like that?
Does that just fall in the bucket of anxiety and depression? I'm not sure, but it is a condition where you just feel like you can't escape yourself and that's really sad. So I think for me, during that time and mom just being like, Priscilla, like ultimately if you haven't found anything and you have a desire, what does that look like for you? So I kind of sat on that for a very long time, about a year, I would be, you know, putting my mind set to something else instead of thinking about my skin, I was working on solutions for my skin. So it kind of got me away from the way that I was feeling in that moment and I would mind map, I would scribble and yeah, I just did that for a very long time before even mentioning anything to my partner fiance now, soon to be husband at the time who has been with me since I was 14, so he's been through the entire asking journey with me and yeah, I just decided, okay, if I'm going to do this, it needs to be purposeful and needs to align with what is the cool reason to do this and to not continue to saturate a market that, you know, it has so many options already and it's very over complicated and I was confused at the time as well.
So it needed to be simple and needed to be effective and it needed to drive a big purpose for positive change in the industry, but also to provide people with a simple solution. And so that was the real beginning of the brand. And then I guess in terms of people asking the question, you know, where do you even start? How much does it cost? Um we've spoken and touched on that a little bit. So for me, I was actually at that crossroad of buying a house and so me and my partner at the time we had saved for four years, you know, every penny we had and I just said yeah, and I just said to him, I know we're thinking about buying a house, but I have an idea that I've been working on for a very long time and I feel like it is my purpose, I feel like I feel like if I can help even one person feel differently to the way I feel right now, then I will feel so satisfied and also helping me be free of my skin. And yeah, my partner jake, he was just all in from the get go.
He's like, yeah, I believe in you. I've been with you on your skin journey since you're 14, I know how you, I don't know how you feel, but I know what I've been through with you and if I can just allow you to be free of that and you see what I see and what everyone sees, then I'm even happy, you know, if that's what happens. And so that was then the start of committing to all of our entire life savings into this business and spending the next 2.5 years, formulating, creating, conceptualizing, developing, you know, the formulas that we have today. Well, really, we started with the firming lotion um, and then the smooth skin scrub and lip balm as a whole, but the firming lotion was the core, um that ultimately we were launching first and it had to do more than what it said on the packaging, wow, that is crazy, so exciting. So probably terrifying at the same time, I'm wondering like when you had that moment or that conversation around like, yeah, let's, let's invest our savings, let's start this business and go all in, were you like, I'm gonna still work my job full time or were you like, I am quitting tomorrow and I'm out of there.
I wish I could have done that, I wish, but I couldn't because I guess we had just invested, you know, our entire life savings a house deposit, you know, on this dream and this drive to change, you know, my skin and to change, give people hope that change could be possible to provide a solution and it's not changed for transformation, it's changed for feeling your best self and to drive that confidence and desire to live a fulfilled life because when you do have elements of anxiety or depression or sadness or concern, it does affect your day to day. So ultimately, I think, you know, that was a big thing, but I had to stay in my job and really kind of thankfully, I hated the commute, but it served me well because I would spend an hour and a half on the way to work, you know, And it was a train, so I could actually work on the business and then same home. So that was three hours a day. Just their lunch breaks even if it was for 20 minutes. And I never got a lunch break, I would just check emails or you know, do what I needed to do.
Um and then weekends and that's what I did for close to three years. I never wanted to ensure that the business would never interrupt my actual job because I really valued my employers and doing a good job is always in my D. N. A. I can't ever half ask anything. So for me I just had to make it work with ensuring that I was giving everything I had to my full time job and then on the down times actually like okay putting things into place and I felt like as times got on there was you know in three years there was so many hurdles so many things that I didn't know about that I was finding out about, you know either last minute or I didn't think about it or something like have you done this? And I was like oh my God how do I navigate all this? And it's so hard. So like it's so great that there is platforms now, you know podcast books, you know the internet forums, there's so many people willing to help because I guess I didn't really have that at the time I had to kind of try everything, you know wing it and just see where it landed.
But thankfully I was able to find a really amazing manufacturing team, you know, skin chemists and dermatologists really help with the positioning of the product and you know, making sure at least that would be the most amazing product on the market that would help heal and provide solutions to different skin concerns like mine and it was around Australian ingredients and, you know, not being complicated, you know, there's so many days hyaluronic acids, you know, be a, there's all these things where I'm like, what are those? Like, I just want to be able to read what's in an ingredient listing and go, yeah, that's going to be good for my skin. And so that's a big priority for the brand. But I guess there are so many challenges along the way that not many people tell you, like ultimately, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Like we invested a whole house deposit, but that's just the start, you know, you don't and thankfully, I didn't quit my job thankfully my partner had his job because we were funneling money more money into the business, you know, ultimately, until the moment we had launched, because even then, even after, like we just, there's always going to be things like for instance, the challenges of finding the right manufacturer.
We started with the manufacturer in Sydney worked with them for close to a year, spent thousands of dollars with them to then get a formula that they thought was perfect, but I didn't think was perfect and it didn't give me the results that I really wanted. And so I was never going to settle. And I think that's the biggest thing when you were passionate about something and you really feel in your being, it's what you need to do. Don't, don't settle because you have to launch something within a timeframe, you know, that's what I was like, my contradictions of like, no, that's not perfect, it's not ready. And then you're, you know, the predicted launch timeline is creeping and I think when I realized, no, there isn't any launch timeline, that's me making it up. You know, you can really then free yourself of pressures and go, no, is this really what I want is does this really work? And then you really do have a key purpose not only to your brand, but your product and you know what you value and that means not settling. You know, making sure that you are being held accountable yourself for doing the right thing and so I'm proud of that, but it was a lot, it was hard to call up my partner and say, I know we've spent all this money and we have, you know, ultimately been with these people for a year, but they're not going to cut it, we need to start from scratch.
You know, that's a, that's a lot. And then from the perspective of packaging, you know, making sure that from the very beginning sustainability, it was a big part of that. The easier options would have just been the basic plastic train. But no, we stuck with our guns and went through our BP free alum in ium tubes recyclable, you know, make sure our formula worked with it as well. So I think, you know, nothing good comes from those that get it easy. I think that's the saying, I'm not sure, but you know, when you are challenged, I think it builds resilience and to be in business, you need to be resilient resilience is going to be key for when you do actually launch your business, you know, when there's challenges beforehand, don't take those for granted because it just gives you a little bit of an eye opening experience of what you are going to be challenged with, you know, a lot when you're in the day to day of the business and ultimately, yes, it's hard and challenging, but it's also really rewarding when you get over those hurdles and realize, oh my goodness, like we got through that, you know, that was a big learning experience or that really kind of set the business up for success, even though it was really hard at the time.
So yeah, ultimately, I think the journey for banging body, you know, hasn't been linear wasn't overnight, it was a very long journey, finding the right people, you know that is absolutely key to ensure that you have the right support team around you who believe in what you believe and want to be a part of it and want to grow up with you. And so yeah, it's been, it's been a journey, but one that I wouldn't change, I'm very grateful absolutely for anyone listening who's kind of dreaming about starting a beauty business or kind of thinking like, yes, I want to do that, I've got this great idea, can you paint a ballpark picture in terms of what actually did you need to invest to kind of get you through R and D to get your first order of inventory and kind of get you to launch day totally. So my first, I always say this to ask yourself the question, why do you want to do it? I think you really need to know the reason because if it's just for an extra dollar, if it's just for extra influence extra followers on instagram or Tiktok, it's not going to serve you.
You need to really kind of dig deep and really find out why you want to do this. And also what is it, what is it going to serve? What purpose will it serve? You know, what problems will it solve? What solutions will it give to consumers? You need to ask all these questions before stepping into that stage because as soon as you step forward and you invest everything, you know, your skin is in the game like you, you go for it and you know, you know, nothing has to be perfect. Obviously starting out like, you know, with the marketing side of things, ultimately your product or service needs to be perfect in a sense that you are satisfied and it works, it says what it says, but in terms of like the marketing and the positioning like you will evolve and it will elevate as the business grows. So in terms of, you know, when people say you've got an idea and run with it, I think, yes, there's definitely room for that, but I think you also need to be mindful of how much you're willing to put in, how much you're willing to lose, how much you're willing to sacrifice, you know, I wish, you know, in a sense, I was just aware of those things, like I would never take it back, like I'm so happy I went through all those things, but I just want to make sure I pass on that knowledge to the next person and I think if you do have that burning idea that passion inside of you, that's roaring like that is such a good place to be because not everyone gets that not everyone gets those desires, you know, and so I think definitely harnessing it, but making sure you do have enough support financially to be able to support the desire or else you could be on a great train and then you don't have enough funds to fulfill the journey ahead and then you stop and then you get defeated and then, you know, so I always say take it small, you know, I started with one product, I started, you know, my mom's living room and that's where, that's where I started on my laptop on the floor, Then I finally got a desk space, I removed my mum's kitchen, dining table out of the kitchen, it was connected to the kitchen and I put like a little desk space in there.
And that's where I was, you know, close to a year and a half, once we had launched, but before then, you know, really kind of take it small. You know, I invested a house deposit. So close to, I think it was $80,000 at the time. And then we topped it up with another 20,000. So close to 100,000 worth of, I guess, you know, all of our savings that we put into the R and D, all of the inventory, you know, website design, you know, all of our hosting platforms, like it just goes. So ultimately, you need to work out your priorities, you know, what is the main things that you want to achieve, you know, for launch and then ultimately you will be reinvesting those funds into the business until you get to a stage where you feel like it is viable for you to ultimately take a wage, you know, that doesn't really happen before the first three years, like you just have to be mindful of that too, but ultimately, I think if you do have that burning desire, that's really exciting. Now, just plan, plan and prioritize, you know, what are the main objectives that you want to achieve and what are the non negotiables, is it sustainability driven?
Is it that, you know, you want to make sure that the marketing channels you're doing is only a few, you're not doing all of them because you don't have the resources, like if you just prioritize what you feel is most aligned to you, you can build out a plan that's going to be really effective, but also it's going to bring you joy because if you do everything, like I remember, I was a one man band for close to a year, a year and two months um, after launching and that was a lot for me, I think I got 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night, it was very tiring, not sustainable until my partner pushed me to hire someone and I was so scared, I was like, oh, but you know, I've got it, it's fine and he's like, no, this is not sustainable, So yeah, ultimately just find your solution on what you feel is going to be the best steps to getting the desired goals that you're looking for Absolutely, actually wanted, this is a good segue, because I want to talk about your launch, I read that you did 32 sails on launch day and I know we also have a lot of people in our audience who are kind of gearing up to that launch moment there in the pre launch phase, so can you break down for us, how you got those 32 sales and what you were doing specifically in the lead up to generate buzz and awareness for the brand?
Absolutely, I remember saying thank you out loud to each and every one of those orders when I was packing them, I'll never forget, it was such a humbling experience for me, I guess the moment that I committed myself to this process and I found a name for the brand, you know, you go on domain, you register it everywhere you can and then of course you look at instagram and being instagram Was the platform of choice back in 2019 now it's Tiktok, but Instagram is where you go, try to see if your handle was free and so as soon as we got that, that moment I started posting, I started posting motivational, inspirational educational content that I thought of what I would like to see, not necessarily about skin, but just about, you know, belonging, like I wanted to have a sense of belonging in a community and you know make someone small in the day, whoever saw it like, so I think that really helped build, you know, really beautiful and community oriented, you know, follower, I guess followership you could call it and when we had launched, I had about 50,000 followers at that point, so that was like 2.5 years of growing the brand without really giving too much away of what it was going to be like.
As we got closer, six months in, we're asking more skincare questions, were informing that it could be around skin body care, and then a couple months out, then we started talking about, you know, moisturizing, like, you know, more surrounding the core product, but at the time to the algorithm was so different, the more that you posted, the more that was engaging, the higher the ranks you would work and then the more followers you would get, it was a much easier platform to navigate, but I'm very grateful that I was able to build that followership because ultimately, when we were gearing for launch, you know, we did do sign up to our mailing list, you know, we did get a great amount of people on there, then when we did launch, we sent a medium and then also posted on social media and it was just so amazing that from the people that were there, even though not everyone purchased, as soon as those 32 customers purchased a couple weeks later, they were sharing their results, So many more came through, you know, it was like 50 and then 100 and then 200. So it was like a snowballing from the massive snowball effect.
But it was all the community that was driving this message of this yellow tube, this miracle cream, everyone was talking about it and you know, that was from that community. So you know, obviously at the start, you know, people are gonna be more reserved than others. So it's sometimes they like to see other people go first and that's what happened. You know, we had these sales which are amazing every day we got more and more sales, those people started to see results started to share their results and recommendations and it just kind of went like wildfire after that. So yeah, I think definitely prioritizing your marketing strategy early on because you could have this fantastic product. But if no one is going to be there for you to share it with, then it's going to be very hard for you to convert that into sales. So, you know, ultimately driving a community through a chosen platform or if it's just instagram and Tiktok, I think on Tiktok you can grow a faster following more effectively than instagram, but instagram is more of your brand real estate.
So it really kind of represents the brand visually. So if you had both of those and you're really building a community and then as soon as you could to grow an email database, I would, so we started with male chimp, you know, really cost effective platform. Now with clay vo, you know, just has more tools, more segmentation zone and more opportunity to actually talk personally to the customer. But definitely you can start on a lot with like a male chief or something else just to kind of build that. And then you can always export your list to a better platform in the future. And at that time, you know, obviously there was this snowball effect. Obviously social media and people posting their results and that kind of thing was driving that early period for you. But were you also kind of focused on pr or influences or anything else? Or was primarily the strategy, just social like instagram and e d M. And I'm thinking about that kind of journey from 30 30 sales or 30 customers to like 1000 customers, those 1st 1000 loyal fans. Yeah, of course, definitely.
I did use instagram at the time. Tiktok came later, but instagram was the main priority. And then email marketing, it was very basic. I wish I did a crash course um, to get a little bit more tips on, you know, ultimately, how do you do segment and prioritize lists when you do start out because the more that you can tailor at the beginning, the better the messaging and the better the conversion. So that's something to keep in mind. But absolutely we didn't use any paid influences. We just gifted, I think I gifted, you know, ultimately, in the first year, probably our first full order, like in hindsight, we just just anyone that would take the yellow tube to try to, like thousands of years, thousands were just thousands and thousands of units. I was happy to put and risk and give, you know, give people the opportunity to try it because I knew if they tried it, hopefully they would love it and then they would share it with a friend and then they would build relationships on loving the product.
And so that's what happened. We really focused on micro influences. We focused on creators, we didn't get really big big influences until later on when they were coming to us saying, well to try the product and we always had a rule, a three week, three week rule where we gifted the product to the potential influencer and then they had to provide feedback on after they had tried the product, really kind of nurtured in the product because we really wanted a genuine recommendation. And so that was a really big and still is a really big priority for us, authenticity is everything. So, ultimately, we gifted thousands of micro influencers and creators our product and in return they were posting, sharing the love and sharing the recommendation and how it healed their skin, but also they were creating content organically for us that we could re share, we could repost on our socials, we could, you know, obviously have that content that was just invaluable from not only them, but also customers that were also sharing their before and after results and recommendations.
So from that, that's really how the awareness of the brand grew. You know, we didn't really do anything else for a good year. And then as the brand grew, and then also we had pr support as well. We got featured in a few articles, we got featured in The Daily Mail, and that was a worldly experience. You know, we just got flooded with orders, and that was like, the 1st 1000 orders in like, I think it was like, not even 24 hours at that point, like, it was insane what it was 24 hours, I think it was 1500 yeah, 1500 orders across two days we got from that article. Did that article come just out of the blue, dropped into your inbox, or did you have a pr person repping you? Or did you pitch the Daily Mail? Yeah, So we have a pr and we still work with them today, and they're amazing. And so we were always working with them on pictures, but this one I assuming now they were working in the background because I had no idea about it.
And then I remember a content creator actually said, oh, congratulations on the article and they sent me the link, because I woke up to my phone buzzing, which was the five buzz and we put on the ding when I was sleeping, I put on silence instead of the teaching, it was just made a sound and I was like, oh my God, what is that? And then my phone was blowing up and then this person was like, have a look. And then I clicked on the link and it was a full three page article of me and before and afters and customers testimonials and just everything that was on our site and everything that was on our socials, and it was just, it was just a worldly experience that I'm beyond grateful for because that was really kind of that massive push that really kind of drove the business forward, even though every day we're getting more and more orders, we're getting more and more scene, we were, you know, ultimately being shown in different articles, but this one really kind of leveled it up for us. And then from there, it just got stronger and stronger and stronger. And then we started realizing, okay, this is amazing, you know, what other avenues can we work on to get the business out there.
And that's when we started diving into giveaways, like social giveaways and potentially gifting opportunities and everything else that I guess at the time, I didn't really know, you know, I didn't really know any of this, it was like, as things progressed you learned. So I think if there is any way that you can get your product in the hands of people that have a credible audience or followership or community, I say do it. You know, ultimately you've got to give from your heart to get, and if you're not willing to give, well then I would say, you know, maybe it's not the right avenue for you, because you need to be able to risk and put everything on the line to back yourself and back your product and brand, and that's by gifting, that's by giving people the opportunity to, you know, be exposed to your product, and we still do it today, we still send top ups and thank you and gifting, and we just, we love that shows appreciation, but also shows, you know, people appreciate when you also appreciate, they're willing to go the extra mile, and that means a lot for us, you know, we don't do it for that, we do it because we want people to genuinely love the product, but it's really amazing to see that community backing when you are willing to be able to give and share and talk about different things.
100%. Oh my gosh, what a crazy ride, Okay, where do we want to go next with this? There's so many things I want to ask you, but one of the things that I wanted to deep dive into a little bit further was Mecca getting into mecca, There's a lot of people who are probably listening to this, being like, yep, Mecca is the goal, that's where I want to be stocked. And if you're not based in Australia, Mecca is the kind of, go to beauty marketplace retailer for all the brands, and if you're in Australia, you're probably thinking, yes, I want to know how to get into Mecca. So for you, at some point you launch into there. What did that look like? How does one actually get stocked in Mecca? Yes, So, my journey to Mecca was an interesting one. Actually. I went to Mecca land with my sister, um that was in Sydney and I remember meeting an influencer there who loved the brand and the product and I was providing her top ups because she wanted to do some content for us. And she was on one of the big panels on land and I was just talking to her, I had the product with me to give to her and joe Horgan, the founder of Mecca, she came and approached the influence, I was like, thank you so much for being here today.
And she just kind of looked at me and was like, do I know you do I not know you? And I was like, oh, hi joe, my name's Priscilla, you don't know me, but I've actually just launched a business two months ago and this is what it is, I can't even remember what I said, I think I probably rambled. Also nervous, but also it's very unlike me, I'm not one to just kind of put myself out there, but something came over me, I was just like, okay, let's just see what happens. And I spoke with her and I showed her the packaging and I spoke to her about the positioning and she was like, wow, this is super fresh, super nice, love the packaging, love the colors, love what this is, like, I'm gonna get you in contact with my team, what's your email? And I was like, oh, okay, I thought she was just going to write it in notes, but then she actually emailed her team then and there and I was just, I was blown away, I was like, oh my goodness, this can't be real. And I just remember like going into the mega stores when I was a little girl with my mom, you know, it was like, I was like a kid in the candy store, it was like, so exciting, and just the way that has evolved, is really incredible to see. And I think, you know, they offered that experience to consumers and can understandably know why brands love, you know, ultimately being Mecca.
Um and so that was the goal back then, it was just like, you know, ultimately, you know, Mecca would be a great positioning for the brand and from there, you know, I just thought, okay, she's emailed the team, you know, I'm not getting my hopes up because, you know, they have thousands of brands that come through the pipe every single day. And so we just launched our only two years old. Yes, we've seen amazing growth already. Yes, we've seen hype already, we've got a community like it's all amazing. But also like I'm not a social life, I don't have an influence of following, I'm just an average Melbourne girl chasing a dream, you know, so the brand is really, that's all that's speaking, which in hindsight is amazing and I'm so grateful that The brand has landed in Mecca for what it is and I guess for anything else. And so I think for me, yeah, when that came through and then I did get her an email saying, thanks so much for getting in contact with Joe. She's passed on your details would love to discuss further. But then from that moment it was a good 12 months, you know, before we launched into Mecca.
So It was 12 months of showing them, you know, performance and marketing positionings and editorials and placements that we were receiving, like, anything that was going to support the brand that it was showing growth, it was showing appetite, also logistically, Michael wants to know that you can supply stock whenever they want it. So being a small brand, it might be really challenging. So, you know, ultimately that's something to look out for. Um, and also as well too, like Mecca really prioritize exclusivity. So you also have to be something for me, my excitement levels were through the roof. So I kind of wish I'd taken this a little bit more seriously, but you also have to understand, you know, what you want out of a retailer as well. So thankfully, like, yeah, all that hard work of 12 months, you know, paid off. We were able to launch into mecca, we sold out of three months worth of stock in eight hours. We did a re plan, we sold out of that, It was amazing. And then Covid hit. So, you know, the opportunity to launch into stores obviously stalled because of Covid and everything else that was happening around us.
But we saw significant growth through mecca as well. Online, as much as our own d to see through Covid. But I guess going back to the positioning of retailers, no matter what retailer you want to land in. I think it's also important to know, you know, what are your priorities? Is it to be, you know, an exclusive brand? Is it to be an accessible brand? Is it to be, you know, commercially everywhere, like a warehouse or a price line, you've got to really know what that is for you because if you're going with a retailer and it could be any retailer, but they're locking you into an exclusive contract across Australia and new Zealand. Well, then that is your retailer. That's it, you can't go to another retailer, like, so I think it's very important for upcoming brands and brand founders just to understand really what their positioning is and what they ideally, what outcome they would want to achieve with their wholesale stage of the business. And for you, like, obviously they became your first major retailer. So you are exclusive to them.
How does that look now? Like, are you still exclusive to them? Are you able to renegotiate that type of contract? How do you move forward if you want to expand into other retailers? Yeah, definitely. In terms of your terms, so, like, we obviously have been exclusive for 2.5 years and ultimately discussing what that looks like, because I think for us, accessibility is really important for the brand. You know, we have so many customers say, you know, can I shop in this store? Can I shop in that store? Because consumers have their own version of what and experience they love and will always go back to. So, you know, some people love mecca, some people love chemist warehouse, some people love Sephora. So you're never going to, you know, people ultimately will come hopefully to your d to see website. So that's great. But then everyone else has an appetite for where they want to shop. So for us, you know, accessibility is really important and something that we're discussing at the moment, I guess with our retailers because yeah, we just want to make sure that of course we still wanna be exclusive, you know, we don't want to be an oversaturated everywhere type of brand.
We want to align with the right retailers that provide the best experiences for our customers, but also to making sure that we're not completely closed off because you know, that's also where growth is and that's also where opportunity is, but we're also focusing on international markets and with that as well, we're trying to avoid exclusivity as much as we can just because we want to be able to have multiple touch points in different countries because there are more objectives on the way people shop, You know, people might love a space in K over Selfridges, like it's very different where here is quite same saying ish retailers and obviously you've got the price lining campus warehouses that sit in a different sector, but I think that's just really important to kind of wrap your head around and sit on it for a little bit. Like if opportunities arise, great, get excited, but then business hat on, Okay, what does that mean for the brand? And just one other question, while we're on the topic of mecca, you said that, you know, you were over that course of the year, you were sending any pr updates, you were sending any kind of, you know, sales updates.
Things like that. Was that just you being super proactive and emailing them on a weekly basis, being like, hey, here's this great thing that happened or were they coming to you and asking for more information? Yeah, great question. So I said very early on when I kind of was, you know, in the communication phase of of course wanting to launch into mecca, what did that timeline look like? They're like, yeah, we're very interested, but you're only a two month old brand. So we really want to make sure that you guys can feel logistical side of things as well as, you know, you are a growing brand. And so I said, okay, well in order to show that to you, am I able to send through updates along the way? You know, however long it takes and they're like, yeah, that would be amazing. So then based on my initiative, anything that would come through had a few account managers that were looking after me. So I would then send it to them directly and say, look, we just received this amazing article placement, we've just grown X amount of units or sales this month. Like I would just give them that information. And then that was when, when we were approaching our first year of business and trade, you know, I was like, look, we're obviously done one, we're nearly hitting our first birthday.
This is what we've done for the entire year. This is how much we've grown quite significantly. And you know, we're 100% bootstrapped as well. So we don't have seating or investors or capital or anything to help us with all of this. So they also knew that as well, to know that, you know, it was a Melbourne founded business by myself, you know, and I was doing all of this and I think that also was like more they found that that is really appealing. And I guess they saw the trajectory, they saw the appetite for the brand and they didn't have a brand like us at the time. So that's when we launched. And it was, yeah, obviously to their I wouldn't I don't know if it was a surprise, but, you know, we sold out of three months worth of forecasted stock in eight hours. And I think that just was a testament to everything that we had shown them throughout the year. What that outcome looked like was that, do you think because they had done a really good marketing campaign or did you have to invest in co marketing with them? Yeah, good question. So we did very heavy marketing on our point. So we did it, we sent an E D. M. So we had spent, over the course of two years at that point before we launched and then the year of launch building our email database.
So we had quite a few people in that they were quite heavily engaged and ultimately a supplier, like, or a retailer like mecca where they would shop. They were really like, that's exciting. So, you know, we got a huge response from that email marketing send out then we did, of course, you know, social media, So posting on instagram, you know, really engaging with the community, letting them know. And then all Mecca did at the time was one ADM. So we were part of their new now where our sector, they had a slice of us saying that we were new in stores and so that is a collective, I guess really kind of got the message out. But then we continued, even though we sold out in eight hours, we continue to communicate that it would be back in stock soon. Like we gave them a lot of, you know, key messaging to support because for us, mutual success is everything, you know, we want our retailers to succeed. So I think as well, you have to have a balance that you, you're giving the brand to a retailer. So hopefully in return they will support you and then also you need to support them in driving that brand and bringing your communities to them or being aware that you are, you know, the retailers as well?
Yeah, absolutely. And final question on Mecca that I'm going to ask you for anyone listening, what is your key piece of advice for someone who wants to get into Mecca? What's something that they can do today or how should they think about, you know, approaching mecca as a retailer? Yeah, definitely, I think staying true to who you are being authentic and ensuring that you're driving your brand with purpose is number one, I think the alignment is super important because I guess, you know with Mecca, they have a lot of amazing brands, so how you understand it out and I think that's going to be super important when you even try email them or try to communicate to them, you know, I think you have to ensure that your values align, but you know, you can also change your values or your brand values to suit them. If that's not the case, you have to be true to who you are. Um, and I think if you ever were to get an opportunity to send, you know, an email or anything like that, put your best foot forward, you only have one shot. So what is going to grab their attention, you know, is it this amazing? You know, pitch deck that shows how much you've grown in a year or is it, you know, a core product that's sold out really quickly or you're featured in something or won awards, like 10 awards, this one product?
Like what is it that is really going to make their eyes light up and I think with that, you know, comes ultimately the opportunity to send samples. So how would you send that sample, how would you present the brand in a package? So I think yet with any retailer, you only really have one shot, but at the end of the day to retailers already can vibe you even digitally because obviously we live in a world of the internet. So how you presented online is going to be the first real truth. Like for them, I believe in terms of they're gonna be looking at your brand, they're going to be sussing you, they're gonna be looking at all your values, the alignment, your customer base, but also sometimes as hard as it is and you know, we also got knows, you know, before, like before Mecca and you know, not necessarily with makeup, but with other retailers, you know, and also it might not just be the right timing. You know, they are always planning for different assortments to come into their retail spaces at different times. So don't get defeated. It's not always you, it's not, you know, if anything it's not new, you know, they have, they have a certain requirement to me and they also have certain categories to feel and if they feel like that category is already well established.
Well then maybe your point of difference isn't as much as what you needed to be to step out of that category. So I think just don't take it to heart knows are great for resilience, but just with many knows there will be a yes, so just don't give up. I love that before we get into the six quick questions that we wrap up to end every episode. Is there anything that you want to shout about for the brand? Anything upcoming? Anything you want to talk loudly about, oh my goodness! So many exciting things happening for us this year. So we've got new products coming, you all have been asking for something without firming lotion. So stay tuned with that that will be coming out to and also keep your eyes peeled for new nests with retailers globally and here at home. So we're really excited to share that with you and yeah to continue supporting you all on your skin journey and making you feel your best. Hell Yes.
Oh my gosh! 2023, great year ahead. Hey, it's Dune here. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode of the female startup club podcast. If you're a fan of the show and want even more of the good stuff, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our free newsletter, we send it out weekly covering female founder business news insights and learnings in D. C. And interesting business resources and if you're a founder building an e commerce brand, you can join our private network of entrepreneurs called hype club at female startup club dot com forward slash hype club. We have guests from the show joining us for intimate, Ask me anythings expert workshops and a group of totally amazing like minded women building the future of DTC brands As always, please do subscribe, rate and review the show and post your favorite episodes to instagram stories. I am beyond grateful when you do that.