Frank Body: When your side hustle becomes a global business

Last week, Samantha and Britt flew the CBRIN flag at Pause Fest in Melbourne, a creative, tech and business festival for like-minded innovators.

Here is a recap from Samantha on ‘Pub Talk’ with Bree Johnson and Jess Hatzis co-founders of Frank Body, a global beauty company that is worth over $200 million and has sold over 2.5 million of its signature original coffee body scrub.

The idea: Where did it all start?

Like most side businesses, the idea came about from stumbling across a gap in the market and in their case, it came about when a regular customer walked into Bree’s husband’s café in Melbourne asking for coffee grounds to exfoliate her skin.

After researching coffee body scrub products online only to find a few DYI at home recipes, Bree and Jess realised that with the right recipe and packaging they could launch something special.

After creating and trialling their own coffee scrubs they launched the original body scrub online and the product took off faster than they could have imagined.

Bree and Jess both admit to having almost no idea what they were doing in terms of their business plan when they began selling their coffee scrub from home.

Although they did follow what seems like a simple yet effective strategy “make stuff, sell stuff, post stuff.”

The execution: How did they get to where they are without a marketing budget?

Utilising the meaning behind their business name that came from the phrase “just be frank,” as they wanted to “cut through the crap”, which helped with positioning their brand in what is already a cluttered market.

Jess and Bree tapped into the Instagram gold rush, they had both already been using Instagram for personal use and thought it was the perfect platform to encourage customers to share photos of themselves covered in the dark brown coffee scrub using #thefrankeffect and #letsbefrank. This created a movement and had customers from all around the world talking about their brand and promoting their distinctive signature body scrub online.

By encouraging the use of the hashtag they could republish and share their customers photos on the official Frank Body Instagram account, using it as a tool to hero their customers in the community. Jess refers to this as giving their customer a “badge of honour” for using the product and sharing through their personal accounts.

The future: What does the future have in store for them?

The brands newest venture is setting up an office in the United States and while Frank Body was initially entirely online-to-consumer, the company has transitioned and is opening a brick-and-mortar retail channel.

“We wanted to be more than just an Instagram brand.” – Jess Hatzis, Co-founder Frank Body

Frank Body has also recently launched in Mecca throughout Australia and in the very near future, plan to launch in ULTA in United States along with Sephora in Europe.

Remarkably, their most recent product launch of the shimmer body scrub had a waitlist of over 90,000. This product was reversed engineered by listening to their customers.

“Don’t give customers what they want, give them what they need– Jess Hatzis, Co-founder Frank Body

The take away:

During the Q&A session the duo were asked by an audience member “did you ever want to just say fu*k it and give up?”

Bree answered truthfully, “Yes. All the time. There were many days when everything went wrong. Sometimes the pressure was awful and everything builds up and you just want to run away. But our team members have kept us going with their openness, honestly and support.”

When asked if they had any advice for young entrepreneurs, they replied “if you never ask the question, the answer will be no” Jess said. “You have to risk it for the biscuit!” Bree laughed.

Want a good read? Here are some suggestions from the co-founders of Frank Body for entrepreneurs:

Bree Johnson: Principles by Ray Dalio
Jess Hatzis: Every Bastard Says No: The 42 Below Story by Justine Troy and Geoff Ross

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