In 2013, Erika, Bree and Jess had already been running a successful content and social media agency, Willow & Blake, out of Melbourne, Australia. Having mutual interests in the beauty and fitness industry, the entrepreneurs were keen to try something different and develop a new product and brand. Their idea was to utilise their existing content and communications expertise from Willow & Blake, and market the product through social media.
The start of something new
The idea first came about when a friend, and now co-founder of frank body, who owns a few cafes in Melbourne had a customer request a coffee grind home delivery. It soon became clear it was being used as a body exfoliator. For Erika, Bree and Jess, this was their light bulb moment. After some research they realised that coffee scrubs were attributed to relieving many skin conditions and no one was actually selling a quality coffee scrub product. This is how frank body began.
Coffee meets business
To make the scrub, the women experimented with the use of fresh coffee grinds, combined with a mixture of oils, sugars and salt. This marked the beginning of the brand’s signature product – the Original Coffee Scrub.
In the early days, the frank body team consisted of about 20 people, including friends and family, helping to make the product by hand.
The journey was not always smooth sailing as Erika Geraerts, Director, explains: “For frank body, we never imagined the lengthy process involved with developing new skincare products. Our face range was in development for over 12 months alone and the time it takes to get each element right was definitely a learning experience for the team.”
With sound branding and marketing experience up their sleeves, Erika, Bree and Jess turned to social media, which has played a critical role for both Willow & Blake and frank body.
The women believe Facebook is a great marketing platform for Willow & Blake as they are able to share their creative work and engage with customers. When frank body was started, Facebook helped establish the new brand. Within a month the business had grown substantially through Facebook, and production started to suffer, so they decided it was time to engage a local, reputable manufacturer in Melbourne.
A social journey
For Erika, Bree and Jess, the frank body brand is a natural extension of their work with Willow & Blake. frank body represents natural beauty. The brand creates coffee-based, natural skincare that makes people feel great, and Willow & Blake provides creative content. The two were the perfect fit and the trio’s social media skills have come in handy for both businesses.
“Social media has given us access to a network of influencers, customers, and a broader audience that we would never have had such quick access to before,” says Erika.
The team believes that in order to break through the clutter, a solid brand and understanding your customer is key. To this day, they are very selective with the material they post on Facebook and Instagram and maintain a very strong brand image.
“What’s important is to find a balance between great content and a good advertising and marketing plan to push it out,” says Erika.
From Australia to the world
The horizon is bright for frank body. The brand currently offers online purchases and global shipping through their website, with Facebook acting as a shop portal for customers. Their plan is to further scale the brand globally. They also want to make it more accessible for customers to try the product before they buy.
Erika, Bree and Jess also plan to keep Willow & Blake at a small agency size, with 10 staff members. They want to continually support clients in the personal manner that they’re used to.
These successful entrepreneurs believe that grit and the desire to succeed are the underlying factors that have gotten them to where they are today.
The team’s advice is to realise that planning is key to building a successful business and brand. “You cannot stress if timelines blow-out as they most likely will. Be patient and persistent, kind and curious, walk your talk, and remember one thing: that when you find a job you love, you’ll work every day of your life,” explains Erika.
Learn more about frank body:
Learn more about Willow & Blake: