Melbourne-based beauty firm Kester Black takes off during pandemic to hit $ 1.2 million
The Melbourne woman’s mother rejected her when she applied for a $ 30,000 loan, so she used the only money she had to support a “winning” idea.
A woman in Melbourne has managed to turn her business on the brink of disaster into a booming business amid the Covid-19 pandemic due to a bizarre reaction from buyers.
Anna Ross, 33, launched ethical beauty brand Kester Black in 2014 with just $ 50.
It has since grown to include nine employees at its peak and sells to customers in Australia, New Zealand and also in a few European countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
However, Kester Black was wiped out early last year because of the Black Summer bushfires and then the nationwide lockdown.
“We couldn’t do any publicity this month because of the bushfires, it would have been super insensitive, so January was our worst month ever,” Ms. Ross told news.com.au.
And things took a different turn. When Covid-19 hit, “we lost almost overnight 90% of our wholesalers,” the entrepreneur recalled.
But a little-known trend called the lipstick effect took her business off the streets of wrestling.
Essentially, desperate shoppers are turning to small luxury items like lipstick and nail polish during an economic crisis, purchasing smaller items instead of more expensive ones due to financial uncertainty.
Ms. Ross’s business has definitely felt the impact of this trend, with the number of clients dropping from 10,000 to 17,500 bringing a total of $ 1.2 million in sales in fiscal year 2020-21 – its best year ever.
Ms Ross said lipstick alone made up 30% of her income.
Her nail polish collections also made money, and she observed, “Most salons were closed most of the year, so people took this opportunity to start doing manicures at home. . People wanted to feel special.
In 2020, Kester Black’s online sales increased by 127%. Overall, overall activity increased by 53% during the pandemic.
With Melbourne back on lockdown and Sydney on top of that, Ms Ross has noticed a new interest in her wares.
In fact, she said August 2021 was her best month yet.
Ms Ross is now building interest in a new crowdfunding initiative, with clients able to tap into $ 2.5 million in stock to help grow the business.
The beauty founder started the business by initially buying $ 50 worth of jewelry and then reselling it.
Originally from New Zealand, Ms Ross jumped on a plane in 2008 to come to Australia after graduating from college.
A fashion student, she wanted to create her own fashion brand. She asked her mother for $ 30,000 to start it.
“Absolutely not,” Ms. Ross recalls telling her mother.
Instead, she decided to do something on her own in Melbourne.
“I couldn’t afford to bring my sewing machine,” Ms. Ross said.
“I got a full time job in retail, I went to a jewelry store, I went and asked how to make a jewelry brand, they just got me pretty much everything I did. needed to know to start my own business.
“The bill was $ 50. “
She earned $ 200 selling the jewelry.
“Then I bought $ 200 worth of jewelry, I reinvested it. “
She decided to launch a line of nail polish to complement her jewelry business.
Making an ad on Gumtree, she sought out a chemist to help her develop her own nail polish.
She wanted to create her own ethical line of “clean”, vegan-friendly beauty products.
When she learned that crushed fish scales and beetles were used in cosmetics – to create a textured, iridescent effect – she vowed not to use them in her own products.
Ms. Ross spent a year developing an initial range of six colors.
Soon she realized that nail polish was much more lucrative than silver jewelry.
“We tripled our sales in three months, so I knew we were on the right track,” she recalls.
The rest, as they say, is history.
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