How a beauty chain took a new product to market during COVID19
When COVID-19 restrictions were announced in March, Brisbane-based Brazilian Beauty founder and CEO Francesca Webster realised with a shock that the company and franchisee network of 21 luxury salons across the country would have to close – potentially putting 140 people out of work.
“The COVID-19 situation dramatically affected our business,” Francesca said. “As a result of closing those locations, the flow-on result to our skin care brand and our head office team meant all of our revenue was reduced to zero.”
It was the company’s skin care brand – the Australian Skin Institute (ASI) – that provided a lifeline.
“As a team we sat down and thought – what can we do in this situation? Because we produce skin care, we saw hand sanitiser as a natural avenue for us,” Francesca said.
“We managed to rapidly secure an ethanol supply and we brought the hand sanitiser to market very quickly.
“This new business, along with retailing skincare on our online platforms to Brazilian Beauty and ASI customers, has enabled us to retain our ASI team and re-engage some of our Brazilian Beauty team members.”
With hand sanitiser in demand everywhere, Francesca said the company was proud to support and supply the product to other local businesses and organisations including police, the nursing sector, RAAF, aged care, childcare centres, builders, truck drivers and other retailers that required hand sanitiser to remain open and trading.
“We had to re-purpose our office. It was all hands’ on deck and we were supplying orders to individuals and companies anywhere from one litre to 5000 litres per order. There was hand sanitiser everywhere.
“During a time of such uncertainty, it was an awesome project for the team and I to be working on because we were connecting to the community. We felt busy and engaged and we were actually helping the community in some way.
“I suppose when you build a business and you’ve been doing it for 16 years, it’s your baby.
“And when you’ve got team members who have been with you for pretty much all of that time, you’ve got team members who’ve got mortgages, families and bills to pay, I think there’s a big sense of responsibility that goes with that.
“I'm so incredibly proud of the ASI and Brazilian Beauty teams for embracing this project, flipping their usual day-to-day roles in the business and for ‘believing that a new kind of beautiful’ is possible.”
Happily, with restrictions easing, Brazilian Beauty has since been able to re-open its clinics and the hand sanitiser as a product is here to stay.