This is Sandy Ronalds for Female Startup Club
Hi everyone and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here, your host and hype girl! If you’ve just found us - we are SO grateful and happy to have you here. Every week we’re learning from some of the world’s most brilliant minds in business. Like the founder of NAT’V Basics, Sandy Ronalds.
Sandy launched her biz in 2019 and in the last year alone sold 600,000 units from a few simple strategies. This story speaks to the power of spotting a clear gap in the market, proving out the concept, and going for it.
In this episode, Sandy shares her blueprint for making your business make business sense. In the dreaming phase, determine your why and know what your purpose is going to be for the brand through building brand pillars (these pillars have nothing to do with the end product but are about why you are joining us rather than another brand). In the building phase, consistently communicate the dreaming phase; it’s one thing knowing something yourself, and it’s another when it clearly comes across (pumping socials with the why’s and the purpose of the brand so you attract those who naturally align with your brand). In the day-to-day, Sandy still runs the nat’v basics IG intimately; she gets to know you and you get to know the real essence of the brand. It's key to remember here that your why doesn't have to be grandiose. It can be as simple as brightening someone's day, making them feel confident, or offering a sustainable solution.
Before we jump into today’s episode I want to quickly mention the Girl Code that we introduced a few episodes back! The gist is that it’s a very loose and casual deal where if you love what we’re doing over here and we bring you some value or a smile or a gem of insight, you take a tiny action every time you listen to one of our episodes. Whether that’s by leaving us a review, or sharing this episode on social media - basically anything that helps us reach more ears and keep growing. It’s a weird time right now and I’m in need of my hype girls. And to everyone who already does this - I appreciate you more than you know.
Let’s get into today’s episode, this is Sandy for Female Startup Club.
Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Sandy. Hi. Welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. I'm coming in from Bali Indonesia and you are on Miami, the Gold Coast, right? Yes, we are. Yeah. How's your day so far? Do you have any winds or? Oh shit moments to share. Not really. Today's been a little bit boring. Um Not boring, but just, you know, doing the everyday things that have to get done, so nothing too crazy has happened uh or something that's quite serious. So that's always a good thing. It's always a good thing just cruising along in cruise control. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. I always love to start these episodes by going back to kind of pre when you started the business. So pre 2019 to understand what was getting you thinking about starting this company and sort of the beginning of your entrepreneurial story? Sure. Um I think it's sort of the idea popped back into my head. Well into my head back in 2017, I was um a director of another company at that time and um I was actually online trying to find underwear for myself. And I was looking at all the classic brands that we actually grew up with and I was actually shocked by the lack of transparency in what they were doing to the planet and its people. So after that, I sort of thought, you know, what, why don't I sit down and sort of work out my whys and what I would want in an underwear brand. And then I sort of went from there. Well, we didn't launch till 2019 but it, like, the ideas sort of started from 2017. So it took a while to sort of, you know, get to the point of actually launching. So, what was it about underwear specifically? Like why that as a category over, I don't know, socks or pajamas or fast fashion or, you know, apparel rather? Yeah. Well, I mean, fast fashion is a huge problem in the whole world. Um, it, you know, that is such a huge thing that sort of really needs to be looked at and underwear really doesn't fall into, I think the fast fashion category because you're not really wearing it to show off to anyone every day at the office because no one sees it. But it is still one of those things that people wear every single day. Um, and it's also one of those things that we can't recycle so you don't go to the op shop and buy undies because that's gross and there's hygiene issues around that. So in my mind, I was like, this is really important. We should really care about the way our undies are made and how they're made and what they're made with because we all wear them every day. It also saves us from washing. You know, you might be able to get a few wears out of your jeans if you're wearing knickers, you know, before you wash them. Um, and obviously that's a much bigger garment to, you know, put through the washer and dryer or however you do it. So I thought, you know, underwear is, you know, something again, we, we all wear every day and, um, it's important to get it right. Yeah, I love that. We do wear underwear every day. It is a very important and that's fine, but most do I think. Totally. Totally. Yeah. So, ok, you have this light bulb moment circa 2017. You launched 2019. So I want to talk about this two year period of what I assume is developing the product, finding your manufacturer kind of getting everything set up. And we, we love to talk about the manufacturing piece because it can take a bloody long time to develop the product in the vision that you have. How did you go about finding a factory that met your requirements? Yeah. It, it is really hard and it's really daunting because I come from like skincare and makeup world. So to go into a completely new industry was really daunting. And especially because I really didn't know a lot about, you know, fabrics and textiles at that point. Um So I literally had to do a lot of research on my own and a lot of Googling and first of all, trying to identify what sort of fabrics and yarns that I want to start working with. And then once I could narrow down just the basics of where we wanted to start, um, the patterns and, um, sort of styles we wanted to start with and have that sort of planned out. Um, I did do a lot of ringing around Australia to the few manufacturers that we do have and unfortunately, none of them could do seamless underwear, which was really sad for me at that point and I couldn't believe it. Um, but after like, at this point, I'm not shocked at all. It's, unfortunately, we don't have a huge manufacturing industry, um, for apparel or underwear in this country. Um, hopefully we can bring it back one day but it's not here at the moment. Um, so from there, I had to do a lot of research internationally to try and find, um, you know, supplies in the markets that I wanted to work with. And so, um, one of our main yarns for our signature or our core range is, um, a product called Lensing Meal and that is an Austrian company. Um, that is really well renowned for their efforts and sustainability and their close loop production systems. Um So they close systems use. We use 99% of the waste taking tree to fiber um back into making more. Um So we really love that because it really lowers the carbon footprint and a water footprint. Um And then from there, we did find our manufacturers by going over to big textile trade shows and sitting down with many, many, many, many companies to make sure that they can um actually tick all of the certifications that we need. So, you know, we need the BS C I audits to be done. Um We have the safety certificates for, you know, the standard 1 100 to make sure that the yarns used are always safe for, for humans. So there's a few check boxes that we knew that we wanted to hit as well before going over pretty much just made myself a checklist, had all my planning ready and just sat with people to find out um who could do what we needed. And then it still was a process after that because they all say yes. And then you don't hear for them, then you got to chase them up and then wait for the sampling and you got to go through the sampling process and do revisions and go back and forth until you're finally happy with the end product to actually take to market. How long did that? Process take from kind of, you know, ringing around in Australia to getting to the trade shows, to, getting to sampling with someone that you are happy with. I can't remember exactly the time frame, but it would have been well over a year, at least. And especially because after that first initial ring around a show and I realized I couldn't do it here. It sort of put like a Debbie Downer on the whole idea because I really had set in my mind that it must be Australian made and um it sort of like shattered my dream a little bit. But then I was like, you know what, this is a really good idea and as long as I can find suppliers that can work within what we need um within the supply chain. So with the BS C I, you know, audits and things, um we can still make this happen and it's still gonna be a much better option than the brands that really aren't caring about these things. And obviously, as we grow into the future, we can make it better and better and better. And, you know, if we ever get rich enough, uh we could hopefully do it in Australia, which would be amazing. Yeah. And I think you also bring up a really good point. It's like you were set on this, you know, manufacturing in Australia and creating this product in Australia, but you had to kind of zoom out and shift the goal posts and be like, no, like, yes, that's a nice to have and I would have loved to have done that, but still big picture. Ok, we can't do that, let's move on and not kind of get lost or get stuck on that one thing and just be able to like iterate iterate and move towards your goals still. But being, I guess, flexible with the process, yeah, we definitely had to like, it physically is impossible to do as far as I'm aware to this day, our product here, um which again is really unfortunate, but it's just one of those things that it's just one piece and tiny piece and the whole entire company. So totally, what are the trade shows do you remember kind of the main ones off by heart that you went to, to meet the manufacturers? Yeah. So I've flown to Bali before, not gone to a trade show. Um just to have some meetings over there. Um There is um some small manufacturing over there, but they didn't really hit the mark for what we needed. Um So I've also just recently got back from one in Vietnam. So the textile manufacturing areas typically are Vietnam, China. Absolutely. Um India, um India, I haven't had much luck with yet in terms of they're more like as far as I can see it, like good with silks and, and so each area really has sort of what they specialize in. Um but a good one to go to is um what is it called? The Canton Fair over in China? In, I think you pronounce it. That can be a really good one because I've actually got um countries from all around the world coming in in one spot and it's huge. Like you'll spend hours walking around that and it's got every single thing you could like, you wouldn't even imagine what they've got, you know, available in terms of supply of those big, big trade shows. So, yeah, I can only imagine. I went to Guangzhou a couple of years ago and I just remember like we were there for the jewelry business I had at the time and it was like for anyone listening, imagine a Westfield. So you know how big a Westfield shopping center is? Like Westfield after Westfield, after Westfield, after Westfield and then every Westfield would just be one thing. So like every Westfield would just be like every room and every floor was pearls. And then the next one would be jade and the next one would be like whatever it was. And I was like, wow, the whole world comes from here. This is insane. But it was also just so it was like an apple store. Like everything was like an apple store. I was like, so impressed. Had the best time. I remember racking up like 20,000 steps per day um walking around. Um And that was like pretty average. So and like, that's a lot because I don't usually do that much. So I was exhausted by the end of the day, but totally worth it. How did you prepare for that? Like, did you have an agent or someone kind of that you worked with to help you? Yeah. Um not an agent. So I definitely booked everything myself, but I definitely got a um interpreter, uh a Chinese interpreter um just to help the language barrier to sort of cut through and make sure we were talking to the right people. Yeah, that was, that was really important. And when I go to trade shows like that, I'll usually take like a, like a book with like a normal sort of and then I will literally have a stapler and a pen. And if they're like someone that I'm interested in, I'll get my, their business card or stapler and I'll write notes about them. I'll like, write down what their Moqs are, what their lead times are, you know, and just little notes that will make me remember them. And um I don't do it to every single people, person you sit with or you meet because there's so many. But the ones that you really think um sound good and interest you, um that's definitely how I sort of work it. Yeah, I love that. That's a great little admin kind of gem that you've shared there. What are your like when you look back now, you know, your 2017 to now. What's that like five years? So you've kind of come a long way in the manufacturing process itself. What are your key kind of learnings that you could share for anyone who's early on in that manufacturing R and D phase, it can be really difficult um with the language barriers um dealing in manufacturing. Uh for us, we have to always have our spec sheets and tech packs, um filled out everything has to be quite clear and easy to share. We always have to check what's coming in. Even still to this day. We haven't changed manufacturers since our launch, but sometimes they just change the way they've done something. So you have to always just like, you know, be on the ball and make sure that you're um checking everything as it comes in, doing quality, um check overs. So we always have like our original samples and we will always, once we get something in, we'll, we'll sit there and we'll start measuring and making sure that they're with intolerance and spec um before they even, you know, hit our picking and packing area. Wow, that's so interesting that it's kind of, you know, you sometimes I feel like you can fall into that phase of just being like, oh no, like we're in that process that's checked off like it's all good to go, but it's, it's good to know that actually every time you need to be so on top of it because who knows what's happening? Especially in apparel manufacturing. I mean, we do have tolerances where it's usually within like a centimeter or so, but seamless is a little bit more, but sometimes they go way over the tolerance and that's just not acceptable because if you've got a customer and because we're not fast fashion, so we don't have something like new every few months to push on to the customer. We always have our normal basics available in the same colors so that if you bought from us a year ago, you can come back to the website tomorrow and rebuy exactly the same pair in the same color because we are just basics. We only want you to buy them as you need them and we want to have like a stable, consistent offering to that you're happy with. So, if that customers bought something from us a year ago and they come back, we expect or they would expect, um, at the very least for it to be the same unless we've actually done an update and we've actually told them about it. So it's important for us to constantly do quality assurance and checks, um, on everything that we do and we're always looking to improve things as well. So we've made a few changes to some of the, um, items in some of our core ranges. Um, because we have got customer feedback over the years and if we can see that it's quite a lot and we'll send out surveys to, to check with our customers. We will happily take that feedback on board and, and do those revisions. Um and relaunch the product to them. Got it. Stupid question here. But what does tolerance mean? Tolerance is? So, um for example, if you've got a half waist measurement, um so that's just half waist. We would expect it to sit within a tolerance of 11 centimeter or so, it just means that they can't go over that tolerance. So we'll have the normal spec which might be say, let's for example, 20 centimeters. If they go to 23 that's not within tolerance. So we, we will give them a tolerance and it will be, if we expect it to be 20 you can go to 21. But that's, that's a cut off because with manufacturing, you've got humans making it. So it's never gonna be perfect and exactly the same every time and especially with a seamless product, we have more of a tolerance which is a global standard, but even dresses and anything that you buy, they'll be, they'll have their own tolerances and manufacturing standards that they will send in their tech packs along to their manufacturers to make sure that they stay within those. Hm. Great learning something new every day. Love that for me. Hey, I wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about the money piece. My favorite piece of most episodes. What kind of capital did you need to invest, to get yourself to launch? So, kind of like the R and D process your first run of orders, your website and kind of like up until launch day. I, I can't remember the exact figure, but I think it was around the $20,000 mark and that was just like from my savings that I sort of invested over the years. We've invested much more because we've actually been scaling as quickly as we can and that always takes a bit of capital. Um, but I do believe the first initial amount of money that I had taken from my savings account or my husband and I was about 20,000. And my husband's like, oh, I can't believe you need that much money. I was like, that's not a lot like which, I mean, it is that, you know, it, you do need a bit. Um, I think it's like, it's not when you think about starting a business especially, that's what I think. But, you know, I think it was just such a risk because I hadn't come from the industry and my husband was like, do you really know what you're doing? And I was like, yes, but secret was like, no, just having a crack just giving this a go. Yeah. But I mean, we did, I did start off cheaply. Um So obviously I was investing I did most of the website myself through Shopify and I did have a graphic designer, just help with the branding side of things and help sort of develop that. But Shopify is so easy to use these days that, you know, you don't need a developer to start off with so you can start off and I think their $19 plan per month and just get it up and running, you know, until you get to the next stage where you can invest a bit more. Um I started off my office in my mom and dad's spare room and then I use that the spare room for the picking and packing area. Um So obviously I didn't have to pay rent there or pay any outlays apart from just some of the picking and packing equipment. Um And so yeah, sort of brought it from there and once we can afford and you need the next step, then hopefully you have some revenue coming in to pay for itself after a while. Totally. Totally. At what point did you start paying yourself a salary? I've had that come up a few times, you know, from business owners and entrepreneurs in my network. And it's always interesting to understand, kind of like, was it based on when I hit this certain amount of revenue or from the get go? You're always paying yourself a percentage of sales or kind of, when did that fall into place for you I definitely didn't pay myself a wage for a very long time. Um, you know, when you first start a business you're not really making money and if you want to keep growing your business, um, you really need to be putting everything that you're getting back into the business for growth. Um, taking profits and growth to start with. Don't go together. Um, if you want to be just taking profits, it's, you know, you sort of wasting that money that could go back into the business to keep, to keep it growing. So, um, I had, I think I had like three staff members which were all being paid a full time wage before I even paid myself. Um, from memory, I started myself like at the start of last year, which is Jan. So I've been going a very long time without a wage, um, free knickers. That was pretty much my pay, but I was happy I needed to employ people to help again grow the business. So I definitely saw more value in getting the right people on board, giving them, you know, a full time wage. And then, you know, once we're comfortable, I started paying myself totally. When just a second ago, you said something about, you know, it was 20 grand to kind of like get, get up and running, get started. But then obviously over the years, you've needed to invest more working capital to keep the business going and things like that. And I'm wondering if you could just elaborate a little bit on whether that was like loans and debt or grants or friends and family or angels or, you know, your husband's salary or something like that or consulting. What, what were the ways that you were able to add more working capital to the business? So, I had AAA bit of a savings account from my last company which I had sold out of. Um, so I was a director and sort of a co-founder from that. So when I, um, moved on from there, I obviously had to pay out from there. So I had a bit of savings which, um, I could reinvest back into this business to start with. So I've been pretty lucky. I haven't needed any loans from anyone outside yet. Um, except for, you know, myself and my family's bank. So I don't know if that's a great thing or not. Sometimes I speak to bankers like I do have a, a personal banker for the business and they're like, why are you using your own money? Use ours? But I'm like, of course, you want me to use yours? Do you want me to pay you back extra? So I'm like, I, sometimes I'm like, oh, maybe I'll just, you know, I'll, I'll use mine and, um, up until a certain point and, but, you know, in the future we'd, I'd love to have some investors on board because, um, I'm very aware that, you know, I only know as much as I know in, in business and at some point, if I want to take it to 20 mil a year, 30 mil a year, I really need people that have been there, done that before. So I look forward to the day that investors are actually um interested in me and the business that would be great. What do you think about the Australian landscape when it comes to fundraising and, and specifically for you being in the CPG kind of industry versus like, um you know, tech or something like that? How do you like, how do you see the Australian landscape and like when it comes to time to raise, what would your kind of process be? What would you be doing? I have to be perfectly honest here with you. I don't know much about the landscape at all to be fair. Um It's not something that I've had any experience yet to date in my business career even previously. Um So if I was to sit here and talk about that, I would literally just be feeding you a whole bunch of voodoo. So, yeah, I honestly, I, I don't know. So, um I, I think that's interesting for me, it's something that I've started learning a lot more about specifically in, in Australia when it comes to the VC world and, you know, the many issues that we face as women and it's such an interesting topic because I do think there is this big gap of, you know, founders, women, founders who are building these amazing businesses are kind of like operating over here and you know, we're building different kinds of businesses to what traditional VC, especially in Australia are investing in. So there's just AAA really huge disconnect. And I'm always curious to understand, like, I don't know what the answer is, right? But curious to understand other people's perspectives and like how they're thinking about something or approaching something because we need to find new solutions. Like as founders, women founders, we know that the money isn't going into women founded businesses. That's just a fact of the stats. So it's just like this, it's a bit sad. It's just like for me, I didn't even know where to start and how to get in front of investors. So that's the biggest barrier for me at the moment is like, how do I even get in front of the right investors that are interested in my solar business? Um What do they want to see from me? Like, do they want to see my revenue? My, like, what, what are they interested in? Like, I like there's no sort of checklist to, for people like me to sort of look up and follow as far as I'm aware. So it does make it difficult and um sometimes I feel you don't think you're good enough yet for them to be interested in. So you sit there and you really work hard and just plot, plot away it, you know, getting it better yourself every day. Totally. That's so interesting. You say that because I feel like I hear similar kinds of things from other women. I know who have gone through that kind of investment phase and women who are like, you know, we're told to come back with traction and then we come back with traction and that's still not enough. And it's just, there are a lot of bias against women when it comes to, to fundraising. But yeah, it's, it's really something I'm so passionate about and we're starting to kind of shift into this space of trying to understand where the disconnects are to try and see how we can, I don't know what. But yeah, bridge the gap, bridge the gap based on education based on people in the space who also want to um be supportive and help change, especially the Australian market. The US is the stats aren't that much better, but there are many VC firms in the US that are investing in CPG whereas Australia is 10 years behind the US. And so we're not as mature in that kind of landscape, but it's such an interesting, an interesting thing. The more I learn about it, the more I get into it I'm like, oh, this is, this is, this is odd. But anyway, let's talk about your launch. I wanna talk about kind of your go to market strategy. I know that you've done like 600,000 units sold or some amazing number. That's just like, totally mind blowing in the last 12 months. I think I even saw. Um So I'd love to go back to like 2019 the launch. How are you getting the word out there and selling your products? Um So about two months before we sort of launched, we started our pre campaign, um and we only launched with three core products in a couple of colors because I didn't wanna over invests in stock and, and work out that once I put it to market, no-one actually really liked it. So, you know, we started off with a couple of um styles and a couple of columns. And um two months before our actual launch, we had the website up and running and we started um pumping Instagram and sort of saying, you know, sign up to our EDM list to get early access and instead of really pushing out the whys and the purpose of the brand, um because I'm a big believer that people don't buy only just what you do, they buy, why you do it. So a bit of the Simon and stuff coming in, but it absolutely is true. And um people really want to know why they should be buying your product over your competitor and where your position next to your competitors as well. So, um you know, through Instagram, we really started um punching out what we're about and our purpose and you know, we had already done a photo shoot so we could share a little bit about the product offering as well. What it looked like some of the benefits of the actual product, not just the overall brand products. So um with TV, we have our brand pillars, but then we also have our product benefits and the brand pillars really have no nothing to do with the end product. It's more about like why you are joining us rather than you know, another brand. And so on the launch date, we already had a bit of a database that we'd grown over those two months, which was lovely and we did offer them a little bit of a discount and sweetener for joining the list that they could use once we had launched. And um on the launch day that worked quite well. Um So we'd already pre hyped everyone and, and had a nice little campaign running. I also worked with um an influencer on the launch day or just after and they had quite good reach as well um with the demographic that sort of suited us for launch. Um And that also helped us amazingly as well. And then from there, we really did just concentrate on our marketing strategy, which obviously includes, you know, me, Instagram, and we had a very strong influencer strategy to start with as well. Can we talk about your influencer strategy? Just a little bit deeper for the woman that you started? Or the person that you started working with in the beginning was that a paid um kind of ambassador role? Yes. So I wouldn't say ambassador um ambassador I find is we still haven't really paid for an ambassador to this day because I think they would expect more of a long-term contract where, you know, they can only post for you and like more of a salary I would expect. Um So we haven't really gone down that route. Um It was more just, you know, here's my fee. Do you agree? Yes. Um With influencers, it's always a bit of a risk. I have to say, um we've had some really big wins with influencers, but then we've had some not so good um results. And I suppose we, our influencer strategy at the moment is we always love working with micro influencers and we don't really expect too much of a return on investment from them at all. We still always test it because sometimes we get shocked and amazed they might have 10,000 followers and they get all these sounds like. Wow, that's brilliant. Like how amazing is their influence and actual engagement with their community. Um But generally we like to work with them and pay them more so for content because as a small brand, we can't just do photo shoots all day, every day because we don't have a studio at HQ. So we have to rent out this and get photographers and it just is such a big expense. So we love, you know, working with the micro influence more so for that. And we don't really expect to see an ro I on that. But then if we are working with the bigger ones that expect the big bucks, we definitely expect to see a good return on investment there. Um And you know, if we don't, we just think, oh, well, maybe it wasn't the right fit for our brand and, and we, we don't work with them again. But if obviously we've had a good result and we both really like each other and they're sort of loyal and, and, and, and so we, we'll definitely obviously work with them again. Why, why wouldn't we, we are a business in the end? So, you know, we are sort of looking at, does it work from a financial point of view when you work with like a bigger kind of paid influencer? What is your vetting process? Is it the people that come to you? Is it more just you identifying? Oh, I love this person and I love their content. Let's let's just test it or is there something else that's more specific? There's no rule. We do obviously check things. So if we do have an influencer and let's say they've got a huge following So what we found over the years, it doesn't matter about their following. It's really about the engagement influence they have. So you can get someone with half a million and they will do not as well as what one with 200,000 will. Um And you know, one will expect they expect more just because of the amount of followers. Um So it, you can't really guess upon that. Um What you can do is obviously go and have a look at their comments and have a look at their content. So if you've got a lady who, you know, has quite sexual images or, or whatever, that, that's absolutely fine. But what you'll find is her following is probably largely male and the largely male following really isn't gonna bind that v so that's, that's a bit of a no for us because again, there's no real point, you know, we, we, we're not gonna be put in front of the right followers if we work with um that style. Um we don't have a problem with it. It's just not gonna be a good fit for us. Um So we often will check that and we'll have a look at the comments. Um Sometimes you used to be able to buy influence uh followers and comments and things like that and you can usually tell, I don't know if you still can because I don't do this vetting process myself anymore. But you know, you look at the comments. And if you just see like a whole bunch of bizarre emojis the whole time in stacks and comments and then you click on the people to look at them their profiles, you often find that they're just like fake profiles. And again, that's just not the sort of engage. Well, it's not gonna be real and it's not gonna help the business at all. So what we usually try to look for is like really nice authentic influences. Um You can usually tell by their grid. Uh We find a lot for us that, you know, mom's um the mom's work because we just set that demographic really um for us. Um But it's in saying that it's surprising sometimes you, you, you get shocked as I said. So it's really about testing and trialing and um yeah, seeing how you go and on the micro influencers is your strategy just gift and again, not really asking for anything in return, but hoping that they kind of post and, and getting the content from it versus an ro I on sales, it really does depend. So we, we have just, we have paid many micro influencers in the past for their content. Um We're not opposed to that at all. Obviously, people should be paid, but it really depends on where they're at in their following and their content as well. Um Obviously, we do have our own ideal aesthetic. Um We have also worked with micro influencers that are just starting, they might have 1000. And obviously we're just gifting that we're not, you know, it's more to, you know, support and help them on their journey. Um, you know, and if they take good content for us great, we'll, we'll share it for them. Um, but then we've also just launched a colab, um, affiliate thing through our website, which is actually native Shopify has just sort of launched it. So we're just testing and trialing that at the moment. And, um, it's actually been going pretty well. We've had, um, a few people that have signed up and, um, essentially we give them for free and then what they do is they post and they have their own discount code and each cell they get a commission, um, based on what they're actually doing. So, uh, that's really good for, yeah. Cool. And, yeah, I guess, like, once you get to the point where that's at scale that can be very lucrative. Well, yeah. And, but it's great, um, because it's lucrative for the actual, um, influencer that's building their business because they're getting a commission on every sale that they make and it's all done through Shopify. So they just get paid out automatically. I think it's like every 30 days based on what they've done. And so they can work as hard as they want or as little as they want. And it's actually done on results rather than me. Just going, ok, I'll gamble this money on you almost like that's some times how you feel like you're sort of taking a huge risk because you don't really know whether it's gonna do really well or, or not really kick off. So, um, it's, it's a risk free thing for me to do, which is great. Yeah, I love that. And so if we have to think about kind of where you are with your marketing now and what your biggest drivers are now that have gotten you to 600,000 units sold in the last 12 months. What would that breakdown look like? Obviously, influencers, obviously meta Instagram ads. But what else is kind of driving that huge, huge phenomenal growth? It's really been those three things, to be honest, we've um we've, we did spend a lot on me um over the last year or so. We've also got quite a good um word of mouth through our loyalty program that we have. So we do offer all of our customers like it depends what tier you are, but across the board, if they refer a friend, they'll get $20 once they're well, they can give their friend $20 and they spend it, they get $20. So we got like little incentives like that to help our word of mouth. So, but mostly it's been that we haven't really invested any print media. We've only just started doing pr um and that was last month, but everything has really been driven from meta Instagram. Um and our influencer strategy. Gosh, love that for you. That's amazing. Are you playing in the Tik Tok Space at all or I'm, I'm trying, we, we've got a, we've got a tiktok but it's not going so well. Um We, it sort of gets ignored a little bit at the moment and um it's just a little bit different in terms of the people that are on it. I feel like maybe they might be slightly younger and it's more of a platform where people go to laugh and like, look at funny videos and I'm not really sure how to time women in underwear and making it funny. Like, do you know what I mean? I haven't really had enough time to sit down and strategize what sort of content we should be. Push, push through that platform. We share the same rules that we do on Instagram and they get no traction. So clearly you can't just like repurpose and post the same stuff. Um But I haven't had enough time or resources to actually get that going. Wow. Well, I'm excited for you. That just means opportunity is out there. Yeah. Well, hopefully, yeah, I've read that you are on track to being B Corp certified this year and, and this goes back, I guess to your manufacturing, um you know, earlier when you were talking about the different certificates that you need and and credentials that you need from a factory. But what's actually the process of getting B Corp certified in Australia and like also like in terms of time and, and what you need to be able to do it, but cost as well. To be honest, I've got one of the ladies in the office who is part of um our marketing but um sustainability side as well and she's been going through that process. Um I did, I have meetings with her to catch up, but from what I know is, um obviously they go to their website and you sign up and then you get all of your questions and it's quite large, there's many different categories which have their own bunch of questions. You have to have proof of like your certificates and certifications and you have to write um policies and, you know, things that you want to improve on. Um But I haven't been in there for a while, but when I did first go in there, those were the sorts of things that I was looking at and sort of going through. Um it's now with Lauren. So, um that's, yeah, as much as I can sort of say, I know it's like a huge thing. We've been working on it for like six months or she has and we're still sort of, we're still probably not even, you know, there for submission. So hopefully we'll get it in this year. Um because it is a lot. Yeah. Gosh, goodness. We'll have to get you back for a part two just to talk about the, the b we'll have to get her on it. She can, um she can run through it all. Shout out to Lauren for getting the B corp ready. Love that. Yeah. Yeah. Something I've been struggling a lot with recently and, and a lot of founders and a lot of people in general that I know are also struggling with is burnout and this kind of feeling of being overwhelmed, especially when you're, you know, trying to do all the things. There's a million things that you're meant to be doing as a, as an entrepreneur, as a founder or small business owner. Have you ever experienced burnout? And if so how do you deal with that while also kind of keeping the business going, keeping your staff, you know, happy and healthy and motivated as well and dealing with like, you know, family and relationship and everything else that goes on outside of the business. It can be tough. I, I probably haven't had a proper burnout as of yet. Um I find that if I'm having an off day, I'll take myself out of the office because I really don't want to influence, you know, the energy in the office with any of my team. Um because I can be a bit like, you know, grumpy, I suppose if I'm suffering. Um So I'll often just like maybe work from home for a day or even if I have to take the day just to fully relax, reset. Um, my mindset, I will do so. Um, because I find if you don't and you just sort of try to push yourself, it will just last longer, you may as well just like get it over and done with as quickly as possible. So, I like to say I have my pity party for one day at home and then I will like wake up the next day, feeling much better, refreshed and ready and reset. I mean, yeah, it, it can be, it can be tough. Um But yeah, that's, that's what I do. I love that. I think it's so important as well to take those kind of just immediate breaks when you need it. Just, what's that saying? I think it's like if you could only give 10% today and you gave 10% then you gave 100% for that day. Yeah, I mean, obviously if I've got an important meeting or something, I, I won't, I'll always get my commitments done. But if it is a day where, you know, I've got nothing too bad on, I'll definitely be able to do that from home or, or take the day to reset. Yeah. So key, what is your key piece of advice for founders, entrepreneurs, small business owners who are early on in building their business, I suppose? Like, know your why and know what your, what your purpose is gonna be for the brand. Definitely have some sort of plan in place. Um And definitely try to get to know your customers pretty intimately so that you can deliver to them, their needs and wants. How do you get to know your customers intimately? Um I actually run the Instagram organically so I talk to our customers actually 1 to 1 all day. They probably don't know that they probably think it's someone else, but it's me um sometimes some of the customer service skills might help in the background if we're super busy. Um But we also send out customer surveys um a little bit to sort of get feedback and, and make sure that we're on track and, and sort of getting, you know what they think about the brand and what they feel about the brand. So we really know and understand, obviously, we get a lot of analytics these days from Google and Meta. So we can sort of see exactly who they are and what they want when you say survey is that just kind of like a post purchase automated email. No. So um there's a platform called Monkey Survey and um it's just like it just does that so you can go in, they've already got prebuilt templates if you want or you can build your own survey out. Um So we, we build our own um depending on what we're trying to figure out and um we'll send it out to a sample of our customer base. Cool. Love that. Thanks.
So question number one is, what's your, why? Why do you wake up every day and work on TV? Well, the reason for starting that V was to really create a brand that cared for my daughter's future. So that was really at the heart and soul of everything of TV. And also for everyone else's kids, like we should really care about the brands that we are starting these days. Um And we really want them to be better for people on the planet if we can. I love that. That's your tiktok right there. That's your tick. That should be your tiktok theme. It should be coming from you. That's so cool. I love that question. Number two is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far? There's been a couple to be honest. Um We've fed over 11,000 humans with Oz Harvest. So that was really cool. Um That was a year or two ago, we did a bit of a campaign where every order we donated a dollar, so $1 it used to feed to humans um with Oz Harvest. So we're pretty proud of that. Um we've also planted over 2000 trees with one tree planted. Um So that was really cool as well. Um That was in when we were like going through the raging bushfires in Australia, um, which was pretty full on. So that was, you know, nice to give back in that area. The third one we, I recently got back from L A. We did a really cool photo shoot with the Darling Shine Girls. Um I'm not sure if you know of them, but um Elodie Pullen and Chloe Fisher, um they have a, they have their own podcast and um but we're, we're doing a really cool colab which is launching in a couple of weeks. So I think that'll be one of my favorite marketing times. Um Once that launches so pretty excited about that. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited for you. I'm gonna keep that, keep that in my vision. I want to see when it comes out. Yeah, we started the pre hype campaign on Instagram. So if you head there, you'll be able to see some really cool videos and things of the, the girls in the products. My gosh, I love that question. Number three. What is your go to business resource? What's something that you've been kind of consuming lately, whether it's a book or a newsletter or a podcast or to be honest, you, I recently have been, you know, listening to um podcasts and as I said, when I first um jumped on with you that I didn't really feel worthy because I'd been listening to all the amazing, inspiring female founders that you had on and I'm like, I don't stack up to that. What am I doing on here? That is crazy. I felt so insecure knowing that I was coming on and then you had some woman that, you know, selling a cosmetic brand for 600 million. I'm like, Jesus. So obviously, I've been learning a bit from your podcast, which has been amazing and just a different way that people do things is really like, nice to hear. Um I learn a lot from my network to be honest. Um So I employ a lot of external people to help. Um Not a lot. So we've just got a marketing agency that does our meta stuff. So they are experts in what they do. So, you know, they're usually giving me advice on what to do next. Um You know, through, through that platform. Um And then we've got our web it guy, he's on the ball. Um Also all the apps that sort of plug into Shopify. There's so many free resources that they all give on their websites um with analytics statistics, um best practices. So it's always good to jump on to the platforms that you are using and read up on what the latest is. Love that there are so many good resources online. It's also hard to sift through them all sometimes, but they are all there for sure. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? I don't have one to be, I mean, every morning I'm guaranteed to have a coffee. Um So that's definitely a ritual, but it does change. Um You know, I got a small family. Um so a young family so I've gotta get up, get my daughter ready. Um, sometimes I'll take her to school. Sometimes I'll let my husband do it. Um, every day. Sometimes not every day is a win. And that's ok. Sometimes you have a, a, a mole of a day and you sort of come home feeling sort of, oh, my gosh, everything's wrong. Everything's going down, the house is on fire. Um, and that's fine. But, I mean, a good day for me is having a nice sort of consistent day at work. I love making to do lists. I put them in Monday and I really get through them. Um, try and be as productive as I can. Um, making sure my family's happy at the end of the day and I've got like a nice warm bed to sleep in is pretty much a win. I love that beautiful question. Number five is what's been your worst money mistake? And how much did it cost you in the business or? I probably couldn't put a dollar figure on it, um, off the top of my head. But one of the biggest mistakes we made during COVID was over ordering, um, we had a real problem at the start of COVID where we couldn't actually keep stock available. And obviously, if I don't have any stock, I don't have a business to pay overheads. So I have to have the right amount of infantry levels to keep the business afloat. Um And so when I couldn't get it, it spooked me. And so then I went overboard and ordered way too much. And I mean, luckily we're not fast fashion so we can always sell it like it's not like we have to, oh, it's not in fashion anymore. Um It's not a trend. So, um it's fine once we sell it, but, you know, having it just sitting on the shelves is also really, really bad for cash flow. Um because we, I have to pay for everything up front before I even sell it to our lovely customers. So that is a real problem because all your cash is literally tied up on the shelves. Um, waiting to be sold. So yeah, I wouldn't be able to put a price on that. But yeah, that's probably the biggest um, blunder when it comes to money that I've made. I've heard that a couple of times, especially because of COVID and yeah, issues with forecasting around that time and with everything that was going, going on in the world supply chain issues. Well, there was so you couldn't like the manufacturing was overwhelmed. So usually our lead times are about 90 days. They were blowing out to way beyond that. So we couldn't even get the product made in time. And then once it got to port, there was no containers and like the price of containers like doubled. Um So everything was just incredibly difficult um to, to, to do and to get infantry in. Oh my God. Crazy. Do you think that it's kind of sorting itself out now? Like are you close to getting kind of like rid of all of that initial stock that you had kind of had? We've still got depends like for our best seller, our g we're back to normal with that, but for some of the other um styles that we don't sell as quickly, we still got quite a bit of those. So we'll see how that goes. I mean, again, I'm very lucky that we're not a fast fashion brand. So I don't have any need um to keep up with trends. It's literally basic company undies that no one sees that you're happy to wear um is what we're about. So yeah, question number six. Last question, what is just a crazy story? Good or bad you can share from the journey of building TV? Or um I don't know, we don't have too many crazy stories, I suppose the craziest thing is, you know, starting off in my mum and dad's spare bedroom a year later, um moving into our first commercial space and then the year later, which is our full second financial year doing just under 5 million revenue. So that sort of exponential growth in that two year period is crazy to me and I wasn't expecting it. Um but I'm pretty happy that it happened. Oh my gosh, that's amazing. Yeah, obviously with that growth, um there comes lots of teething problems so I can't even think of them off the top of my head. But having, you know, not enough growth is painful, but having a lot of growth all at once is also very painful. Totally. Totally. Oh my God. Good way, I suppose. Yeah. Good problem to have. I love that for you. Where does um nat V come from? By the way, the name when we first started to be honest, we did call it native um basics. And that was because we were using native flora and fauna from planet Earth to create sustainable basics. Um But a year um into it, I was approached by a um aboriginal lady who said that it was, it was something that, you know, they, the community didn't really like. Um So once I heard that it literally took me 24 hours because I didn't start NAT V to upset any community anywhere. Um And so I quickly made the change to TV and so our logo has always been that v anyway. Um So it was an easy change one because I didn't want to offend anyone ever. That was never, you know, part of my, part of my goal when starting. Um and then, and then second of all, we, we, when we changed it, we, we made it. So this is gonna sound funny, but TV, now stands for natural fibers for vaginas. So TV, natural, natural, full vaginas essentially is what we've now changed it to and hopefully, yeah, everyone's ok with that. Did you have to go through trade marking a second time or you hadn't trademarked? I did. Yeah. So it was quite an expensive um uh process but happy absolutely didn't have any issues doing that again. We never, I, when I chose that name, it was purely for the flora and fauna. But when I found out that, you know, for a community of people, it had a different meaning. I was um first of all shocked that I wasn't aware um had to educate myself um at the time and still to do, continue to educate myself as much as possible. And you know, again, it took me literally 24 hours to be like, absolutely, we were changing it. So we did and that's what we did. Yeah. How did you navigate that with your customers? And was it like seamless? It wasn't um we did do some Instagram stories to explain that we wanted to align and then make sure we weren't, you know, offending anyone and that was our reasons. But we still had a few influencers saying native and I was like, please don't say that anymore. We are navy. Um please, you know, change that. But um over the years it's just happened now and, and people we'll say TV, here and there, you might hear someone say native, but we always correct them and, and move on. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your journey and all of your amazing insights and gems to building Nat V. I've loved this. Thank you so much. Thank you.