The creative minds behind Frank Body Scrub have made it quite clear that the dirtier you get with Frank, the cleaner you’ll feel after-the-fact. In this interview, we are revealing that FRANK is in a fact a WOMAN! Erika, Jess and Bree are part of a team of friends who are the brains behind Little Big Sugar, Willow & Blake and Frank Body Scrub, and are three perfect examples of brilliant female entrepreneurs. Part of the team started out as friends at university, who happened to love writing and creating content for their own separate blogs. However, once they decided to combine their creative efforts and submit an entry to win a free website, this became the genesis of something much bigger, much dirtier. This Australian based team is credited with proving, once again, that sex sells in the mainstream markets. Although Frank is not monogamous, after all women come after him in droves and he showers with all of them—they still feel that intimacy with Frank because of his special way of communicating with them, as seen on every packet of scrub.
Frank Body Scrub is all about coffee granules and best friends who make a brilliant team when it comes to production, copyediting, website and branding. To date, they already have close to half a million followers on Instagram, so what are you waiting for? Get naked, get dirty, perhaps a little rough, then clean again with Frank. We are inspired by their entrepreneurial accomplishments, so to help us understand how they have made such a success of Frank, we asked Erika Geraerts, Jess Hatzis and Bree Johnson a few question about their company:
How many partners are there in your company?
There are five people behind Frank Body. Myself (Erika Geraerts), Jess Hatzis, and Bree Johnson (who make up Willow & Blake, the communications agency) as well as Alex Boffa and Steve Rowley, who are in charge of ecommerce, logistics and fulfillment.
What did you study at university?
Myself and Bree studied Journalism while Jess studied Arts Commerce. We met working the same part time job while we were studying. We also lived together for several years, before starting Willow & Blake after two years at our respective full time jobs in copywriting, editorial, and public relations.
What did you write about in your own personal blogs at university?
I wrote about food, Jess about music and Bree about lifestyle topics.
Tell us what Willow & Blake is all about?
Willow & Blake is a communications agency. We like to do things a little differently. After three years in the business, we’ve grown from 2 to 6 fulltime workers.
We work with clients from various industries, from the IT sector to fashion, hospitality, retail and digital, and with both startups and well-established brands.
Our product is content. From tone of voice development to developing a communications strategy across both offline marketing collateral and digital assets, like web copy and social media rollouts, we help determine how a brand feels and sounds.
How does one make the leap from writing to promoting beauty products?
We never would have imagined we’d end up juggling these two businesses, or ending up in the beauty industry. Because we were offering brand development and social media services to so many clients, we had been talking about doing the same for our own product for quite some time. We knew that the health/beauty/fitness industry was growing, particularly online, so were focusing our attention towards a product that would fit into that category.
Where did your research begin?
Our research began after our business partner, Steve, who owns a café, had two female customers come in and ask for the café’s left over coffee grinds to use as an exfoliator. This piqued his interest, and when he asked Bree (his partner) if she’d heard of coffee scrubs before, and how they were used to treat cellulite and stretch marks, she got extremely excited.
What are some of the health benefits of coffee?
It makes you work faster.
But in all seriousness, when caffeine is applied topically to the skin it can stimulate blood-flow and circulation, this can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks. Ground coffee beans are also a natural exfoliant helping to reduce dry skin, as well as target eczema and psoriasis.
What were some of the challenges involved in creating this product?
When we were creating the product we did a lot of testing and perfecting, and refining our ingredient selection. The boys were making scrubs day in and day out, until we were able to outsource our production to a local manufacturer.
Today, our product development means that we are continuing to aim to make products that we all feel comfortable recommending to our friends, and replacing our own existing beauty products.
What’s your overall marketing plan for frank?
If we told you we’d have to kill you…
We are constantly listening to our customers and responding to their feedback. This means getting inside their heads and their interests outside of our own products, so that we know what they like, what they don’t like, where they shop, what else they shop for, who they talk to and what they talk about. In understanding these things, we can build our ongoing content or conversations around our customers.
Your marketing campaign requires scantily clad models; how do you explain its success in mainstream markets?
Just as you wouldn’t shower with your clothes on- our body scrub requires you to get in the shower and get naked. We’re just being being frank about it and we think that our customers appreciate that we know what’s cheeky and fun and what’s appropriate and not.
Frank’s tone of voice on social media and personal approach to conversations with his customers has allowed him to ‘befriend’ his babes in a non-traditional way. He’s the boyfriend girls have always wanted, the beauty sidekick they’ve been dreaming of, and the friend who has always got their back.
Do you see yourself as a sexual person?
Bree, Jess and myself have always been confident in ourselves and our views on sexuality, after all, humans are sexual by nature. We see one’s view of sexuality as a means of empowerment rather than anything else.
If someone has a huge following on Instagram, does that necessarily make them a good candidate for promoting a product?
Not at all, there are several things that come into play when looking for people to endorse or promote your product.
1) Their followers may be bought or fake.
2) Their personal brand may not be aligned with your own.
3) They may have low engagement, despite high following.
How much time do you spend on traditional media to promote Frank?
We dedicate a significant amount of time to traditional PR outreach including print and digital publications; however have not yet paid for any traditional advertising.
Is Frank stocked on store shelves around the world as well?
Frank is yet to be sold offline. While we’ve had several wholesale requests we’re quite territorial of the brand and would rather develop our product line first before choosing very carefully when and where we’d like to stock our products.
Why coffee and not tea?
Caffeine offers several benefits to the body when applied topically, as discussed above. While some teas also contain caffeine, the combined benefit of coffee’s course texture as an exfoliant makes it an obvious choice for the base of our scrub.
Also, coffee is obviously superior to tea.
What is your favorite coffee to drink?
Erika- Long Black
Bree – ¾ Latte.
Which one of the scrubs happens to be your personal favorite?
Erika – Coconut.
Do you find that women are more open these days to using natural products?
We’d say women are seeking out natural products. They are very conscious of what they put into and onto their bodies on a daily basis.
Would you say “Frank” has been crucial in the success of the scrub? How important are marketing strategies like this to a company?
There has been several competitor scrubs pop up online since we began our company over 18 months ago. Being first to market always provides an advantage, as well as the results we receive from customers on @frankfeedback, but in saying this – the competing products are very similar in their make up, which makes us believe that it is the brand – and Frank’s personality, that separates him from the rest, and continues to maintain customer loyalty.
How would you describe your Frank consumers?
Our frankfurts are cheeky, open, and curious. Just like Frank.
Why do you think women have embraced your product in such a meteoric fashion?
We’d like to say that Frank doesn’t just make babes feel good in the literal, physical sense, but he makes babes feel good about themselves, too. The results of our product in treating skin conditions have been extremely powerful, too.
Is there a line that you refuse to cross when it comes to the images that help to promote Frank?
Of course, there is always a line. While we are all of the belief that you can never please everybody, we’re lucky that as three women who fall into our target consumer group, we can always assess and discuss what we believe is right and wrong for the brand.
Do you think that without social media you’d still be such a huge success?
Social media has undoubtedly provided us with a launching pad for our product, and has served as a catalyst for growth. Five years ago, we would never have been able to reach so many consumers in such a small timeframe.
So many friends who have had partnerships in the past have ended up alienated from one another, how do you make your partnership work so well?
But in all seriousness, it’s very easy to get caught up in work and forget that you were first and foremost friends with your business partners (in our case.) All it takes is a text here and there, a dinner date, or a hug, to let each other know what’s important and where our priorities lie.
Has the brands success ever outgrown the capabilities of your original team and if so what did you when it did?
Definitely – we very quickly needed to outsource production of our product, which we were lucky to find a local Melbourne manufacturer who we work with on all our product development lines.
What is one word of advice that you would offer to entrepreneurs like yourselves?
Have patience and persistence, find a balance between being proactive and reactive, make time for a life, but be prepared to work hard and late. And never lose sight of why you started your business in the first place.
Check out the Frank Bod site HERE