• Beauty

Jess Hatzis, co-founder of frank body on skincare and entrepreneur life

How coffee created one of Australia’s most successful beauty start-ups

Who would’ve thought discarded coffee grounds could be turned into a multi-million dollar business but that’s exactly how it has played out for Jess Hatzis, co-founder of beauty start-up frank body.

The successful entrepreneur says frank owes much of its success to some of the customers of her co-founder Steve Rowley’s Melbourne cafe, who kept asking him for spare coffee grounds to take home and use as a body scrub. After trying it themselves, ‘and feeling slightly ridiculous but then amazing’ a new beauty brand was born.

Refreshing in their approach; they launched in 2013 with less than $10,000 in the kitty and an ingenious marketing strategy rolled out on what was then an under-utilised platform, Instagram. And with phrases like ‘try me, I dare you’ and ‘happy skin equals happy babe’ frank body quickly became a cult favourite amongst the Insta set. Amazingly, it wasn’t long before Jess and her co-founders; best friend Bree Johnson, Steve (now Bree’s husband) and Alex Boffa turned a simple body scrub into a $20 million dollar beauty brand that’s sold worldwide.

“We each had different things we wanted to achieve, for Bree and myself it was about not only creating an affordable and effective, natural product, but a brand that was like nothing on the market,” Jess explains. “For Alex and Steve it was about revolutionsing the e-commerce experience, utilising non traditional channels to reach our consumers. Basically, we wanted to do things in a way they hadn’t been done before.”

Their new range – ‘the Anti’s’ – are designed to help ‘babes’ battle breakouts, dryness and dullness’, however it’s their new sustainability ethos – which includes 100 per cent recycled or reyclable material used for all e-commerce packaging – that has us cheering.

Here we chat with Jess about her thoughts on natural skincare, what it’s like building a brand from the ground up and what she wishes she knew before she started working for herself.

Jess Hatzis, co-founder, frank body
Jess Hatzis, co-founder, frank body

WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN STARTUP?

Incredible, unexpected, tiring, fun, rewarding and fuelled by coffee.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE TO OTHERS CONSIDERING GOING OUT ON THEIR OWN?

You’ll never have enough money, time or energy. You just have to do it. This is what separates the wishers from the doers, to be frank!

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I am currently trying very hard not to work from the moment I wake up, which is my usual habit due to our business operating in so many countries. In order to make sure I am a happier, healthier person and a better leader, I try to start my day with a bulletproof coffee, a walk or workout and of course a scrub.

WHAT HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT SKINCARE ALONG YOUR JOURNEY?

It starts from the inside out. Drink water, eat well and learn to listen to your body and skin. And when you do work from the outside in, choose your products carefully. Your skin absorbs so much, which is why we make natural, toxin-free products that are affordable and actually do what they say they will.

frank body skincare
frank body skincare

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CREATE A PRODUCT THAT’S NON-TOXIC?

Incredibly hard, because it’s a huge shift in operations for traditional manufacturers. We can’t fall back on a synthetic stabilizer when in the development stage, so it adds months and months of testing to ensure the formula works ongoing.

WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT USING NATURAL INGREDIENTS?

Your skin is your biggest organ and you absorb so much through it – that is a pretty important reason. When so much is unknown about potentially harmful synthetic ingredients it makes sense to go the natural avenue, avoiding natural irritants too.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR SELF CARE RITUALS?

Self-care is so many things to me. It’s walking, meditation, reading and saying no when I need to. It’s also good food and our glow mask!

COFFEE OR COCKTAILS, AND WHERE?

Coffee at Port of Call in Sandringham. Cocktails (and 10 out of 10 Japanese) at Future Future in Richmond.

WHAT IS FRANK BODY’S POLICY ON CHEMICALS?

No parabens, PEGS, or phthalates. No sulphates or silicones. No mineral oil, no glycols, no DEA or TEA. Just good natural and clean ingredients that are safe and effective.

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