Proudly brought to you by NSW Treasury
Priscilla Hajiantoni is pure heart, soul and brains.
In just a few years she’s made some serious waves in the beauty industry. When her brand Bangn Body launched into MECCA it sold out in 8 hours. Her second product had a waitlist of 50,000. She sells one product in Australia every 15 minutes, and she’s done it all without traditional marketing channels. To celebrate NSW Small Business Month, Priscilla caught up with our CEO, Olivia Ruello, to share her story and the tips that took an idea to a global brand.
Growing up in her mum’s salon, Priscilla was always intrigued by skincare, and its direct impact on how a woman felt about herself. Skin was never far from Priscilla’s thoughts as, straight out of uni, she took her first role in the corporate world. “Everyone around me had beautiful glowing skin, and I felt out of place.”
The rigorous multi-step routine prescribed by salons felt overcomplicated, expensive and didn’t work for her skin or bank balance. Guided by a strong sense of opportunity, Priscilla spent eight months reflecting on how she could solve this problem for women like herself. The brief? An affordable all-rounder that would treat acne, congestion and sensitivities, produced by a brand that supported charitable initiatives. “I didn’t want to be another beauty product on the shelf. I was so overwhelmed by the huge volume of products out there, I wanted to simplify the communication around skincare. So, my partner and I took the hefty risk and invested three years’ worth of savings into my idea. I believe an idea is a gift, and if you plan effectively and establish the brand and identity first, you can make something amazing happen.”
Two and a half years later, you can’t scroll through Instagram without seeing one of Bangn Body’s signature yellow tubes gracing the bathroom vanities and nightstands of influencers and customers alike. The social platform was integral to the growth of Bangn Body, with Priscilla growing her audience before launching the product. “Once I decided on the name, I registered for the social handles and started building the audience. I’m a very visual person, so Instagram was my platform of choice. I posted educational and inspirational content and built a platform for inclusivity, positivity and purposefulness before the product was unveiled. We grew to 50,000 before anyone knew what the product was.”
While building her audience, Priscilla spent time finding expert product developers to align with, who also believed in the same vision. She wanted to challenge the status quo of the industry, and create an all-purpose, all-natural, Australian-made product. Her number one tip? Don’t rush the process. “It gets so exciting and overwhelming, you’re buying ingredients and trialling things, but it’s important to take it slow and identify exactly what you want. I own the IP rights to every single formula that we create, and we do it completely from scratch. We go through so many stability and formulation tests, and every product goes through a pressure cooker of testing.”
It took 12 months to develop the now-famous Yellow Tube of Goodness™️, and it was time to fire up Priscilla’s influencer strategy. “We gave them the intel of what the product was to be, and they were the first to trial it (outside of focus groups). This gave them the opportunity to share their feedback and we could bring them along for the journey. I recommend working with micro influencers, especially in the early days of a business. They are more inclined to build a long-term relationship with you, and you can grow together.”
View this post on Instagram
“I wanted to create a loyal and authentic follower from the get-go (instead of relying on digital marketing). I worked with influencers and PR to get word of mouth – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know! We gifted to influencers with a two-week grace period to fall in love with the product and share results. If they didn’t love the product that was fine, but the ones that did still work with us because it comes from an authentic place. There is so much noise on Instagram. You need to stand out and only work with people who love what you do.”
For the first six months Priscilla and her family packed every Bangn Body order. When they couldn’t keep up with the demand, they moved to a facilitation centre in Melbourne, before bringing it in-house eight months later. “Now we can track more effectively, get the product out quickly, and be more flexible with the orders if say an address needs to change.” And I know this works from first-hand experience – 10 minutes into Priscilla’s chat with Liv I got caught up in the Bangn Body hype, jumped on the site and ordered. It was at my door two days later.
And did I mention that they cover the cost of express shipping worldwide? “From the very beginning I wanted to offer it. I was not going to budge on that. As a consumer, I know if I have to pay $15 shipping on top of the product, I’ll pull out.”
Priscilla’s passion comes off as strongly as Bangn Body’s signature yellow packaging. “I knew from the beginning that I wanted to build a strong brand identity and something very different to the industry. I wanted the packaging to be very happy and positive. I did everything I could myself at the start of Bangn Body, but I outsourced graphic design to establish a professional brand from the beginning.”
View this post on Instagram
It was only a matter of time before retailers came knocking, but Priscilla held off initial opportunities, prioritising scaling an authentic and loyal community. “In doing that, we were able to get noticed by the dream retailers that then reached out to us.”
“Things do take time and don’t happen overnight. You’ve got to pitch your brand with a purposeful heart and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t go for it. What harnesses my confidence is my passion. I want to talk about this until the cows come home. Passion goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your product stock. Believe in your strong idea.”
It’s hard to believe that Bangn Body will only be two years old in March 2021. So, what’s next for Priscilla Hajiantoni? “Investing in my team. They believe in the greater good we are trying to achieve and are strong believers in our vision and ethos. They want our customers to achieve exceptional results.”
Exceptional results they’re achieving, with women of all ages proudly sharing before and after photos across the internet. And you can’t ask for more than that.
NSW Small Business Month is a festival held in October that brings together all levels of government and industry leaders to support the small business community. Subscribe to stay in the loop about upcoming news on the NSW Small Business Month festival in 2021.