Oct 14, 2020
In this episode, I interview Anna Ross, the Founder, and CEO of Kester Black, an Australian-made, cruelty-free and vegan lipstick, and nail polish brand. She is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Arné Skincare. Anna started out with a small jewelry business in Melbourne in 2009 when she was just 19 years old. To increase her product range, she added nail polish which soon tripled revenue, so she dropped the jewelry to focus on starting a leading ethical beauty brand. Now with lipstick added to the range, and warehouses in Melbourne, Wanaka, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, they also sell through distributors in Germany and Malaysia.
Four years ago, sales were 10% online and 90% wholesale which has now been flipped to 89% online. The business tripled its revenues in the last three years, and in 2020 is growing 3% to 5% every week. She started with 1 full-time employee, peaked at 9 in 2017, and is now down to 2.5. She won the Telstra Business Woman of the Year and that went to her head so much that she added expensive overheads with an office and more team members before meditation woke her up. Anna testifies that she has had great Facebook ad success and is currently investing $50,000 a month, and shares a key contact to use at a Facebook agency. She describes a recession phenomenon called “The Lipstick Effect” which affects businesses in her industry.
She funded her business solely from profits though she recently walked away from a $500,000 investment, turning it into a short term loan instead. Anna felt she has succeeded when this year cash flow improved and she says that the hardest thing about growing a small business is staff.
She shares that the one thing she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Just do it. If I knew what I know now, I would never have done it” Stay tuned for more on Anna Ross’ amazing small business ownership journey.
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Music from https://filmmusic.io "Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/