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"Work hard, be nice and eat everything"

Jess Hatzis shares the secret of her success, as one of the co-founders of the Frank Body skin care range

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13 September 2016

It's no secret that Melbourne - and in fact, Australia - is obsessed with coffee. We drink it, smell it, breathe it, count on it to get through the day. But now, a new company is suggesting we should apply it to our skin.

Founded in 2013 by a group of friends, most of them working in communications, Frank Body started marketing coffee-based body scrub and other skin care products. As it happens, coffee is not only a great natural exfoliator, but also a product full of antioxidants, beneficial for the skin. The products' qualities, supported by a fresh, cheeky approach to marketing (that refers to its clientele as 'babes'), easily turned Frank Body into a hit. The company is reported to have turned over $20 million in 2015. Jess Hatzis, one of its founders, guides us through its success story.

The founders of Frank Body (L-R): Bree Johnson, Steve Rowley, Jess Hatzis, and Alex Boffa.

How did 'Frank Body' come to be?
A group of friends had been looking to move into a e-commerce business, utilising social media to market it. We saw a huge opportunity to use Instagram to market to 18-24 year old females, but we needed a great product that they actually wanted to engage with. One of my co-founders, Steve, owns a few cafes in Melbourne and had women come into the shop and ask for leftover coffee grinds. They got chatting about why, and it turned out they liked to use it as a body scrub. Steve told us, and we thought there might actually be something to commercialising the idea, with the internet only displaying a handful of DIY recipes. The whole project progressed from there, launching with a single stock keeping unit, the Original Coffee Scrub, in June 2013.

Why coffee?
Coffee is really beneficial when applied to the skin, but we try not to take skincare so seriously, focusing more on great natural ingredients and simple formulations that do what they say they will.

What was your personal motive to get involved?
My background is in creative direction, copywriting and social media – I was looking for a brand challenge. I (alongside my co-founders Bree Johnson, Erika Geraerts, Steve Rowley and Alex Boffa) wanted to shake up the beauty industry, moving away from the hyperbole and jargon that it's full of, to a conversational tone that actually talked to consumers, not at them. I think it resonated well and the word of mouth that sprung from our tone of voice was a huge catalyst for the brand's success.

How did you put your experience to use?
My experience in creative direction was really beneficial, but it was also my lack of experience in beauty that allowed me and my team to come at it with a fresh perspective. Some times your weakness turns out to be your strength.

How would you describe your success so far?
Unexpected and exciting.

What is the measure of success?
The size of the smile on your face and that of the team you work with.

What are the next plans for Frank Body?
We're making a move into bricks and mortar retail with an incredible Australian brand. We're very, very excited.

What are your personal aspirations?
Personally, I want to try a lot of different things. I always have. But for now, my focus is on developing the brand, the team, and myself as a manager. No one ever prepares you for rapid growth, it can be tricky to keep up and ensure you're focusing on all of the right things. And of course, I want to to keep pushing myself creatively to keep our customers excited. Also, take a break without working. That'd be nice.

You're also running a creative agency, Willow & Blake; how hard is it to be balancing two professional careers?
It can be extremely tricky at times, but it's also incredibly rewarding. I get the best of both worlds running a creative agency and working in house at a brand.

How has your Greek background affected you, in your professional and personal development?
My family is probably the single most important factor in who I am today. They supported my creative endeavours, knew when to give me some tough love, and made me feel I could be whatever I set out to be. In summary, my lessons were work hard, be nice and eat everything.

* For more on the company and the products, visit frankbody.com

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