HomeFEATURESNegative to positive: The retailers who dominated the pandemic

Negative to positive: The retailers who dominated the pandemic

Although disruptive to the retail industry, for some, the pandemic brought great opportunity. With health products highly sought after and a rise in e-commerce, several entrepreneurs managed to turn their Lockdown ideas into thriving businesses.

The flatmates who made $250k

Reever Botha and Vlad Kosovac launched their gut health business PuraU just as Australia headed into its March Lockdown. In the first three weeks of selling their cleanse kits, the duo generated $25,000 in sales, which skyrocketed to $250,000 in the subsequent months.

For the young businessmen, Covid has been nothing short of amazing in terms of building their brand.

“Coronavirus has been a bit of a shining light in the background because a lot of the e-commerce businesses have boomed during Covid because more people are online,” they say.

As Covid caused many of us to focus on our health, the pair took this as the perfect opportunity to delve into the gut health category. The result? A 20-day cleanse designed to relieve indigestion, bloating, gas and promote skin tone and a healthy immune system.

Botha and Kosovac worked on the company in Botha’s parents’ house, shipping orders themselves and trying to stay on top of the heavy demand.

“We will be recognised as first movers into the gut health space as 99 percent of products in the market do not offer a holistic gut health approach nor are they TGA approved or Australian Made, designed by gut health scientists or have branding that even compares.”

Doubled revenue

Renowned Australian lingerie label Honey Birdette not only survived the year 2020, but managed to double its revenue, with plans to open 20 new international stores.

While the brand was among thousands of others forced to close its doors, a unique ‘private appointment’ system and social media blitz kept customers coming back as online sales soared.

Founder Eloise Monaghan says these initiatives were the key to her company’s success through multiple Lockdowns.

“Private appointments were a big revelation for us during Covid. The fact that we shut the doors on our store in Sydney city and doubled our revenue shows you how much people are craving special attention and that one-on-one experience,” she says.

Honey Birdette appointments involved closing stores to accommodate private shopping experiences for singles and small groups. Customers were then given champagne on arrival and were left to explore everything the label has to offer.

Looking ahead, Monaghan says despite the long list of closures ‘retail is not dead’, and Covid really proved that.

“I think there’s been this prediction about retail dying and online taking over the world, but people still want to talk to people and have experiences, and there’s only so much you can get from a screen.”

E-commerce superstars

As if winning The Block wasn’t enough, twin sisters Alisa and Lysandra Fraser managed to make over $70,000 in sales in under a month with the launch of their beauty brand AL.ive. Alike to others, being in the midst of a global pandemic didn’t deter them from success.

“It has worked well for us because e-commerce in general has picked up and we are finding a lot of demand from boutique online stores.”

The AL.ive beauty range includes naturally-derived hand and body wash and hand and body lotion, made from natural Australian ingredients. A key part of the pair’s business model is that for every purchase made, one tree will be planted in Australia by charity partner One Tree Planted. 

Following a tremendous start, the brand is now stocked online in various outlets, as well as in boutiques and well-being stores.

“We considered partnering with other brands to have a role in designing a product, but then we realised we could dream bigger… we could build our own brand.”  

Within one month of launching, many of the products had already sold out online several times, with new stock coming through in various stages.

“While it’s early days, we are firm believers that successful business owners are the ones who know every aspect of their business from the ground up,” Lysandra says.

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