After learning from a previous business that you need to "burn money to make money" in the digital world, the founder of cruelty-free hair care company Georgiemane is now rapidly scaling up the company from an upsized facility as demand for his Australian-made products shows no signs of abating.
Selling 800 products per day on the e-commerce platform, George Papura’s Sydney-based Georgiemane is on track to more than double its revenue in FY22 as its loyal clientele including 150,000 Instagram followers continue to seek out its hair masks, shampoo, scrubs and serums.
Georgiemane first captured hearts when it launched a 10-minute hair mask in early 2020, which was developed after testing more than 20 formulations across three major trials.
"We've been growing month-on-month. We had our biggest quarter last quarter. Black Friday [week] alone we sold 14,000 products from our website,” Papura tells Business News Australia.
Selling out of stock eight times, Papura describes keeping pace with the volume as “a bit of a nightmare”, but the founder has developed a system to predict when new stock must be ordered and how much it will cost.
Outgrowing its 180sqm warehouse in Moorebank, the company recently moved into a 515sqm space in Liverpool.
Georgiemane's growth story has gone hand in hand with exports as 55 per cent of orders are in Australia and the remainder are shipped to overseas markets such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
In December, the brand expanded its online footprint and became stocked on websites Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
“It's been quite a journey experience-wise. There's a lot of things I've learned about myself,” 2021 Sydney Young Entrepreneur finalist Papura explains
“It's all fun and games when you're running on your own - it's a little side hustle at the start, but it gets quite serious when you start having people that depend on you financially
“It's just a mindset adaptation that you need to have. I haven't got any mentors or anything yet. I'm very much self-taught [and] self-coached.”
A former co-founder at Happy Skin Co, Papura learned valuable lessons in advertising when he began selling laser hair removal handsets between 2017 and 2019.
“I was doing all things digital marketing. It was a very small budget,” Papura says.
“It was a new product to the internet - just having a few influencers at the start, [it] really took off. We were able to finance more than $1,000 a month and really start testing and learning things.
“To anyone who wants to start a business in the digital world - you're going to have to burn money to make money. That's just how it is.”
Since then he's developed three key and straightforward questions to ask himself at different points of the entrepreneurial journey: Are you aware of your emotions and where you are in the business? Can you do it? And if so, how are you going to do it?
“I grew up quite poor if I'm honest. My mum raised three boys single-handedly with a $650 wage,” he adds.
“I was very hungry in terms of seeing success.”
“Who knows what happens in the future but I do see us staying at the forefront of direct-to-consumer e-commerce.”
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