Belinda Everingham is the CEO and founder of Bondi Wash.
The product range contains fragrant natural products for the home, body, baby and dog all featuring Australian botanicals. Some of their best sellers are their Hand Wash, Bench Spray, Dry Dog Wash, Baby Wash and their range of Mist Sprays. The range is now sold available in Japan, the US, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand and in Australia via their online store (www.bondiwash.com.au), their new retail store at 76 Gould St Bondi Beach and also in over 100 retailers across the country.
Women Love Tech grilled Belinda about how social media has played a part in her success.
How important has social media been in the rise of Bondi Wash?
Social media was a huge driver behind the early success of our brand on so many levels – media, stockists, customers in Australia and overseas – all finding us via Instagram. Before we launched someone asked me how we were going to market the products and I honestly had no idea! All I focused on initially was creating great products and scents. But what has happened is that through focusing on product quality, rather than investing in expensive media, we have had enormous word–of–mouth genuine promotion via social media channels – Instagram in particular.
I think the world has shifted and people now are influenced much more by other customers than by mainstream media advertising.
Which social media platform is best for you?
Instagram is the most interactive and visual of all the social media we have a presence on. So having a brand with beautiful packaging, imagery and styling means we have plenty of sharable content. Plus, the word of mouth factor is huge. We have found it a very ‘positive’ form of social media – which means people are inclined to post positive comments and share things they love. It also enables us to interact very quickly – and publicly – with customers. So questions they have can be easily answered for example.
How has social media helped with your marketing and promotion?
Vogue Magazine asked for our product pictures to feature in their magazine – even before we launched. They spotted us on the Instagram feed of the design agency we used to create our website – so hadn’t even tried the product but loved the branding and concept enough to place it in the magazine. And many other magazines also found us when Mr Jason Grant – a Bondi-based stylist – posted images of our brand during that same photoshoot.
Many of our stockists also found us on Instagram. And even as far away as Korea and Europe, companies have found us on Instagram.
You’ve just opened a store in Sydney’s Bondi – has social media help you design the store?
Yes – we had just signed the lease and wanted to get the doors open as soon as possible. We knew absolutely nothing about designing, opening and running a store but scrolling through Instagram late one night saw a simple but beautiful chair on the feed of Fete Magazine which led me to the account of Mr & Mrs White who create furniture and do retail fitouts. It became a magical partnership – and we are ever so happy with their design and creation. But the point is it was easy to tell that we were aligned in terms of aesthetic from a glance at their Instagram account.
What advice can you pass onto other small business owners?
Spend a bit of time on whatever form of social media it is – and I do think Instagram is the most powerful right now for business. Be careful not to post until you are clear how it works – or keep your account private until you feel confident about the style, tone and message you want to convey.
One important message is to do it your way – copycats are kind of obvious – so being authentic is far more effective.
I remember hearing Mia Freedman speak about two years ago on social media – and she commented that she couldn’t do Instagram as she didn’t know how to take pretty pictures. But if you see her account now, she has managed to create an account with her voice and tone that really works – it doesn’t have to just be about pretty pictures.
There are also a few etiquette rules you should follow – like don’t repost other people’s pictures without attributing them. And don’t buy followers or likes – that’s usually very obvious. For smaller companies getting started, collaborations are a great way to help establish a following – find companies with similar audiences/customers to collaborate with by running a competition for example. Finally, I would add that it is important to have a presence on multiple platforms, even if you don’t really embrace or ‘get’ them – which is contrary to what many people say. I know of stockists who have found us via Pinterest for example even though we are not very active there. And Ariana Huffington responded to a tweet of ours which had been automatically copied via our Instagram feed.