The social media phenomenon of Frank Body was a game changer in the marketing industry. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were a wave of body scrub posts, likes and followers and it all began with five young entrepreneurs and one simple caffeine-fueled idea.
Jess Hatzis, Bree Johnson, Erika Geraerts, Alex Boffa and Steve Rowley created Frank Body after customers began asking Steve for coffee grinds to take home from his café in Melbourne. With Alex looking to move into product development and Jess, Bree and Erika searching for a new project that would allow them to push the boundaries of voice development and social media strategy, the team came together to create the original coffee scrub.
Each member of the new collaboration had already started their own businesses at a young age. “Alex started his record label at age 21, Steve opened his first café at 22, and myself, Bree and Erika were 24, 23 and 21 respectively when we started communications agency, Willow & Blake,” Jess said. “We are all ambitious, driven people, but working for ourselves was more of a natural progression rather than a goal we had to hit.”
As the idea formed, the group received some negative feedback on the brand and its voice. “Of course not every single person loved our brand or its voice, but the majority did and we focused on fine-tuning our brand for them,” Jess explained. “We take constructive feedback on board but we hope it doesn’t deviate us from our plans too much [but] rather makes us more considerate and aware business owners.”
The fruition of the social media kingdom that is @frankbody didn’t appear with 659,000 followers overnight; the team had to first work hard at establishing a solid user-generated content strategy with a strong tone of voice. “It took over two years to get our social media pages to the point they are at now,” Jess said. “It was a combination of finding an interesting angle for content and working with lots of influencers to increase brand awareness and educate people on our product.”
For Frank Body, creating a brand of coffee scrub and educating people on the benefits of purchasing their product were a big part of creating a solid customer base. “There was a huge educational process about what a ‘coffee scrub’ was,” Jess explained. “We were dealing with a product that looked like dirt in a brown paper bag; we wanted to cut through the jargon and fluff that dominates the beauty industry and be frank with people.” Thus the name Frank Body was born.
The company's Instagram page is filled with post after post of amazing customer transformations that Jess credits to their antioxidant-packed products. “It stimulates blood flow, targeting skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, stretch marks, cellulite and acne.”
The challenge of entering into a multi-million dollar beauty industry and taking on the big-name companies with minimal experience, was never a worry for the small team. “In all honesty we never saw ourselves as competing against them,” Jess said. “Frank Body began as a small side project between friends and its growth has even surprised us.”
The 'small side project' is now a well-established brand, with the young entrepreneurs selling one scrub every 40 seconds. “We’ve got a bit more weight to throw around but our focus is still on creating great products and interesting content, rather than worrying what other brands are up to,” Jess said.
Being able to capitalise on the rapidly-expanding brand and remain relevant in an ever-evolving beauty industry was the next step for the Frank Body team. “About six months in we decided to diversify our product range,” Jess explained. “We didn’t want our brand to be a one-hit wonder and we saw a gap in the market to create a range of caffeinated skin care.” After establishing a large customer base and creating customer surveys the team began working with manufacturers to develop the face range.
Despite moving into their own office and celebrating 10,000 followers with a bottle of champagne, Jess still describes Frank Body's 'most rewarding moment' as seeing the change in their customers. “Having people send us emails about fixing skin conditions that had been bothering them for ages was amazing.”
When basing your company around the benefits of coffee surely the team must go through their fair share of caffeine? “It goes like this, me: espresso, Erika: filter, Bree: ¾ latte, Alex: long black and Steve: piccolo and repeat!”
With the rapid expansion of their business and an ever-growing customer following, one thing is for sure: the team of young entrepreneurs at Frank Body will need those coffee orders on tap.