Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Sam, and I started Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea – organic tea infused with hydrolyzed collagen peptides to support your skin, hair and nails and overall beauty and wellbeing from within!!! I’m currently selling Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea online at www.fusspottea.com and gaining great reviews with Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, Irish and English customers so far! We’ve even had customers in Denmark, Philippines and Switzerland!
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I was inspired to start Fusspot Collagen Beauty Teas because I am an avid tea drinker, and I was drinking so many cups of tea per day, and had started researching the benefits of drinking tea and was amazed by the incredible health benefits of tea for both your body, your skin and your wellbeing. Tea is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols and catechins and I thought “Why is no-one selling /marketing tea as a beauty product!?” I had also been reading and hearing a lot about hydrolyzed collagen peptides at the time, (I’m getting older and I was curious about collagen), and then it dawned on me – “What if I could make a product that has the boost of both tea and collagen?” Then it was all about how do I actually do this? How can I make it and infuse tea with collagen and make this work because I bet there’s heaps of people out there, just like me, who would also be interested in this product!
Describe the process of launching the business.
After months of product development travelling overseas to meet with potential suppliers and tea manufacturers, I ended up sourcing one of the world’s most premium collagen manufacturers, found a Tea Master here in Australia to develop the blends with, held numerous focus groups to test the flavours, and developed the range with local suppliers through much trial and testing. I had a very clear vision what I wanted the product range and brand to be… short of changing the brand’s name a few times and ensuring that it sat well with various age demographics, and would actually look good on packaging, and that’s when I had the idea of Fusspot Tea – we’re all fussy, pot of tea, fusspot – you see the drift…… So, the vision was clear – it had to reflect the brands’ point of difference – this is not just another ‘tea’ – this is a hybrid beauty product – a “Beauty Tea” – as it’s infused with hydrolyzed collagen peptides and the teas themselves are all specifically formulated tea blends that have been developed with a Tea Master to support your beauty and health from within – they’re all rich in polyphenols, antioxidants and flavonoids, so I wanted this brand to really stand out, and not be just another ‘tea-brand’. I wanted to create marketing for it as a ‘beauty-brand’!! If you’re after a basic tea – go to your local supermarket – because this is a premium beauty/tea/supplement ‘hybrid’ product, and it’s the first in the world! I also wanted to ensure that I had environmentally friendly teabags, so that was also a challenge, as they had to be biodegradable, compostable and aid in minimising micro-plastics, which was important to me, especially being an Australian brand and business, and with our love of the planet! Packaging is just so important today, it’s impactful and tells a story, so I believed the bright pink would shout out – “I’m different – check me out!!”
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I believe branding has a big component to play in earning the interest and trust of potential customers! There’s thousands of brands of EVERYTHING on the market, and you have to find a way to cut-through! I have a very unique and very new product, so my whole marketing is about educating and informing potential customers, as there hasn’t been a collagen tea on the market, i believe i was first to market in Australia/NZ and so it’s about standing out and ensuring that your market understands what it is you’re offering them – what are the benefits, what do THEY gain from buying your product, your brand? I’ve also seen an uplift in our subscription service, offering 15% off auto-ship subscribers who have Fusspot Tea delivered every month and by doing this, they gain the discount. Plus I’ve also seen an uplift in return customers who understand that this is a drink for everyday, so that’s a big push in my marketing to drive that it’s an ongoing commitment, this is not a one-off hit, but an easy, ready-to-drink solution that’s both affordable, has efficacy and is highly beneficial as part of your new beauty or skincare daily routine. I have had life-changing stories from customers who have been drinking my teas and have seen amazing results and sharing these stories has also attracted more customers. Reviews also help, so too does user-generated-content on socials and having a strong marketing plan with eDM’s, social media and paid ads that attracts new audiences who then I have to work at turning into lifetime users!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Covid wasn’t in the plan! Let me tell you that! I had been developing Fusspot Tea for 15 months before I went live, and there was no pandemic in the overall plan – so this has caused me to pivot and change launch plans, media plans, PR plans and also expenditure, and planning for other marketing channels. The future hopefully looks bright in Australia with the restrictions and lockdowns easing and retail opening up ( which will be great for my wholesale accounts in VIC and NSW) as well as customers having their spending power back to buy themselves more non-essentials in their week to week. 8 million people have been in lockdown in VIC for over 250 days, there is clearly impact…. so the future for Fusspot Tea is about direct to consumer, and with potential of a few key select major retail partners and I’ve got a list of who they are and my plans to approach them. In the interim, I’ve got many smaller wholesale accounts in gift stores, beauty salons, hair salons, lifestyle stores and supplement chains who are selling through Fusspot Tea – and I’d like to think the future has more of these businesses joining on board as they start to open up again as they do have a good, loyal customer base who love Fusspot Tea.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Yes! So much! The key thing I’ve learnt is you’ve just got to keep going, no matter how hard, no matter what challenges you face, how tired you are, how busy you are – you’ve just got to get through it – that’s what having a business is – some days are simply amazing, other days are horrendous, you’ll have money one minute, none the next, you’re shifting gears, working late nights, (in fact longer days than ever before!), but it’s all about pivoting and taking on the challenges and just simply not giving up and sticking to your vision!!! You need determination and persistence and perseverance to run a business and push it and so don’t give up – just push through!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
There are so many! Where do I even start? My business is built on Shopify. I rely on Planoly for my social media, and Xero for my financials and Dext for my expenditure and receipts and Google and Facebook for my advertising, and Linktree for my social bio, and Mailchimp for my eDM’s and many plug-ins and apps for my store. the list goes on… Canva is an amazing tool that I couldn’t live without and so too is Dropbox for all of my business assets, creatives, documents and more!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I really haven’t had any personal time since starting Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea, so reading a book or listening to a podcast is now a luxurious treat if I do get the time. What is a major resource is Pinterest and Instagram to see the incoming trends – from a product perspective, buying behaviour of my target audience and their shopping behaviour and what my target audience are ‘into’. You need to stay relevant and be across this from both a creative perspective, language and copy perspective as well as staying competitive and top of mind. I find most of the influence for business decisions stems from consumer platforms around these key pillars, and pivoting your creative, copy and targeting which is imperative to staying new and interesting. I also make many decisions and am highly influenced from customer reviews, emails, feedback and user generated content.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
The key takeaways if you want to start a business are 1) have a strong vision, 2) do your due diligence and test the demand and ensure that you’re playing in the right competitive space. 3) You’ve got to be passionate and believe in what you’re doing! If you’re not passionate, why would anyone else be? And most importantly and of course 4) Don’t give up! Keep going!
Where can we go to learn more?
You can find us at www.fusspottea.com or on instgram @prettylittlefusspot