Would it be too dramatic to claim that Frank Body’s Original Coffee Scrub has now reached icon status? (On Instagram at least.) Here, Frank Body co-founders Bree Johnson and Jess Hatzis talk about running their own business, hiring for the skills they don’t have and the best piece of advice they’ve ever received.
Gritty Pretty: Where did the idea for Frank Body come from?
Bree Johnson: A few different places. We were really interested in the natural skin care space and this idea of bringing the fun and energy of colour cosmetics to natural products. We also wanted to cut through the BS associated with beauty and be completely honest, upfront and frank. That’s where the name comes from – this concept of ‘let’s be frank’.
Bree Johnson, Co-founder of Frank Body
How would you describe your job?
BJ: Ever-evolving. I wear many different hats. One minute I’m brainstorming our next creative campaign, the next I’m poring over our P&L. I’ve learnt to use different parts of my brain and rely on my team and other co-founders for the areas I’m not as strong in.
Jess Hatzis: Fire-fighter – I’m constantly putting out fires and problem solving.
Jess Hatzis, Co-founder of Frank Body
What’s the best thing about running Frank Body?
BJ: The best thing is seeing or hearing about our customers using and loving the product. I still get a thrill when someone tells me they have Frank in their bathroom. We just ran a Frank feedback challenge and seeing the emails and before and after images that came in off the back of that was awesome. It’s a great feeling to know the products you created actually work.
JH: For me, the best thing is our team: watching them grow and develop as people and professionals. And our customers: watching them try new things, love their skin and share information with each other.
What has been the biggest learning curve? (And if you could go back, would you do anything differently?)
BJ: Learning to have difficult conversations earlier. Giving negative feedback and being clear with my expectations is something I’ve always struggled with.
JH: I don’t regret anything in my life, I think everything happens for a reason. But what I have learned is that you need to say no: to other people, to unrealistic deadlines, to tasks that aren’t yours to manage. Protecting your time is the best thing you can do personally and professionally.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
BJ: Hire for the skills you don’t have. Don’t hire copycats of yourself. Look outside your network and find the best talent you can afford.
JH: It’s not advice, but a question: If it’s really what you want, why haven’t you started it yet?
Your range has expanded a lot in the past few years. What is the product development process like? Where do the ideas come from?
JH: We have really clearly defined who and what Frank Body is when it comes to new product development. We look at problems we’re trying to solve for ourselves and our customers; we look at negative reviews and how to solve them. For every product that makes it, there were 10 that didn’t.
BJ: New products need to be clean, they need to work and they need to fulfil a purpose. We don’t believe in creating products just for the sake of it. There’s enough ‘stuff’ in the world already. We only release products we are proud of.
What is your all-time favourite beauty product?
BJ: The OG scrub. And I couldn’t live without our lanolin-based lip balm.
JH: Besides our Anti-Makeup Cleansing Oil and Lip Balm, both of which literally changed my life, it’s Bare Minerals Complexion Gel. I spend my time and money looking after my skin so I don’t have to wear much makeup. I’ll wear a red lip when I need to look fancy in a flash.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
BJ: You can only do what you can do.
JH: You’re worth whatever price you put on yourself.
What’s next for Frank Body?
BJ: Our goal is to be the biggest Australian skincare and body brand in the world. So we’ll keep working away at that.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine.