Heirloom Body Care Helps Crafters at all Levels
Heirloom Body Care deal with hobbyists, micro and small businesses mainly to supply the ingredients to make soaps, candles, makeup, toiletries and bath products. This will include waxes and wicks for candles, carrier oils for soaps and bath products, base powders for things like bath bombs, base products for those not ready to make from scratch yet and fragrances and essential oils for absolutely everything.
We have scalable recipes on our website for those who would like to use them to get started up to those who wish to use them in a business such as these ones. We also offer details around the legalities and requirements for those wishing to make products to enter the selling arena to set them on the right path to being successful.
If people have questions around technical issues or need help with their creations we have assistance for them on the phone or by email should they wish to ask for it.
How We Began
Heirloom Body Care began back in 2003 when sisters Julie and Kerry bought out a small supply business that was moving to Queensland. Kerry had been making her own soaps, candles and body care products for some time, and Julie had been running administration for a trucking business for some years. With all the technical angles covered the business was started from Kerry’s living room as she raised her young family while Julie was packing down product at the end of her day of labour with her employer. We were not big enough to support employees yet. Every penny was going back into the business at this stage to grow our stock volumes and product range to sell on the website.
As we grew the company moved to a purpose built shed on Kerry’s property and more space meant we could branch into new products. Our expansion was continuing, and we were finally able to get paid for our efforts. Julie left her job to work full time for Heirloom. Everything was going along brilliantly for several years with a couple of people coming on board to help us pack and dispatch our orders.
In 2011 Julie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Initially minor visual problems, and some balance issues and finger sensitivity led gradually to pain, sleep issues and not being able to think clearly. Errors were becoming more frequent and obvious and eventually she had to step back from the bookkeeping side of her duties. She took on more of the packing down of product and started working from home to reduce travel. This new role saw her able to continue working, but on her own terms.
December 2018 saw Julie having to hang up her vials and bottles to take care of herself first. Retirement was not easy for such a hard worker but needed to happen.
2019 saw us move to commercial premises at Unit 9, 28 Coombes Drive Penrith and more people joined us ensuring orders were dispatched promptly and in an orderly fashion. Two years later we also purchased Unit 10 as we had filled unit 9 to overflowing.
We continue to grow and expand in our attempts to help people with their crafting dreams, whatever they may be. Julie drops in from time to time to deliver second hand boxes or pick up some ingredients to play with. A change in medication has made marked improvement to her quality of life.
Challenges that face the business and how we can make that our win
Competition is always a big challenge. How do we get people in the market to choose us over our competitors? The answer to this one is fairly simple. Quality product, reasonable prices and exceptional customer service.
Our customer service is, to my mind, the best we can offer. We have been developing our customer care for many years and do our utmost to provide top quality product quickly and efficiently with minimal fulfillment errors.
We listen to what our customers have to say to ensure product quality is of the standard they expect and try to include the products they are looking for if we do not have them on hand. We are happy to include special orders with our regular purchasing, if possible, to help them out.
We put a survey out annually to gauge their needs and wants to keep up with the products they wish us to have available for them. We also encourage them to let us know how we can better meet their expectations. Our 5 star Google review rating also helps us know we are on par for meeting their needs and keeping them satisfied.
The next major challenge at this time is the economic downturn caused initially by the supply issues caused by Covid 19, but more recently by the interest rate hikes that have come about by inflation from price rises this initiated. Our customers have come to realise this is an issue in all areas and suppliers and not exclusive to us.
To combat this we have introduced a rewards program to encourage loyalty to our brand, introduced an affiliate scheme to reward introductions to our company and are trying to offer monthly specials and price reductions where we can. We offer recipes and ideas where we can to try to keep our clients offering new products to their customers so they also look fresh and appealing to help them stay in business.
With two of our major fragrance manufacturers moving overseas and our USA supplier unable to ship internationally anymore we were left with a huge gap in our fragrance offerings. This was a huge challenge as many of our fragrances are custom phthalate free, soap compatible and awesome longevity in their application. We have been testing fragrances from local suppliers still in the market like crazy to ensure they meet the standards expected, and re-formatted the fragrance presentation to visually show their suitability.
With the market currently depressed we have the time to review our products, evaluate what is no longer serving our customers and establish what is needed in the new market place. Our space has been revamped to help us be more efficient than ever. We are using this opportunity to work on the website to improve its appearance and serviceability to make finding what people want quicker and easier with clearer pictures to ensure it is suited to purpose.
Advice to others about business
We encounter many people who wish to use our products to start a business. The ones who do not last long are people who wanted to make quick money from putting some ingredients together to create their new line. The people who do not plan how they will be successful in their endeavour usually are not. Businesses generally are not an overnight success and should be established with a long term plan in mind.
Businesses that last through the ages are created by people with passion for their product and their customers. To be successful ensure your product quality is excellent and that the people you deal with are cared for. This is not just customers, but your couriers, post office attendants, suppliers etc. People you deal with don’t have to help you, but if you are a nice person often times, they want to.
Time in product development is crucial, as is establishing the market you wish to address. Find your niche in that market and target your product accordingly. Your marketing strategies should also address that same niche so establish where those people can be most reached. Look to your packaging to follow the same theme as your market. An all-natural product does not present correctly in a high gloss bleached box covered with obviously synthetic colours. Match the outside of your product with the expectation of the inside. Develop your entire market from the inside out to ensure you have every aspect covered.
To maintain your success, you need to continue learning and expanding your knowledge about your products, ingredients, and business in general. When you are passionate about what you do this is not a chore but a pleasure and can only serve to improve the business you are running. Find someone who has done what you are looking to do and see how they did it. Many brilliant tips can be uncovered by studying successful people and their methods. They definitely won’t all be for you, but you can evaluate more clearly what will and will not work in your situation.
My last suggestion may seem a little odd as a business suggestion, but it is to follow your instincts. For whatever reason when you bury yourself deep in your business (or life really) you begin to develop a feeling for what is going on around you. Sometimes a deal looks good on paper but something you can’t explain is telling you “no” (or yes). Listen to it. More times than I care to count an inexplicable belief around a situation has presented itself and ignoring it has not ended well. Go with the sensation that has no bias or thoughts around the issue. You may have developed emotions one way or the other because you want it to work out that way. Instincts have no such leanings. Don’t brush them off but evaluate what your internal self has to say. Its accuracy will surprise you more often than you would think.