Kudo's from EndoTimes!
MIRANDA Bond believes her organic make-up company, which has been operating for just over a year, will soon be the biggest of its kind in the world.
These are not modest aims but she's confident she's on track. After all, she says the company is doubling its sales every three months and is adding one or two people a month to the staff. The growth has been phenomenal, something most companies can only dream of. But contrary to popular wisdom, Ms Bond and her partner Jenni Williams are now pulling the reins in on their growth, slowing things down so they're only taking baby steps. It's a strategy they believe will eventually make their company formidable. Inika, headquartered in Thirroul south of Sydney, makes cosmetics, but it stands out from mainstream cosmetic companies by making them out of Australian minerals, 100 per cent certified vegan and 100 per cent organic. The products were born out of the website Ms Bond established with Ms Williams, called www.thrivinghealthywomen.com.au. The women had come together because of health issues both had experienced. Ms Bond had been diagnosed with endometriosis and was told she couldn't have any children. When she was also told hormone levels can affect fertility and that chemicals in some cosmetics can affect a body's hormone balance, she got some progesterone cream, threw out all her cosmetics and changed her diet. Three months later she was pregnant. Ms William's son is allergic to dairy, nuts, fish, eggs and is chronically sensitive to chemicals, so much so that if she touched his skin while she was wearing certain cosmetics he would have a drastic reaction. As both women embarked on their toxic-free lifestyle, they set up the website as a database of articles that related to women's health. Soon they were fielding emails from women around the world looking for organic make-up, many because they had sensitive skins or allergies. After doing some research into organic make-up suppliers, they decided to have a go at making it themselves. "Within two weeks we'd found the best natural formulators in Australia,'' Ms Ward said. Inika, which means "small earth'' in Hindi, was formed in March 2006 and by the middle of the year they had products in shops. As factories in Western Australia and South Australia churned out their foundations, lipsticks, mascaras and eye-shadows, the pace at which the company moved was extraordinary. Their big break, Ms Ward said, was exhibiting at the 2006 Organic Expo in Sydney. "We signed up so many accounts with shops and salons. And within three to four months we were in 21 David Jones stores around the country. "We had no strategy really. Everything just fell into place. The strategy came later.'' Part of that was to make the move overseas, a bold step considering the products weren't very established in Australia. The main reason, Ms Bond said, was that the population in Australia wasn't big enough for their company to be sustainable. And the need for a wider market was because of perceptions, Ms Bond said. "A lot of people think that because a product is 'natural' it's not as good, but our products are up there with the global make-up houses,'' she said. With the help of Austrade, the products are now being sold in New Zealand, Slovenia, Thailand, the UK and Canada, and are considered good enough to take on more established global natural cosmetics companies such as Jane Iredale and Dr Hauschka. It's in the UK that Inika is achieving great success, so much so the company has opened offices in London and a UK website. And this is where their new growth strategy comes in. Europe promises to be a huge market, but at the moment the products are sold only in Slovenia. Likewise Asia, but at the moment they're sold only in Thailand. North America will also be lucrative, but they're sold at the moment only in Canada. "The product is sought after in China and Japan, but Austrade said don't do it, you'll implode,'' Ms Bond said. Likewise with North America. The company is leaving the US push until last. "Now that we've got a team in the UK, it's easier to manage growth,'' she said. "Now we can continue to build in the UK and Europe. "Our strategy is to keep a handle on things, to not lose control.'' And one of the challenges of growth is maintaining the company's independence. "We'd like to keep the autonomy we have now, and keep the intimacy,'' Ms Bond said.
Go to www.inika.com.au