The owner of skincare business Clean & Pure reveals why you should always check before using compressed air sprays, and how exporting to China is not necessarily right for every business.
- Business name: Clean & Pure
- Industry: Skin care
- Number of employees: 8
- Operating since: 2011
- Location: Mandurah, Perth, Western Australia
What was your first paid job?
Working in the toy section at Big W Kuraby in Queensland.
What made you get into your current business?
While we were working hard trying to build our engineering consultancy, our home hobby took over. One or two orders here and there on our eBay shop grew to 5,000 unit orders!
How did you get your very first customer/client?
I went out and knocked on doors. Our first stockist was our local Terry White Chemist. By the time we had 45 outlets, a local distributor picked us up and on it went.
What has been your biggest triumph in business?
I have a habit of jumping in before I know what to do. Having no idea about skin care and retail, getting distribution and loyal customers is a triumph.
Conversely, what has been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
We wasted tonnes of money and time trying to enter the Chinese market. However, it gave us contacts to start exporting into other countries.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“The quickest way to make a million dollars is to work very hard at something and never give up. The quickest way to lose a million dollars is to work very hard at something and give up.”
If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?
Regulation: everything we do is slowed and made more expensive by an overtly high amount of regulation.
Who do you look up to in business and why?
Roxanne Quimby. She co-started the Burts Bees and is largely responsible for growing it to a worldwide multibillion-dollar company. It’s a great story on how humble beginnings can become a world-beater.
What do you do to get away from work?
I scuba-dive. Now that we live in WA, there are heaps of beach dives nearby and it’s great to bring the kids along to have fun snorkelling along with me. I love being in the ocean.
What is the best thing you have ever spent money on in your business (and why)?
Staff: I can multiply my effectiveness by having people help me along the way.
Name a little-known fact about yourself.
I built all our original production system myself, some of which we still use now.
What is the funniest experience or encounter you have had in business?
A new employee used compressed air to clean out the melt lines after a production run. Unfortunately, it was tinted rose and the lines were still full, covering the entire lab in red lip balm wax! It wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back on it, I’ve had a few laughs.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.