“I’ve always known that I wanted to start my own business but I guess I was getting really restless in my late thirties and coming up to my 40th birthday, I just realised there was never going to be a right time to leave work and start my own thing,” Australian entrepreneur Kim Peirce tells Collective Hub. “With the support of my husband Joseph, for my 40th birthday, as a gift to myself, I decided I’d leave my corporate role and launch Babescrub.”
From washing cars at age 11 to pioneering with an intrapreneurial spirit while working in the corporate world, Kim admits she’s always been “entrepreneurial”, with a drive to create, dig deeper and consider a new way of doing things. Working in mining oil and gas as a management consultant, Kim had a steady job and steady income but the lure of working for herself had always plagued her.
“[It was] a really big deal to just leave [my corporate role] behind but ultimately the goal for Joseph and I was to engineer our own lifestyle and really, in order to do that, you just need to break out and work for yourself. Otherwise you’re always answering to a boss and working in an organisation where you might not be able to fully realise your potential.”
Just two years after launching, Babescrub – which now has three core certified cruelty free and vegan-friendly products in body scrubs, soufflés, as well as hand and body washes – is now stocked on global sites like Sephora USA and Urban Outfitters as well as a slew of independent outlets across Australia, the US, the UK and even Iceland.
Like any start-up though, the early days at Babescrub weren’t as smooth as the product may leave you.
“We really did bootstrap. We launched the brand on the smell of an oil rag and having a young family – we have three children – we didn’t have a large savings pool or a large amount of capital to be able to launch a legitimate business with a marketing arm and a full team so we really just had to hustle and do the grind in the background.
“Some of the challenges we faced [were] not having the right amount of staff and also too, manufacturing has been a challenge… it’s been really hard for us at the start to find a manufacturer that would work with us. We were doing such small numbers.”
Although Babescrub previously explored more traditional routes of funding and looked at applying for a business loan with banks and lenders, they explored avenues that were a little less prohibitive. In addition to crowdfunding with friends and family to raise $15,000 of capital (which the company paid back within 12 months), Kim also utilised PayPal’s Working Capital system. The quick boost in funds was a huge advantage for Kim, so she decided to utilise these funds in a double-pronged way.
“On our first round, we tried for a small amount to get a feel for how the product worked and now… we actually use it as part of our cash flow strategy.”
With the PayPal Working Capital business loan, Kim was able to keep cash flow, well, flowing, along with creating a solid financial footing to branch out on their product offerings.
“It gave us better buying power. We developed a new product that we wanted to launch and so always with a new product, if you can produce larger volume, obviously the unit rate is going to go down,” Kim explains. “[The borrowed] amount went straight into helping us purchase the new product that we’d already developed and manufacture it but also it gave us a better rate at a unit cost.”
Thanks to clever thinking, hard work and some pretty tempting products, Babescrub is now exactly what Kim wanted it to be – the kind of business that would allow her and her husband the freedom to see their creative ideas through and “engineer” their own lifestyle.
“We’re at the point in the business now where it’s really a measurement of opportunity lost if [Joseph] doesn’t come and join us and I’m really excited that he has done that,” Kim says of getting her husband on board at Babescrub. “He starts in the business full-time this month so that really has been the biggest achievement and for me, that defines success.”