Aussie Made – Bondi Sands

Many may think Bondi Sands is a relatively new tanning line, however Blair James and Shaun Wilson, business partners and the founders of the brand would tell you this overnight success story…is seven years in the making!

MANY MAY THINK BONDI SANDS IS A RELATIVELY NEW TANNING LINE, HOWEVER BLAIR JAMES AND SHAUN WILSON, BUSINESS PARTNERS AND THE FOUNDERS OF THE BRAND WOULD TELL YOU THIS OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORY…IS SEVEN YEARS IN THE MAKING!

Bondi Sands is the number 1 self-tanning brand in Australia*; is multi award-winning (Australia, UK, NZ) with their latest product one hour express selling over 100,000 units globally in the first three weeks. Aussie boys Blair and Shaun share their tips to creating a cult, global brand.

ONCE YOU IDENTIFIED A GAP IN THE MARKET, HOW DID YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN?

Firstly we needed to identify what made salon spray tanning solutions different to self-tan products. To do this we produced our spray tan formula and began using it in my salon. Once we were confident that we had the right product, we began working our brand positioning, which is obviously as important as the product itself. We had a global view for Bondi Sands and realised early on that the bronzed Aussie persona was very well known all over the world. We came to the conclusion that the Bondi name was the natural choice for an Australian self-tan brand. 

Next we needed to find the right partners to represent ourselves and the brand to potential retailers. We were lucky enough to come across our current national distributor very early on and their experience in building and managing brands in the health and beauty section gave us confidence they could help us grow the brand throughout Australia. In early 2012 we presented our brand, which only consisted of four products (currently we have 35 products with more on the way). At this point neither my business partner Shaun or myself had any experience in the health and beauty retail space, which meant we had to learn on our feet very quickly. Aligning ourselves with credible distributors around the world has been crucial to the brand’s success as we have relied on their relationships to get our brand in front of the right buyers. 

WHY DO YOU THINK BONDI SANDS HAS SUCH GREAT SUCCESS IN SUCH A COMPETITIVE SPACE?

Our brand positioning and our innovative high-quality products at an affordable price were so different to the competitors that it allowed us to secure strong distribution quickly both across Australia and internationally. After securing this strong network of the best health and beauty retailers in the world, we have been able to build a highly engaged community through our social media channels. We were one of the early adopters of social media influencers to promote a brand and this allowed us to reach an extensive audience globally. Once we had this engaged audience we needed to create both quality social content and new product development to keep our audiences engaged with the brand. We pride ourselves on our speed to market of our innovative products which in turn supplies our audience with fresh content and new products to discover. 

TOP TIPS TO STAY AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITORS? 

  1. Always believe strongly in your own vision. When developing, pay very little attention to competitors or campaigns; instead aim to be the first mover with any new category you enter.
  2. Always question the way things are currently done, the first step to disrupting a market or industry is to ask “why?”.
  3. When creating a new product or campaign make it as crazy as you possibly can, because by the time a product hits the market it will have been diluted so much by regulations, costs etc…it will become average.
  4. Once your product goes to market, then you want to educate yourself on what the others are doing. Know your competitors, products, new developments, your industry and retailers inside and out.

WITH SUCCESS COMES CHALLENGES, CAN YOU SHARE SOME TOUGH TIMES AND HOW YOU OVERCAME THEM?

We are currently experiencing our greatest challenges as our international expansion is accelerating rapidly. In these times it is vital that the people in and around your company share your beliefs and goals for the future.  

WHAT NEXT FOR BLAIR AND SHAUN?

We are focused on further global expansion, in particular the US market and further new product development. From Day 1 we envisaged Bondi Sands being the largest self-tan brand in the world. Currently we are the largest self-tan brand outside of North America. The brand has already diversified into the sun care market, so now the goal is to become the world’s largest sun care brand. 

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