Millennial brothers’ hair and beauty store surges through COVID-19

“COVID-19 has really shifted the way consumers shop and view online shopping. Now they’ve got a taste for it, our goal was to really impress new customers and cement them as online shoppers,” he said.

“We’ve hit $3 million [in monthly sales] a year or two ahead of schedule. So it’s accelerated our growth in the space.”

Prior to starting Oz Hair & Beauty, Mr Nappa worked casually as a labourer and restaurant waiter to support himself while in university, but in 2012 when his labourer boss went on holidays, he realised he could not make enough income to support himself from just his restaurant job.

This sparked his decision to leverage his parents’ connections running hair salons and start an eBay store selling hair and beauty products.

For a few years Mr Nappa ran this business out of his father’s warehouse, taking over the entire space by its third year, but when Guy joined the company in 2017, the pair invested in proper warehousing system and online store.

To date the pair haven’t taken any external capital and believe they can hit $50 million in gross transactions before needing to.

“Getting to $100 million would be a different ballgame,” Mr Nappa said.

“My gut says we probably will need extra finance. Although maybe we could do it with hiring some serious people. There’s many ways to go, but funding is a good tool.”

Currently the business employs about 50 people in its ecommerce business (which also includes mens store Above the Collar), plus a handful of others in its soon-to-open salon and store in Sydney’s Queen Victoria building, where it will also offer skincare services.

Oz Hair & Beauty’s growth surge comes as the whole ecommerce industry has experienced a major uplift.

Research from IBM’s US Retail Index suggests the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to only by about five years.

Locally retailers like Kogan, Redbubble and Temple and Webster have boomed, with their share prices following suit.

It’s also triggered a new wave of ecommerce companies to go public, with both Adore Beauty and MyDeal having listings in the works.

“We run our own race and feel like we do things a little bit differently,” Mr Nappa said.

“We’re a family business. We’re not private equity and we’re not a public company. The way we run the business and the culture we have is very reflective of family values. But we move quick and make decisions fast.

“We welcome mistakes and we’re less bureaucratic.”

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