We have briefly touched on this topic in a few tik tok's and podcasts but we thought why not share more of our story on how The Spoonie Society started.
We met in March of 2020 via instagram, where we were both sharing what it's like to live with Endometriosis and PCOS. We started talking out of nowhere and started to become friends, keep in mind this was just when the pandemic started and Melbourne was plunged into lockdown. It wasn't until May of that year that we finally met in person and we did two laps around the tan in Melbourne.
On this walk we spoke about everything, our lives, health, family, boyfriends and too much else to name. We both also said it felt like going on a blind date when we first met 😂. It was on this walk we both shared our desire for starting a business and working for ourselves however we both had no idea what we wanted that business to be. Dom originally came up with the idea of our infamous Diary & Symptom tracker and within two months we had come up with our business name and registered our abn.
We then started designing our Diary & Symptom Tracker and had a loose aim to launch it and our business in October 2020. Whilst our diary was being manufactured we racked our brains at what other items people with chronic illnesses love and BOOM, HEAT PACKS. Helene comes from a fashion design background and has experience sewing, pattern making and all things fashion. Our first ever heat pack was our rectangle heat pack (excuse the crappy photos, everyone has to start somewhere) which we sold in 3 colours. We sewed our first run of rectangle heat packs on Dom's living room floor and prepared ourselves for launch.
We actually ended up launching October 31st 2020 with our diaries arriving ahead of schedule and through no paid marketing had 30 orders on launch day. We had high hopes for our business but as we were learning the ropes November was a dismal start with us receiving only 35 orders for the whole month. November really tested us as we were questioning if we made the right decision to start a business, it can be very disheartening putting so much blood, sweet and tears into something that doesn't seem to be paying off.
Then in December of that year it all changed, we went viral on tik tok for the first time ever and sold out of our product launch within a day. In December 2020 we decided to take our manufacturing out of house and had our heat packs manufactured locally in Melbourne. We did this as we couldn't keep up with demand whilst both managing corporate jobs on top of the business. It was then in January we decided to take the leap and rent our first space. We rented a 3m x 2m box and boy was it small but it allowed us to have a dedicated storage space as well as help taking some of the burden off having our business in Dom's spare bedroom.
In June 2021 we brought our manufacturing back in house and hired our team! Since then we have released so many more funky heat packs and become a staple to over 100,000 people's pain management inventories.
Fast forward to today we are onto our fifth warehouse which is around 1000sqm - a HUGE leap from our original space. We are now an amazing team of 11. Never in our wildest dreams did we think in less than 18 months we would have quit our full time jobs to run OUR business full time!
Being chronically ill SUCKS but knowing we help other fellow spoonie's truly makes pushing through the pain all worth it.
How did we do it? HA! We absolutely winged it my friends! So don't make the same mistakes we did - Here are our 5 top tips for starting your own business!
1. Be your biggest fan!
You have to be passionate about your product to be able to sell it! You have to believe in your product or service, be your own biggest fan.
2. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Do the things you can, and get others to do the things you can't! Learn? Sure, but having support was the best thing for us!
3. Understand your target market
Come up with personas. A persona in marketing is a fictional representation of a company's ideal customer. It is a way for marketers to create a detailed profile of their target audience, including demographic information, interests, behaviours, and pain points. This will sell your product for you!
4. Analyze your competition
What can you offer that they cant? This is your unique selling point! Use it to your advantage. Keep an eye on their new products, how they market, who to? always be one step ahead!
5. Engage with a book keeper and accountant
Do it right from the start! There is nothing worse than messy books at tax time, quarterly BAS statements and timelines creeping up on you! Keeping everything in order, invoices, payments, receipts etc can be a huge pain in the ass. Best to leave it to the professionals!
Now go do your thing! Follow your dreams, and kick start that business!