The one with youthful energy: Genederless kids’ skincare brand, Allkinds
Skincare for kids has never looked so good. Allkinds is shaking up the personal care category with a fun, colourful brand that aims to build confidence in kids.
“Allkinds believes that nothing about a kid’s appearance is a problem or a flaw and empowers them to feel confident in their own skin just the way they are. We believe that the things that make you unique also make you awesome,” Allkinds general manager Paula Gorman told Inside Retail.
Kids’ and teens’ feedback guide Allkinds’ decision-making on everything from fragrances to colours, packaging and even product names, and all formulations are independently dermatologically tested.
Allkinds immersive in-store experience is proving a hit with customers, Gorman said.
“The response to our product range and in-store experience has been exceptional. Beyond that, our brand values have resonated strongly – a fun brand that is made for all kinds of kids, that is unisex, made with good stuff and affordable, seems to be ticking everyone’s boxes. We have heard so many parents wishing Allkinds had been around when they were a kid!”
Over the next 12 months, Allkinds will be opening in new locations, growing its digital presence and expanding its range.
The new kid on the block: Bubble Tea Club
In recent years, bubble tea stores have become a permanent fixture within Australian shopping centres, as the quirky Asian beverage has hit the mainstream among Western cultures. There are plenty of franchise operators around, but Bubble Tea Club co-founders Pamela Yip and Jenny Le have re-worked the recipe with their fun DIY-kit concept, fast home delivery options, a vast array of authentic ingredients direct from Taiwan, and fun community-building initiatives.
It’s been a whirlwind year for the Bubble Tea Club, which whizzed from concept to launch within four days, grew its team from two to 20, made more than $2 million in sales and raised $1.6 million in crowdfunding equity in just 12 months. In fact, Yip reveals that venture capitalists had already begun reaching out to the business within its first few months and she and Le were even offered a term sheet, which they eventually decided to turn down. Not bad for two women who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
At the beginning of 2021, the start-up began experiencing increased demand from overseas and, in September, Bubble Tea Club soft launched in the UK and US. Yip says Western regions are yet to fully experience the wide breadth of flavours available in Taiwan, the home of bubble tea.
“The opportunities are endless,” she said. “And we’re really just at the starting point of introducing bubble tea, but what it could develop into is actually insane.”
The connection to country: Indigenous-led fashion brand, Ngali
The word Ngali translates to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in several Australian Aboriginal languages, which is why it’s the perfect name for Wiradjuri designer Denni Francisco’s fashion label. “Through Ngali, we’re creating the ‘us’ we’d like to see: a harmonious, sustainable and equitable union of people with Country and each other,” the brand’s website states.
Francisco founded Ngali in 2018 with the goal of using fashion to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork and respect for Country to the world. For the last three years, she has been collaborating with Gija artist Lindsay Malay, translating his paintings into textiles for her collections.
“We just connected straightaway, and then I went out on Country with him and his family, and that really cemented it,” Francisco said about meeting Malay. “It’s been a very exciting process because First Nations businesses working together is a great thing.”
Mostly made of silk, Ngali garments are meant to be versatile enough to wear for any occasion and have a timeless style that lasts through the seasons. Despite launching just a few years ago, the brand has been recognised by leaders in Australia’s fashion industry.
In August, Francisco won the award for fashion design at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards, and last year she was the first Indigenous designer to be named a participant in the Pathways Program, a collaboration between the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects and David Jones to nurture, support and mentor First Nations Designers.
The taboo breaker: Postpartum solution, Noonie
This innovative start-up is raising awareness around postpartum health and empowering women recovering from childbirth.
It’s an open secret in hospitals that many women recovering from childbirth use frozen condoms for internal relief. In fact, the Australasian Birth Trauma Association reports that up to 90 per cent of women experience tears to some extent after giving birth.
Despite childbirth being a natural part of life, women’s postpartum experiences are still swept under the rug, but startup Noonie is working to smash those stereotypes. At the height of Covid, Noonie co-founder and inventor Alana Dolan released two innovative products: instant chill maternity pads called ‘Padsicles’ and a no-touch perineal cleansing spray.
“Many women still feel shame around their bodies so they keep quiet about what’s happening and a lot of the corporate decision-makers in healthcare or beauty are men,” Dolan explained. “This isn’t the best recipe for improvement in women’s health.
“We are seeing a lot more women starting their own businesses to help other women. What a wonderful thing. When we launched, there was nothing out there for postpartum health; women were teaching other women online how to DIY everything necessary for recovery. We’re seeing such a shift now on social media. Women feel more comfortable speaking about their experiences. So I am grateful to social media for helping us with our mission in that respect.”
The modern sex guru: Inclusive adult toy brand, Normal
If you asked Normal co-founder Lucy Wark how she describes the adult toy brand’s customer experience, she’d say it’s a blend of Apple’s and Aesop’s “beautiful, intuitive products that make you feel elegant and sexy, with Bunnings-level customer service, and education that’s like Glossier, where you feel informed in a space that can feel very confusing”.
The success of those retail giants may seem out of reach for most start-ups, but Normal is certainly on the right path to reaching those lofty heights, with its bedside-table-worthy products, educational resources, 100-nights return policy, and inclusive language that’s aimed at everyone, no matter where they sit on the gender and sexuality spectrum. It’s a breath of fresh air – and customers are responding.
Within a few months of launching this year, Normal had already hit a million dollars in sales and its first paid masterclass with sex coach and Normal co-founder Georgia Grace is available in 25 countries.
“In this space, you’re not just doing a retail transaction with a customer, you’re making up for all the gaps in the sex-education system and you’re talking to the whole person and their whole experience of sexuality,” Wark observed. “We wanted to build education into everything we do and make a lot of deliberate decisions that help normalise [adult toys] and make it approachable for people.”