This week we talk to Bec Park who has introduced FabLittleBag into Australia – a revolutionary sanitary item that provides women the length and breadth of the country relief from potentially awkward social situations.
ISB: So, first of all, what exactly is FabLittleBag?
BP: It is a bio-degradable bag to dispose of sanitary items that gives women the opportunity of a dignified way to dispose of them when they’re out and about, such when they’re at a friends’s house or a restaurant.
ISB: The product was created and distributed overseas, so when and how did you become involved with it?
BP: In the winter of 2016 I was researching another yet-to-be released healthcare product when I happened across FabLittleBag. It had just been launched and was on the market in the UK, I thought, “what a great product, we could do with that here,” but deduced nobody was selling it in Australia. So, I contacted its founder, Martha Silcott, and offered myself as her distributor in Aus. Martha saw the opportunity– she already had a few Australian sales via her UK website – and we agreed a contract for ANZ distribution.
ISB: It is quite an undertaking to work with somebody you don’t have a previous relationship with on the other side of the world, how did you work that out between you?
BP: I probably pushed things a bit from the outset, assuming I could just use all of Martha’s branding to market FabLittleBag over here. That often isn’t allowed in such arrangements but Martha been really collaborative, giving me permission to use all her imagery and logos to market the product in Australia.
ISB: You have a great deal of marketing experience, having spent 12 years as marketing manager for a company that makes high end kitchen and bathrooms and the five years prior to that at Tag Heuer – how did that help you promote a product in what many would consider to be a “taboo” area?
BP: I wanted to start a conversation in the mainstream about the impact that putting tampons down the loo can have on the environment, as I was surprised at how many women – particularly in cities – didn’t realise the impact this has on plumbing and drainage. I kicked this conversation off in the media via a PR campaign, and supported this with a social-media marketing campaign – Instagram has been the biggest success in this regard. I used my savings and some equity from the house to pay for the distribution of the product and the marketing.
ISB: What was the biggest challenge you have faced to date with this venture?
The biggest challenge from the outset, and one that is ongoing, is getting the product into traditional retailers. It has been tough persuading buyers at retailers to take the risk to launch a “new” product, they talk about “one in, one out” even though this is a complimentary product and I don’t see why stocking it should result in other products being taken off the shelf. However, online sales of FabLittleBag are really strong and online retailers have been very supportive, far more so than their counterparts in bricks and mortar stores.
ISB: And finally, what is the best piece of advice you have received in your career that you could pass on to others with an idea they’d like to turn into a business?
20 years ago I was working in advertising and I told my boss, Peter Galucci, that I thought a budget I had been given for a campaign was too small. Peter told me to treat the budget as if it was my own money – I feel that this has helped me really focus on making the most of every cent of every campaign I have worked on since, including this one where it really is now my own money, and carefully consider and plan those campaigns rather than getting carried away.