Getting to know…Milkman Australia

One for the men in our lives! Milkman is offering IWM 15% off the online store.

Use the coupon code IWM15%

Consistency, quality, hard work & love are the cornerstones of Milkman, and are traits that echo throughout the Milkman brand & products. Designed and formulated in Sydney, Australia, Milkman offers a stylistic, fresh approach to the world of men’s grooming. Through the intricate combination of botanical oils, top shelf raw materials & the balance of carefully formulated scents, Milkman has created a brand that will keep you looking, “Fresh Between The Ears” with popular products such as beard oil, beard shampoo, beard balm & the new shaving range is available in Shaver Shop and good barbershops across Australia.
Tell us about yourself
Two years ago my husband, Ben, and I relocated to Sydney for his work as a litigation lawyer. When we moved I was able to stay home and raise our two daughters on a full time basis. We thought that 6 months after moving to Sydney our eldest would start school and we would find day care for our youngest. However, the reality was that 18 months later school commenced and being away from family support was pretty stressful. Attaining day care in Sydney is both difficult and expensive so we had that added stress too.
From my childhood, I am used to moving around as Dad joined the RAAF when I was 5 or 6 years old. We have lived in Darwin, Wagga Wagga, Richmond, and Perth. It taught me the skills to meet people and to make friends quickly. Around 5 years ago I came to the realisation that my friendships were usually 2 years long and then I’d move again. To have longer-term friends was foreign to me. We have now been in Sydney for 2 years and I am starting to get itchy feet.
My background is in financial planning, I was a Paraplanner writing Statements of Advice for advisors. This experience has helped me understand the bigger picture of cash flow and financial planning for Milkman Australia.
You are the Co-Founder and Sales Representative of the business, what does that entail?
Initially it was a lot of cold calling and packing orders. Currently I manage around 150 stockists and we now have a staff member keen to commence sales rep activities. Being stocked in Shaver Shop stores is great, our product has reach across Australia. This has given us an opportunity to reinvest in the business, to get our branding on point, and to hire some people to help out who are as passionate as we are. Ben reduced from 5 days fulltime to 2 days part-time in February 2015 and now works 100% in Milkman. The original goal was to have him to work in this business full time, as we wanted flexibility for our family.
How long has Milkman been in operation? Where do we find your products?
We commenced the business in February 2014 and now have close to 20 products together in the beard range and shaving range. We are also in the R&D and planning phase of introducing hair care, body and skin for men. Milkman is an online store and we are retailed in 50 barbershops and gift stores around Australia, as well as Shaver Shop nationally. Locally in the Balmain area on Darling St, our products can be found in 506 which is a new men’s grooming lounge, Demon Barbers and Blokes.
Why did you start the business and where does the beard passion come from? Does Ben sport a beard/ ‘stache?
In December 2013 we were on holiday and were playing around with a few ideas we had on unrelated products. Ben was starting to grow his holiday beard and it became itchy so he started looking around for products to help. He later called me and said he wanted to make his own beard oil. We decided to put a few up on eBay and it sold so we made more and started reinvesting the revenue. Our very first product was a bottle of beard oil scented, chai latte. Ben developed the first foaming 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner specifically for the beard.
Your products are superior to other brands on the market for beard care, why?
Ben’s background is quite unique as he holds a PhD in Pharmacology and understands the science behind how the ingredients interact with each other. This is a great advantage for formulating products. Some of our stockists have told us that when compared with bigger brands, side-by-side, our products perform better and feel better.
How do people hear about Milkman Australia?
We do a lot of Guerrilla marketing and are quite active on social media including Facebook, Instagram, and the blog on our website. Next, we are focusing on Snapchat for the younger market and Twitter. We run competitions and have been featured in Body & Soul, GQ, Men’s Health, some radio stations and Inner West Mums during business hour.
You work with your husband Ben, how do you split business from home life?
In the beginning we couldn’t as we were working from home. Around 3 months ago we were able to separate our business from our home, which has made all the difference. Ultimately it’s about keeping the communication open and being organised. We see each other each and everyday but generally not for the whole day. It works for us as we balance each other’s strengths – I can get caught up in the detail whereas Ben is a big picture thinker and has a vision of where we are heading.
Advice to other mums looking to start their own business?
Do it, but with your eyes open. There is always a honeymoon phase in business – at first you are gung ho but when the honeymoon ends, you will get to the point of not wanting to do it anymore. Not every business takes off when you want it to. We spent 6-8 months burning the candle at both ends to make it happen and to reach the point where Ben could leave his corporate job. Be prepared to work for peanuts for a while, take every opportunity seriously, work hard and harder than your competitors.
Favourite parts of Sydney’s Inner West?
I absolutely love The Bay Run. I always walk around the Bay Run and when Mum came over from Perth a few months ago we did a walking tour where I re-told stories I had heard about the houses, the iconic areas, and my own personal experiences. She loved it!
Meet some more local business mums!
Getting to know…The Vintage Toy Box
Getting to Know… Lah-Lah Big Live Band
Getting to know…Salon Tallow

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