Smart50 Awards 2016

36 RY.com.au

Revenue

$11.7 million

Growth

99.4%

Founders

Brad Carr, 31 and James Patten, 41

Head office

Burleigh Heads, QLD

Year founded

2005

Employees

17

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

ry.com.au

RYWhat keeps the founders of hair and beauty retailer RY up at night?

“Not much, to be honest,” says co-founder Brad Carr. “We sleep like babies!”

The business launched in 2005 after co-founder James Pattern observed the drive for consumers to buy a wide range of beauty products online – but didn’t see anyone else offering the service for hair products in Australia.

The retailer turned over approximately $11.7 million in the 2015-16 financial year, with its revenue growing by close to 100% over the past three years. It employs 17 full-time employees, with casual employees bringing its staff numbers to over 40 in total.

In the early days, a lot of legwork went into actually convincing brands that online shopping was here to stay.

“Many were individual small businesses which didn’t know if they wanted to put a high-end salon product in everybody’s front room,” Carr says.

The company became the first Australian online retailer to offer brands like hair appliance maker ghd, before expanding into skincare and beauty products. The website now offers a number of name brands across hair care, beauty, waxing and body products.

“Ten years ago RY had just 35 products, hired one employee and it took 21 days for a customer to receive their order,” Carr says.

Bricks-and-mortar stores operate alongside the online portal, and the goal is to grow to 20 shopfronts over the next three years in a period of intense growth.

Having grown the product base to 11,000 items over the past five years, the RY management believes in paying attention to the little things that go right.

“Don’t spend your time looking for that killer idea or marketing campaign, focus on many small ones consistently,” says Carr.

Building customer loyalty is an imperative in the health and beauty market, but while RY is growing its product range to enhance customer satisfaction, it’s wary of getting caught up in comparisons.

“Don’t fall into the trap of watching your competitors too closely, run your own race and know your customer – that is where 95% of your focus should remain,” says Carr.

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