Manny Barbas & James Hashem
This week’s EcomSuccess issue brings you another college dropout story that shows you exactly how they did it.
Manny Barbas and James Hashem are two 22-year-old friends who decided to drop out of college and give their own business idea a shot. The duo had no idea they would be making their first million dollars just 4 months after starting their business project.
In those 4 months, the two best friends sold over 30,000 jars of clay face mask, making them $50,000 each week. By the time they launched their second wave of products, their sales grew by more than 300%. The duo said that they were completely blown away by the growth in sales right after the product had been launched.
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How successful was the face mask? It sold out just 2 weeks after it had first launched!
When the company made its first million dollars, it started to get some very much wanted attention, and the duo was starting to receive interview requests by some very prominent media platforms such as the Daily Mail Australia, Get the Gloss, Stylist Magazine, and many more!
Their success is owed to a lot of things they did right from the very beginning of their journey, as well as to how smart they played the whole thing. They knew where profit was, and how to reach their prospective clients, which is why everything worked so smoothly for them.
Thanks to their hard work, the world now is very fond of their Pink Clay Mask that some people can’t go 1 week without using. To add to the mask’s value, it can be used even by pregnant mothers and people with sensitive skin as it is made 100% from vegan ingredients that include:
- Aloe Vera
- Australian Native Berries
So, what’s the secret?
When the duo decided to found their company, they didn’t have any support from anyone, which meant that they had to count on no one but themselves, and test and fail until they reached the perfect formula.
Barbas and Hashem were sitting for a coffee one day when they decided it was time they started their own thing and worked hard for it. They noticed how clay masks were trending on social media, which is what inspired them to launch their skincare brand.
They started using their family and friends as guinea pigs to get feedback for their product after they had spent 7 months perfecting their formula. Once they verified their product was functional the way they wanted it to be, it was time to start selling their new face mask.
For a couple of millennials with very limited knowledge of the industry, you can say that they’ve overperformed themselves. In fact, their first product ever: the Australian Pink Clay Mask has become a favorite for people in both Australia and New Zealand.
There is no doubt that if you make $1 million in your first year, you’ve reached success, let alone reaching that number in just 4 months. In fact, as of June of 2019, the two best friends had made over $7 million.
But how did they do it exactly?
The duo realized that we spend most of our days looking at our phones, in fact, the average smartphone user pulls their phone out of their pocket every 12 minutes of the day, so why not make money out of that?
Our constant use of our smartphones made it easier for us to purchase things we see on the internet without having to go and get it ourselves.
Barbas said that even though he and his friend’s knowledge of the beauty industry were limited at the time, they knew there was a gap in the industry, and they were going to fill it up. There was just something attractive about a pink clay mask that cures the skin of acne and makes it as smooth as a baby’s bum, said Barbas. But that’s not everything the face mask does! The company’s website states that the mask can also remove pigmentation clusters from the skin’s surface, as well as stimulate the regeneration of skin cells.
Now that they’ve created a product that was appealing to people, they needed to start marketing it, and what better way to do that other than working with influencers.
Influencers, both big and small, have a great ability to persuade their followers to make a purchase. In fact, influencers with a small number of followers are the most likely to convert their followers into paying customers. That’s because people see them as friends as opposed to how they see celebrities, and they have more trust in them.
Alya Skin knew this and decided to invest heavily in them. “We gift out approximately 300 units a week to females on Instagram and YouTube for them to try out the mask. We don’t tell them to post – we simply ask for their feedback and if they like the product, then they can.” – Barbas.
But that wasn’t the core of their success, Barbas explains. He said that even if you have the best marketing strategy on the Internet if your product isn’t actually good and liked by the users, you’re going to be more hurt than you will benefit from your social media campaigns. This is the reason the company continuously invests in improving and ensuring the product is top-notch and doesn’t have any side effects.
They initially sent their product to 1,000 influencers, and as of today, Alya Skin works with over 5,000 of them, with different following sizes. They focus both on small and big influencers, as long as they meet the demographic criteria that are 16 to 35-year-old females.
Selling in Store Shelves
After their huge success online, stores started seeking to get this product on their shelves, which is exactly what happened when the company signed a deal with Priceline Pharmacy back in 2018.
This deal allowed them to start selling their product in more than 400 different stores both in Australia and in New Zealand. The clay mask is doing so well in these stores that Priceline said that they are selling 1 every 20 seconds.
The product is priced at $49.99, and if used 3 times a week, can last a customer over 2 months, which makes it a very good value for the price. This is one of the reasons it has a ton of 5-star reviews from their happy, and loyal customers.
Expanding Their Product Line
After the first product Alya Skin introduced was a success, it was time they expanded their product line and came up with more skincare products for their growing, and loyal customer base.
By the end of 2018, the company released two new products that were just as successful as its predecessor. A Pomegranate Facial Exfoliator that was released for the price of $26.99 that is used on a daily basis both to reduce skin inflammation, and rid it of eczema as well as rosacea.
What’s more is that the product is guaranteed not to make your skin dry no matter how many times you use it, which is why Alya Skin encourages its customers to use the mask up to 3 times a week.
The other product they launched was the Native Berries Moisturizer. This one was retailed for $24.99, and contains macadamia oil as well as shea butter that work together to hydrate the skin after using the Pink Clay Mask.
The launch of these 2 new products wasn’t the end of anything. In fact, the duo was only getting started and had a lot of products in mind.
As of today, the company has 5 products which you can get in bundles, or buy separately. The two extra products are a Foaming Micellar Cleanser, and a Vitamin C Supercharged Serum. The products are priced at $13.95 and $29.95 respectively.
When the duo behind Alya Skin was asked what pieces of advice they would give to young entrepreneurs around the world, their answer was the following: “The best piece of advice I can give is to simply start. So many people want to start a business but I think fear gets to them and prevents them from pursuing their dream. I didn’t know anything about business before starting Alya. The best way to learn is to learn from others and make mistakes as you go. Never be scared of making mistakes; I’m thankful for every mistake I have made. They have played a massive role in allowing me to be where I am today.”