“I want to do things that leave an impact”

Entrepreneurs

Jess Hatzis on Frank Body’s newest range, what motivates her, and her quest for world domination.
Jess Hatzis
Jess Hatzis | Image source: Supplied

For founder Jess Hatzis, it seems her ever-busy life and a quest for “world domination” with cult skincare brand Frank Body isn’t just about success for the sake of success – she’s proving a point. For her daughter, for herself, for the world.

“I want to do things that leave an impact,” Hatzis says, “and this is how I know how to do that.”

In Hatzis’s first job, she received less pay than her male counterparts, despite completing the same jobs, she tells Forbes Australia. Now, years later, as a successful founder of not one, but two companies – Frank Body and branding agency Willow + Blake – she still gets called a ‘girl’ when walking into rooms of older businessmen. She’s 37.

Veiled sexism in Hatzis’s own experience translates to the statistics, too – in the 2022 financial year, only 0.7% of funding secured by start-ups went to solely female-founded companies, according to a report commissioned by SBE Australia.

This isn’t a deterrent to Hatzis. Wanting to build a better world for her two-year-old daughter is one of the things that gets her out of bed in the morning.

“I look at the future I want for my daughter, and it’s not even close to where it needs to be for me to feel comfortable that she won’t face the same type of crap that we do.”

Hatzis feels uneasy, however, with the use of terms like “female entrepreneur” or “women in business”. In a context where women, particularly women of colour or those belonging to other marginalised groups, still struggle to find the success their male counterparts do in the business world, she argues that the terms can be overused and reductive.

“Every time we talked about a woman in business, she was labelled just as that… it was almost like a handicap. You know? Like she’s in business, but she’s got a vagina.”

She identifies social media as one of the greatest catalysts for political change in our time – with its ability to open discourse, hold brands and corporations accountable, and raise awareness.

And social media has proven to be one of Hatzis’s superpowers. Much of Frank Body’s enduring success can be attributed to its use of social media.

With her background as a copywriter and co-founder of the branding agency Willow & Blake – which has worked with brands like Grill’d, BMW and Modibodi – Hatzis had an edge when launching her simple, coffee-based body scrub in 2013 with co-founder Bree Johnson.

The pair zeroed in on the importance of an Instagram presence at a time before most brands knew how to optimise this and strove to set Frank Body apart from the brands that dominated industry brands.

“The social landscape was sort of ripe for the taking; there weren’t any brands playing in that space,” Hatzis explains, “And we thought… it makes sense for us to create a character that can allow us to have that first-person, casual, type of engagement without our customers.”

And so, Frank was born. The personality embedded in the marketing has become perhaps one of the most recognisable aspects of the brand, with its cheeky, every day, and sometimes downright flirty tone. Customers are called “Frankfurters” or casually referred to as “babes” – the packaging of products teases that “you’ll be naked in one minute”.

This bold brand voice, and marketing which occurred mainly on Instagram, built a steadfast following of consumers who, in turn, created their own marketing material for the brand, posting their selfies in the coffee scrub or posing with the pastel-coloured Frank Body packaging under the hashtags #letmebefrank and #thefrankeffect.

Hatzis’s passion for her customers might be the key to why Frank Body, ten years from its inception, continues to be so effective in its marketing, surviving an ever-changing social media landscape and increasingly saturated market.

The founder feels she knows her Frank Body customers so well that she refers to them simply as “her”.

“If you’re not making decisions with ‘her’ in the middle of your decision making, figuring out what she would like, then you are doing it wrong. And that’s drilled in our team and us.” For Hatzis, “she” is the company guiding North Star.

Frank Body’s base of loyal customers isn’t just within Australia either. Hatzis and her co-founder quickly found orders coming in from overseas when they launched, and they have since expanded to service almost all of the world. Their goal? To become the biggest Australian body care brand. They don’t dream small.

And life is only getting more exciting for Hatzis – Everyday by Frank Body has just launched its newest collection of personal care products.

The range includes 12 products that are all under 16 dollars and boasts an entirely Australian supply chain.

The products we use daily “can be a beautiful moment of self-care,” Hatzis said in a statement to Forbes Australia, “and it should also deliver a huge impact to your skin, which is why we have formulated this range”.

Organising skincare launches, running a branding agency and being the mother of a toddler all at the same time isn’t easy. But Hatzis can’t see herself stepping back – at least not significantly – anytime soon.

“I like that I have this opportunity to show my daughter all of the paths that are possible And, you know, I learned that from my mum, too. And so, I think that’s part of what motivates me.”

She jokes, “I might be a workaholic as well.”

Jess Hatzis will speak at the inaugural Forbes Australia Women’s Summit on the 22nd of March, presented by NAB Private Wealth. She’ll be joined by other influential women, including Miranda Kerr, Christine Holgate and Natasha Oakley, discussing how to break barriers in business, build wealth and make industry connections. You can see the full lineup and get your tickets here: Women’s Summit 2023 – Forbes Australia.


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