Growing A Dessert Box Company to $150k/month In One Year

The Story of Dessert Boxes

Hello! Who are you and what are you working on?

Hey, I’m Samantha, one of the three founders of DessertBoxes.com.au - an online Dessert Gift Giving store which is here to innovate and disrupt the gift giving industry! We ship these gift boxes all around Sydney & Melbourne. Everything is made fresh every morning and delivered to the recipient by 3pm that day.

The story starts where three siblings came together to create Dessert boxes and Donut Bouquets as our way of waging a war against boring gifts!

We launched just last Valentines Day, and in our first year, have turned over more than one million in sales and now have a presence in Sydney & Melbourne.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Dessert Boxes.com.au was born out of our frustration of having to send and receive boring gifts which would end up being thrown away, dying, never used, and at best, re-gifted.

So, a week before Valentine's Day last year, we launched a Nutella themed Dessert Box! We collaborated with the biggest dessert makers in the industry, and within five days, we sold over 400 boxes! We searched for the best products on Instagram and did Google searches to find Nutella themed products.

This was our first ever Dessert Box:

image 0

We sold all the boxes through social media, utilising influencer marketing and facebook advertising.

We contacted influencers on Instagram, asking them whether they’d like to be the first people to receive a Dessert Box in Sydney in exchange for a post on their page. As an avid Instagram user for personal use, I would see this on Instagram all the time so decided to try it for our business and it worked!

When we first started out, we didn't have much knowledge in Facebook advertising, so I would watch youtube demonstrations and learnt how to target people in Sydney who were in a relationship and potentially looking for a gift for Valentines Day

Collaborating with other Dessert markers allowed us to leverage their following and promote to a wider audience.

Describe the process of launching the online store/business.

When it came to creating our website, we knew it had to resemble an online gift giving store, which people were used to. This would make it easier to educate the market on what a Dessert Box was and for what occasions they could purchase one.

So we started by creating Shop by Occasion & Shop by recipient tabs which made it easier for people to navigate our website and make it a quicker process.

image 1

Creating our social media pages and setting them up correctly with all the correct pixels and analytics was high on our importance list! Social media was the only way we were promoting our business in the first year, so it was important to get it right.

In our first month of business (after the initial sell of 400 boxes for Valentines Day) it was hard to find a courier who would take on our product! They needed us to guarantee them 10 boxes a day, and we just weren't doing consistent numbers to be able to guarantee them that.

Fast forward a few months later, we started sending out hundreds of boxes a day and we had no problem finding a courier!

Biggest lesson learnt is that Speed is Sexy in business! Be fast to launch, fast to implement and aggressive in your marketing!

Since launch, what has worked to attract new customers?

I'm going to focus on social media marketing here, because thats all we focussed on in our first year of business.

Instagram & Working with influencers:

So many businesses get carried away with the amount of ‘followers’ an influencer has, rather than looking at their influence and interaction with their community.

A good influencer builds a tribe, a community of people who are influenced by the behaviors and actions of the ‘influencer’. What we noticed was that the smaller the tribe, the more potent it was.

For us, the best way to find influencers was through hashtags and locations. Because we could only deliver around Sydney at the time, we needed to find influencers who were Sydney based. As we were just starting out and didn’t have much of a marketing budget, we would work with the influencers on a contra deal. Which meant we wouldn’t pay. We would send them product in exchange for a post.

So my advice here is to look at the engagement, go through photos and comments and see which influencer takes the time to build a relationship with their audience.

Facebook:

The tools that Facebook has available to target and retarget your audience are incredible! You can target your exact demographic on Facebook. Here’s a few things you should take into consideration:

  • Have you got your Facebook pixels installed and firing correctly?
  • Are you retargeting people on Facebook who abandoned their carts?
  • People who get too checkout then leave?
  • Do you have a VIP list of customers who you target different ads to?
  • Take advantage of the ‘custom audience’ setting on Facebook and create a whole list of audiences and target ads accordingly.

There are so many facebook courses online! Find one and master it. Facebook has a free course available called the ‘Facebook Blueprint’ which covers everything you need to know about Facebook advertising

How is everything going nowadays, and what are your plans for the future?

Our business is going from strength to strength. Our marketing tactics are becoming more aggressive and we’re putting more money towards online and offline activities. We are working on becoming top of mind when it comes to gift giving.

Listen to your intuition. So many times we have gone against our intuition and have regretted it! Let your intuition guide your business decisions.

We’re looking at expanding our business all around Australia (we’re currently in Sydney, Wollongong & Melbourne)

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

My top five pieces of advice to get ahead in business are:

  1. Speed is sexy- Be quick to market! The internet makes it so easy for us to reach a large group of people, in a short and cost effective way. The more people who know about our product, the better!

  2. It’s not good enough to do things better, you need to do things differently. As soon as competitors come into the market, you need to start doing things differently.

  3. Innovate or die- Innovation is key! Keeping up to date with food trends & customer behaviour is so important.

  4. Humanize your brand- H2H I like to call it. Human to human. Consumers want to resonate with the company that they’re buying from. They want to know that you’re human, just like them.

  5. Listen to your customers and build a relationship with them.

We are so lucky to be running our businesses now in the world of social media and the internet. Everything is literally at our fingertips! We all have access to the most influential people in our industry, to media, to celebrities!

Listen to your intuition. So many times we have gone against our intuition and have regretted it! Let your intuition guide your business decisions.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Being an online business, Shopify is awesome! It integrates well with all our other systems and databases.

Instagram and Facebook, obviously!

Trello is a fantastic way to get the whole team organized and accountable for tasks.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Never stop learning, keep reading! So much knowledge is kept in books. People have gone before you and achieved exactly what you want to achieve!

My favourite books/podcasts have been:

  • Anything by Gary Vaynerchuk. This man has an unedited, authentic approach to business and life.
  • Elon Musk: The realest badass entrepreneur of them all! He risks it all because he believes so heavily in his vision. There’s so much we can all learn from this man.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t be late to the market! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t perfected your product, website, marketing etc… I read once "if you aren’t embarrassed by your first product or service, then you were too late to launch".

Stop putting it off, it’s never going to be the perfect time, just start!

Where can we go to learn more?

Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business.

By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.

If you liked this story, join our mailing list for new interviews every Tuesday.

- pat-walls Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story


More interviews like this:
Learn how e-commerce businesses are earning as much as $100K per month.