In 2012, at the age of 19, marketing student at University of Sydney Anthony Nappa launched an online store from scratch, and this financial year the business will turn more than $20 million.
Anthony’s parents, Elio and Venessa, run Oz Hair Sydney hairdressing salons including their 30-year-old flagship store in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building. During his teenage years, Anthony saw increasing competition in the industry with the emergence of blow dry bars and hair technologies as well as e-commerce growth.
In February 2012, Anthony launched Oz Hair & Beauty as an eBay store and in July launched its own website ozhairandbeauty.com, investing $10,000 of his own funds into setting up the store and running the operations in the back corner of his dad’s warehouse in Sydney’s Miranda.
Anthony received no financial or hands-on assistance from his parents. However, he had developed relationships with major hair and beauty suppliers over the years, which enabled him to take orders because he knew he could get product.
In the first six months, Anthony only had three-to-five orders a day through the eBay store, then 10-15 orders a day in the second half of that first year. In the first year the business made $174,000 in revenue and just $18,000 in profit. At the time, Anthony’s 15-year-old brother, Guy, worked casually for him during holidays and weekends and in 2017, he purchased a stake of the business, and the brothers became partners. By 2017, the eBay store attracted 150 orders a day, on average. It was at that time that Anthony began to put his efforts into growing traffic to ozhairandbeauty.com.
In the third year, Anthony’s dad’s business moved out of the Miranda warehouse and Oz Hair & Beauty took over the entire lease. In these first three years, he worked more than 10 hours a day, up to 7 days a week, sourcing product, fulfilling orders, packing and dispatching products, establishing partnerships with new product manufacturers, and personally answering all customer emails.
Oz Hair & Beauty became a Power Seller on eBay, based on a 100 per cent positive customer feedback rating. Guy re-designed and expanded the warehouse, and introduced new technology, processes, and employee training. The brothers invested their time in ozhairandbeauty.com, where it took 95 per cent of sales, and scaled down their eBay store. As a result of these measures, Oz Hair & Beauty doubled its order fulfillments without employing additional staff.
Today, Oz Hair & Beauty employees 25 people, and is turning over $2 million a month. It is the best-rated hair and beauty online store on productreview.com.au, with almost 1,000 reviews and an average 5-star rating. It has been averaging 250,000 visitors and 20,000-23,000 orders a month.
Anthony and Guy have recently signed a new lease for a 1,500 square metre warehouse space in Sydney. Anthony forecasts the business will turn over $25 million in the 2020 financial year, based on first quarter sales. Anthony’s parents, Elio and Venessa, are looking to merge Oz Hair & Beauty with the Oz Hair salons in 2020.