When we heard Gold Coast influencer Sammy Leo managed to sell 13,747 units in just one day for the relaunch of her lip balm Breeze Balm, we were impressed. While the brand’s formulation was originally developed 70 years ago by Sammy’s pharmacist grandfather in Dunedin, New Zealand – it was Sammy’s vision and strategic moves for the brand that has seen Breeze Balm continue its legacy into the current climate and the success you see today.
So just how did she do it? And did it all come down to having a follower base of her own? We sit down with Sammy to delve a bit more into the Breeze Balm story and to find out some solid truths behind the brand.
When you relaunched the Breeze Balm lip balm, you managed to sell 13,747 units in just one day. Can you tell us the secret to how you managed to do this?!
This was a surprise to us, but what a huge compliment for all the hard work we put into our rebrand. I think the success came down to a few key points. We listened to customer feedback with a large number of requests for tubes, we made our brand more user friendly, fun, bright and tropical. Our brand is like a collector’s item. A lot of our customers have been with us since the very beginning – so adding these new fun packaged balms to the collection was a no brainer. Word of mouth started to spread quickly and we are always so grateful that our customers share their love for Breeze Balm and their amazing results on dry, cracked skin. We also had a waiting list so our customers were ready and waiting for the rebrand to get their hands on the newest range.
Why do you think the brand has seen such a big success?
I believe it’s because our lip balm actually works. Our customers feel and see the results. I often say the formula speaks for itself – it wouldn’t have lasted 70 years if it didn’t actually work! This paired with delicious scents that make you feel like you’re laying on the beach on an island is a match made in heaven.
Do you think that having your own following on Instagram has helped with the success of the brand?
I feel it’s definitely helped get me started with a bang in terms of exposure, but I do believe you can have all the followers in the world [but if you] have an average product/service – it won’t last long. I also believe in constantly engaging with our customer base because they are what is most important. I think this is truly what has created the success of the brand.
Have you been able to call on friends you’ve made through Instagram to help out with talking about the brand?
Yes, it’s been a blessing to have so much support from fellow influencers and friends. For our rebrand, we didn’t pay anyone to post or ask them to, it was purely out of the goodness of their heart after trying the products personally. I felt so blessed that they genuinely loved Breeze Balm and felt the need to share with their followers.
The formula for the brand was originally created by your pharmacist grandfather. Did you always know you’d want to do something with the formulation?
No way! I had no idea this was where I would end up. I believe everything happens for a reason. My grandfather passed our family pharmacy onto my parents. In 2014 my parents sold the pharmacy and it wasn’t until then I realised how much I depended on the balm. Once friends and family also started asking my dad to make up special batches for them, I realised just how special our formula was to others and that I just had share it with the world.
What has been your most rewarding experience with Breeze Balm?
I feel the most rewarding experience is seeing so much positive customer feedback. Reading their experiences and seeing their results plus the high demand for Breeze Balm really keeps me going day to day. It’s been so special to watch the balm I love, be so loved by many others around the world. To see us reaching countries such as Kenya, Norway, France and Chile is unbelievable!
What’s the hardest experience with the brand that you’ve had to cope with?
The hardest and scariest part of our journey was right before we launched our rebrand. I cleaned out every single bank account we had in the business including my own personal money. We had about $100K of bills owing… I had about $40 left in my bank account. I put every ounce of myself into the rebrand. If that had failed, there would probably be no Breeze Balm today. It was make or break for me. And thankfully… it paid off!
You mention in a recent IG post that being a CEO is not as glamorous as you think. Can you expand on this for us?!
Absolutely! You often see CEO’s only posting the fun photoshoots and success moments – but they are very few and far between. There are a lot of risks that come with running a business and defining choices you have to make constantly. You always have to be ready to adapt and think outside the box. Failure is inevitable and happens more than you think. I cannot switch off. I’m always analysing things, looking for ideas, learning about marketing tools and researching what is working in the market. There are a lot of late nights going into early mornings, there is always something to do. You are everyone’s point of call at the end of the day. It’s a lot of responsibility. I love what I do but it definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted. As much as there has been so much success, as a business owner you are always looking for the next success and often forget to celebrate those wins.
You spent $10K on your first legit photoshoot for the brand. Do you recommend other brands who are starting out do this?
NO! Start small. Work with what you have. I had my business for 12 months before I did this. Be innovative and use the tools at your disposal. There is a lot we can access online as a start-up that can really help to get you what you need without spending large.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone wanting to launch their own beauty brand?
Do your research, find your morals, create a list of values to stick by and what you believe a beauty product needs. Meet the needs of a group of consumers, give them what they want. Be kind to others, be passionate and unique and get ready to dig your heels in and work hard.
And lastly, five years from now… what are you hoping from the brand?
I’m hoping our Breeze Balm family will have a whole range of incredible products (I have a few up my sleeve my dad created that I want to bring out). That we have made an incredible impact on the world, and are the number one lip balm in the world!