Tonic Australia is celebrating 25 years in business. Its story began well before the e-commerce age, but has persevered to grow into a successful online and offline retail business
The founders of personal and body care retailer Tonic Australia started their entrepreneur life from the boot of their car 25 years ago. Since then Nikki Horovitz and Toni Joel has grown the business into four million dollar company that distributes to hundreds of stores across the globe.
“In October of 1992 Tonic Product Development was launched. We worked from Toni’s home for the first year before renting a small office premises in order to separate work and home/baby spaces for better balance. Initially we product developed bespoke and branded ranges for Myer, Country Road, Esprit and Sussan, but before too long, Myer offered to launch Tonic as a national brand,” says Horovitz.
“We always felt that expanding into boutiques was a way of raising awareness for our brand name Tonic, as non-department store shoppers barely knew of our existence. It also enabled us to start to establish a signature tonic look that was not as fickle as the needs of our expanding major development commitments,” she adds.
Further to this, the company launched into e-commerce, which Horovitz says has been fabulous platform for selling and promoting” Tonic Australia” which has also brought the bland a global presence.
“Not only is it an ever-growing revenue stream, it also helps us to understand more closely our customers’ need and tastes. We embraced Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and utilising these digital platforms, along with an upgrade to our e-commerce store in 2016, we have enjoyed even greater reach and an expanded customer offering. A great and pleasing surprise is how many overseas orders we are processing online. It must also be noted that our growing online presence is supported strongly thanks to our inclusion on other sites including, Hard To Find and The Store by Fairfax.”
Tonic says it ensures all of our products are available both online and at its headquarter so that customers have a seamless shopping experience if they want to pop-in or jump online to shop.
What are some of the greatest lessons in business and in e-commerce the founders have learnt so far?
“Embrace change! Although we always aim to educate and empower our team with the ever-changing world of e-Commerce we still enlist the help of expert contractors as required. We often buy from a variety of other gift sites in order to compare their services and use this knowledge to springboard improvements in our service and communication. We are adding beautiful gift boxes and experimenting with loyalty programs in order to exceed the expectations of our very important B2C customers,” says Horovitz.
What does the company attribute its long-standing growth in retail to?
“Experience that comes from 25 years in the industry has helped us to remain on track for continued growth. Innovation, a passion for beautiful colours, patterns, fabrics and embracing change, a continued desire to tailor what we create to customers’ changing needs. Listening to feedback from our wholesalers and our retail customers is essential so that we deliver colour palettes they love, products they find useful and quality items that deliver on their promise.”
What’s next in the pipeline for Tonic Australia?
We continue to develop our e-commerce store; we recently employed the talents of some e-commerce experts to ensure we can continue to offer a seamless experience for our wholesalers and retail customers. Ease of shopping for our customers and offering a site that excites through experience, and delights through delivery, will be an on-going focus for us. We are also reaching out worldwide, having received interest from many parts of the globe, but to do this we have to be culturally aware and this cannot be jumped into lightly, it is a fantastic opportunity. We are always reviewing requirements of Google to assist our organic SEO and SEM, and we are currently undergoing a full review of our copy and content to improve this. It never stops evolving so we are learning how to evolve more efficiently, effectively and with relevance,” explains Horovitz.