Their hairdresser parents, Elio and Vanessa, had operated salons around Sydney for more than 30 years, including their flagship location in the city’s iconic Queen Victoria Building. The pair also sold premium hair care products at their salons, which Anthony, Oz Hair & Beauty’s founder and managing director, decided to start selling online in 2012: “It slowly started getting bigger and bigger and, eventually, it grew to what it is today.”
Oz Hair & Beauty now carries more than 150 national and international brands, spanning categories including hair appliances, makeup and skincare. Sounds simple enough, but running a family business isn’t without its hurdles.
“Working with so many close friends is challenging,” says Guy, director of operations, “especially when Anthony had no intention for this to be such a big company. When you’re too slow at making decisions, it really sets you back. Sometimes making the wrong decision is better than indecision, because indecision means you’re just going nowhere when you know something needs to change.”
Guy describes his role in the business as “very funny. We call it ‘director of operations,’ but that’s a big corporate term. It means if something needs to be fixed or something needs to be done, I just facilitate the whole process. For example, getting Starshipit and integrating with Cin7 was part of my role.”
But both of them are involved in identifying things that need to be fixed before Guy executes. “Anthony goes, ‘Okay, that’s fine. Go ahead and fix it and come back to me. It allows Anthony to do things like organizing promos and marketing. We both work well together because we’re looking after two different sides of the business.”
A Hairy Situation
As the company continued its steady growth and orders multiplied, the Nappa brothers reached a stage where their pick-and-pack process wasn’t moving quickly enough. Despite hiring more people, they noticed it wasn’t getting any faster. After analyzing their order fulfillment, they realized that their current process was quite outdated. Knowing that there were better ways to manage their shipping, they finally had that lightbulb moment and began looking for a solution.
Before implementing Starshipit, life was “so uncomfortable,” recalls Anthony. “I remember being so stressed making sure all the orders got out to our customers as quickly as possible. It was a lot of long days and nights and, thinking about it now, it was just so stressful. We were printing off labels then printing off packing slips and making sure they matched up. Sometimes, they wouldn’t match up and we were looking at it like, what’s going on? What are we doing wrong?
“Not making decisions quick enough affected us in terms of growth,” he continues. “We could’ve grown a lot quicker, sooner. But it was a big learning curve, looking back at how chaotic it was three years ago compared to how is now. We still stress, but that’s running a business, and it’s nowhere near close to how it was before Starshipit. I’ve got a good team under me and having something like Starshipit really helps relieve the pressure.”
Starshipit Smooths out the Tangles
The brothers decided that whatever solution they chose must not affect their pick-and-pack, which would adversely impact order delivery times.
“With Starshipit and the way it integrated with our business, the orders came out quicker, easier and it made our pick-and-pack process even faster. It ticked all the boxes,” says Anthony. “We have increased our pick-and-pack efficiency dramatically, which is the main benefit. We’re not making mistakes where the labels are being allocated incorrectly, so no two customers get [the wrong] order. The overall speed with a system where customer service doesn’t need monitoring makes it all very seamless.”
Before Starshipit, the brothers were working with 12 to 15 staff in the warehouse at a time. Three years later, with Starshipit, they still have the same number of warehouse staff, despite receiving three to four times more orders per day. “To be able to reduce our staff [needs] by almost half is such a big benefit.
“I recommend Starshipit to every person I meet who sells online. I tell everyone how well it works for me, and I even allow them to come into our warehouse and see how it works. I know if I were given the chance, I would’ve picked Starshipit far sooner.”
Cin7 for a Beautiful Customer Experience
Starshipit isn’t the only software solution that Oz Hair & Beauty uses to keep things running smoothly. “When my brother founded the company, his focus was on growing, which is amazing because that’s exactly what we did,” says Guy. “But we got to the stage where we didn’t have a foundation to scale that growth. We had no inventory system that allowed us to see what stock we had. So, when customers would order, if it wasn’t on the shelves, then we had no idea if we had stock.”
“Cin7 just looked like the one that was going to integrate seamlessly and give us the same benefits that we had experienced with Starshipit,” says Anthony. “It allowed us to digitize our files so we could have back orders, awaiting stock, incoming now or ready to go. And through Starshipit, once orders are ready to go, the customer is notified instantly.
“Even though not sending out an order is bad, if you’re communicating with the customer and you’re being honest and truthful, the customer is going to have a better experience. At the end of the day, it’s about making sure that the customer has a great shopping experience with us, and Cin7 allows us to do that. The whole process is seamless and gives us more information about the orders.”
A Much-Needed Makeover
As part of their next growth phase, Oz Hair & Beauty recently rolled out a rebranding: “Now we feel that we’re emerging, and we’re becoming a common name amongst consumers. We want to reach the top so we’ve changed the logo, made it sleeker and more consumable, and we’re also rewarding our customers, which is something we haven’t been doing,” says Anthony. “We want to try and give back and just grow the business, where we can be the one-stop beauty shop. We’re excited for the rebrand. It’s taken time, but we’re confident it’s going to take us to the next level.”
While integrated software like Starshipit and Cin7 certainly makes things easier and more efficient, there’s no substitute for hard work—or solid working relationships: “Being partners, it’s important to have a good relationship and work well together,” Guy says. “That’s crucial to starting and maintaining an online business.
“My advice to anyone who has an idea: You need to love what you’re doing; you need to be addicted to what you’re doing; you need to be able to sacrifice everything for what you’re doing. I know my brother didn’t leave the house or office for about two years. Nights he was there, nights he missed because of work, and that’s really rubbed off on me. If you don’t have a passion for it, it’s going to show in your results.
“A lot of people want to just ‘get there,’” Guy continues. “But it’s not about getting there; it's about the journey, and I know that’s a very cliché thing to say but it’s just truthful. We don’t know what the final destination for Oz Hair & Beauty is, but we’re just loving the process of where it’s going to take us.”