Building a $30 Million dollar empire - Kester Black

Building a $30 Million dollar empire - Kester Black

Posted by Billie Schwab Dunn for The Daily Mail Australia on 25th Aug 2017

A Melbourne-based cosmetics queen and entrepreneur started her nail polish business from her bedroom.

Anna Ross, 29, had originally created a small jewellery business but before long she naturally progressed to nail polishes, which was when Kester Black was born.

'For the first two years I was working out of my bed room, the delivery truck would come and he would say, "Where's your office with the fork lift?",' Anna told Daily Mail Australia.

'I had to tell him there wasn't one before taking all of the boxes to my bedroom. Because I house shared I couldn't have my stuff everywhere.'

At the time Anna still had a full-time job as a design assistant.

'I would pack orders at night and would reply to emails. I would work till 12 or one [in the morning] and would pack everything up and take the orders to work the next day to mail off.'

Deciding that this was a venture she wanted to follow, Anna put up an ad on Gumtree looking for a chemist and had about three responses.

'I went online and got an ABN... Then I got my products sampled and found a chemist to work with.'

Anna and the chemist then formulated a nail polish formula from the ingredients lists of products they found in stores before finding a manufacturer to produce samples.

She spent two years working out of her bedroom and four months working from the room with an employee in tow.

Coming from a fashion background in New Zealand, Anna was originally making jewellery before she naturally progressed to nail polish.

'I did the first photo shoot from home which was really bad and then gave a look book to the stores who already had my jewellery.'

Although Anna has found success she admitted that it hasn't always been easy.

'You have to give up a lot. I'm lucky because I gave up a lot when I was young and I didn't have kids, there's more risk the older you get,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'It's hard, I encourage people to start businesses when they're young. I've been learning about business since 2007 and the business has changed a lot and I was still learning a lot.

'My first look book had 17 spelling mistakes in it and brands would say that my products didn't suit their store.'

'They were silly mistakes but important things to learn, the next time I made sure everything was correct before sending it off to big brands.'

The company has come leaps and bounds for a woman who started the business as a side interest and was only making AUD $35,000 in fashion.

'We made $7,000 profit in the first year so I spent it all on a trip to Europe.

'The next year we made even more money so I bought property and once I won the Telstra Business of The Year Award I thought, "let's make it big".'

Anna said they managed to triple their turnover in three months and she now plans on having a 30-million-dollar business in five years.

'It was exhausting but it was really really exciting to be creating something.

'I loved checking my emails in the morning as Europe and America would email me overnight. It's less exciting now but the opportunities are always bigger,' she said.

'I fell into it and it's been incredible, cosmetics is interesting place, you have control over everything, I’m a creative, it's fun doing a lot of different things

The company is in its fifth year of business which is an inspiring feat considering most small businesses fail in the first five years.

'There's a lot of potential to grow from here but I had no idea that I would be here, it's scaling a lot faster than I thought it would,' Anna said.

She added that she has an amazing team around her that have made her dreams happen faster than she thought they could.

'You can achieve a lot with the right people around you.'