A risky business idea has paid off for two Melbourne mates in their early 20s with them expected to be millionaires by the beginning of next year.
A risky business idea has paid off for two Melbourne mates who made a whopping $650,000 in revenue so far this year and are set to hit $1 million by January.
Emerson Lattouf, 20, and Isaac Fakhri, 21, referred to themselves as having almost a “third generation” friendship because both their fathers also grew up as best friends.
The pair had always wanted to start a business venture together and had both been working since the age of 15.
They pooled together $100,000 in their life savings to launch Amoris Beauty, a hair care e-commerce brand, in October last year.
The young entrepreneurs could never have predicted that Victoria would be hit by four more lockdowns and Sydney would be in the throes of a 106-day lockdown just months later.
“Covid has helped tremendously, helped being in these Covid waves, particularly in the care space,” Isaac told news.com.au. “Maybe if it was a styling product it might not have helped as much, but because it was hair care, personal care really started to take off.”
Their hair mask product is now even stocked on shelves at a major hair retailer with stores across the country after wanting to also branch out into brick and mortar sales.
Isaac acknowledged starting Amoris Beauty was “risky” as he was betting his life savings and because the hair care industry is oversaturated with other new start-ups but ultimately the gamble worked out.
Emerson was still in high school and Isaac just a year out when they came up with the idea to make their very own hair masks.
It helped that Emerson was “surrounded” by hair as he came from a long line of hairdressers and they reckoned they could come up with a unique recipe for the beauty product.
They sourced a factory in NSW and tested their product, going through dozens of iterations thanks to “brutal” feedback from Emerson’s family.
The then-teenagers had to delay their launch as they got caught up in the Covid-19 pandemic, originally planning to launch in February 2020 but pushing it back to October.
Deciding that social media was the best way to market their product, they used what capital they had left to send hair masks to around 3000 micro-influencers to review it on their channels.
On October 25 last year, the two friends held their breaths as they launched.
It was an instant hit — they made $33,000 in the first week.
“It was pretty mind-blowing for us,” Isaac said.
“It was pretty crazy. Our vision was always to go as hard as possible from the start but we never thought it would be as big.”
Since their launch, they’ve gone from strength to strength.
Amoris Beauty has nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram and is set to make more than $1 million by the beginning of next year.
They made the most money in June this year in the lead-up to Mother’s Day, raking in $70,000 that month and a staggering $16,000 in just one day.
“It’s been an absolute whirlwind,” Isaac said.
They have six employees working under them in either warehouse fulfilment or social media curation.
At times, however, it’s been tough.
To this day, they haven’t taken a single cent out of Amoris Beauty, “not even for a meal”, instead reinvesting it back into the business.
Emerson explained: “It does never stop, late nights on your laptop, never switch that brain off.”
He estimates he works as late as 11.30 at night and begins work at 6.30am most days — which is a 17-hour working day, or a 119-hour work week.
“Ultimately it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make,” he said.
The friends were looking to get into wholesale with their products and scored a deal with Hairhouse, a beauty retailer with stores all over Australia.
It helped that Emerson’s father is the owner of Hairhouse but the two boys maintain that they were put through a stringent vetting process.
“We were more heavily scrutinised than someone who doesn’t have any relationship with the business,” Isaac said. “We had to go through seven rounds of meetings, a lot of product testing, a lot of brutal feedback … our biggest critics are the hairdressers in the Hairhouse network. They’re definitely not shy in telling us the feedback.”
Amoris Beauty hair masks hit shelves in mid-July and just a week later, Melbourne was hit with its sixth lockdown, meaning the launch “plummeted”.
However, the business was buoyed by its online sales and also Hairhouse stores in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia which weren’t affected by lockdown.
For other aspiring entrepreneurs, Isaac had a word of advice.
“Do it while you’re young, [when] you’re not in a position to risk everything when you have mortgages and kids to feed. That’s our logic, give it a go,” he said.
“We thought we’d give it a crack, we’re young so if we lose everything we can just stay at home.
“If it works, the return on investment is incredible.
“There’s no way we could have got this working in a 9-5 job.”
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