CameLife avoids financial hump with fast funding from OnDeck
Cosmetics manufacturer CameLife had a challenging start to 2020. But with the assistance of OnDeck, the SME is now selling more skincare products produced from camel milk than 12 months ago.
The business is based on NSW’s magnificent Central Coast and sources its camel milk from a dairy in Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. It first approached OnDeck when it needed additional working capital to launch some new products in October 2019.
“We have developed a premium range of camel milk skincare products and launched our initial range into the Australian marketplace in 2017,” explains Richard Williams, co-owner of CameLife and a former army officer who previously worked in the engineering industry.
The firm’s products use the highest quality proven natural ingredients, combined into beautiful creams, balms and serums using innovative processes developed in Australia and Israel.
Richard continues, “Camel milk creams are absorbed quickly through the skin, leaving little residue, ensuring that the natural Vitamin C, fatty acids and protective proteins in the milk go where they are needed; deep into your skin.”
“The revitalising effect is almost instantaneous, and it’s also a great anti-inflammatory.”
The origins of CameLife
The genesis of CameLife dates to when director Pauline Roberts, a veterinarian consulting to the camel industry in WA, learnt of the properties of camel milk for herself. Pauline duly alerted her friends Richard and his life-partner Jane Rose, who is also a vet, to the opportunities.
Pauline and Jane then travelled to Israel to learn more about the healthcare benefits of camel milk from world-renowned expert the late Professor Reuven Yagil. “Reuven introduced them to people making innovative products from camel milk, and they brought some samples back. I looked at these and saw the opportunity for a scalable business.”
Funding expansion and marketing
In the middle of 2019, Richard, who has an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) and his business partners decided to launch two new products, a new face scrub and the Happy Camel Balm which they approached OnDeck to help them fund.
“We also used some of the finance from OnDeck to support our marketing push. Cashflow was tight, and it eased these problems.”
According to Richard, since COVID hit, more than 95% of CameLife’s turnover comes from website sales. The firm predominantly relies on Facebook marketing, AdWords and Google Keywords and email marketing to attract traffic to its digital shopfront.
“Social media marketing was new to me, and I decided to do it myself after using a few agencies unsuccessfully,” says Richard. “Early this year, we were right down on online revenue, so I took over the marketing, and our online revenue started to rebound, even before COVID hit. We had our best month in September 2020.”
Partnering with OnDeck has proven extremely helpful for CameLife too. “We haven’t borrowed huge amounts, but it has been enough to fund our working capital requirements in the medium term. It’s given us the breathing space to grow,” says Richard.
“The service is fast, efficient, and the rates are competitive for unsecured turnover lending. We’d highly recommend OnDeck to other SMEs.”
Richard’s marketing tips for SMEs
1. Don’t be afraid of social media
It’s not complicated. There are some great apps to manage all your ads, which also provide excellent metrics. We use AdEspresso, which is part of the Hootsuite range.
2. Integrate your marketing
Make sure your SEO and digital marketing operate hand in glove with each other and with other marketing channels such as traditional advertising and public relations. Avoid stove-piping.
3. Seek out alternative sources of finance
If you’re going to bootstrap a business, cashflow will be a challenge, so be alert to opportunities to access cash quickly.
Get in touch today to find out about funding options to help finance your business’s recovery planning which may be available to you.
If you want to learn more about camel milk and its magical skin revitalisation, visit www.camelife.com.au.
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