7 ways to slay it in e-tail, from the co-founder of SkinnyMint, BodyBoss Emily Hamilton

Twin sister duo, Emily and Sarah Hamilton of Supernova. (PHOTO: Supernova)
Twin sister duo, Emily and Sarah Hamilton of Supernova. (PHOTO: Supernova)

By: Susanah Cheok

SINGAPORE — Everyone has a super-power – how latent or weak it is, depends on whether we leave it dormant, or take time and effort to hone it, like how Emily Hamilton, the co-founder of Supernova, does hers — that of turning everything she brings to e-commerce (so far), into gold.

Supernova’s meteoric success since its inception in 2013 has been the stuff of e-tail legends, and much of it stems from the fact that this compact Singapore-based global company believes in re-imagining the way their products are made and sold: Supernova’s customised 360-approach to bringing ideas to life and into fruition as products for consumers, means they are with their end-users every step of the way.

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With co-founder, Alex Ostrowski, and a lean but latent leadership team of Managing Directors, twin sister Sarah Hamilton, and Albert Chong, Emily has closed the loop, and the loopholes and efficiency gaps in the e-tail process, to bring 4 symbiotic beauty, health and fitness brands to consumers around the world.

With offices in Australia, the UK, India, and now Singapore, this mini conglomerate (each country office employs no more than 200 staff) has thought of everything in terms of game-changing product ideation and development, engaging branding and packaging, super-star content-driven social media marketing, e-commerce storefront optimisation, delay-free international shipping (they ship to 71 countries), and responsive, customer-centred service and solutions. Crucially, Supernova owns and controls nearly all of these steps from its offices around the globe, including its headquarters in Singapore.

Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay. (PHOTO: Supernova)
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay. (PHOTO: Supernova)

Individually, Supernova’s beloved lifestyle brands are wildly popular. There’s a high chance that you might already be enjoying the products from these 4 bold, ballsy labels, with products that customers are claiming truly work: BodyBoss, a global fitness and nutrition marque that teaches customers worldwide how to conveniently slim down and tone up through its easy nutrition and fitness guides; Sand & Sky, a revolutionary Australian pink clay mask that detoxes skin, refines pores and clarifies the complexion after just one use; SkinnyMint, also known as “tasty teatox for instant energy and zero bloat” or that flat tummy effect; and Coco & Eve, a Bali-inspired coconut hair mask that nourishes, conditions and transforms damaged hair into its former silken glory.

But this is just the start of even bigger things to come -- in the pipeline are 100 new products that will raise the bar for the company and complement Supernova’s look good, feel great philosophy, the better for Supernova to rake in wider e-commerce influence in the worldwide web and the real world.

Indeed, Supernova’s Emily says it as she slays it. Here’s how:

Develop Social Presence

Community is where the sharing, influencing and passing on of information starts. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth, which is even more powerful online. Think of it as the village chatter, except exponentially globally bigger and more viral.

Identifying and developing community on social, says Emily, “starts with creating amazing content. We create our own consumer brands and we have built a unique content strategy around it. It really is about creating high quality or interesting content. Then you can experiment and really see what works and what doesn’t, as you get statistics in your account. So you know what people like and what they don’t, pretty quickly!”

She should know. To date, Supernova has over 70 million video views across social media and 1.4 million Facebook followers. “There has also been a huge move to discovering products on YouTube and through influencers. It’s a big change. And as a result, customers nowadays are more willing to try new things,” she adds.

Coco & Eve. (PHOTO: Supernova)
Coco & Eve. (PHOTO: Supernova)

Collaborate with Customers

Supernova does that with a lot of success, because doing so results in products that cater to customers’ needs. Happy customers, happy statistics.

“Instagram (in particular) is an extremely valuable tool for us. It allows us to market directly to our global customers and reach new audiences on a daily basis. Our target market (Gen-now) is an engaged bunch, and we like to include our customers in the product development process. We don’t believe in prototypes, instead, our designers will mock up a concept and we’ll put it to the ‘panel’ through social media. If the responses are positive, we we’ve hit the nail on the head, and will move forward, acknowledging and taking on all feedback,” says Emily.

Start Small, but Start

Supernova is well-known for its “lean methodology”. The magic formula is two parts patience and discipline, one-part fortitude. Explains Emily, “We started this with Sand and Sky, where we ran the brand like a start-up, producing enough to sell and then only re-ordering once we were confident I the sales numbers. The team went through a process of unlocking budget once we reached each milestone and it was great fun.”

Inculcate Team Excellence

“It boils down to culture -- something that is really important to us. Since day dot, we’ve wanted to create a company where our staff would love coming to work. We are invested in our team, and try to go out of our way to make sure they’re relaxed, laughing and enjoying life! Happy teams are the secret to outward excellence,” extols Emily.

Emily Hamilton. (PHOTO: Supernova)
Emily Hamilton. (PHOTO: Supernova)

Stay Customer-Centric

Emily believes they have dodged the competition because “we have cracked the code to building global indie brands. Our brands aren’t built in a boardroom, they’re made collaboratively with our customers and that’s what sets us apart. We do not compete against any brand. Our brand strategies are created based on carving out a unique niche and meeting a unique customer need. It really comes down to the power of ideas. If you really focus on a niche, or you focus on creating something original and unique in the market, then you can capture market share. Social media really breaks down that barrier -- you can first see and experience the product through someone else you trust, whether it is your friend, or a minor influencer, or a celebrity.”

Talk About It

Good ideas are a team effort, so Emily encourages and promotes the sharing of opinions from all quarters at Supernova. “One of our company’s cultural values is Talk About It, so we simply talk about issues before they escalate. It’s hard not to have an opinion on all aspects of the business, but it isn’t seen as stepping on toes. Instead it shows how much we care about the overall success of the business. It’s team effort, so despite having individual roles, we are all striving towards the same thing,” proffers Emily.

Be Trendy

SG, and Asia as a whole is where fresh ideas are sprouting currently. “We have had a lot of success in Singapore. Shoppers are very savvy, discovering the best from Korea, Europe and the US, plus many other brands and products from Asia,” says Emily. “Asia is ahead of trends for beauty in many ways, so it is a place we can source ideas and learn future trends we can bring to the US.”

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