This week, we talk to Xixi Liu and Allen Fu, co-founders of CheekyGlo, a one-of-a-kind exfoliating glove rooted in Asian bathing rituals. Taking inspiration from something that was part of her culture, Xixi, with the help of her friend Allen, decided to bring it over what is considered a novel concept over to Australia, launching the product in October last year. Despite the challenging business climate in the initial period, CheekyGlo managed to achieve remarkable growth thanks in part to utilising social media, particularly TikTok, to promote the product, achieving 100K in their first four months.
Inside FMCG: What inspired you to bring the idea of an exfoliating glove to the Australian market?
XL: Our hero product, the CheekyGlo exfoliating glove has been something I have been using all my life, as part of my culture. In Harbin (China), where my family are from, it’s a ritual to go to the local bath-house and get a full-body scrub. These gloves really help target skin conditions like keratosis pillars, ingrown hairs, dry skin, and even removes old fake tan! I noticed that I couldn’t find anything comparable in Australia and that’s when I decided to create my own version that’s easily accessible and that’s how CheekyGlo was born.
Inside FMCG: Were you concerned about how the market will respond to something as foreign as an exfoliating glove and how did you overcome those initial concerns?
XL: I was concerned about the learning curve that the foreign market might have as the product is not something that is widely known in Australia, however, I was confident in the effectiveness of the glove, and made sure to properly educate our customers. This meant that we made a lot of content focusing on the effective use of the product, the processes, and included these in the packaging, our social media, our website, and more. Because we prioritised educating our customers, we have been able to effectively help so many people experience the amazing benefits of our glove.
Inside FMCG: How helpful was social media, especially TikTok, in the growth and success of the product?
XL: TikTok was tremendously helpful as it gave us an audience and helped generate exposure for the brand. It is an incredible tool that allows people from all over the world to meet your brand, and your product. The fact that TikTok is a visual platform meant that we were able to quickly showcase the immediate effects of our product, and this has also translated to a lot of growth for us internationally. If you’re not on TikTok, you’re missing out!
Inside FMCG: Aside from that social media push, what do you think is the secret to CheekyGlo’s success in such a short period?
AF: CheekyGlo’s success can be attributed to teamwork, execution and great messaging. We were able to quickly create the framework to our business and bring it to market with speed in order to test our idea and product. Launching with an MVP (minimum viable product) was extremely helpful for us to test our website and product. Combined with our brand messaging and our vision to make selfcare normal, we really did try to account for all variables at launch. We’re extremely grateful for the support of friends and family who shared and supported our brand since inception. From there social media allowed us to reach the world.
Inside FMCG: What future plans do you hope CheekyGlo could achieve in the next two years?
XL I really envision CheekyGlo to be a house-hold name, so that the brand can really make more impact on people’s self-care and beauty routines. I get messages every day about how our products have transformed our customer’s skin and confidence, and I really
just want to magnify our impact.
AF: This is really just the beginning. We also want to focus more of our resources on educating the importance of self-care not just for women, but also men. Being a man myself, I noticed that there aren’t many brands advocating the importance of man-care, so
I really want to make an impact in that area with the brand. So that’s a really exciting avenue that we are exploring.
Inside FMCG: What advice can you share to others who may have a product idea that they wish to bring to the market?
XL: Research if there is a demand for the product, and if that demand exists beyond yourself and your friends. Sometimes we think that products are amazing ourselves, and convince ourselves that just because we like it, that everyone else will like it too. So be sure that there is a real demand, and once you are sure of that, do everything possible to market it to your ideal audience.
AF: Ask yourself, what will add immense value and solve a painful problem in your life right now? From there ask the question to 10 close friends, 10 acquaintances and 10 strangers and see if they all feel the same as you. If they do, from there begin to search for the product or research and develop the product you want to bring to market. And, as always, test, test, test again and again and adjust with each rendition. Your theory is only as good as the real-world application it brings.