Melbourne born & brewed, Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea, was crowned ‘Best New Global Tea Start-up’ in October’s World Tea Awards, held in the US.
Proudly founded by Melbourne business woman and tea-enthusiast Sam Arcadipane, the hybrid beauty brand was bound for success after the launch of its world’s first collagen-infused tea bags in February 2020.
Here’s our chat with Sam.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I was inspired to start Fusspot Collagen Beauty Teas because I am an avid tea drinker, and I was drinking so many cups of tea per day – it compelled me to research the benefits of drinking tea. I was amazed by the incredible health benefits of tea for your body, your skin and your wellbeing. Tea is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols and catechins and I thought “Why is no-one marketing tea as a beauty product!?” I had also been reading and hearing a lot about hydrolyzed collagen peptides at the same time. I’m getting older and I was curious about collagen, and then it dawned on me – “What if I could make a product that has the boost of both tea and collagen?”.
Then I started the journey to actually create the product. How do I actually infuse tea with collagen and make this viable, because I bet there’s heaps of other women out there just like me, who would be interested in managing their ageing process, who love tea, and who would also like this product!
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I have always wanted my own business, but had just never found the ‘thing’ that got me hooked and compelled enough to leave my corporate career. I have always loved working in large companies and managing a team, so it wasn’t like I was unhappy. I had started many business plans, and had many ideas, but none inspired me enough to really sink my teeth (and my personal funds) into these ideas. When I conceptualized Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea as a new type of beauty hybrid product, I thought – this is going to be challenging, but it is really something that I believe in, and want to drive forward with. It essentially started as something that I wanted to drink!
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
My main advice is just take the plunge and not to let fear hold you back from feeling too scared to do it. It is a huge leap to leave a secure job in a company where not only the salary is guaranteed, but you have all the resources that come with a company that’s already established.
Taking that plunge is extremely debilitating and I know so many people that have put it off, and somewhere down the track they’ve seen their exact idea come to life with another entrepreneur and they always say “I wish I had done that back then”. So, the best advice I can offer is put your fears in your back pocket and leap!
Of-course you need to be mindful of your finances, personal funds, resources, the available time you’re going to invest in the business as well as into profitable and ‘dead’ areas, and of course put a plan together! Your plan needs to be flexible and nimble to pivot, with a budget and expenditure plan, and also a timeline so you’re working through the plan. You should outline all your checklists to ensure that you’re covering everything you need to do – such as setting up domain names before finalizing your brand, getting trademarks, having a clear vision and getting a style guide in place to stick to your vision, setting your mission and brand values, getting help where you need it or outsourcing, as well as building a robust launch plan. All these things will ensure a smoother transition from an ‘idea’ or concept, to a physical business/brand/product.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I believe it’s all about self-motivation and determination. If you have the drive and belief in your product, business, or idea, you will push it forward. The set of skills you really need to develop is around the fact that you become an all-rounder and ‘jack-of-all-trades’ – you’ll need to know the bare minimum across financials, marketing, product, IT, computers, digital and logistics. Another skill you’ll require is being able to find solutions you need – so being resourceful is important – google things, ask questions, get help, join forums, and don’t give up – the answers are always out there, so you need to be resourceful and resilient to keep ploughing forward even if you don’t know how to do something.
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
I always admire entrepreneurs that have started a business that may or may not be a new concept but have found a new way to look at day to day things. Canva is a great example where she’s built this incredible tool for everyone, but graphic design has always been around – she’s simply revolutionized it and created a super-charged software program for everybody to use easily!
Same with Dyson, he developed a new type of vacuum cleaner that revolutionized the entire industry where vacuum cleaners still do the very same function, but he extended that into a clever appliance, and also grew the market and the entire industry. Clever people with a clever concept for something that already exists, but who enhance that function or product.
What was the best advice that you have been given?
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
What do you think your key to success has been?
Hard work. Determination. Resilience. Being able to think outside the box. These are the keys to any new business. I believe in what I’m offering and I hope that Fusspot Collagen Beauty Tea grows as I continue to work hard and smart across all facets of my business and find new opportunities.
How have you personally measured your success?
So far, in eight months of operating, (and two years since concept), I’ve appeared in numerous publications, had heaps of great consumer reviews and received awesome product reviews, have gained a multitude of followers on socials, have had many international orders, gained some Australian wholesale orders, and have also won a World Tea Award for the “Best New Tea Startup Globally”. So, I haven’t yet made a million dollars, but I’m realistic about what is successful at what stage you’re in across a company’s lifecycle.
Fusspot Collagen Beauty Teas are not even one year old, but I feel proud of where the business is at in such a short timeframe, and having launched at the start of a global pandemic! I could measure success from sales alone, but I know that I’ve come so far from the scribbled piece of butchers paper that I started brainstorming with two years ago when I didn’t even know if this concept could be possible, and when every supplier said “it can’t be done, it’s impossible” and I didn’t even have a brand name! So that’s how I measure my success so far in this journey along with amazing feedback how I’ve changed people’s lives, that’s satisfaction and success rolled up right there – and these elements are what I’m most grateful for.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
There’s always going to be some things you either hate or don’t like doing, don’t understand how to do it, don’t have the knowledge how to do it, or just need an expert to get it done right. In these areas – outsource! Outsourcing will most often save you time and money in the long term, and free you up to do the things you are good at.
How do you generate new ideas?
I’m always thinking about the business. It’s a 24/7 thing. I’ll see something and it’ll inspire me, so I’ll write it down, I keep lists of ideas, I read a lot, I google a lot! It’s an evolution and I’m always thinking how to add more value to my customers or how can I improve something. Keep reading, staying abreast of trends, watch other business models and always remain open-minded.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The hours, flexibility, freedom! Also, not having to do big monthly board reports, or attend multiple daily meetings, and being able to work in the areas I believe are important without having to cross check against another team’s business objectives first. It’s completely liberating.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
I think I’d have to say that now having started my own business, I admire all business owners knowing that they too started right here, at the very beginning where I’m at now. It’s hard work, and I have a deep appreciation of small business owners across all industries. I don’t have a favourite, but I certainly watch many and see them grow and it’s inspiring!
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I’d love to say that Fusspot Collagen Beauty Teas in ten years will become a global player, have a fabulous team working in a super cool warehouse with a big, bright hot pink entrance. We’ll have won more global awards, we’ll have extended the range, and most importantly, we’ll have thousands of loyal and extremely happy and glowing customers.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
I’m extremely lucky to say that all my friends and female family members are highly independent, driven, smart and successful women. I actually can’t think of one of my girlfriends who isn’t brilliant in their own way or in their own career, or with their own financial freedom. They have all been extremely supportive, offering advice, and shown so much excitement for Fusspot Tea since launching.
What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?
Balance is vital. I allow myself to have down days as it’s extremely important to have days where you’re ‘slow’ or a bit ‘lazy’ and fluff around. I used to feel guilty on those days, and they are few and far between, but considering I’m working 7 days a week, work long and late hours, always thinking about the business and I’m always switched on via my mobile being as an eComms business.
I sat back and said to myself one day, “If I want to sleep in a bit, or go for a lunchtime walk, or meet a friend at a café, or simply not do anything today, then that’s ok too”. It is extremely important to me to have balance and do fun things, see family and friends, go out and chat about life, get out in the world, get to the beach, travel, and enjoy my life – that keeps me balanced and in turn keeps me extremely motivated – because for me it’s all about work hard, play hard and enjoying life.
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
I’m lucky enough to say that my friends understand work-life constraints. Most of my friends are in senior corporate roles or GM roles, and many are entrepreneurs, so they’re mostly working just as long and hard, and totally get it.
What makes your business unique?
I spent over 12 months sourcing the world for the best suppliers of teas and collagen, and then spent months developing the process and technique to infuse organic teas with collagen. I believe Fusspot Collagen Beauty Teas are the only environmentally friendly teabags infused with collagen in the world – which makes them unique. Plus, I would have to say my branding is completely unique and bold, sassy and striking. Fusspot Teas are not just an ordinary tea brand, Fusspot Teas are a new hybrid beauty supplement product, and they are a completely new and unique concept.
What keeps you going in difficult times?
Stop. Don’t panic, try not to stress, go do something fun, get out of the house, meet a friend, read a book, go for a walk and switch your attention. Difficult times often mean I phone a friend or catchup and chat it through with them. Usually this helps find a solution, calm me down, or offer an alternative direction. Difficult times have come and gone, and I like to remind myself that I’ve gotten through them all, and I’ll continue to do so with the next difficult turn.
What keeps you up at night?
I’m a night owl, so I’m always up very late working anyway, but if occasionally I can’t sleep it’s usually worrying about something that often doesn’t even happen! I am trying to stop worrying and preempting something that hasn’t even happened yet and may never happen.
How do you handle doubt?
We all have doubt. Every new business is a risk! Timing, finances, product, niche, supply – I mean there’s so many facets that could go wrong, or that you get wrong and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. However, doubts and that negative self-talk are self-destructive! I try to remind myself of all the amazing things that have happened when I have any doubts and remember the glass half full mentality. I’m a very optimistic and positive person, so I believe we have to have a little ownership of doubts and pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and say to yourself “If my friend asked me this when they were in doubt about their business, what would I say to them? I’d probably say you’re doing an amazing job, believe in yourself and push forward – you’ll get there!”, so why wouldn’t I say the very same thing to myself?