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Honeybell Waterwear - Startup of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: Honeybell Waterwear, Oakleigh, VIC Australia
Company Description: Honeybell Waterwear, an Australian boutique sun protection clothing label for women has truly redefined the sun protection clothing industry, by offering women a stylish alternative to the unflattering and unfashionable surf-branded rash vests. Launched in September 2016, Honeybell Waterwear is truly making a splash and was recently awarded the National Small Business Champion for New Business.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Startup of the Year - Consumer Products Industries

Nomination Title: Honeybell Waterwear: Redefining Sun Protection Clothing

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Begin this section with the date since 1 January 2014 on which this organization began operations.

Who are we?

Launched in September 2016, Honeybell Waterwear is redefining sun protection for Australian women, with fashion focused UPF50+ rash guard designs. A stylish alternative to unflattering and unfashionable surf-branded rash guards.

Our customers are advocates for us...

Our referral program encourages our customers to share Honeybell Waterwear with their personal network via email or Facebook. Whilst we were told that it would take 4-6 months to build up referral momentum, after just one month we achieved a referral rate 2 times higher than the average in our industry.

Customer-made reviews about a product are trusted 12 times more than promotional marketing content. On average, less than 5% of online customers typically take the time to provide a review, however, to date, 23% of our customers have given us a written review. We have not paid for any reviews.

Customer service is our priority...

Customers don’t buy from Honeybell Waterwear based on our prices – so customer service and the experience of our customers is key to our ongoing success.

Throughout all interactions or touchpoints with Honeybell Waterwear our customers receive consistent luxe and highly personalised service – from the hand-written note sent out with every order to the personal Facebook chats we have with many customers about their body and skin insecurities.

As a result of our referral program, we also know, and can rank, who are advocates are. To date we reward are advocates small ways – from free gifts, to free shipping, to personal shout-outs on our Facebook page.

As a niche store, with only 4 designs, it is important that all designs are perfect. And, we know that what is perfect for one body is not perfect for another. As our designs are made to make women feel confident, beautiful and protected and we offer a free, no questions asked, returns & exchanges. We understand that it is no point in having dissatisfied customers – we want to build a community of sun safe and happy advocates for our brand.

We have built up an amazing and supportive community of like-minded women...

We have built a strong and engaged Instagram and Facebook community (where our customers spend their time) that discusses topics that are important to us – including advocating for sun safety, women’s issues, and general life musings as Australian mums.

On Facebook, we reached approximately 30,000 Australian women weekly during summer, and our fans (people who ‘like’ our page) grow by approximately 10% weekly. We are not paying for fans or page likes, making our fans 8 times most engaged than our closest competition.

On Instagram, we have enjoyed similar success, and after just 4 months of launching, we had the second largest Instagram following in our niche.

In order to reach a wider audience, we have also contributed as guest bloggers to a wide selection of ‘mummy blogs’ raising awareness of the importance of protecting yourself from sun exposure, including: Australian Mum, Mouths of Mums, Kid Magazine, Families Magazine, and Your Child Magazine to name a few. We received feedback from the owner of ‘Australian Mum’ that our article titled ‘Think rashies are just something we make our kids wear?’ is third highest shared article of all time on their social media platforms.

We are an externally recognised elite small business...

Honeybell Waterwear has been recognised as an elite Australian small business, winning a 2017 Australian Small Business Champions award for best New Business.

Honeybell Waterwear has also been named a finalist in the Brilliant Biz Mum Awards, for Best Innovative Product, recognising our ability to put a fashionable and modern twist on previously functional rash guards.

In addition, we have been nominated for a Monash Business Award in the micro category, and a Mother & Baby Award in the category of Most Popular Product for Mum.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this organization since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

1. Winner of the 2017 Australian Small Business Champions award (New Business category).
2. Finalist in the Brilliant Biz Mum Awards (Best Innovative Product category).
3. 2nd largest following on Instagram of all Australian sun protection clothing brands, achieved 4 months after launching.
4. Facebook fan page is 8 times most engaged than our closest competitor.
5. Referral program achieves a referral rate 2 times higher than the industry average.
6. 23% of our customers have provided a written review, compared to an industry average of less than 5%.
7. Average 5-star rating (out of 5 stars) from our customer reviews.
8. We only employ women-owned and operated Australian small businesses.
9. We advocate for sun safety and have been featured in over 50 local, national and international publications and blogs – an average of 2 articles each week since launching.
10. Redefined the sun protection clothing industry, putting a modern, fashionable twist on previously functional rash guards.

Of the following measures of success, which ONE do you want the judges to most appreciate about your organization's story of achievement since the beginning of 2016?

Customer Service