A luxury skincare brand in the Vale of Glamorgan took over five times as many orders in a week having made their website more customer-friendly, allowing it to keep trading and donate vital handwashing kits to the NHS and other organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since launching in 2018, The Goodwash Company has taken its luxury skincare products from a kitchen table in Barry to the shelves and washrooms of John Lewis and Michelin-starred restaurants, working with ethical suppliers and donating to community projects and charities that help people and animals along the way. However, Covid-19 threw up an unprecedented challenge.
“To ensure we survived as a business, we had to do something different to make it work”
“We were all geared up to be selling in John Lewis, Harrods and were busy planning our first ever Goodwash store,” explains co-founder Kelly Davies. This was just after Christmas, with the pandemic slowly making international news.
Fast forward to March 2020 and as lockdown was announced, Goodwash shifted its operations entirely in-house, with stock taking over every available nook and cranny. But with almost three-quarters of the business’s income coming from trade with bars and restaurants, focus quickly turned to how the team could sustain the business through a turbulent time.
Like many Welsh businesses, Goodwash were asking questions like “how can we keep going? What will happen to our sales? Will we be able to stay open and continue to deliver to our customers? How can we cover the gigantic loss of trade sales for our business?”
Mandy Powell, Goodwash co-founder and commercial lead, says: “The Goodwash Company have sold products online since our launch in 2018, but at the time of lockdown it only made up a quarter of our income. To ensure we survived as a business, we had to do something different to make it work.”
As the importance of washing hands to stop the spread of Covid-19 became more apparent, Goodwash’s range of handwash products become not only a luxury, but a potential lifesaver.
“We started by developing a specific online campaign (#washyourhands) and launched a ‘buy one give one soap for key workers,’ as well as donating over 10,000 washes to key workers during phase one of lockdown.”
“With sales increasing, we had to make sure our website could cope with the new influx of visitors”
As Goodwash moved their marketing online, so did their customers. Following the week lockdown was announced, online sales immediately skyrocketed by 500% as people looked for ways of staying safe. However, the increase in sales posed its own challenges.
Mandy adds: “With sales increasing, we had to make sure our website could cope with the new influx of visitors. First thing was making sure it was set-up for e-commerce, so we added plugins for PayPal and other payment forms.
“The next step was looking at how people use the site and our customer journey through the website. We started looking at where they dropped off and how we could remove barriers to help them make a purchase.”
As online activity continued, effective social media management became more important than ever. With an authentic brand focus on providing a social good, Goodwash’s online presence was already strong. But managing it, particularly when trying to keep other areas of the business going during lockdown, was tricky.
After signing up for an Advanced Digital Marketing webinar with Superfast Business Wales, the company took what they learned and put their digital plan into action. Kelly says: “The webinar was really good. Not only did it give us the knowledge, but the facilitator used real life examples so we could apply that knowledge to our own business.
“After the webinar, we had a 1:1 with our digital business adviser Catrin Williams, where we put together an action plan to make sure we could navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic with confidence.”
As well as installing digital confidence, Goodwash took on social media management tool Hootsuite to ensure they could still reach out to customers and see how they were interacting with the brand during the initial lockdown period.
“This crisis has shown, among many things, that the future is digital”
Surviving lockdown not only meant Goodwash could keep trading, it meant they could continue to help others. They made over 15,000 handwash packs that customers donated to the NHS and vulnerable adults, whilst giving back to those who needed it most.
With a new flagship store and office space launched at the exciting new Goodsheds container village in Barry to showcase their products and deliver community-focused workshops, the future is certainly looking ‘good’ for Goodwash.
“We are now at the end of October and our trade orders are starting to pick up once more, and we are being approached by more stockists,” Mandy says. “The biggest challenge we have is managing to keep up with our sales growth at the moment, but we are currently developing strong plans for the new year.”
“This crisis has shown, among many things, that the future is digital,” says Kelly. “We’d definitely recommend Superfast Business Wales – businesses need all the help they can get to adapt and survive.”