Frankly speaking with Jess Hatzis

What’s not to love about coffee? It’s rich, smooth and delicious. It’s also the key ingredient in frank body Original Coffee Scrub, a product that was born in the kitchen of Jess Hatzis and her four business partners, and rapidly achieved cult status for achieving soft, supple skin.

Such was the success of this product, frank body expanded to include a range of body and face creams and scrubs. In what has been aptly described as ‘the frank effect,’ they have been increasing in popularity worldwide. 

A self-confessed espresso and red wine enthusiast, Jess was recently named in Forbes’ 30 under 30, she travels the world speaking at beauty summits, and also just won the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award for Australian businesswomen, along with her business partner. She is also a writer by trade and co-founder and creative director of both Willow & Blake, a creative agency, and frank body. GCT recently caught up with the Melbourne-born and bred Jess, who’s family hails from Thessaloniki on her father’s side, to talk about her tremendous success and all things frank body.

What have been key influences in determining your career path?

In all honesty, following my intuition. I strongly believe that my gut feelings are the ones to listen to and it’s what has lead me to where I am now. My encouraging parents and select teachers definitely helped me to hone my love of writing.

How did the idea for frank body come about?

It all began after one of my co-founders Steve came to us with an idea – a body scrub made out of coffee. We started mixing recipes in our kitchens and covering ourselves in this stuff that looked like dirt. We felt absolutely ridiculous. And soft. This stuff worked like no other product we had ever tried, made from natural ingredients with no microbeads and no claims it couldn’t live up to. Simply, it made you feel great. It all grew from there, learning about trademarks, manufacturing, international subsidiaries – you name it. I am so lucky I have amazing co-founders and staff.

Did you anticipate that success and cult status of the brand would come as quickly as it did?

Never in a million years. We’re so lucky to have amazing customers that support us and a wonderful team that make it all happen.

Have you always been interested in beauty products? What is your favourite frank body product?

I guess I always have, but I’d never call myself a beauty junkie. I like trying new things, experimenting with products whether they be DIY or off the shelf. I have a few favourite frank body products: The Cacao Coffee Scrub because it leaves my skin so soft. The Lip Duo because I’ve had dry lips ever since I was a little girl and the Face Scrub – for instantly glowing skin.

What inspires you?

I try to find inspiration everywhere. I love fashion and art. I read a lot, watch films, and listen to lots of podcasts about random topics. I ask questions because the reality is that I know about .0001% of what there is to know about the world.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?

There have been a few amazing things I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. Launching our brand into Mecca Cosmetica last year was incredible. Being named in the Forbes 30 under 30 last year was also the most exciting and humbling accolade. I recently gave a speech at this year’s WWD Beauty CEO Summit in the US, where 230 beauty industry leaders gathered for 3 days of intense discussions and analysis. It was a great experience.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?

Every day is challenging in its own way, but trying to grow into a leader and learn how to effectively guide and manage my team has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. I don’t think I was quite prepared for that.

How did the idea of the frank character come about? Was it a challenge agreeing on his style and tone amongst the five of you?

We knew we couldn’t dress this product up in bells and whistles, after all you could make something quite similar with ingredients from your kitchen. So we knew we needed a brand that people wanted to buy into, before they fell in love with the products. We wanted to be open, approachable, honest. We wanted to be frank. And so he was born, our loveable main man – the Chief babe in the office of the dirtiest brand on the internet.

You recently became stocked in Mecca Cosmetica stores? Did this feel like a huge coup, and how did this partnership come about?

We met with Jo (founder of Mecca Cosmetica, Jo Horgan) in late 2014 to ask for her advice as a respected pioneer in the Australian beauty industry. She and her whole team were so lovely and generous with their time. The relationship grew organically from there, but the launch surpassed all of our expectations.

frank body was the first company to package coffee scrub products. In the past year  many new brands have come on the market with coffee-based exfoliants. What do you make of these competitors and how do you stay ahead of the rest?

I try not to worry about them and mostly take pride in the fact that we led the way in new category development. As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery – right? We focus on what we’re doing next and what our customers want.

What is one piece of advice you have been given along the way that has stayed with you?

Risk it for the biscuit – from my co-founder and best friend, Bree.

Being in charge of 2 successful companies, in a climate of 24/7 social media, how do you manage a work/life balance?

A healthy mix of exercise, wine, coffee and meditation.

What does 2017 have in store for frank body and Jess Hatzis?

2017 sees us move into retail in the US and a lot of product development. I can’t tell you too much, but it’s very exciting. Stay tuned.

Gina Mamouzelos

Gina is a third generation Greek Australian who grew up immersed in her Greek heritage, including the language, traditions, culture and listening to her grandparent’ mesmerising tales about life in Greece. Passionate about ensuring the Greek language is not forgotten among the younger generations, in 2002 she became a panel member on the SBS Greek radio show ‘Let’s Talk Openly.' She graduated with a Media and Communications degree from the University of Sydney and has put her lifelong passion for writing to use working in social media, public relations and advertising. Gina now joins GCT's team as a writer.

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