Almost two years ago, COVID-19 reared its head as a mysterious virus wielding enough power to make or break an entire business. For BWX, the leading wellness and beauty brand saw the pandemic as an opportunity, rather than a threat.
Within those first weeks when the world began shutting down, BWX Group CEO and Managing Director Dave Fenlon tells The CEO Magazine the business rose to adversity.
"COVID has challenged businesses to pivot in places they didn’t expect to turn, and at BWX, we truly took it in our stride," Fenlon says. "BWX’s agility was on full display with the development of a natural and effective Sukin hand sanitiser within three weeks."
While it’s been yet another challenging year for businesses worldwide, it still hasn’t stopped BWX from reaching great new heights. So much so, the company increased revenue by 8.6 per cent in the past year*.
Not only did the natural beauty house host two capital raisings, but it also welcomed two new Australian brands to its portfolio of natural skin care – Flora & Fauna and Go-To Skincare.
"The past 18 months have been a period of resilience and growth for BWX, and I’m immensely proud of the BWX team’s demonstration of agility to manage through the challenges of COVID," Fenlon says. "BWX has hosted two capital raisings, which have contributed towards a direct reinvestment in our business, with a particular focus on expanding our house of natural beauty and wellness brands, and building our soon-to-be completed manufacturing facility to enhance and sustain long-term growth."
Striving to create greater access to natural skin care, Fenlon believes the two newest brands under the BWX umbrella will continue fuelling this mission – and its sights are set on global expansion.
"With Flora & Fauna and Go-To, BWX is well underway to achieving our plans for global expansion with an omnichannel approach to deliver natural to as many customers as possible – domestically and globally," he says. "We have worked hard to expand our strategic partnerships with retailers across the globe, achieving distribution gains and connecting with more consumers – both instore and online."
One of the pillars driving BWX’s pandemic success was its focus on selling direct to consumers. And it’s this avenue that accounts for one-third of the company’s total revenue.
As the Australian-based venture aims for worldwide reach, it will likely be faced with the competitive – and at times relentless – beauty sector. In a space with so much noise, how exactly will it set itself apart?
"We aim to lead the global natural beauty and wellness revolution by creating nourishing and highly efficacious products developed from natural ingredients that are great for both people and the planet," Fenlon explains. "We’re seeing many more synthetic brands step into this space, and we are excited to see them follow us in this movement.
"Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ingredients they use, the environmental impacts, and the steps they can take to create a more sustainable lifestyle.
"We want to foster this movement and create products that empower people with nourished bodies while benefiting the planet."
And people truly are at the heart of BWX. With years of seasoned leadership experience, Fenlon knows the power of success lies within the people – both outside and inside the company.
"People come first and I’m a firm believer in being better together," he says. "We should foster the insights of our people, value their knowledge, and give them the tools to innovate."
Celebrating the crucial cogs behind any successful company makes accolades like The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards all the more important. And as a major supporter, BWX is hoping to celebrate the triumphs of 2021.
"The Awards recognise and reward those who have achieved meaningful change through leadership," Fenlon says. "After fronting such a challenging year, this appreciation deserves recognition.
"We’re itching for the opportunity to connect with our fellow Australian businesses. To celebrate each other’s successes and getting through the twists of another lockdown year is definitely something to raise a glass to."
"It’s a privilege to network with passionate, hard-working leaders who strive to build their business and teams to become the best they can be," he shares.
*FY Revenue reported on a constant currency basis