Taking chances and nailing the market
“Believe in your idea and run with it. You never know – you may just nail it.” – Kyle Stevens, Founder, repriced.co.za
Kyle Stevens, the founder of repriced.co.za knows better than most that starting a new venture takes so much more than passion. You need real perseverance, self-belief and rock-solid commitment to navigate the choppy waters of steering a fledgling business through the first few years. You also need cold hard cash to stay afloat.
After all, he took the plunge during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, when all odds were stacked against him – and lived to tell the tale.
Out with the old
In November 2020 while he was working as a sales representative for a company that sold industrial products, Kyle was earning a living selling welding machines, abrasives and, importantly for our story, industrial chemicals. Over time, the management team realised the same company that manufactured these industrial chemicals also supplied chemicals to the beauty industry, and seeing an opportunity to grow the business, his boss made a decision to start supplying salon clients with the cleaning consumables and chemicals they needed to create their beauty products.
Shortly afterwards, the brand they marketed to their salon clients expanded to include shampoos and conditioners, and the company decided to open a retail store to sell these directly to customers in low-income areas. Recognising the opportunity, Kyle proposed expanding this to an online store – but the executive team were not quite ready to make this leap.
Kyle knew he was onto something though and promptly resigned to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and create something of his own.
Luck and timing make an opportunity
“I think Lady Luck steered me in the right direction from the start,” says Kyle. “Looking back, the timing was good as people were just emerging from lockdown and were really cash strapped. Also, the pandemic pushed the fast-forward button on e-commerce and digitisation of services, and online shopping was fast becoming the norm for South Africans.
“My vision right from the beginning was to create a high-value online store, and definitely within the beauty industry – although I had no related qualification behind me. I just needed to find the gap in the market that would set my platform apart. Within weeks I came across a supplier of cosmetic products – a well-known international brand – who offered me stock at a remarkably low price, provided I invested in a certain amount. This would enable me to sell the product well below the market price. I decided that this would be my USP – and so the repriced.co.za Discount Store was born with the tagline ‘Your No. 1 Destination for Beauty Products & Nail Products in South Africa’.”
Unlocking the digital world
Kyle knew that the presentation and navigation of the website were key to the success of the business, and he decided on a simple and uncluttered design. In January 2021 he launched his website, supported by a Facebook advertising campaign. “Within a day I had my first sale,” he says. “In January I turned a profit of R3 000, and doubled this in February, with the same trajectory in the six months that followed.”
Towards the end of July 2021 Kyle saw that nail care was his most profitable product line and his research showed that women between the ages of 25 and 55 years were his core clientele. “My girlfriend Lucilia is the inspiration behind our nail care kit range,” he explains. “She is a beautiful woman and loves to keep her nails in immaculate condition. Her monthly visit to the salon is her one indulgence. It’s a really big expense though.”
A chance to do it yourself
This sparked the idea of investing in DIY gel-nail kits that women could apply themselves in the comfort of their own homes at a fraction of the price of a salon set. “I realised that I was onto something big, and, with the help of funding from Retail Capital I invested in 10 gel-nail starter kits which included a UV lamp for drying the nails. These sold out on the first day of my Facebook advertising campaign”, he enthuses. “I quickly cornered the market and started to build my own kits, which were much more profitable – in fact, sales doubled after that. I then expanded on nail products I offered, like varnish, gel polishes and tips and nail tools, and with this, my business has seen a steady upward climb.”
Since then, Kyle has renamed the business to just repriced.co.za, and has shown year-on-year growth of 127%. Repriced.co.za turned over total revenue of R1.1 million in 2021 and just under R2 million so far in 2022.
Putting power into people’s hands
Kyle attributes much of his business success to keeping his finger on the pulse of trends in the beauty industry and staying in touch with his clientele.
“This may seem strange coming from a man who prides himself on his own masculinity, but a lot of my business satisfaction comes from knowing that there are thousands of women all around the country sporting salon-quality nails without having to go to the expense of a salon visit. Not only does repriced.co.za make nail care affordable for everyone, something we are really excited to explore is creating the opportunity for women to start their own home salons where they can offer this service at a low cost to their friends and family using our products. I am even thinking of creating an online course.”
Speaking on behalf of all the well-groomed and impeccably manicured ladies out there, we’d say he has well and truly “nailed it”.