Why I started a business selling curated kits designed for “bad behavior”

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Laura Woods image
Laura Woods (founder)
Founded: June 2021
No of employees: 3
Location: Australia

Laura Woods is a freelance writer, publicist and the founder of Bad Habkits. Bad Habkits is a range of curated kits designed for bad behavior, which Laura feels many modern-day brands with an aspirational and well-behaved agenda fail to provide. Each kit contains beauty, novelty and safety essentials. They also make the perfect gift for that one wild, crazy friend in your life.

The kits aren’t just designed for fun – they contain essential items to keep you safe during nights out. Despite having ADHD and what Laura describes as “poor attention to detail,” the business is really taking off. She’s already planning her next Habkits, so watch this space for some exciting new products to come. We wanted to find out more, so we recently spoke to Laura to talk about her journey so far.

Who are you and what brand did you start?

I’m a freelance writer, publicist, and founder of Bad Habkits: Kits for One Nighters, All Nighters & Scattered Sundays. Bad Habkits is a range of curated kits created for ‘bad behavior.’ Each kit comes with a collection of beauty, novelty and safety essentials to do your night out, night in or next day properly.

We’re based in Sydney, Australia, and are targeting a Gen-Z to cusp the millennial market.

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BRAND IDEA - how did you come up with the idea for Bad Habkits?

The idea behind Bad Habkits resulted from several annoyances. I was tired of self-care brands and ‘millennial marketing’ always pushing an aspirational and ‘well-behaved’ agenda. I felt a disconnect between the reality of my generation’s experience (I’m in my 20s) - mistakes and messiness included - and youth marketing which felt out of touch.

Over Christmas, I had struggled to find affordable gifts for Secret Santa that weren't just a candle or bath soak. My frustrations with the self-care era and gift hunting sparked the idea of creating a line of products, perfect for the token party animal in every friendship group.

As a bit of a reformed party girl, I wanted to create a line that embraced the chaotic, wild elements of being young whilst also making safety ‘cool’. I had only ever seen brands tiptoe around themes of partying, sex and ‘bad behaviour’; despite it being a part of so many peoples lives.

And thus, Bad Habkits was born!

BRAND LAUNCH - take us through how you launched Bad Habkits.

Ideation to launch took 6 months. In hindsight, I could have slowed down but I was propelled by this motor-like energy and knew I’d burn out soon if I didn’t move fast and furiously.

Each Bad Habkit is compiled with 8 items - a mix of existing brands and products we customised in-house. This was the most time consuming task; scouring the Internet for products that aligned with our branding and messaging. I have a shocking eye for design, so I really relied on graphic designers and creatives to guide the product development.

My attention to detail always fails me. I had to really force myself to go over everything with a fine tooth comb. I also let impulsivity get the better of me, launching straight into partnership outreach before I’d even had a final product; spending recklessly without consulting my budget and so on. Chaos!

I launched with 100 kits due to budget constraints, relying predominantly on word of mouth and creative partnerships. I spent a few years working in nightclubs, so I began leveraging those connections to drive content and brand awareness on the party scene. Then Sydney lockdown hit and all nightlife activity was put on the back burner.

Online Store Setup - what are your top 2 tips (or pitfalls to avoid) for how to set up a successful Ecommerce store.

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ONLINE STORE SETUP - what are your top 2 tips for successful Ecommerce store setup.

  1. Feedback & finessing! It’s so easy to get overly excited, and put a product or website out before proper testing. A mentor once told me that the most valuable thing for a business owner to gain is feedback - more so than sales or publicity. I relied heavily on Instagram polling to gauge interest, however, it’s tricky when consulting friends. A lot of the time they’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear - bless them. Seek out friends-of-friends or strangers to test your website and encourage brutal feedback. There are some great small business Facebook groups that are super receptive to reviewing your site and sharing tips and tricks.
  2. Copywriting 101! There’s a fantastic copywriter called Alyce Greer at The Bossy Creative who really inspired me to understand the power of words. Often e-commerce copy can lack personality. I’ve noticed a lot of small businesses use their site servers template to send marketing emails and customer notifications. At Bad Habkits, I tried to pizazz each point of B2C communication, right down to the post-purchase feedback email. This is super important to create a relationship with your customers, make them smile and leave a lasting impression

CUSTOMER RETENTION - what has worked best to attract and retain customers?

Bad Habkits is positioned as the perfect gift for that one wild, crazy friend in your life. Either we have one, or we are one. As a result, I’m anticipating one-off gift purchases rather than repeated sales. Whilst customer loyalty is super important, my aim is to attract the social ringleaders - the customers with large friendship circles and busy social calendars.

SOCIAL - what are your top 2 tips for successful use of social media to engage with customers.

  1. Customer interaction - When I first started our Bad Habkits Instagram (@badhabkits), I felt ‘creepy’ following and engaging with my dream customers. However, as a small business, creating an early relationship with potential customers has been incredibly valuable in getting the word out. Don’t fear the DM!
  2. Micro-influencer gifting - This has been a great way to gain feedback and led to some great user-generated content.

BUSINESS GROWTH INSIGHTS - how has Bad Habkits changed and evolved?

It’s still early days for Bad Habkits, but I’m enjoying watching the customer journey through the sales funnel. It’s fascinating to watch the process from traffic to subscriber to sale. My primary focus is to now tinker with each step to convert attraction into interest into action.

FUTURE BUSINESS PLANS - how is Bad Habkits doing today and what does the future look like?

I’m extremely future-focused… Probably too much so!!

Before I had even launched the All Nighter Kit, I was already communicating with potential suppliers for the second and third kit. Once again, letting my impulsivity and task-prioritization shortfalls get in the way of the present!

I’m planning to release each kit in 4-6 month intervals. Up next will be the One Nighter Kit, a safe sex kit followed by the Scattered Sundays kit, a hangover recovery kit.

Then hopefully, international travel will be on the cards again and I can try my hand as an eComm business owner in New York City.

ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHTS - what has been your biggest learning experience since starting Bad Habkits?

Seek out the devil’s advocates in your life! My younger sister was extremely valuable in delivering brutally honest feedback. When you’re working on something so closely and passionately, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in this blinkers-wearing daze. It can be hard to see flaws in your model, and even harder to accept them.

ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS - what are the business software tools you couldn't live without?

Squarespace for making website building a breeze. Asana because I’m obsessed with making lists. Canva because… well, it's Canva.

See what tools other founders use here.

SELF DEVELOPMENT - what are the educational resources you’d recommend?

I’m such a sucker for a podcast, and always listen to one if I’m feeling a little deflated or unmotivated. I love The Bossy Type, Hack Your Own PR, The Startup Playbook Podcast, Fashion Originators, Next Generation Innovators, Lady Brains… the list is endless!

INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE ‘shout-out’ - who have been the most influential people for you during your brand journey?

I’ve started building some incredible business relationships that I’m very excited to nurture as I kick off marketing, content and partnership activity.

Georgia Drake, a fantastic copywriter in Melbourne, has been an absolute godsend. She’s given me so much knowledge about business strategy, marketing, social media and copywriting - who knew there was so much to do?!

FINAL WORDS OF INSPO - for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

I love this quote by Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl Buck. It perfectly encapsulates this fire within me coupled with extreme sensitivity. People always say that you need to be thick-skinned and ruthless to succeed as an entrepreneur however I disagree.

Being a sensitive person can be a blessing in disguise. Personally, it means I’m always thinking, observing and absorbing knowledge.

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creation of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”

Latest offers & promotions - where can we go to learn more about your latest offers and promotions?

The All-Nighter Kit is now available for purchase at www.badhabkits.com

About the All Nighter Kit - the All Nighter Kit is your partner in crime for late nights, house parties and underground raves. Inspired by those you befriended in club bathrooms, the after-party strangers that turned into family and the midnight muses taking the dancefloor by storm.

 What’s inside?

  • Bae Juice.
  • Blotting paper.
  • Charles + Lee lip balm.
  • L’Ascari perfume.
  • Mints.
  • Nightcap.
  • Safe partying cards.
  • Convo-starter lighter stickers.

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