From Building on The Block to Brand Building with al.ive body Founders | #360

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Alisa and Lysandra tame the forecasting beast, talk epic warehouse moves and the art of decision-making.

Ep 360 Alisa and Lysandra Fraser

Born and raised in South Australia by a resilient single mother, Alisa and Lysandra Fraser were instilled with a strong work ethic and an unyielding determination from an early age. The Block unveiled their hidden talent for interior design and enabled them to establish Alisa & Lysandra Interiors. In 2020, they boldly launched al.ive body, a personal care brand, driven by their quest for soap that complements their design projects. Within 3 years, al.ive body expanded to include home care and baby products, surpassing expectations.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Alisa and Lysandra Fraser, co-founders of al.ive body

Alisa and Lysandra started the brand in 2020 just as COVID hit Australia and today they have 50 product lines, 750 stockists and an estimated 2024 turnover of $22 million.  We do chat briefly about their success on The Block back in 2013, but the pair have done so much more since then.  They share their stand out learnings from a recent warehouse relocation, how they approach decision-making as twin sisters and co founders and why forecasting is such an important aspect of their business.

“We run on instinct and when we know something is going to work, you can’t tell us otherwise.”

Alisa Fraser

The Block winners

(Lysandra) “The series that we did, we had to demo hotel rooms, bathrooms, we had to pull out carpet and scrape vermiculite off of the ceiling. So before we’d even started that week, we had eight rooms to demolish over that whole period. So yeah, it was way harder than what you would ever imagine.  

(Alisa) You would go to bed at three o’clock every single morning and you’d wake up at six. So you’re living on three hours sleep and we did 17 weeks, the longest block in history. And then on that final Sunday, you’re up for 48 hours, you were not sleeping. 

(Lysandra) I definitely do not have it in me to do it again. 

(Alisa) No way. We feel like it was probably a blessing in disguise that it was so hard now because anything seems easy from that.”

Warehouse relocation

(Alisa) “Make sure you’ve got somebody leading that is experienced and knows what they’re doing. If they don’t, you can hire external agencies that can do this for you. It costs a lot of money, but it’s worth it in the long run.  We’re very, very fortunate that our head of ops is just so capable, but literally she was working like a dog for four months, she lived and breathed that warehouse move. 

(Lysandra) You still have to research all the warehouses that you’re going to. You can’t just move to one warehouse without, you know, doing your homework to see whether they actually have the capacity or the capabilities to extend it. Because you might actually, that move might end up being worse than what you already had. 

(Alisa) So you want to be doing a tender. You need to go through a really stringent tender process, which is what we did. There were six potentials on the table. You go over, you meet with the team, you look at the warehousing, you look at their systems, you look at their technologies, all of their integration. And then obviously, if you can ask for references, that’s a big thing as well.”

Decisions, decisions

(Alisa) So, I am the CEO of al.ive body and Lysandra is CEO of our interior design business. We come together for the really big decisions and then we let each other run day-to-day. Lysandra obviously still has all of her head over all of the design and concepts, but we had to divide and conquer. It couldn’t have worked any other way. There’s just too much going on. 

So when I’m running the business, a lot of it is that intuition, that gut. I don’t spend time pondering over things. There’s no traffic light system that has to go through. A lot of people complain about this in big corporations, that a decision can take three months because it has to go down through all of the departments. Here, it’s you get together, if it feels right, you do it. I mean, the team’s also very opinionated, which is great. And they’ll put their case forward to why something should be done or why it shouldn’t be done. And we all listen. We make a decision quickly.”

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