Frank Body – 0 to 350,000 Instagram followers in 12 months

This is a story I’d collected for my book, The 7 Day Startup. I collected at least 30 stories and I had to remove about 10 of them. This was one of the best but I felt it wasn’t the most practical for the readers of the book so I decided to post it up here. It’s short but there are a few more resources at the bottom.


In early 2013, a regular customer walked into a cafe in Melbourne and asked for some used coffee to be used as an exfoliate. Steve Rowley, the owner of the cafe, naturally saw this as a business opportunity. Who wouldn’t?

Speaking with his partner, Bree Johnson, and her business partners, Erika Geraerts and Jess Hatzis of, they decided to research the availability of coffee scrubs online. Apart from DIY recipes, there was no business marketing such a product, particularly through Instagram.

Steve also called on the help of friend Alex Boffa. Conveniently, the group was travelling to Bali, where they were able to try coffee scrubs at the local resort spas. After further research they realized that they had to use fresh coffee grounds to maintain the caffeine content, but that some of the potential benefits of using coffee included treating skin conditions such as acne, cellulite, psoriasis, and stretch marks.

What started off as a fun trip quickly turned into a booming business. Four months of product development spent trialing different oils and complimentary exfoliates resulted in their original scrub. With the help of branding agency, the team created the Frank Body Scrub and brand. Before long, word had spread to thousands of customers throughout the world. They have since released a second scrub, Coconut & Grapeseed, with plans for further product expansion.

How did they get there? Mainly through Instagram. The girls at Willow & Blake had already been using Instagram to communicate to the public on behalf of several brands, and had always wanted to do so for their own product. They set up an Instagram account ( and promoted the hashtag #thefrankeffect, and customers from all around the world began sharing their pictures.


This was the result of a fairly aggressive social media and PR campaign, utilizing bloggers and Instagram personalities to share their product with various networks.

At the time of writing, 12 months after launch, their account has over 350,000 followers with over 25,000 user-generated posts under #thefrankeffect. The team is currently focusing their marketing on expanding into the U.S., having set up a distribution point for faster shipping times. Next up, Canada and Europe.

I think replicating this sort of impact on social media is difficult. However, this is a case of really knowing your customers well and knowing how to truly engage them. That is the essence of marketing, applied here to perfection.

Further reading

I introduced the founders to Tim from Small Business Big Marketing because I thought they would make a great interview for his site. He published the interview this morning, you can check it out here.

If you are interested in more content around this sort of business, I stumbled across this great post Nasty Gal is killing it on Instagram, here’s how. This goes into a lot more detail about how they are going about engaging on social media.

Tim also did a great episode with Black Milk about how they grew their Facebook following.

If you want to get a of the 7 Day Startup, you can jump on it here.


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Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

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