How Stoned Crystals became one of Australia’s fastest growing companies
At a glance
With Prospa’s Small Business Loan, Ashley and Jeremy were able to:
- Pay for overseas buying trips and attend trade shows to purchase new inventory
- Access funding without needing to rely on external investors
- Continue to expand their team to support their growing business
When Ashley got into yoga and meditation in her early 20s, crystals were an obvious natural extension of her life. But it was on an overseas trip, accompanied by her Mum and spiritual mentor, where an experience in a crystal city opened her mind to a new business venture.
“I put my hand into some of these crystal caves, and my Mum did too,” Ashley says. “All of us, it was unequivocal there was something that we felt on this trip – putting your hand in all your arm hairs sort of went on end.”
Her next move was one we can all relate to; she Googled everything she could about crystals – what they are, how they work and what you do with them. She discovered that their experience in the crystal city didn’t line up with what was being touted online.
“1990s hippie websites came up,” Ashley says. “They claimed crystals did a bunch of things like cure cancers and bowel movements, and all of these sorts of crazy things. But that wasn’t what appealed to me.”
She saw an opportunity to position themselves as a modern brand, translating the spiritual history of crystals into something “appealing to mainstream and fashionable,” giving crystals a new home in households across the globe.
And Stoned Crystals was born…
In 2015, Stoned Crystals launched in 50 home décor and design stores. When Jeremy, Ashley’s partner in life and business, came on board, they had grown to 100 retailers, including some top global brands like America’s Anthropologie and China’s Lane Crawford.
But in 2017, the retail landscape began to shift.
A wave of retailers with bricks and mortar stores started to close as many consumers moved online.
One day Jeremy asked Ashley, “what would you do if you just didn’t have any B2B orders anymore?” Ashley recalls. “At that moment, we sort of decided we couldn’t rely on B2B going forward, and we would shift gears and go direct to customers”.
Their decision to invest in direct consumer marketing meant they’d need to expand from a three-person team operating from their living room, but that would require funding.
The pair of self-confessed risk-takers got their first loan (of sorts) from customers buying crystals live on Instagram – which opened doors to new ways to reach their customers.
“We decided we would buy and sell on-demand. We went to all the wholesalers and took pictures and put little dockets on the crystals, and we only bought what people had pre-purchased.” Ashley says.
Their success selling live on Instagram even seeded an idea for a spin-off enterprise business that Jeremy, whose background is in technology, is currently heading up. It didn’t have a name back then but is known today as e-commerce live streaming.
“This new type of funding that Prospa does really is a gamechanger for small companies. It’s very arduous to go out and get funding from your traditional funding people.” Jeremy says. “Customer service is excellent, and [Prospa are] really pleasant to deal with and talk to, even in challenging times.”
Prospa made it possible to access funds (playfully known as “crystal coin” internally) without needing to sell off a portion of their company to investors, a prospect neither of them was thrilled about when approaching other lenders.
They’ve used their Prospa Small Business Loan to pay for international buying trips and tradeshows – even through the Covid-19 pandemic – where they source most of their stock. Getting to those events and planning for the future has supported them in achieving their targets and revenue goals year on year.
And that hard work has really paid off.
“We’re in the top 100 fastest growing companies,” says Ashley. A reference to recently qualifying for entry on The Australian Financial Review’s Fast Starters list.
In the past 12 months, they’ve attracted top talent searching for work-life balance and a culture that embodies personal wellness and a positive mindset. Ashley and Jeremy present themselves with relaxed professionalism, corporate only when needed, which has trickled down to their ever-growing team.
“We really spend as much time as possible getting to know our suppliers, all the way down the supply chain. Visiting the stone cutters, making sure that the materials they use are safe and ethically sourced, down to the mines and how things are taken out of the earth.” Says Jeremy.
Ashley and Jeremy also have big dreams of crystals becoming a high-end building material used in homes, hotels, and businesses across the globe.
“You would normally get a marble benchtop; would people consider a quartz benchtop?” Ashley says. “It’s crazy to me that it hasn’t really been considered until now. The most beautiful stone in the world, and it’s really about people seeing it as a “hippie” thing and not for its obvious beauty.”
With their first shipment of tables on the way and crystals lamps flying off the shelf every time they are restocked – the possibilities really are endless.
And their advice for those just getting started?
“Think ahead about how you’re going to fund for the year,” Ashley says. “Jeremy is always ten steps ahead – trying to secure our growth needs for the long term, not just reacting.”
Jeremy adds: “Make a one-year plan, a three-year plan, a five-year plan, and be ready to throw them all out the window because it might change!”
Need some help achieving your business dreams? Find out how a Prospa Small Business Loan could help you.
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