Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.
We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand
You might have a tube of Tough Hands sitting in your cupboard right now. Otherwise, you’ve definitely seen it sitting on supermarket shelves. The family-owned company DU’IT is behind the iconic hand salve, as well as a bunch of other products that cater to the whole body.
Created by husband and wife Pynith Char and Zina Richter in 1998, the company is now a family affair with their daughter Monique in the role of marketing manager and their son Jared as the business developer.
Despite having over 20 years of success behind them, the team at DU’IT have felt the implications of the current COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, DU’IT has been able to pivot its offering by making a hand sanitiser.
“We’re been incredibly honoured to have had the chance to contribute to the Covid-19 relief by manufacturing Tough Shield, our hand sanitiser that kills 99.99% of germs,” Monique Char told TheLatch—. “These will be distributed to frontline medical professionals and key workers. We are also donating products to those working tirelessly on the frontline.”
As for the famous Tough Hands product, Char is hopeful that it will be the product range to see them through this current climate.
“Our hope is that the organic increase we’ve seen in influencers and media talking about our products, particularly our Tough Hands range due to the increase in dry skin conditions, will enable us to come out the other side,” she said.
We caught up with Monique Char to see how this iconic Aussie company is changing the way it works and what she thinks the future of businesses will look like post-coronavirus.
Alexandra McCarthy: Let’s start from the very beginning — can you tell me about the business and why it was launched?
Monique Char: DU’IT is a family-owned, Australian brand specialising in functional skincare. We pride ourselves in delivering products that have a significantly higher percentage of active ingredients and no nasties — you can see the results in one day. Our range covers the face, body, hands and feet. Our products are not beauty products, they’re functional everyday skincare products, that work.
DU’ITs journey began over 20 years ago, thanks to the vision and passion of co-founders Pynith and Zina. Back then Zina worked in hospitals and many of her patients suffered from dry skin conditions.
They tried many products but nothing helped them and that’s when Zina decided she could make a difference. Zina enlisted the help of her friend who formulated various skincare products to develop a skincare product that would not only help people with general skin problems but also safe enough to treat people with conditions such as Diabetes.
“Our products are not beauty products, they’re functional everyday skincare products, that work.”
After months of trial and error, working with pharmacists and specialists — Zina and Pynith came up with the perfect product that they then tried on family and friends. They were so thrilled with the great results and received positive feedback from everyone. That’s when our first product DU’IT Foot & Heel Balm Plus was born.
Pynith and Zina believed passionately in their products and decided to give up their respective careers to work wholeheartedly on developing skincare products and ensuring Australian’s could benefit by reaching out to pharmacies and hospitals nationally.
“We started the business in our home garage and spent the first five years packing boxes, calling on retail stores, doing face-to-face promos and celebrating every time an order came through” – Zina, co-founder.
Today DU’IT products are available in all leading pharmacies (Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and independent pharmacies) and grocery chains (Woolworths and Coles) within Australia.
AM: How did you come to be involved with DU’IT and how long have you been a part of the company?
MC: My parents are actually the co-founders of the brand, so since its inception, I’ve always been around or a part of the brand. I actually worked in the private industry in marketing and advertising for seven years before joining the family business in late 2016 and have been now been with the company for four years, looking after the marketing and new product development team.
AM: Off the top of your head, what are a few highlights DU’IT has experienced during?
MC: There are so many highlights since our humble beginnings, but some key ones are highlighted below:
- I’m proud to say we are now Australia’s No.1 Hand Cream brand across pharmacy and grocery
- Getting into Coles and Woolworths nationwide
- Receiving daily testimonials from our customers about how our DU’IT products have helped their skin and improve their daily lives. It’s always so rewarding when you hear someone recommend your own brand to you, like my local hairdresser.
View this post on Instagram
A hand cream that provides relief to dry, rough, dull skin in 1 day with No Fragrance☁️?? Suitable for all skin types #ichooseduit #weuseaustralian . . . . . . . . . . #stayhome #staytogether #webuyaustralian #covid_19 #health #care #support #australianmade #staysafe#selfcaretips #skincareproducts #beautycare #cleanbeauty #sustainable #hydration #natural #organic #naturalliving #weekend #weekendvibes #selfcare #inspiration #clean #content #healthyliving #beautylover #webuyaustralian #skincareroutine #crueltyfreebeauty
AM: When did the business first start to feel the effects of COVID-19?
MC: I’d say around early February, it became increasingly clear that this was going to have a profound and long term impact on us, as a family and also as a business.
Our staff is also our family, so we had conversations early on about the best way to protect them — both physically, but also in terms of protecting the business to protect jobs.
We’re been incredibly honoured to have had the chance to contribute to the Covid-19 relief by manufacturing Tough Shield, our hand sanitiser that kills 99.99% of germs. These will be distributed to frontline medical professionals and key workers. We are also donating products to those working tirelessly on the frontline.
Our hope is that the organic increase we’ve seen in influencers and media talking about our products, particularly our Tough Hands range due to the increase in dry skin conditions, will enable us to come out the other side.
“It became increasingly clear that this was going to have a profound and long term impact on us, as a family and also as a business.”
AM: Have you had to pivot the business or change the way you work?
MC: One of the biggest challenges for us has been working out the best way to keep the business operating in this new world. So much is unknown and changing day-to-day and there is a whole chain of people we are reliant on and who are reliant on us, from our suppliers to retailers to customers.
The most tangible change has been that the business has been working remotely for well over a month now, something that our traditional co-founders would not have fathomed prior to 2020. We’ve had to utilise platforms such as Zoom or Skype in order to maintain a face-to-face personal approach with our staff and suppliers. It has also forced us to bring online to the forefront of our focus, which in retrospect has allowed the business to innovate and move to online systems.
AM: Has it been hard to make those changes?
MC: It’s definitely been challenging shifting the mindset from most work centred on the office, to now everyone working from home. However, we’ve had some good wins like migrating our ‘old school’ server to an online cloud system, implementing new agile systems and flexible reporting processes.
Overall we maintain a positive outlook and proactive approach and we are so lucky to have a business and team that can mould to adapt to the current market situation.
View this post on Instagram
Keep your feet baby soft in colder months?Packed with active AHAs, Urea, Vitamin E and Dimethicone, this intensive foot balm is clinically proven to deliver visible effects in 1 day! Loved by Australians for over 20 years?️ #ichooseduit #weuseaustralian . . . . . . . . . . . #selfcare #stayhome #staysafe #lifestyle #home #healthylifestyle #healthyliving #wellness #skincare #skincareroutine #selfcaretips #sensitiveskin #sydney #bblogger #inspiration #wellnessjourney #beautycare #selfcaretips #beauty #morningroutine #inspiration #tuesday #australianmade #skinregime #footcare #luxebeauty #bblogger #dermatologist
AM: How can customers support your business in the short term?
MC: Continue to support our family business and our brand DU’IT. You can do this by going to our website. Or you can support us by buying our products at our retailers:
- Chemist Warehouse
- Independent pharmacies
We would also love to hear from you, whether it’s a testimonial or a question, we encourage you to find out or share what you love about DU’IT.
AM: Do you think the way you operate the business will be changed for good?
MC: Yes — we’ve all rethought how we live our lives and operate our business. In adjusting to the new abnormal we are learning new habits and skills that we won’t want to unlearn.
I believe the adaptation of remote digital teamwork will somewhat become the norm and virtual meetings will be integrated into daily business operations – becoming the new mainstream.
“In adjusting to the new abnormal we are learning new habits and skills that we won’t want to unlearn.”
AM: What advice do you have for other business owners who are navigating this hard time?
MC: I’d say that one size doesn’t fit all. Businesses need to keep moving forward, don’t standstill. Your business needs to be fluid and innovative, with the ability to embrace change. Most importantly listen to your customers, understand their needs and concerns and adapt your business accordingly.
Ask yourself whether your product or service could be of additional use or relevance in the midst of this current situation, and adapt your marketing to reflect this.
Try to turn negatives into positives and most importantly try to remain positive, happy and healthy, however difficult that may be. It’s a tough time for us all, but we will all come out of this bigger and stronger.
AM: What do you think we will all learn from this experience?
MC: Whilst there will be an enormous impact on how we consume, how we learn, how we work, and how we socialise and communicate. Some lessons we’ve learnt from a business perspective are:
- Working from home should be an option: During this time many people learned that their jobs were possible to do from home. Businesses are now in a position to offer greater flexibility in the workplace and where possible, should do so.
- Revisit your crisis and continuity plans: Every business should review their crisis or continuity plan and if they don’t have one, look into implementing a specific plan.
- Evaluate your supply chain: Businesses should have a clear understanding of their supply chain, which will help to expose any potential vulnerabilities. This means beginning with the most critical products and looking well beyond first and second-tier suppliers, right down to the raw materials, if possible. This will allow businesses to not only become more efficient, but more prepared when crises do occur.
Show your dry hands some TLC with DU’IT’s Tough Hands.