In less than a decade, Hannah Drury has gone from sleeping on a blow-up mattress in a small factory to being the founder of a successful $40million dollar fragrance empire.
The 32-year-old launched Peppermint Grove from the comfort of her parents’ house in Sydney, starting with a line of candles and diffusers in 2014.
She then moved the growing business to a commercial space, hired a full-time perfumer and expanded into a range of soaps, creams and bath and body care. From there her second business Moss St. Fragrances was born in 2018.
‘I’ve always had an insatiable obsession with fragrance and driven by my love for it, I set out to develop a range that was both functional (smelt good) and aesthetically pleasing (looked good),’ Hannah told FEMAIL.
The young creative wanted to combine her passion for fragrance, people and ‘all things interiors’ into a ‘dream’ business – but the success didn’t come easily.
Hannah Drury (pictured) is the founder of the multi-million-dollar fragrance empire Peppermint Grove and Moss St. Fragrances
The 32-year-old launched Peppermint Grove from the comfort of parents’ house in Sydney, starting with a line of candles and diffusers in 2014
While travelling around Hong Kong years before launching the brand, Hannah noticed a huge line of people waiting to buy personalised designer perfume.
‘This was the turning point when I realised I needed to bring personalisation into the home fragrance space. We have found consumers love this aspect for gifting – it elevates the candle with an extra special touch,’ she said.
She also noticed a ‘gap in the market’ for ‘a range of home fragrances with an Australian feel and dimension’.
To bring the idea to life, she moved in with her parents in Sydney to save money but quickly outgrew the space and relocated to a small, commercial factory in the Southern Highlands (about 110km south-west of Sydney) because the rent was cheaper.
Hannah describes her first year in business as ‘beautiful chaos’ – she was working from 5am to 11pm, but was happy with how her products were being received in the market.
‘Of course I was exhausted but was running on pure adrenaline. A huge part of who I am and my identity is that I love to work,’ Hannah said.
Hannah noticed a ‘gap in the market’ for ‘a range of home fragrances with an Australian feel and dimension’
Hannah moved the outgrowing business to a commercial space hired a full-time perfumer and expanded into a range of soaps, creams and bath and body care. Some nights she would sleep on a blow-up mattress in the factory rather than driving back to her parents’ place in Sydney
Instead of driving back to her parents’ house, which was an hour and a half away, she’d often sleep on a blow-up mattress in the factory.
‘It was hardly worth it (driving back) and much more convenient for me to stay on a blow-up mattress on the factory floor,’ she said.
‘Sometimes, if it had been a full-on week I would treat myself to a room at the local pub.
‘It seems nuts thinking about it but I was so engrossed in the process and loving it all too much to care.’
Hannah put in everything to get the brand up and running and initially invested $50,000.
She studied commerce at university while working full-time in the fragrance industry, then moved to working in a marketing and communications agency where she gained experience with a range of brands.
‘The practical experience of working coupled with the theory from my degree greatly assisted in the development of my brands.
‘Whilst developing the brand, I was working full time. I quit my job a month before launching Peppermint Grove to throw everything at it,’ she said
‘Whilst developing the brand, I was working full time. I quit my job a month before launching Peppermint Grove to throw everything at it,’ she said.
Within the first year, Hannah has about 400 independent retailers stocking Peppermint Grove.
Today her brand sells more than 100,000 worth of products every month.
The success didn’t come without sacrifice, as Hannah said she went from being ‘very social and outgoing with friends all the time’ to working in Bowral where she knew no one.
‘As an extrovert and someone who thrives on human interaction this wasn’t an easy thing. But I was so passionate about the business and trusted in my vision that I never felt I was missing out or regretting making that choice,’ she said.
Today her brand sells more than 100,000 worth of products every month. The success didn’t come without sacrifice, as Hannah said she went from being ‘very social and outgoing with friends all the time’ to working in Bowral where she knew no one
When asked what advice she’d give to small business owners, Hannah said ‘don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t forget to enjoy the ride’.
‘If you aren’t sure of something, reach out and ask for advice or get a second opinion but always ensure you follow your gut instincts along the way,’ she said.
‘Don’t forget to engage directly with your consumers and further understand your channel.’