15th September, 2020
Motivational stories about small business ownership don’t come much sweeter than Goldeluck’s Doughnuts’ incredible revenue gains in Melbourne this year.
A good news story amid the pandemic has emerged in the lockdown city of Melbourne, where a 27-year-old small business owner has revealed an incredible 2,532 percent increase in revenue year-on-year.
Goldeluck’s Doughnuts is a dessert gift box and baked goods brand, which has expanded to include three bricks-and-mortar stores across Melbourne, supported by an online store – a crucial element in driving sales during the pandemic.
The dessert brand’s bricks-and-mortar stores are currently closed during Melbourne’s second lockdown – and yet it has just celebrated its highest performing sales week ever.
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Goldeluck’s chief executive and creative director Phillip Kuoch said the business has welcomed an incredible 2,532 per cent increase in revenue and 2,995 percent increase in order numbers from July to August 2020, compared to the same time last year.
Sales have been mostly driven by Melburnians in lockdown wanting to send a treat to a friend across the city, turning to the internet to find a sweet treat to cheer someone else up.
“Accepting that we needed to go digital early on to survive lockdown was crucial. We tripled ads on social media,” said Kuoch.
“But a shift to digital is far more involved that just a click of a button,” he said. “It’s not something you can do overnight.”
Business has been so successful, he has expanded to a national delivery service in the middle of a pandemic, with the business delivering a gift box every three minutes during the waking hours of 8am and 10pm.
Most customers spend between $60 and $70 per purchase.
The sweet success is fuelled by Kuoch’s fearless passion for innovation, and a clear ability to think outside the box.
Kuoch never set out to run a bakery. In fact, it was his parents who initially came across a bakery in the Melbourne suburb of Croyden, but ill-health prevented them from purchasing the business. So Kuoch decided it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I was studying marketing and journalism at university at the time, and thought I would give the business a try,” he said.
With no baking experience whatsoever, it was far more difficult than he could have imagined. He had to teach himself to bake, to start with.
“I made lots of mistakes, and didn’t even know the difference between white or wholemeal bread at the time.”
Sales were down, with regular customers turning their backs on the bakery and complaining about the products.
“From a mental health perspective, it was not good,” he said.
Desperate to try something that would lift sales, Kuoch introduced a line of doughnuts, using his marketing skills learned at university to promote the sweet treats via social media.
The success was almost instant, and he began running pop-up stores and food trucks at events across Melbourne, growing his loyal customer base for the doughnuts and other baked goods.
The product range grew, as did the customers, who sought out Goldeluck’s products for special occasion gifts, such as Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays.
Kuoch has added 10 staff since March, bolstering his employees to 30. He’s also redefined the brand, and focused on the elements of running the business that he was good at, which was marketing and branding. He completed his university studies part-time along the way, graduating with a Master’s in Data Science.
Spending his mornings packing gift boxes for delivery, and organising couriers, Kuoch felt completely prepared to scale the business online as soon as pandemic lockdowns were introduced in Australia.
“It’s been organised chaos,” said Kuoch.
“I do sympathise with other business owners in Melbourne. The situation is the worst thing that could happen to a small business.
“But, in every situation there is an opportunity. It’s just about figuring out what that is,” he said.
Kuoch admited that he felt like the business was running him, rather than the other way around, early on.
“It’s cliché to say this, but being in business is about being yourself.
“I had been trying to replicate what the previous business owner was doing, which wasn’t smart.
Staying committed and looking for help when he needed it also contributed to his success.
“A lot of business owners try and do everything themselves. But when you try and cheap out, it ends up costing you a lot more,” he said.