Community keeps Melbourne founders going after warehouse fire
Ashli Templer has turned to her closest friends after a warehouse fire in Melbourne ignited her skincare business’ stock. Now Templer says a wider community of loyal customers is stepping in to help Yours Only recover from the devastating fire.
Templer was preparing for her hen weekend when arsonists set fire to the Future Fulfillment warehouse Thursday night, causing $2 million in structural damage and destroying about $70,000 of Yours Only’s specialty skin care products.
Her business is one of more than 70 with stock damaged or destroyed by the deliberately lit Clayton South fire, which Victoria Police suspect was targeted at the e-commerce shipping centre. Investigations are ongoing.
Speaking to SmartCompany, the founder says that her hen weekend was an opportunity for her to regroup with loved ones, before starting her recovery plan (disclosure: Templer and the author of this article are former colleagues).
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Phase one is to connect with fans, who may be living with allergies and intolerances that exclude them from mainstream skincare offerings.
“I absolutely love our community, so I thought this would be the perfect time to connect with them on a deeper level,” she said.
“I decided to create a questionnaire for them to share their health journeys with me – the next step is to go through it and jump on Zooms.”
News of the fire, and Yours Only’s outreach, led to a flurry of customer service. After initially putting the Yours Only website on standby, Templer says the company is responding to fans by reopening its website for pre-orders.
“We are so lucky to have such a dedicated community,” she said. “Everyone tells me how much the brand has changed their lives, which has kept me going.”
Now, Yours Only is one of a handful of affected businesses that rely on those pre-orders to stay afloat.
Templer says the business will “decline so much” financially in the months ahead, while the website is in pre-order-only mode and Yours Only is waiting for new deliveries.
“I do have contents insurance, but the cost of re-ordering everything, with minimum order quantities is far greater than the cost of goods I lost,” added Templer.
“I didn’t have disruption insurance either (lesson learned), but I’ll get through it with our incredible community.”
Clementine Beale, founder of bath salt and magnesium spray company Salt Lab, says the company’s website has also reopened for pre-sales.
Like Yours Only, Beale says Salt Lab faces a long road to recovery.
“I’m completely shocked, it’s been the hardest few days in business,” Beale wrote on social media.
“I started Salt Lab 7 years ago and have put everything into it since that day, to wake up and find out we’ve lost everything is a horror.
“To top it off, we weren’t covered for fire in our insurance policy, lesson learned.”
Noah Hunter, co-owner of Future Fulfillment, spoke to The Age about how significant the fire will be for the businesses it works with.
“It’s devastating because while it affects us, it’s really these small businesses that serve us that are really out here,” he said.
“It’s all for them, their stock.”