Iyia Liu Earns Big on Waist Trainers
Along with a desire to cinch her waist, young commerce graduate, New Zealander Iyia Liu, 23, had a burning entrepreneurial ambition. After noticing the waist trainer – a contemporary version of the 16th century corset – on Instagram, she scraped together $6000 and ordered a batch from a supplier in China.
As the orders came pouring in, Liu scrambled to hire eight staff members. Within a year, her brand Waist Trainer New Zealand Australia turned over $3.5 million, delivering almost $1 million in profits.
“I thought I’d just sell a few,” Liu said of her decision to stock the waist trainers from the struggling online boutique she’d started as a side project while at university. “It just grew exponentially.”
With a marketing strategy focused solely on Facebook and Instagram, Liu is among a growing number of young entrepreneurs to leverage the social media profiles of bloggers and celebrities to drive sales.
In July, she paid Kylie Jenner almost $300,000 to post a photograph of herself wearing the waist trainer on Instagram. It was liked 1.5 million times, and sales leads were tracked through the promo code “Kylie”.
Aware that the scaleability of the product is limited as “people only need to buy one”, Liu is branching out with other beauty and wellness offerings.
Luxe Fitness, launched in May, stocks protein powder and supplements, with plans for a line of active wear. Liu now has four staff members working across both brands.
Original article by Dana McCauley, news.com.au, October 20, 2016.