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Growth Diaries: Challenges Faced by Happy Human

Cheryl Teo
Cheryl Teo
May 30, 2022
2 min read
Growth Diaries: Challenges Faced by Happy Human

When we last spoke to Vinnie, Co-founder of Happy Human and the final recipient of the Growth Grant, we learned a lot about the brand that made a pact to create a more sustainable environment through its refillable cleaning products. 

Launched in March 2021, Happy Human has seen fantastic growth, roughly 25% to 35% month on month in the past year with diehard eco fans supporting their products—I mean how great is it to be able to reduce single plastic use and carbon emissions just by switching to these just-add-water cleaning tablets?

We know we’re supporters for sure.

But that traction alone isn’t enough to keep the conversation going. Vinnie shared that there are two main challenges Happy Human continues to face despite the positive sentiments from the public. The first issue Happy Human faces revolve around acquiring new customers cheaply via conventional digital channels. And secondly, their customers have a low average order value (AOV) given the limited range of products at launch. 

Roadblocks to customer acquisition and low AOV

“By the time we launched,  our digital acquisition channel was hit with challenges from the IOS update and also experienced a surge of new competitors in the market.  These digital channels became more difficult to work with than we expected.”

While Happy Human had been getting pretty decent growth despite only launching a year ago, that same growth has seen a bit of a hiccup along the way. We’re talking about factors outside of their control—dips in ROAS no thanks to the IOS update, and the influx of new competitors within the same region resulting in a challenging brand race. 

Vinnie shared that they were essentially hoping to spend ~20-25% of their revenue on ads but the results were a stretch further from their expectations. 

Plus the fact that they have a limited variety of products available—two types of cleaning products, hand wash, and multi-purpose cleaning kits—they face the issue of lower AOV unless they develop and launch more products and new scents. 

Tackling the problem with the Growth Grant

Like most startups, there are many things that Vinnie wants to explore for Happy Human but resources are scarce—namely money and staffing. 

“We obsess over our customers and constantly interview or ask for feedback to figure out why some buy our product and conversely why others decided against it. We realized that a lot of our target audience would love more variety of scents and new products. So when we were selected as the Growth Grant winner, we focused our efforts on finalizing the new scent and formula  testing, launching them, and also optimizing our email & SMS marketing channels that were more organic.” 

With the grant money, we’ve also come up with a few areas to help Happy Human tackle the issue of new customer acquisition. One of the ideas shared is to build on Happy Human’s existing word of mouth channels, explore new channels, and eventually divert resources from paid channels to those. Happy Human can lower its initial customer acquisition costs (CAC) by leveraging more on social proof and other organic avenues. 

Upcoming plans with the grant money: 

  1. Pushing ahead with more product development plans—new scent in May

A large part of the marketing campaign spearheaded by the Growth Grant revolves around a new product release—new scent promotions. Backed by customer feedback done by the team previously, they realized that one challenge they face is not having enough variety in the product.

In the month of May, Vinnie shared that they’ve been doing full channel marketing for the product release with announcements and creating hype on social channels with content, communication with existing customers through email and they’ve also launched a promotion on their website. 

  1. Doubling down on word-of-mouth by engaging influencers with InfluencerCandy

Happy Human used to engage influencers through contra product seeding to reach a large crowd and it has worked for them to a certain extent in creating brand and product awareness. The problem lies with the extremely time-consuming process of having to find the right types of influencers that have the right audience. 

“It’s a new channel that could potentially be cheaper than paid ads, especially if we find the right influencers with audiences who care about sustainability. We’re looking at conscious millennials, Gen Z, modern moms, and people that generally look for accessible ways to do their part for our environment. ” 

With InfluencerCandy, they’re hoping to drive better conversations around their brand and products by getting the right people to talk about them. 

  1. Strengthening communication channels and building a proper customer lifecycle email, SMS, and notification campaigns with an agency and tech stacks—Klaviyo, PushOwl

Happy Human has a pretty sizable base of customers. And since email channels are owned channels, there’s quite a lot of flexibility that they have when it comes to engaging and communicating with their customers. Be it upselling through birthday and anniversary flows, creating a more complete automated customer lifecycle workflow with more touchpoints on Klaviyo.

Vinnie also decided to adopt a tech plugin PushOwl to integrate with their ecommerce store. The rationale for this is to reduce cart abandonment and to increase the conversion rate from abandoned carts to sales. They’ve recently timed the push for this in conjunction with Mother’s Day promotions as well as the latest scent that they’ve released. 

  1. Building on their content and education initiatives through content and social media marketing

“With paid social channels becoming more expensive, creating more organic content and posting them regularly would be ideal for Happy Human to reach relevant audience organically. Since our product is also more innovative compared to conventional off-the-shelf cleaning products, we’re also looking at curating content to spark that initial education on how they work and why they are better alternatives.” 

Vinnie shared that the ultimate goal of utilizing content creation and distribution is to organically reach more customers, which is in a way similar to email marketing but with a different audience. And while doing so, Happy Human aims to generate more demand for sustainable products from their audience with aesthetic and appealing content. 

What’s next? 

Our next article will be an in-depth exploration of Happy Human’s newest tech stack and an interim evaluation of how well they’re working to grow more sustainably. There’ll be detailed insights into the newly adopted email workflows, social content, and more! We’ll also be looking be taking a deeper look into their thoughts and reflections on the Growth Grant.  

Cheryl Teo
Cheryl Teo

Cheryl is a full-time Content Marketer at ReferralCandy by day and a "Learnaholic" (aka always learning something new) by night.She loves storytelling and creating experiences that are functional and visually compelling.

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