How To Launch A $2 Million Business In 24 Hours

How To Launch A $2 Million Business In 24 Hours

by | Jun 6, 2018

Melanie McVean is one half of the couple behind Australia’s most affordable and effective natural deodorant NO PONG. The Canadian-native and her Australian husband Chris launched the business in May 2015 and to date, they’ve grown, on average, 76 per cent quarter on quarter valuing the company at $2 million. 


Oh and did we mention she’s also registered midwife, clinical educator, international board certified lactation consultant and women’s health advocate, currently living and working with underprivileged communities in Timor Leste?

High achiever, much?!

We spoke to Melanie about the ethical drive behind the successful e-commerce start up and how they built the business in less than 24 hours. No joke.  

How did the idea for NO PONG come about?

I was making deodorant for myself for about a year, one day I noticed my husband was wearing the same t-shirt for three days and I was like what are you doing?! And he was like I’ve been using your deodorant, and I don’t smell! I smelt his armpit and that’s kind of how NO PONG came about! He was like we need to sell this, this is amazing.

What prompted you to make natural deodorant for yourself?

I think it’s important to understand what you’re putting on and inside your body. I was doing a 30 day Friends Not Food challenge, and this was all about eating real food, not packaged food for 30 days, and also talked about looking at labels in the products you’re using. It just kind of prompted me to be a little more conscious about all that stuff, so making my own deodorant and my own face oils and everything like that. I don’t think I have the perfect lifestyle, I just think you should be aware of what you’re putting on and in your body so that’s kind of how it came about for me.

At what point did you think it could become a business?

Well he basically thought of it right away. So Chris has a marketing background, and we used to live in Sydney, and he’s done marketing for years. So he was like let’s do this, and he also has worked on a few startups before, and was very involved in that startup community. And so it kind of, we were looking for a new opportunity and it kind of happened very quickly.

Did you have any experience running your own business prior to this one?

No, not really. I worked in – I’m a midwife but before that – I worked in a lot of retail places and as a waitress for years and years so I have a lot of customer service experience. And I’m also quite a numbers person, and both my parents were in accounting. So budgets and things like that come quite naturally to me. So it’s a good mix between the two of us I think.

Could you explain a little bit about the “hackathon” that got the business off the ground? Did you basically start a business in a day, are we simplifying that too much?

No, no you’re not. It actually went like that. When he said let’s do this, I was a bit sceptical because I was like we’re not just going make it on our own, why would people want to buy it. Also, because you see so many startups that put a lot of money into starting up a business, and then they market and realise that nobody actually wants the product. So I didn’t want us to go down that route. So we had it all planned, we went to Java, and we went to like the corner stores, bought some little notebooks and yeah, we had like an agenda I guess. So we had a plan, our vision, our mission, our name, and little videos kind of thinking about marketing, and so we started building the website, all in a day.

It was just the two of you doing that?

Yeah this was the two of us, on like a table, on the side of the beach. We have pictures of the whole thing too, cause it’s kind of funny. Then what we did is we posted just posted on our Facebook, to our friends, this is what we’re thinking of doing, would anybody be interested in buying? So before we hadn’t purchased anything at that point. And we had about 50 orders just from people we knew, or people who said yes you make this we’ll buy it, so a good interest. And then we went home after our trip and I started making it in the kitchen. But in the beginning I kind of made it to order, I wouldn’t want to put out more money than we had coming in.

How did the business scale up after that?

Well we do a lot of marketing, Chris does all of that, and we just left it on itself – so as the demand grew more, and it was really, I mean it was never taking any investors, which we’re quite proud of and yeah, we just kind of grew it as the demand grew, and yeah have always just been really very budget conscious.

What’s the best business advice that you ever received?

I think a friend of ours talked about minimal viable product and that is kind of what we did too, so to test the business idea, if it will work or not, what is the cheapest way to do that without actually making anything. And because with that, the tricky thing in business is that people have ideas, and ideas are wonderful and usually you’re trying to sell the product… It’s seeing how much interest you get in the product before you actually spend any money or time doing stuff.

Were there many risks you had to take in starting and developing the business? Which ones have paid off for you guys?

We had to scale up and out first very quickly which was a challenge, so probably that was the hardest thing for me, finding manufacturing and shipping logistics when we were so small. We had to pay a little bit more than we were obviously paying ourselves for making it at home in the kitchen. But that was probably the best thing we could’ve ever done, was outsourcing it when we were still so small. And every decision that we made from then on we made based on scalability. So we just always make sure that it’s scalable and that we’re not limited in that way.

What advice would you give others, and specifically women, starting out in business?

It doesn’t have to be all encompassing, it also doesn’t have to be really expensive. I’ve committed to working almost full time, as a midwife [so] I’m doing what I love to do and as well as running a business. I think who you surround yourself with is so important and Chris and I have very clear values in our business, so we make sure that all the partners in our logistics, company, and our manufacturer – everyone is aware of our values and also share them. And it just makes it so much easier to do business. I think if you find those really great partners, that will just make it so much better and it makes it really enjoyable.

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?