Charlie Gearside.

Spotlight On: Charlie Gearside, Co-Founder of Eucalyptus

Date Published:
February 28, 2020

Blackbird’s monthly chat with talented leaders and rising stars in our community. This month: Charlie Gearside of Eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus, a brand engine, founded by Charlie Gearside, Tim Doyle (both former from mattress brand Koala), Benny Kleist, and Alexey Mitko has been on fire lately launching their first two brands - Pilot and Kin to market.

Before Eucalyptus, Charlie worked in an agency, as a developer, designer and illustrator and founded multiple e-commerce platforms. He shares Eucalyptus' ‘Big Mac sauce’ for their success and what he looks for in new hires.

Blackbird: You previously worked in an agency at mattress startup Koala, and did a stint as a founder. How did you take this experience into Eucalyptus?

Charlie: "Creative ad agencies are essentially ideas factories, and they tend to place a lot of emphasis on the execution of ideas. That focus on execution and the importance of details was a nice thing to learn before jumping into the world of the minimum viable product. Going to Koala showed me that selling a product frees you up economically to be more creative. In marketing specifically, you get faster feedback loops on what ads work, and which ones don't.

Before Eucalyptus, I had some e-commerce brands of my own, but none of them had the operations team or the engineering capability that we're building with Eucalyptus. That gives us a true product advantage before you even factor marketing in.”

Blackbird:At Eucalyptus you’re intersecting brand, advertising, engineering and e-commerce in a unique way. What’s your secret sauce?

Charlie: "Our Big Mac sauce brings together A-grade engineers, creative marketing and operations people to build online brands. Then iterate really quickly in a way that each part of the equation gets stronger."

Blackbird: In an ad-driven market, how will you set Eucalyptus brands apart?

Charlie: "Our brands will act differently from the market leaders so we can harvest attention more efficiently. Unlike most brands, we do all our content production in house, so we're able to turn around advertising quickly and test some seriously strange stuff, and see how it performs in the real world. If it works, we double down."

Blackbird: Your digital brands Kin Fertility and Pilot entered the market with a heavy focus on content marketing. Why is this?

Charlie: "Unless you have a PhD or enjoy reading academic journals, there's a lack of high-quality healthcare content that's easily digestible. We've got a long way to go until we can get up there in search results alongside your WebMDs and Mayo Clinics, but you've gotta start early in the content marketing game."

Blackbird: The e-commerce subscription model is a tough road, what are the biggest challenges for your brands?

Charlie: "Uptake of online healthcare is the biggest hurdle, being fairly new in Australia. Long term, it's about adding so much value to our brands that people turn from purchasers in times of need to proactive users of your service."

Blackbird: What do you look for in potential hires?

Charlie: "We are hiring smart people who want to learn (over experienced people). People who are biased toward action, who are happy to automate their own role, and importantly who can share a laugh and ride the highs and lows together."

Blackbird: Between Pilot and Kin, you’re building great teams. How do you attract good talent?

Charlie: "We've found people from your Atlassians and McKinseys who wanted to see the impact of their work in the physical world. That's something that's harder to get at big B2B SaaS companies or law firms – the connection to the user. In Pilot, some of the reviews we get are literally – "you've saved my marriage", so there is a sense that we're doing worthwhile work. We're also like a finishing school for entrepreneurial, generalist types."

This interview is an excerpt from our Blackbird Monthly newsletter. ???? Want this update delivered to your inbox? Subscribe here.