How to Expand Your Beauty Brand
Do you get a lot of questions from potential customers about the sense like do people want to know? Is it strong is itself twits dominant? Does that come up a lot when you're marketing your business to where how does naming what you're doing like have an implication across the board of what happens with eta and billy's sales? Do you think that the names in the sense are really, really important? How did you know you were going towards foodie? I'm teo, I'll try elsie okay, so I think that the sense, honestly, my sense are very subtle, sort of in some ways like certain foods it's one of those things that I want you to experience, but it's not just about experience the senate's about having the whole experience and s o I want the senate to be there because I want a positive sent reinforced with the experience as well. So that's part of it, the foodie thing just sort of happened like I I was trying to do all these other things and what I realized as I kept coming back to and I kept creatin...
g food based sense, and so I decided, well, why fight doing that? Why don't I just embrace that and go if it and it really helped clarify everything for me, and it also helps me when I developed new things just to kind of lean it up against that like is this foodie? Does this work for foodie? Is this something I would use? I consider myself a foodie so and then I can also I'm really inspired by food that was one of the things that kept happening as a business started to grow it was just food, food, food so that's really come across in your branding to so you have this one concept or I guess it's not one concept but you have one I think that's really in common I think with a lot of your pictures and that is the food whether it's the spices that you're using in this soap or the chai tea you have the cookie dough in the photographs for that like how did you what is it? How is it in suppose it's streamlined your work or your workflow did know that from the beginning to the end like you have this common thread that runs through your ingredients and then the copy that you write because you describe it and then your photographs and you know the direction that your business takes? It is made it so much easier like it makes everything so much easier because when we're developing ideas and when I say we I mean me what I'm developing ideas for on my next so upset let's say you know and I'm thinking about whatever, whatever it is and how we would set it up and sketching it out, and if it's something wildly outside of the box like I'm trying to think of something, while the outside of the box is so crazy that I'm like, sure, exactly let's say, eucalyptus, right? Eucalyptus is actually great, and I love eucalyptus, but I probably wouldn't just have a eucalyptus, so to me, it doesn't really trigger that like food thing, and so I just sort of again, it's like, does this fit into the foodie thing? And then when we're doing photo ships, especially with things like the chai tea soap that are very sort of food centered, what can we do to help create that feeling and that image and that comforting thing that is the chai tea? So what embodies that and especially what we were thinking holiday and we're thinking, like making cookies and drinking your chai tea? Well, you're making cookies so that's kind of what happens, and also I'm very inspired by food photography, and so I get a lot of food magazines, and I look at those for inspiration. So again, for me, it's, just an easy it makes everything easier makes writing the copy easier it makes creating the products a little bit easier and then developing a whole photo shoot a little bit easier because I have a focus there's always that focus place to go back to and say you know does this fit into this and if it doesn't then I just have to boot it so what are some good ideas that you booted I mean that everything you come up with me a winner right? I mean I've gotta like make mistakes and struggle and have someone a lot law so totally so I developed earlier in my business I had a suit that was mid spiritually ok that's not meant to sort of food eep actually is not so much I will say this I do have a geranium actually but it's super popular so I'll never get rid of it even though it's not particularly foodie but I loved this meant eventually I thought this thing was going to be amazing it was swirled it was beautiful I put it out there I could barely sell any of it and I ended up having to give most of it away or using it myself which is kind of a bummer because I loved it but again it's not always about what I love like I can make something that I love any time and I get to keep it for myself but when you have a business it's about what's going to sell and so that just didn't sell bombs that had more in mind than when you're making stuff we we're having a conversation earlier in one of the good questions that came up was should I try to be my ideal customer like air you but it sounds like you're making the soap for the world not just for yourself so has it really helped you to figure out who is going to buy this so yes yeah so I you know when I started I had this picture of this person and this person you know, they were fashionable and into natural beauty and and loved like soft beautiful colors and that kind of stuff and then as my brand groove that person sort of change aged and I know this is something we sort of touched on slightly is I'm not really that person I'm not the soft color person I really intense about food I have certain things like really stark black and white that speaks to me where a lot of black and white normally and so it ended up being that my ideal customer changed a little bit can't became a little bit more like myself but also I was able to see like you know, this is somebody who lives primarily in a city who's really into food has a decent amount of disposable income that they will spend on products and food and clothing they're interested in art those things you kind of you kind of develop this picture and that's another great thing about being at a craft show is you start to see who's gravitating toward your booth and are you, you know, is the ideal customer in your head? The same is the person that's actually coming to buy your things on debt can really help you focus and have you noticed that your customer in person is the is the person you imagined in your head? Sort of? The funny thing is is sort most of the time, I would say most of the time it also depends on the fares that you're attending and the attendees that come I find that so generally sells most of the time it most places really saying, I think that's why it's such a popular gift to me? I would always really safe bet like her, the kind of person you has extra gives just in case or your co worker's birthday's coming up I mean he's just really can't go wrong with it and it's good bye two times over, because if the person doesn't like it, then they have a good gift for somebody else totally versus if you buy something that it's really personal are very specific, it could be hard for them to figure out what to do with that if they don't want it yeah, soap at least it is good to pass on if you're not going to keep yes and, you know one of something I've noticed about mike my customers too is because I'm based in san francisco and when I do san francisco shows that's one of the things that appeals to them is the local and so you know, they may not be in my head my ideal customer in that whole like, oh set up that I have but it's the fact that they love their city and that's like another piece of that puzzle to think about this maybe maybe absolutely little markets that khun tuchman so how long did it take you to get to this point uh about five years give or take socio didn't always start out looking like this uh no no, it didn't I when I first started I was putting all my labels at home myself which most people dio the branding was very different the logo itself the edit and billy part was exactly the same except that it was in this brown tone and the plus symbol wass in a turquoise color or a coral color depending on if it was a bath product or a body products that was I was getting really like fancy with the signifiers anyway and so and it was printed on these labels this natural paper that had a little bit of like texture to it and so it was very different like the scribes were just packaged in the foils with labels on them they weren't in boxes the soap wasn't in boxes it had a cigar band the skin bomb products was actually intends silver tens label front and back label which I printed my good and applied so it was very different it was very different we changed the whole brand concepts changed in two thousand eleven and it was the right choice for me and this feels more me and that at the beginning was appropriate then but you know because it's all a process and sometimes it takes a little bit longer than you wanted to or think it should but yeah it was a while so that I really want to talk about with our audience on dh I'd like to open it up to questions too if any are coming in soon but I want to say that one thing that I think is particularly incredible about you and your business is up until very recently you had a full time job and she's like a one woman show she has a new assistant that just kind of came on board but previously you have been doing this a wholesale side a retail side like you have been doing all of this by yourself while working full time yeah for four and a half years I did that wow so I think so often we think all my job is you know uh until I don't have a job and then it's like you cut down your job to part time, I think that's where we really run into problems because you either just need to be all in or all out, but if you have a full time job and then you're running a business, your priorities in your time split is really clear that I think it's harder if you just have a little bit of a job, but how how did you do it? How did you create this? And how did you part two of that too? Stick with it for so long? We have so many other things to do understand? Yeah, so I one of the things I'm super stubborn, I'm and stubbornness ends up turning into persistence for me, so I when I started this business, my goal was that I wanted to do this full time, right? I wanted to quit my day job, I did not like my day job, al, there was no really reason for me to be there other than a paycheck, and I liked the people that I worked with to think a lot of people been released totally, totally hating, especially today's world it's like entrepreneur, entrepreneur, wherever you go, somebody's working for themselves that even if at one point you really did like your job, I think that a lot of us feel like something is missing now if we're not working for ourselves in some sense like oh, I got it all wrong when I went to college, right? Well, I didn't I didn't go, but do you know what I mean? Like I think there's this extra pressure now so like work for yourself there is and, you know, I put that pressure on myself as well because I had wanted to get this to place where it was sustainable on its own without the added, you know, funding and I could move it out of my apartment on dh that took along time I mean, it took almost five years, but house must have smelled a maze dead I had people come over and they always be like your house smells so I think in a way that actually apparently it's still have, like, a remnant smell to it. So it's it's good smells or sticking around, but, you know, it started to get to a point where we moved into a new apartment because the business was taking over our one bedroom apartment. So we moved into a three bedroom apartment thinking this is going to sustain, you know, the business for a while and we did that and it filled that up and going through a couple holiday seasons where I was making all the product on my own working full time trying to fit everything into the apartment and still live there when I really realized two things need to happen here. One I need to find a space that's, not the house to do this. And and two, I need to get rid of the job to see if this is really a viable business, that I can make work and not have to, like split my attention and my energy into and as soon as I really made that choice, I quit my job last october. I got a space in march. Hired my assistance in may, june. And here we go that and it's and it's sustaining itself. You know, your own creative. I know exactly that it's really amazing. How did it feel the first day that you didn't have traditional employment? Um, look, you knew you were going to do it. You're gonna sink or swim our jewelry guests called it. She has been fired. So she called it being fired and then getting fired up. I it was like the first day was amazing. I was just like, this is fantastic. I get to control my schedule. This is beautiful. Wonderful. I think a week later I was like, oh, my gosh, I don't have health insurance like I do have to think about that but but I got over that that was just like initial delayed fear but really what it is is every day I get to wake up and I get to this side what my schedule is going to be with a little bit of whatever are you good boss yourself for you a tough boss I'm a tough boss you are from a tough boss I will give myself days off though on the loud during this time of year it gets a little it's a little harder but yeah I tried tio try to be a good boss e can we solve a lot of coffee breaks? I wasn't tired like carrie just relax you just are you just a hard right and working hard wait dude questions coming in the people excited to ask this one came in from just in time who's in san francisco this says I'm really curious about men's products. A lot of everything you make seems to be neutral is it is that deliberate so that your eye for male or female or do you specifically have products in mind for each gender? So it is it was done on purpose my previous brand had been really I thought very female focused and when I wanted to change the branding I realize the things that appealed to me were auction the often very eunice sex and so I decided to change the branding to be more unified act, so it works for both men and women. I have considered adding on a men specific line because there's different products. Their research studies show that if you specifically say something is for men that sales go up, particularly when it comes to beauty products that women feel more comfortable buying it for men and men feel more comfortable using it if you just put for men on it that it opens up on you world I like this question is very short and sweet, maybe just spoons shortly be nancy, but sandra glover is asking, do you ever get bored doing this full time? Once you sort of set out on your on your goal? Has it? Has it you ever had moments of regret or boredom? No more never been boarded by I have not yet, but think about I've only done the full time thing for about a year. I've I've had boredom in making the same things, so let me rephrase he's the tedium stadium in making the same thing over and over again and that's why I have somebody to help me so that I can focus on new new things that's what I love to dio and that would keep you from feeling like it was the same old thing every day I do sense or exactly you mentioned christina's are joining us, she sent us alana, see any natural extensions to your brand by applying your sense to other things that candles or incense or tea on. When do you know if your brand is ready to expand great crisis people, that is a deep one? You know, I have a mme. I have people ask me about candles all the time and other products. So it is something that I've thought about adding on tio, particularly because almost every show I go to someone asked me if I'm going to make candles. Do you make candles? When am I gonna have candles? When can I buy this in a candle form? So I feel like I am ready to go to a campbell. I'm kind of like, well, I'm so getting this, we're getting this like, on a groove. When I get this on a group, maybe we can start thinking about candles. So, you know, I think one of the things about adding new product in is sometimes you just have to do it so I could like maybe next year I'll have candles, and as far as other products go, I actually work with I collaborate with the tea company based in san francisco called tv teas, and we do a t soap together. So it's, actually one of the ways that I'm able tio, do something a little different from what I typically do is by working with other makers to make a product based on a product they make so help. Thank you. That sound is asking how many art and craft shows do you do per year? I dio about somewhere between six to eight I've tried to reduce that occasionally, and then I get to do a new show on in, like cheryl do not show why not? That sounds fun. So somewhere between six and eight, and you feel that good balance for somebody starting out was that I think I would do a little bit. Well, it sort of depends. The thing about doing sixty eight is good is that you're going to get to interact with your customers a lot more, especially if you're just selling online and you get to meet more people and it's a great way to acquire new customers, so perhaps start with six I think the first year I was in business, I did about five shows something like that. That told me, and I think tha sweet sears saying she's, obviously admiring that o r office you're using natural products but he's all your packaging natural too, and if so, did you have a fine? Did you have problems finding sources of natural packaging? So my packaging is either made from recycled content or recyclable that's part of my focus? So I'm actually a certified green business here in san francisco, so the city actually sent somebody to my studio to check all of my packaging to check that we're using natural cleaning products that we're buying things in bulk and doing all the things have we're saving water, we're saving on electricity, so you know, I through some of my professional organizations, I was able to find some sources, so it wasn't as difficult as it could be, andi especially now a lot more there's, so many more options for green packaging, so it's a lot easier to find than it used to be, at least when I first started out, which is why I was kind of printing my own stuff on recycled paper, two independent questions that both follow on from that, though, if I ask the first one when when you when you are labeling, so do you have to put it in how it's made like the history in the hart building, other kinds, etcetera does that have to go on the packaging? So that's a bit of a complicated question, so soap when you're labeling, so if it's just soap and all you're saying that it is a soap and it doesn't do anything but clean, then you actually don't have to put in all the ingredients, which is very weird I would always but the ingredients on because I always want someone if they have an allergy to know what's in the soap so that they have that information. Now, if you make any claims about it, moisturizes anything like that, then you have to actually put all of the ingredients in along with their inky names, which is international nomenclature of cosmetics, something or other. Anyway, there you can find that on online, but you do have to put them in and descending order of the largest quantity and food ingredient to the smallest quantity of been granted ingredient there's, some other details there. So I would definitely recommend doing some research there's a couple of books out there have you said it was actually in the best u s action guide, but we will clad in a little bit towards that kind of a big, important question big important question, so I will find that I believe it's it's by marie gail it's something like explaining fda labeling requirements in plain english because how do you handle a whole? How do you protect yourself? Rather if someone has a bad reaction to your product, do again therefore, before you do that's all I do want to say it is so open call america labeling how to follow the rules and regulations explained in plain english by marie gail g a y o e and that is a really good reference for figuring it's an amazing book. So for reactions number one. If you're selling products, you always need to have liability insurance, you can get those through some professional organizations, and then I'm sure you can also get them somewhere out there. Sometimes you can even get that through if you own your own home to your homeownersinsurance that's. Always a resource to look in tuas. Well, so that's for my renters insurance would give me some liability business coverage insurance if I chose to buy it from them. So that's a good that's, another good place to look so there's a couple of things that you have to follow and to be honest, it's, that answer is really long, but you basically have to do all of these fda requirements where you catalog what happened. That's also why you need to track batch numbers so you know what batch that came from? You need to go down the list and see if there was any other reactions anyway. That's. A very, very broad explanation. I know we're not really here to give a lot of legal advise. Yeah, but you can find that information out. Just you're basically going to look for a book in relationship. Good manufacturing process practices and cosmetics testing. You touched on this one already, and this may not be related. But sweets here is asking if you make your products at home, do you have to have your house inspected by the health board? Oh, if you have, you say you have your business out of the house, for example, we would you need to be inspected. Now. You mentioned that you did have to have your packaging verified rather inspected, right? But that that was in relation to my green business certification. So those rules, as far as my understanding, goes very by state with whether you have to have your place of business with exactly. Yeah, yeah, I would. One of the resource is I gave, is they hand crafted soap in cosmetics? Skilled? I'm pretty sure, without a membership, they still have some of that information available. They do have some guidelines and some best practices for people on their website and that's in the that's when they get it that's when they get started action guide but I would like to give that that web site out as well because that's actually how I found you so that was another benefit for joining in a professional organization is not only the business support that you get from their end, but you I mean, I can't be the only connection probably that you've made from that, but what I was I was specifically looking for a beauty business in san francisco because I felt that the challenges by the beauty business faces are so big compared to other industries that I wasn't as familiar with some of the ins and outs as in real expert would be so I wanted somebody to come to the studio with me today, and I went teo the handcrafted soap guild at website and started looking for san francisco based businesses, and I was thrilled that I actually came upon yours because it was everything that I had been hoping for. But that's just one more reason why upping your game in that way and finding those resource is can be really beneficial to business is totally I think I actually had joined the handcrafted, so so it was then this is just the soap guild before I got my business started, and I highly recommend that people do that because you get so much information and you're already that that gives you a really good place to start from where you're not going to have to do a hopefully a bunch of changes somewhere down the line of your business yeah, and also another great thing about that website is if you're in the united states it will point you towards other people in your area who are already doing this as established businesses and often times those people are happy to help answer basic questions if you offer to take them out to lunch or which brings me sort of way see the mental that I wanted to talk about but just so you know at home that web address for that is soap guild dot or ge and you can get a lot of great information about beginning your business or if there's meetings in your area I know I went to a meeting of the so called in in nashville, tennessee not a few years ago actually went to me is the speaker so there's um it's just a really good resource, I think, but tell us about why you decided to get a mentor for your business and what stage of your business where you and when you had a mentor um I you know, I just started to get a mentor for a couple of reasons one when you're doing a business where you're pretty much the only person in your business um sometimes it's more it's, very lonely, and especially when you're starting out, I have no business experience, and so I was like, I don't know if I'm doing this right? I need to talk to somebody about this, you say you want to write a business being in business exactly, exactly. And so, you know, through my professional organizations, the seau killed and the indie business network, I was able to meet other makers and also some people who really ran those organizations who are able to help me and answer questions, and I know that I can reach out to them. And I also, you know, found fellow people who are in my same field, maybe not specifically my same market, but have are, you know, a few stages ahead of where I am, and I'm able to reach out to those people with questions and that really started at least I started going to the soap conferences before I started my business, but when I really started utilizing the mentorship, part of it was probably maybe three years into it, I probably should have started at the beginning, though I wouldn't find your mentors who so killed actually, not I more through the indeed, indeed business network, okay, yeah. Well, I guess it was sort of the so called there in both the persons in both. What about what did you look for when you are looking for a mentor? So this is a question that a lot of people ask me as they really want to grow their business and and I always say to them, you need to find a higher level support, you know, I mentor somebody that can be available to you to ask these questions, but it can be really tough to find a mentor. I mean, it can't be a big challenge, but I think it's worth the efforts yes, I totally agree with that. And, you know, for mine, it's sort of developed naturally, um, I just happened to meet them at the conference. We started to hit teo, like get to know each other, and it developed to the point where I felt comfortable answering questions. They were sharing a lot of information with me about business and so sort of kind of developed that way it happened. I I think though it is really scary and that's why these organizations are great mixes it ardor automatically puts you in a place where you have access to people who are in the same field, and then you can just look at the people who maybe have a business in a space that feel like that's, where I want to go, and then you can reach out to them, you know? And it may take a little while and that's another thing to just feel ok about is it's not necessarily going to happen overnight, you know, and it's like any relationship that has to develop, but I highly recommend going for it. Good? How did you know when you were ready to leave your full time job? Like what? What, what, what? What made you take their leap? S o I had what really made me take the lead. It was a couple of things. One, it was a holiday season that was so insane and so busy that I wasn't sure that I was able to make it through, like I had sort of like a meltdown, like an emotional breakdown where, just like you, so I I'm glad you're not the only one I know you're not the only one. I'm glad I'm not the only one I you know, I just had felt so overwhelming and so intense, and I put all this energy in and I had to stay up really late and do all these things, and then I have to go to my job. Or had to go to my job and then do all of this stuff and it was just like I don't know that I can do another holiday season like this I don't know if I physically emmett or emotionally able tio to handle this without totally just saying you know what? I can't do this anymore on dso you know, an opportunity arose where I was able it like I talked it through with my husband we sort of figured out a way to make it work with, like, a almost like a timeline sort of thing going on with okay, this is the idea it feels like we're at at this sort of like I was at like, this little cusp where I knew it just felt like if I didn't go all in it was just going to stay at this level and so I just sort of needed to find out that was part of it and I also felt like I had the safety of potentially going back to my old job so if it didn't work out now because you know everyone that yeah, not now and I'm not going back but you know, at the time I thought to myself, well, you know what worst case scenario this doesn't work, I'll go back like it will be fine, but I think there is a certain point where you can feel it growing you conf I feel something happening and you know that you really need to be there and present for that and to do that you need to not be working for somebody else or if you d'oh, it needs to be like the tiniest amount of time possible which you know that's really that's about like some sort of many safety net I don't know, but we're getting rid of your job I mean, it just gives you I think the like with with within reason so you know, it wasn't like you had it wasn't gonna harm you write a little while to try this out so within reason I think that it is could be really useful to give yourself that big incentive yeah of just go. When I started writing books, I had a part time job at a at a store within my world three days a week for like two years and it was the biggest reason like not to start another big project or not to travel to promote my business like this teething see job that really was neither here nor there I had this huge impact of my business because I let it sort of control all the other little things that I was doing yeah, and there was felt like there's some safety and saying like, well, I'm just a freelancer I just wrote one book or, you know, whatever it wass but it made a big difference when I got rid of it said ok, this is it yeah it's kind of you you sometimes have to push yourself to an uncomfortable place to reach I don't have to be in good yeah, I mean, I sort of do too and I realized what I really needed was the pressure of not having money coming from somewhere else that's what I needed I needed the pressure of having all of this to be on my shoulders all the time and once I did that, I was like, ok, well, now we've got to figure out how I'm going to bust out and make some cash this month and so for me that's, what worked on potentially works for a lot of people yeah this's that's really good advice on like it so much because it is really how it works, so I think a lot of times it's very easy to sit at home and see something that looks like this which is partly because you're branding is so on point, but to see these businesses and think, oh, that will never be me because I I don't feel like I'm really ambitious because I don't know what I'm doing because I already have a full time job I mean it's really easy to stop yourself from from having the success you on life because you're already comfortable in a really uncomfortable kind of way but I think this is so good, because I find a lot of people don't always say what I think is the truth about what being in business is actually like, that it's, you know, tough, and we're worrying sometimes and scary as all get out, totally all of those things, but, you know, now, being in it for a year, I would never I know that I would not go back unless I was some for some reason, forced to go back, I wouldn't go back, I love it. I will take all the pressure, the stress, the sleepless nights at all, the cold pressed pressure, that's, so joke, I would take it all like I would. I would deal what I would do it in a heartbeat again, like know that we're really good testimony there.