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The BYBI Founders share their tips to creating a sustainable, vegan beauty brand & and how to lower your costs, with Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic

by Female Startup Club
May 6th 2021
00:45:02
Description

Todays’ episode is brought to you by Klaviyo and I’m joined by Elsie and Dominika, the Co-Founders of BYBI Beauty. 

BYBI is a vegan, sustainable skincare brand that champions clean and innova... More

before we dive into the show. Today we have some super exciting news as of this month. Female startup club is officially part of the hubspot podcast network, something we love about the hubspot podcast network is all of the inspiring shows dedicated to helping professionals learn and grow, especially women in business. So if you love female startup club and want to check out other shows like us, we definitely recommend checking out being boss, the gold digger podcast and the shakeup Check out all these shows and more at hubspot dot com slash podcast network. This is Elsie Rutherford and dominica Menorah vic for female startup club. Yeah, mm Hey everyone, it's doing here. Your host and hype girl. I actually just decided that's what I am and my mission with female startup club. It's to motivate and inspire women to pursue their goals and therefore be your hype girl. I'm just trying this out. So let me know what you think. Today's episode is brought to you by Clay vo. And I'm joined by Elsie and dominica, the founders of Bybee Beauty Baby is a vegan sustainable skincare brand that champions clean and innovative products designed to improve overall skin health rather than catering to specific skin types.

Co founders, dominica and Elsie have always had a vested interest in clean beauty and began their platform, Clean beauty Insiders, a natural beauty blog and podcast in 2015 before officially launching baby in the UK in 2017 as a leader in sustainable skincare Bybee consistently audits all facets of their business to find ways to reduce carbon emissions from ingredient sourcing to manufacturing to packaging Bybee has declared a crusade against carbon and is officially completely carbon neutral and on route to becoming carbon negative, a huge achievement for their company. In this episode, we chat about building community before launching a brand and the impact that can have what it means for the unit economics. When you go down the all sustainable route and their recent retail expansion into the US market and how to make that a success. You can also watch this episode on Youtube, meet and connect with other listeners in our private facebook group or check in with us on instagram all found under female startup club.

If you're enjoying the show and you want to support even more. The best thing that helps me is by sharing with women in your network who would benefit from this episode or posting something cute on social media and I'm always down to chat. If you want to slide into my DmS too, let's jump into this episode. This is Elsie and dominica for female startup club. Yeah, yeah, customers want more from brands, delivering more means owning the customer experience, taking control over data acquisition analysis, creative and delivery. Clay vo calls this owned marketing and believe it's the best path to growth for more visit clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. That's clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. One last thing before we jump into this episode, I want to quickly shout about our course the ads. M. B. A. Although I'm totally biased, I'm told by so many of the hundreds of women who have taken it so far that it's amazing and they've been able to increase their revenue in their business using the methods taught the ads, N.

B. A. Is A. D. I. Y. Course to help you master the technical skills needed to run profitable facebook and instagram ads by yourself. We've partnered with leading performance marketing agency amplifier to create the best online program out there and these guys know a serious thing or two about performance marketing. They've spent more than $100 million in ads during their time. You'll learn everything from winning ad creatives to identifying your target KPI s implementing retargeting funnels and deploying scaling strategies to increase your revenue to upwards of six and seven figures per year. It includes six modules with more than 30 video lessons and you can learn at your own pace. But what we're most proud of is that $30 from every sale is donated towards girls secondary education through the Malala Fund, a charity that champions every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe quality education and is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead to learn more. Head to female startup club dot com.

Female startup precincts. Elsie dominica Hello and welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hello. Thank you very much for having us. I'm so excited to be here learning from both of you about your brand. Do you want to both start by introducing yourselves and giving an overview of what your business is? We can start with you dominica. Yes, sure. So my name's dominica, I am one of the co founders of baby, we are skin positive, pro planet beauty from London, we've just launched in the US with Target, which is super exciting, but our brand is all centered around being natural vegan and we have a huge pillar of sustainability as well, incredible congrats on the US, that's huge. Yeah, it's, it's scary by exciting at the same time. I bet Elsie your turn Well I'm Elsie, I'm the other co founder and yeah, I think Dominique has probably covered what why we does so where everything that dominica just said basically.

Perfect, I love to get started by finding out where your entrepreneurial journey actually began. Yeah, so we, we actually both have quite a similar kind of entrepreneurial background story and journey because we met while we were working together, so that was where yeah, they're kind of like the baby journey started and and we actually have quite a similar kind of career history, so where sales girls through and through, we have all manner of sales jobs under our belts combined, we've sold everything from coffee machines to classified ads in newspapers like the whole lot since we were hustling basically since we were like 17. And I think for us like having a sales job is quite entrepreneurial in its in itself, like the nature of the sales job because you're basically like managing your own book of business right? And you're working to targets and you're kind of like, you know, you have an understanding of what it means to go on and really pitch.

So I think that was where for both of us are kind of like entrepreneurial spirit was really like ignited. We met while we were working selling video advertising. So this is back in like 2013, 2014, 2013 I think it won't go and we've got, that's very long ago, that was actually terrifying. We were both selling like nonce capable pre roll, which is the annoying advert that sits before the video content that you want to watch. We started on the same day at the same company and hit it off straight away. But I think really having that sells background gave us like a great grounding to then go on to become entrepreneurs. Like the skills you learn from the cells roller like yeah, they've been so useful in in kind of running a business running business today. I love that yet. Absolutely a really key skill to have. When does beauty into the picture? What was the kind of light bulb moment for starting the brand? So I guess Elsie and I, well, you know, as she said, kind of office BFFs and experimented with a number of things, including, um, we did triathlons and we used to go to the gym together.

We went vegan together and we're making sweet potato brownies and you know, avocado muffins. Um, so we were kind of on this, I guess a bit of a journey of wellness together and beauty was, I guess just an extension of that. So we were really concerned with, you know, what we're putting into our bodies. And then we stopped to think about what we're putting on to our bodies. And I think that's quite a normal kind of process for people to find more natural clean skincare. You know, you often start with food and then it makes sense to think about what you're putting on your body's largest organ, which is your skin. So we actually started quite humbly, quite literally the kitchen sink where we used to make our own skincare using food. So that was where our journey began on clean beauty insiders, which was our blog, I guess for us, we were just already in the kitchen making our smoothies. So we were like, hey, let's put it on our face. There's a little bit left over in the vita mix. Let's just slap it on and see what happens. And actually, we were really impressed with the results. And I think that's something that is a thread that runs through the entire story of clean beauty insiders.

This baby, it's always about performance, it's not necessarily about, oh, you know, we're concerned about the ingredients in our products or um, you know, we want to use, we have a thing against synthetics. It's actually, we saw great results from using natural pure and processed ingredients. So we really felt like pursuing that from, I guess a blog perspective and then ultimately a business perspective as well. But yeah, we were, you know, we were quite literally mashing up avocado in the kitchen and we came up with the idea, so, you know, I can start humbly, what was the first product? I think it was a green smoothie for the face and then we quite quickly went on to body scrubs. It was like just when frank body launched and the kind of coffee, body scrub was just everywhere. So we experimented definitely with a few coffee body scrubs, which clogged up our bathroom sinks, definitely. Oh my gosh, well, and so were you kind of talking to your audience via the blog being like, hey, we're going to launch a business, What do you think? And what were they saying? What was the feedback?

Yeah, yeah, we definitely were. I mean, I don't know if it was quite as literal as like guys, we're about to launch a business, like give us all your eye, you know, what do you think that kind of thing. Like it wasn't, and it wasn't as contrived as that from our part either, you know, the business idea of what it is today, there were a few iterations for it to kind of get there, you know, it was, it was a definite journey but I think for us to kind of leaning on that community as we went and just understanding what they wanted. Like we had a really good idea of what we wanted as beauty kind of consumers and and particularly beauty consumers kind of discovering natural beauty for the first time and as we started to connect with a community of people who were interested in the same kind of thing over us, it was like, okay, well you know, if you, if you could design your own product, what would you want from it? Like if you are thinking about the smell, the texture, the feel of a product, like what, what really comes to mind and and we, we kind of have these conversations with our community that really then helped drive us when we were thinking about how we will build a brand and the type of product that we want to kind of build with that.

We also used to hold workshops like this, this was like really, this is like the real hustle for us, this is when we physically, so we would work on monday to friday job, full time job and then the two of us on Saturdays and Sundays would hold these workshops in central London where we would teach people how to make all of the stuff that Dominique has just talked about? So the coffee scrubs and face serums and that kind of thing. We'd get people into a room, we'd apply them with Prosecco so it was like a great like fun day out and then we'd make these like amazing fun natural beauty products. I mean this is ours. And then physically the two of us would like pack it all up, haul everything back to our, one of our houses where we were storing everything. But those sessions were amazing because we just had these like this captive audience of people that were really interested in natural beauty, they're a bit drunk and you know, we were, the conversation would just fly like we would have these amazing conversations to really understand like what was driving these people and what they really want different products. So some of those early days really have kind of been instrumental in helping develop what Bybee has now become.

That sounds so fun. I feel like we should bring them back, they need to make a comeback. We should we do you know what we wanted our Saturdays back, we were like this, we probably just need to stop working fully seven days so but maybe they'll make a comeback. Maybe we'll do a little cameos on time soon. Yeah, little guest appearance. Yeah, I love that. Okay, so you're doing this on the weekend, You've got this really key customer insight, How does it actually become the brand? What are those kind of key steps for you to start building and scaling in the beginning? Yeah I think there were a number of proof points with clean beauty insiders that we felt okay. This could actually be a concept I guess. We didn't know it was a skincare brand at that point but we knew that we were onto something that resonated with an audience. A couple of those key moments were definitely the workshops and how quickly we were able to sell tickets and generate revenue from those. Um we got a book deal as well with penguin. So you can find our book on amazon, it's called Clean Beauty and it's 100 recipes on how to make your own skin care at home very basic, I'm just going to carry out it's not going to arrive where you're like drunk elephant protein but we'll deliver the same results, I would argue.

And uh yeah and we kind of just started generating revenue from all of these different things that we were doing our instagram following was growing really quickly and we just thought you know what there's actually an appetite for what we're doing. And I guess what we were doing was making natural beauty a little bit cooler, a little bit more accessible. So we thought okay, you know what can we do with this? We can definitely venture down there, you know we had all sorts of ideas, we had like D. I. Y. Boxes where, you know, you have a subscription and we'd send you ingredients and you make your own stuff, customizable things, you know, do we continue down the eventing route? You know, there were so many different things, but ultimately a brand from, you know, producing products and creating skincare brand made the most sense because actually looking at the market, The reason why we were still in our Kitchens making product is because there was no one doing it on a mass scale and selling it through retail, you know, you literally walked into whole foods and you pick up a brown paper bag of some lavender bath salts or someone's like nice facial oil that they've made in their, you know, backyard shed, but it's definitely wasn't, you know, the prime prestige beauty market there is in natural skin care now, you know, to to harper wasn't really available, you know, you weren't looking at anything particularly exciting.

So we thought, okay, can we marry up these things that we know work, which is natural beauty, talking about the performance and making it accessible. And actually from a brand perspective, accessibility means price. So can we make natural beauty affordable. And that was really the light bulb moment for the brand. Um you know, and and we quit our jobs, we still worked seven days, but at least those seven days were entirely on baby, and we just went for it. We got a Virgin startup loan and we thought, you know, let's just give it a go and see where this goes and you know, almost four years later, I'd say it's gone pretty well, although we're not there, I'd say it's going really well. Can you tell me what a Virgin startup loan is and what kind of capital were they able to give you to start the business? Yeah, so a Virgin startup loan is a loan run through Virgin Ak, you know, of Richard Branson fame, um, and actually piggy piggy backs off of an organization called the startup loans company who are essentially, you know, built a lone startup money as you would imagine it does what it doesn't listen.

And they Virgin kind of run occasion process for them that includes helping you get the startup loan and then also, um kind of marries you up with mentors and kind of takes you into the Virgin finance family. So the startup loan itself is up to, well this is Six years ago now, so it may have slightly changed, but when we got it, it's up to £25,000 per founder. So as to founders, we applied for the full lot and were awarded the full £50,000 and you pay it back over really favorable terms over a kind of low interest rate over a kind of a long period of time. So it's, you know, it's designed to help startups get off the ground essentially, you know, we're not talking about millions of pounds, that's gonna be a huge injection of capital, but it's really great for those kind of early, early days like ***, we things that you just need a little bit of money for. So it really helped us get our first product line off of the ground in terms of hiring a branding agency to do the packaging, being able to place our initial orders and just kind of helping with those, those initial things that you you need to really get your business up and running, it's a great process because to be able to apply for it, you have to do like a full business plan, which at that point you might not have been thinking about, you might not done.

So it gets forces you to do some pretty, you know, good or get into a good practice when it comes to kind of like planning out your business and looking at your financials, even if what we said, we were going to do is completely off. It was totally wrong, but at least they got us thinking about it, you know, I think in our mind we were going to be like a £10 million brand by like, you know, in six months down the line or something, but and they also marry you up with a financial advisor who helps you go through that. So, you know, he was like, guys, you're not going to do this in six months like that, you need to be a bit more realistic, or maybe he's like, you're being like way too conservative there. So really useful practice. And then once you've been awarded the money, as I say, you get a mentor. So we've got a mentor each and actually Virgin have been fantastic in terms of future opportunities. So we paired up with a mentor which is a really useful kind of business advisory service and then further to that, you kind of get swept into Virgins and kind of family. So we've had some amazing pr opportunities off the back of it.

They've got some amazing kind of like newspaper and magazine coverage and particularly the kind of like business sections. And I actually interviewed Richard Branson live on stage, which was an amazing kind of pr opportunity as well. Yeah, I got to meet the man himself, which was great. So I would highly recommend it if you're at the very early stages of your business. That's so interesting. I'm wondering when you kind of applied for that loan, what was the timeline for you to then actually launch and start going out and selling your products? Yeah, so we applied some kind of the back end of 2016 and we launched the brand, I guess officially in august 2017. So what we did between receiving the funds was, as I also said, really worked on branding um and kind of just getting our first product line up and running, but also during that time we started to speak to retailers. So I think for us, you know, Dtc was definitely a route that we pursued and obviously having a blog and instagram following, we were able to recruit customers a small base quite quickly, but in terms of scaling d to see, we didn't necessarily feel like that was going to be our route as a brand, particularly as in the early days, even really before we launched by the we had a lot of interest from retailers.

Um We launched on a sauce. We actually launched with Forever 21. I don't I don't know if you remember in the U. S. They had a chain called Riley Rose which which eventually shut down. But yeah, you know, we launched with them and that was almost pre pre launch for us. We secured those distribution deals so we were able to quite quickly scale the business and actually in turn and raise our first round of pre seed funding off the back of having all of this distribution interest. And so we didn't necessarily focused too much indeed to see in the early days. And that may have been a detriment now when we're trying to grow D to C but equally, you know, we've always been a retail first business and actually beauty lends itself, I would argue more to wholesale in the traditional retail model than it does to do to see anyway. So I feel like we did make the right choice and that we've been able to scale, you know, top line revenue really quickly by focusing on a wholesale distribution model. It definitely, you know, it was a process, but I think in that period of time having the blog and the book and all of the press, we were able to really recruit investors and retailers.

So when we decided to launch the brand, we kind of had a good amount of funding and great distribution ready to go as well. And when you say you have that distribution kind of secured almost before you launched, what were you going out and saying to people specifically? Yeah, I mean, we were saying, you know, we had early products, so we were able to show physical products and give products to show and try and I think that's really important. I think, you know, I was on a club house the other day and and someone was asking, you know, how do you approach retail and show that you're kind of more legit than you are. How do you show that you've got your ducks all in a row when you really don't? And I said, it's all about presentation, going into those retailer meetings and having the press and the book and, you know, some really attractive and aesthetic samples, even if they weren't finished packaging, but they looked like they'd come from a lab. They were, you know, very legit, even though we made them ourselves and you know, it was all kind of behind the scenes take together, you know, we presented a very thought out and well, kind of like professional approach these retailers and I think that is what really brought them in in terms of, you know, wanting to stop us and taking a chance on a younger brand.

And I think we were just, I always feel like with baby probably up until this year we've been a little bit ahead of our time in terms of, yes, clean and natural has always been a bit of a trend and sustainability and kind of like price point that we play in. But yeah, we've always kind of been on a trend radar of retailers, we might not have been, they're kind of like staple, what is going to drive the volume for them. But a brand like ours has always been, you know, it was something that a buyer has wanted to bring into their assortment and I feel like only this year it's becoming more mainstream around my cows. So it's exciting to see that scale as well. And I feel like for you guys, brand would have played a really key part in that because yes, you're clean beauty, but you don't look that kind of like clean, organic kind of brand. I have some of the products here for the sake of the youtube video. You know you've got these really bright poppy colors with the gold, it looks really luxe. It looks really really fun. It doesn't scream that Clean organic brand that back in the day 2016 2017 could have been in those whole foods and the likes as you said you launched into retail and you hadn't focused so much on DDC when you did start putting that spotlight on the D.

C. Side of the business, how were you growing it and kind of nurturing that relationship with the customer. Yeah I think that we approached it in a number of ways. Like obviously we had already got the good basis of kind of organic social in place from both clean beauty insiders and then you know by the as a brand at that point. So you know that Socialists can't can't be ignored like it is the bread and butter kind of um strategy for a lot of DTC brands. So we kind of looked at what was winning from an organic perspective and started to see how we could um scale that from a paid perspective. So you know, channels like facebook and instagram and google with such are you know definitely make up a part of our direct consumer marketing budget as I think any you know any brand these days would say but I think we were always really keen on wanting to acquire customers in a more meaningful way that wasn't just, you know, from a paid ad on instagram, because I think what we found was that customers who came through some kind of separate avenues tended to be slightly more loyal and that is actually quite hard, especially these days, you know, maybe back in the day when facebook was in its glory, it was a little bit easier.

But I think these days where it's very competitive platform, it can be quite difficult to acquire quite loyal customers. So we were constantly thinking about like, okay, when we're looking at are d to see, you know, what can we give the customer and how can we kind of like, not only acquired them, but also ensure that they'll stay with us and they'll they'll turn into repeat by the customer. And content for us has always been, you know, it's the root of the brand, is how we started. We've got, you know, we've got clean beauty insiders, we have enemies inside as we had our book, we're running these workshops, as I said, so producing like interesting content and that people want to engage with has always been part of what we do, and we could really see that that drives customer loyalty and drive customer engagement. So we looked at how we could do that and what we're already doing with by the and luckily we're a brand that has a lot to say, and there's a, you know, that we're very multifaceted, there's a we're not just a kind of like pretty looking beauty brand that just turns out rubbish products, that's not what we're about. So the content are kind of like content pillars really revolve around what the brand stands for, and they have become a really solid part of how we attract and retain customers kind of longer term.

So um to give you an example of a couple of those, so sustainability is obviously a huge aspect of what we do, you know, we are sustainable from seed to shelf, we really think about sustainability in a huge amount of depth. So we run a series of event called the Summit and they were in real life when, you know, pre pandemic and we've transited them to online now um and they're basically where we get we come together, we pick a topic of sustainability and so we call it society, that's our like term for sustainability. And we uh we bring in panelists will do live Q and A's and we just really pick that in a way that feels consumer friendly. The the whole idea of the sassy time, it is to help people who want to shop more sustainably do that. Like we're not here to preach at people, we're here to say like, okay, how can we make your life easier, and that started off being about beauty, but it's actually kind of stand out into all different, you know, we've looked at fashion, we've looked at food and drink. So that in itself is a really, you know, lovely way for us to be able to connect with our consumers. But what it also gives us is a, you know, an in real life pre pandemic and the now virtual way of actually like coming face to face with our future customers are existing customers of driving loyalty of giving them something extra that goes above and beyond just selling them a product.

So I think that content piece is really, really important and it's a you know, it makes up a huge part of our kind of direct consumer marketing strategy. But it also then filters into how we support our retailers with marketing as well. Right? So it's not just about our direct but it's also as Dominic said, we are a retail business. So, you know, we work in collaboration with the likes of a sauce for example to provide content because as I say, we do have where a brand that has a lot to say, and we can give the likes of an a sauce, you know, interesting content that perhaps some of the other brands couldn't. So, I think content will always be a really cool pillar to our kind of marketing strategy and how we attract customers. Mm That's so interesting and really cool. And it kind of leads into something that I was wondering about in general because I don't know the answer to this, but when it comes to the economics of building a product like yours, it's an affordable brand, but it's very like, you know, you've got all the recyclable products, you've got the recyclable dies. I was reading everything sustainable. Does that impact your bottom line?

Or is it actually that just brands aren't doing it as much when they actually could afford to be doing it? Do you know what I mean? Yeah, I think it's an interesting question. I think it doesn't impact our bottom line. I think it impacts our gross margin. So perhaps our unit economics per product on as strong as another brand. But I feel like we spend less on trying to acquire and retain customers because actually, the quality of our product and the ethos around the brand is really strong and that's really filtered through the product. If you look at the packaging, as you said, you know, you're picking up something that feels quite locks, but it's an affordable price. So you're kind of catering towards an audience which is looking for quality and value. And I think that is very much a customer like post pandemic, it's definitely a target customer. So actually by able being able to have a lower price point and perhaps be squeezed on gross margin, slightly more than another brand that chooses to price their products higher. We're able to reach a critical mass by, you know, partnering with retailers like target, whereas perhaps that other brand goes to a Sephora and the footprint of Sephora is actually a lot lower than a target.

But we spend less money trying to recruit those customers. As I said, because I think a lot of our recruitment is done through the actual products. So I would argue that our bottom lines are the same, the money just is spent in different ways and arguably that's actually more value for the customer rather than spending money on, you know, big marketing campaigns and sending it to google and facebook. We're investing that money into our product which has a direct benefit for our customer, but things are getting much more affordable and obviously, you know, we are very careful about the way that we manage our gross margin and it's super important for us to still be, you know, a profitable business and show good unit economics. So we do a lot of smart things behind the scenes in order to get good prices on packaging. If you look at the boost arrange, we use the same bottle across the whole range. They were able to buy in quite big volume now, you know, we source a lot from the same suppliers, interestingly, you know, you wouldn't think it, but we use a lot, we use high percentages of quite expensive actives, but because we use them in higher percentages than other brands were actually able to get really good prices on those as well.

We saw a lot of things locally, we saw a lot of up cycled ingredients which tend to be better price as well and we manage all of our own procurement, which means that we're cutting out a lot of middlemen as well when it comes to distribution, which is typically the way that a lot of procurement is beauty is done through distributor models and sales agents. So we work with all of our suppliers directly. So I think there's definitely things that we do behind the scenes to drive that. But yeah, as I said, I do believe the value is in the products for us as well. That's so cool and so interesting, so many cool insights there for brands who are coming into the space and looking for ways to be more creative with that kind of thing, thank you so much for sharing. I want to ask you when you look back over the last couple of years, what have been those key moments of growth or like those key tipping points that have really left you forward? I mean we're like fancy to say, we're not always the best at like really recognizing or stopping to recognize achievement because we are both 100 mph, like for us it's quite difficult to, we don't take a moment and say like, oh my God, like last year we, you know, closed a $7 million investment round, like we do, we just don't really do that because honestly by the time we achieve things were like we're onto the next thing.

I mean we're you know we're miles ahead so these kind of things are kind of like looking back and thinking okay where you know what were the real sort of like milestones for the business like that It doesn't come that easily to us. But if we're forced to I would say that we've probably gone through a couple of transition periods. I think market or like geography, geographical market expansion is definitely one of them. So the U. S. Expansion piece for us really kicked off this year in january when we launched into target and I think that was a moment. We have been working like we've kind of been working up to that moment since since we started like it was always on the cards for us to launch into the U. S. But it took a long time to figure out who the best kind of partner was to do that and then go in and pitch the target and ultimately when like an 1800 door distribution deal also. But I think yeah no small feat though. It was quite my God wow. Yeah it's kind of natural that's wild but I think you know that is a that signified a huge moment of shift and transition for for the entire business and and actually we've spent the last few months as a business and as leaders of a team really directing the ship and making sure that everyone is laser focused on ensuring that the target is a success and that's that's quite a shift because if you look at what the team was spending the time on us as founders were spending our time on in the run up to that, it was many different retailers, it was our duty to see it was, you know, our sustainability mission and growing social, which are all still really important, but we've had a bit of a shift in terms of, okay, we're thinking about target and we're thinking about the U.

S. And what does that mean for, you know, time spent within the team, so that I think that for us was a pretty big milestone, I think also when we're looking at sustainability and becoming carbon neutral, which we achieved at the end of last year and the journey of that, so for us, we were really thinking about sustainability and how we could play in that space in a way that felt impactful and that was really meaningful. So how could we be a sustainable brand, but actually truly be a sustainable brand and actually haven't had a positive impact on on the planet or at least not have such negative impact on the planet, It's probably a better way of phrasing that and we spent a really long time trying to understand where we should focus and everything netted out carbon for us, carbon is, you know, carbon is the damage er that carbon is the thing that is causing our climate to fall apart. So as a brand, we decided to focus all of our efforts on carbon, so that was a real game changer for us in some kind of shifting our sustainability kind of value towards carbon, and then looking at the entire business and saying, okay, what does this mean for us, where do we, where do we start?

And it's a huge piece of work that we've been doing to kind of really audit that, and not only were carbon neutral, but we've also vowed to be carbon negative, so yeah, take it a step further than anybody really is doing by 2025 So I would say there's a couple of milestones that we've yeah, been working on recently, that's amazing, very, very cool, holy moly I think we should have a follow up episode where you step us through, like how you actually become a brand that's carbon neutral and carbon negative, that sounds really, really interesting, it's not easy, we'll tell you that we need a master class, I want to just step back to something you said about working on target and making sure that that's a success, how do you actually make sure that's a success, What are the kinds of things that you have to do to thrive In 1800 doors. Well, I feel like we, that is for a follow up session as well because we're still figuring that out, we've really been in there for you no less than three months now. So it's it's it's crazy as obviously said just to think about that volume in that scale.

Sometimes I see the doors, the store names and I'm like where even is that I just have no concept of that location, you know because there's so there's so many targets across the U. S. It's just and in so many places I've never heard of so I'll reach the moment is crazy and to think that you know people are buying Bybee at such volume, you know it makes me so overwhelmed with anxiety and joy at the same time. But you know we're still figuring it out. I think building brand awareness in the U. S. Is more challenging than we had anticipated purely because it's such a noisy market and I think we've spent a little bit of time really figuring out what our message is to be really clear about our point of difference because even in target is becoming more competitive and it's becoming more noisy. So I think for us, you know and I would advise any brand launching into that market or as a new brand as a U. S. Brand is just to make that sound bite very clear. You know what is it that you're doing that's different and how can you articulate the value prop to the customer.

And you know, as you pointed out as we've discussed around packaging. That is a big part for us because if you look at the other brands in Target, actually there they do definitely follow the mass trend of, you know, know how to, you know, cartons often quite, you know, cheap, flimsy plastic packaging, you know, not a lot of thought necessarily into the aesthetic because it's all about price driven in target, whereas we're trying to cater for a different need in target. So I think just understanding those nuances and those points of difference and really understanding the customer, I mean the target customer is so unique. There are completely unlike any other customer we have in any of our other retailers and I would, I would dave and say, you know, in any other retailer in the US, the target customer is a customer to their own. So really trying to understand how they consume their media. How are they going to be impacted walking into such as a sizable straw with so much on offer, not just in beauty, but in every category, how can we lure them into skincare and then lure them to our brand. So there's still a lot that we're figuring out, but I think influences has been the key key focus for us because we know that a lot of those customers engage with media on social media.

So the fastest way for us to make our brand known is to kind of be seen everywhere with the right people and social and it's pretty basic. I wouldn't say that we're reinventing the wheel, it just requires a bit of cadence, a lot of stock and good Excel spreadsheet, so it's not, you know, without reach of any brand, but I think that is something that has been, you know, already really successful for us. Um, and we're trying all different sorts of media, you know, pay digital media, we're looking at um infomercials, direct mail, we're looking at pay tv non pay tv, you know, everything that were, you know, you can think of, we're trialing just to see what sticks with that customer because as I said, super unique and not a marketing strategy that we've had before, so we're still learning, but I would say, you know, the target partnership is growing, which is the most important thing and already we're so overwhelmed with the volumes that we're doing. You know, it's so amazing to see so many people buying by the and it's it's such a pinch me moments, so really excited just to grow that partnership and I guess become one of the heritage big brands that's, you know, that's really our ambition for that retailer.

Oh, so exciting, so exciting. I'm super conscious of the time. So I have one last question for you both before we do the rapid fire and I'm going to split our usual six quick questions into three and three. So question for you both is what is your key piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business and dominica will start with you again. Oh my God, I've come up with something really cringe. E but it just came to me immediately which is just do it. But like what I mean by that is I just don't think too much about it. Don't wait till everything's perfect. You know, as I said, even if behind the scenes everything is a little shaky. The foundations aren't there yet, you know, as long as externally or you're presenting a good picture I think just go for it. There's no time like the present. Amazing. Elsie, what's your top piece of advice? Well that was actually going to be mine. Great minds think alike. Yeah, I would say that your network is going to become one of your most valuable tools.

So say yes to every single coffee, every single virtual meet up the invite to every networking event if they are going on digitally or in real life, just put yourself out there because honestly the doors that they can open, you'll be, you'll just be surprised by the doors they can open. Um as well as rely on your own network. Don't be afraid to ask if you're raising capital, if you're looking to hire, if you Looking for an agency, you know, any question that you have any business issue or problem or challenge that you're trying to solve, just go out to your network and honestly like nine times out of 10 the answer will be there within the group of people that you already know. I love it. Thank you. Okay I'm going to do rapid fire three questions to you dominica and then I'll switch to U. L. C. Question number one is what's your why? Why do you do what you do? God I knew these are going to be hard. What's my why? I think I'm just so may be motivated by what we're doing, sustainability. You know, creating something that's really meaningful for the customer.

It provides me with endless energy and excitement. So I think really delivering something different to the beauty market. Is my wife amazing question number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop? I would say one of the earliest pieces of press we got, which we still, I think the tagline is still on our website which is the new faces of natural skincare which was when we were probably a little bit younger and probably looked like we should be wrapping that. But that was a big feature in the U. K. Publication Evening Standard um which is you kind of get it on the on the tube on the train. So yeah that was a big moment for us. It was a big kind of full page image of us with the tagline Year, new faces of natural skincare in, that was a real moment. I think for us love it. And last question is, where do you hang out to get smarter? We hang out with each other. Cute. I think the magic happens when we put our heads together. I think that we really bounce off each other and you know, just a few conversations that we have, we can kind of, yeah, we've got different ways of thinking, but when it comes together there's something magical about it.

So Elsie is always my biggest inspiration. Um, No one can beat her. So I would say two of us together. Oh, that's the nicest thing ever, definitely so lovely, cute. Okay, Elsie last three questions for you. Question number four is how do you win the day? What's your am or pm rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? How I now win the day is finishing the day where with my business partner saying such lovely words, that's like that one, my day is one hearing Dominique could say that no, I am a sucker for a to do list. So I, I get like a real buzz of feeling productive, feeling like I have tipped things off my to do list. So I in order to win my day, I start out the day with a reasonable and achievable to do list. That isn't gonna end up with a failure because I've put far too much on it and I would say that is a good tip, like when you're doing your to do this, don't go all out with it, like just think I'm actually gonna be able to get these things done and then you, your sense of achievement by the end of the day will be much greater than if you haven't done any of it.

So true. Set yourself up for success. Question number five is if you only had $1000 left in the business bank account, where would you spend it? I would send $1,000 worth of product too relevant. Micro influencers get product in people's hands is the best thing that you can possibly do from day one. Like honestly give away as much product as you as you possibly can because the more people trying your product the better chance you are of associating great tip, I thought you were going to say to withdraw and buy your lunch, boozy lunch like the good old days, they want to have some spicy. This is the belt to go bomb. So let's just, Well let's question question # six is how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things don't go to plan. Um I think you've just got to learn from failure. Like get out of dust yourself off and then I think why did this fell and what can we learn to take this as a positive and and to use this kind of moving forward.

Fell fast as they say, learn quick. Fell fast, pick yourself up and say, okay, we won't do that again. What can we learn? I think that's yeah, that's why I would say amazing dominica. Elsie, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today and share your learnings about the brand. I've loved meeting you both. Thank you. Thanks so much for your time. Thanks so much. Bye. Hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup Club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D. I. Y. Course the ads, M. B. A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help others find us. So please do jump on and subscribe, rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network.

See you soon. Yeah,

The BYBI Founders share their tips to creating a sustainable, vegan beauty brand & and how to lower your costs, with Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic
The BYBI Founders share their tips to creating a sustainable, vegan beauty brand & and how to lower your costs, with Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic
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