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Using your customers to lead product development and building a company with a truly unique point of difference, with Volition Beauty’s Brandy Hoffman

by Female Startup Club
April 6th 2021
00:54:31
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Joining me on the show today is Brandy Hoffman, Co-Founder of Volition Beauty. 

Putting the power of innovation into the hands of the consumer, Volition has turned the beauty industry on its ... 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 Brandy Hoffman for female startup club. Hey everyone and welcome back to another episode of the female startup club podcast. I'm your host, june rasheen and joining me on the show today is Brandy Hoffman, co founder of Volition Beauty, putting the power of innovation into the hands of the consumer volition has turned the beauty industry on its head through the use of community crowdsourcing to find the most in demand products not yet on the market, the collection of clean skincare has come from the hearts and minds of half a million women in the brand's fan base coming to life by 50 plus expert labs.

In this episode, we cover why it's so important to be clear on what makes your brand different and unique the importance of understanding your customer and what they actually want from skincare and the why behind their innovative formulation and innovation process. And on a final note, we would love for you to join us in our private facebook group by searching female startup club where you can connect with other women ask questions and here are updates. If you like this episode, please do subscribe and rate and review the show to help these inspiring stories go further. I hope you love this chat because I certainly did. This is Brandy for female startup club. Yeah. Are you working around the clock to build the business you always imagined? Do you want to communicate with your fast growing list of customers in a personalized way, but in a way that gives you time to work on the rest of your business. Do you ever wonder how the companies, you admire the ones that redefine their categories do it?

Companies like living proof and chubby's. They do it by building relationships with their customers from the very beginning while also evolving in real time as their customers needs change, these companies connect quickly with their customers, collect their information and start creating personalized experiences and offers that inspire rapid purchase, often within minutes of uploading their customer data. Clay vo empowers you to own the most important thing to any business. The relationship between you and your customers and the experiences you deliver from the first email to the last promotion to learn more about how Clay vo helps you own your growth visit clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. That's K L A V I Y. O dot com slash F. S. C. Female startup car presence. Brandi. Hi, hello and welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you so much for having me. You are so welcome.

I'm so grateful to have you here on the show this afternoon and to learn more about your brand. I always love to start by getting you to introduce yourself and tell us what your business is. Sure my name is randy Hoffman, I'm co founder and ceo of Volition Beauty. We are a crowd of source beauty brand where every single one of our product ideas come from our community and we share within the success of that product through, we give them a commission, we get ideas from the community, we get feedback from our community and then if it's successful, they weigh in and if it's successful at that point we make the product Oh I just love it, I love it so much, that's such a cool concept, I want to dig into the nitty gritty of that in just one moment, but before doing so I'd love to kind of rewind to your life before you started volition Beauty to understand where this entrepreneurial story starts. Yeah, so I've been on the operating side of beauty brands for a long time um over 15 years and the inspiration or well I always knew I wanted to do something on my own, you know, when you're working with people and you're working with companies, you see what you want to change, you would, you know, you think about, you know what you wouldn't do or what you would do.

So I always wanted to just brisket and go on on my own if it succeeded. Okay, great. If the failure was all on me, it was just something that I always wanted to do. Now. The inspiration around why volition came from to be quite candidly a love hate relationship with beauty. I love our industry, There's some amazing things that we do. I love what good skin and the confidence said that, you know, when women and men, they feel good about each other, it's very important to me and I love that. I love the camaraderie, I love the innovation within the industry, but there were tons of things I wanted to change. I had seen it for so long. Um The same type of model, The aspirational looking model. Um I think we're getting so much more aware and so much better around inclusion and diversity and representation, but we it's appalling that it took this long. Um and I'm talking everything from, you know, body types, two ways of thought to different cultures.

And so for a long time I've been stewing around with what that looked like. And so in 2015 I happened to work with my co founder, I always said that I would never work with anybody else, but she came along and it was immediate that I needed somebody and we kind of bonded over, we're in a different company and we bonded over what we wanted to change, she had the same feelings, she's coming from a different, completely different point of view, but we had enough crossover that we said, okay, what do we want to change? Why do we want to change it? And then when we took it all apart and rebuilt it, volition came to be and it was exciting. It's, you know, we believe that customers are brought into the process way too late. Uh Companies spend millions of dollars to market product that they're not really sure. You know, they might have looked at a trend report, um but they're not really sure that the customers are going to to want that. And so there's a lot of marketing machinery behind the scenes to kind of tell you, okay, you really do need this.

Even if maybe you have a different problem, you actually need something else. Um So we'd like to say that all the things that we wanted to change, what was really rolled up and culminated with, let's bring the customer in before. Um So they're the very first step of the process. We are the only brand that takes customers ideas from beginning to end and we're not in a boardroom, we're not deciding what to launch. We're taking those ideas from our community. Um so, you know, that's what we've rebuilt when we, when we tore it up. I mean, it's incredible and what's so interesting is you really flip it on its head. So you know, normally what I'm thinking and what I'm hearing when I speak to women and beauty is they create the product, they do their customer research, um they launch and then they find their customers whereas you guys have found your customers first and then launch the product. So I'd love to start talking about how you actually got started. You know, how are you finding these people who were going to be involved in the process with you?

Yeah, really good question. So my background, my background really concentrates on all functions of the industry. But one of the key things that I have honed in and really built is my network of chemistry labs. And so one of the things that I noticed on the brand site was innovation, true Innovation wasn't getting to the market. And so for a lot of different reasons it wasn't the brand's fault. It wasn't it wasn't anybody's fault. It was a machine of how products are launched. Either you know in retailers or with the brand with the chemist with the brands. So I found out that all these labs and chemists, they're like disgruntled artists, they have these ideas and you know, they might pick you to brand and the brand will be like that's a beautiful idea but that's not really on brand because you know, we work with this one ingredient or for whatever reasons and so I knew there was tight, I knew there was innovation out there now, we had so a lot of the ideas that we started with in the very beginning came from that network, so there's real beauty enthusiasts that knew the business, had ideas, knew what a product did use their own formulas.

I always tell the story when we were pitching to see, you know, very, very early stages, there was this amazing chemist that I was talking to that I have been friends with for a long time, she did amazing, she really sophisticated formulas in japan and Korea and you know, I was talking to her about what I was working on and she said, hold on one second and she goes and she runs and she gets this formula she uses for her herself, she created for herself, she has so many patents on different technologies and she never gave it to a brand because she wanted to be part of it was that personal to her. And so I knew we had something there now, they don't have the marketing machines to launch these products that, you know, they're not, they're chemists, they're they're formulate Urz. Um so that's kind of where we started with the ideas and a grew, we knew that that was the short term, we wanted to make sure the ideas were out there um and then it's funny we are we are inbound idea innovation, which is, we have a platform where you can submit ideas.

We have been lucky, so lucky that we haven't had to really do a lot of outreach in that area. And I think it's because in the very early stages I always say, you know, it's a lot of hard work to start a business and we all know that, but there's also, you know, there's some luck to it. And I think we had an opportunity, I talk about, you know, we had this great formula, the taxonomy in south chile, which I was talking about, you know, early on, we got this amazing review. We didn't have a pr agent say we didn't have, you know, a sophisticated death too. Just some journalists got our product, loved it and wrote a really unsponsored. It wasn't paid, we didn't even know the journalists and she had tried her products and she said this is you know, the holy grail of black eraser, like it's the one product and you know, we didn't even think of that, we didn't even think of that marketing line, you know, this was true, authentic stories and that was just it.

We knew we were onto something. These are true stories from someone, someone who's experienced it, they might not know how to make it. So we have evolved where now our chemists and are what we call our beauty beauty insiders who are 17 ideas that percent has decreased. It has decreased because the real women or these power innovators, There's, you know, they know who we are and they're submitting those ideas, which is exactly what we wanted. We wanted everyone to be able to come to us. But we really wanted to service those people who had ideas on their own, maybe definitely didn't have the technical background a lot of bars or do it yourself that needs to be elevated. A lot of it is personal cultural beauty secrets that they have learned from their families. And it was really important us to respect that. And the beauty of what we do know, unintended beauty of what we do is we don't want to be the face of the brand. We want our innovators, that's who we name, the people who submit ideas. So every single product is personal.

And so when you're talking about how do we grow? You know, there was a lot of word of mouth, I know that it is. We had some amazing early on press and then I know for a fact it was the word of mouth from our innovators. However, some, all that pool started, they started talking to their friends, they started saying, I've got this product that we're about to law that I'm gonna, you know, this is volition, cannot believe what they do. It's crazy. And here I need you to go to their website and I need you to read about my product and I want you to vote on it if you think it should be made. And so these people are coming in and interacting with the brand and totally different, totally different new way. And so we were, that's how we really grew and then, you know, we've been lucky, we've been very, very lucky with the community side, but I always say, you know, the brands I used to work for if anybody is listening and they need to, you know, some advice, um I think, you know, advice is personal, but I will tell you this the successful brands or the successful people to stay true to who they are, they find out what is unique about what their proposition is and they leverage that in everything they do.

An example for us is our community, we have a unique process. Sometimes it's very intellectual for people, so they can come into the brand by just buying these amazing products that have gone through this process or they want to be in the very beginning stages, they want to submit an idea, but it's so important to leverage what you have because everyone, all these brands and it doesn't matter what industry it is and they all they can all do the same marketing, They can pay for social, they can, you know, they can go through an inter flew in certain network and they all have reasons they're all needed and required to run a business or run a brand or a consumer goods product to get at launch, but there's always gonna be something that jurors and you have to own it and you have to maximize it. So that is what we've done. That is what you need to us. It's 100% true. As much as some of the ideas that my old hat, I would put my old head on and be like, this product is amazing. I don't understand why people are voting, maybe it's just personal for me, as much as I wanted to get involved, I can't, that's not the way we are, that's so interesting, but I think it's really important to know, it is super important to know and to maximize it because that's the only you have, what is different about your product or your brand or your company, that is the, that's the only thing that you can know and how do you, how do you blow that out?

Totally. Oh my gosh, I just love that. And I actually went through the process of submitting an idea to see, to see what it was like, oh yeah, I mean, I don't think it's any anything uh anything incredible, I don't know if it will come to life obviously, but um I I loved that idea and I think for me what the way that I saw it when I was going through that process was, you know, yes, there are people who have formulations and yes, there are people who have um, you know, family, traditional recipes on culture and things like that. But then there are also people like me who are just thinking like way out of the box with zero technical experience and zero idea about how anything works and what would be like the magic product if I was to say for myself what I wanted. And I think that naive it ian approaching a product because you're not bound by any knowledge. Yeah, I loved it. I thought it was great. Super cool. No, we want those ideas to we call them, we either call them dream products or the two point oh version um you know, don't feel bad if you if it doesn't if you get a letter or an email because I will tell you that there and the reason I say this is there's so much product out there.

What are system, does we build a proprietary software system that looks for feasibility, safety. It but the most important point of difference. And so what we'll do is if the products out there will send it back to you and say, you know, you put these criterias down, this is the, you know, this is somebody else makes it go get it try it, it might solve your problem that's already on the market or they'll come back and this has happened, you know, a couple of times where they will come back and said, we've tried all that. No, I've tried that. It doesn't work because of X, Y and z. Or it doesn't work because I need this plus that. And so we call those are two point oh versions where they're like, they want that extra something and they've tried everything. So yes, I want ideas like that. I want to be untethered from, you know, convention because that's really where the great things happen. Yeah, for sure. Gosh, I love that. Are you able to share, you know, on the, like, once it's actually being produced in this an idea coming to life, what kind of commission can the innovator get?

Like what's their incentive? Really good question. It ranges. Um if you think about it depends on how much has been done within that process. So if it's a lab that has done everything, they developed it, they've uh they've tested it, they've done all the safety testing, um it is going to be higher commission because we don't have any upfront cost to do that, right? So if it's somebody who doesn't have any idea how to make it, but they have a good idea, then it's going to be a high, it's going to be a less commission because there's more upfront cost and we're transparent about that. One of the key things that we've moved to is, you know, there's two steps to the process where, you know, people are initially voting on it and then they're initially pre purchasing. So that also helps with the production and the process of the product being made. Mm got it. I want to switch to the money side of things. Obviously the beauty industry formulations are expensive, minimum order quantities there there as well. It's capital intensive.

Right? So for you guys, when you were launching the business, how much money did you need to get started and how were you financing it in the beginning? Yes. So one of the things that we did was not every, I will be the first to admit not everybody can do this. It was a struggle for me for sure, but I knew the economics. So I think it right now I should tell you kind of who my co founder is because I think it definitely shaped how we finance the company. So my co founders, Patricia santos. Like I said, there was somebody, I, I immediately knew that this is the only person I want to start a business with. Um besides we laughed a lot besides that and having fun, we always say we bonded over dim sum in shanghai because we were like doing for another brand doing of international expansion. So we had, we had traveled a lot together but put all of the side, the fun things. You also need somebody to challenge you. So our backgrounds came from, she was an sbc and if you think about it back then, you know, this was, you know, 15 years ago, 10 years ago.

Um, there were even less women in VC than there are now, so she is, I love her, she's a groundbreaking person uh and I love the fact that she woke up one day and was like, it's really easy for me to say no to your, when entrepreneurs come in and she saw so many entrepreneurs come in and not get funded for a multitude of reasons and she's not a single person wasn't Singley her approval or her decision. Um she always said that, you know, I realized it was really easy for a room of mostly guys or you know, who doesn't even, you didn't use the product wasn't for them to say no, but it's really hard to create something and she wanted to learn as she wanted to be on the other side, and I have a lot of respect for that, but with that came a ton of history and experience around entrepreneurship, what the VCS were looking for, what could go wrong when you take capital, um you know what, what not just great things that, you know, everybody talks about how amazing, you know, great valuations are, you know, bringing in money, I can bring in a team, I can spend on stuff that I want to spend on, but that all comes with a price, there's cons to it too, and I was lucky enough, you know, I saw some with my companies that, you know, I was involved in the raises, so I knew a little bit, she, she kind of gave me that extra layer of what that looks like and both of us knew we wanted to own as much of our destiny as possible.

And so we bootstrapped for a very long time and it took from, you know, I had worked several jobs to do that. I had taken my some of my savings to put that in. You know, I went without and I know that's not, not everybody can do that, you know, their living situation and things like that because you know, we didn't take salaries. Um, you know, we just put everything into the business. But I had worked hard to do that. I knew that something that was important to me. Sometimes people want to evaluate and say, you know what I'm willing to give more points away from because I need that peace of mind. I don't have the up front cost. So I just want to get a couple of different proof points and then I want to go out and raise that was just wasn't us, we believe so much in our idea. We didn't want, you know, we knew we had to put a lot of hard work to make it happen. So we did, we bootstrapped it for as long as we possibly could. Then what we did was we wanted to do a couple of things before we raise the capital one is we wanted to make sure we had a proof of concept.

So we had to show that you know, the tacos detoxifying, so chile had legs that the ideas were coming in, that we could make the product in a quick amount of time because one of the propositions that we had was innovation changes and you need to be quicker to market because you know, bigger brands could look at us and take our ideas, take our, you know, there were things that we had solved for. So there were, those were kind of some of the proof points. We wanted one of those much leverage and proof of concept before we went out to raise and you know, to be honest, they'll be raising events like you could be going around with the DDC business and doing well and then, you know, you decided to do international expansion, you decided to go into the certain retail, you'll know when that time comes because and you should leverage that, that's gonna be your leverage to get into the room to talk to people. But you know, always remember that in the end it is a business and so growth for just gross sake does have its downfalls. You know, if you're paying for customers or your pain, you know, you've got to have organic growth and you have to be savvy enough to know at some point, you know, profitability and economics like margins, they're going to come back to you.

And so if you start with that, being aware that that's going to help you down the road, you're gonna be in a better position of economically and financially to raise at valuations because investors will look at that and be like, yeah, you know, wow, they, you know, they were profitable this month or you know, they're looking, their margins are amazing. Those are the things that you have to look at before taking that capital. I mean, there's so much, I'm sure, you know, there's so many, so many things to be said about it. You know, I have horror stories of pitch meetings, I have, you know, amazing meetings that would fabulous and you just automatically knew that was the best for that you wanted. But it's really hard to say no right? You've got an investor who's interested. But that's another thing I would say besides, you know, making sure that, you know why you're different and leveraging that to grow your business and always keep that front of mine. The second thing is, I would say from a finance and capital raise standpoint is you can't say no.

Um it's gonna be hard if you only have like one term sheet, but if that person really isn't like you do not see them helping you or adding you're not doing into risk to that relationship. It's going to come back to you in some way. And I know that's really hard, you know, that's out of years of experience. I been very lucky with the ambassadors that we have that they believe in us, they're supportive, they help us when we needed to help they respect as they challenge us. The challenges in the right way. Yeah, we've been really lucky, but it took a long time to find those right people and I think that's a really important note to, you know, it's tough love, but you do need to consider who you're getting into that relationship with because, you know, everyone on the show says this, it's like a marriage, you have to speak to these people all the time. You have to get along, you have to be able to hang out outside of of just building the business because otherwise it's gonna be, you know, pulling your hair out, you know, it really, really is.

You're gonna be locked to them and and you might not talk to him every day, but when you talk to him, you're talking about really, really major things that shape business and you never want to be able to not have a voice to push back and, you know, their priorities might be different, you know, they might want to get out of the investment. You both want to make a lot of money, right? You both want to, at the end of the day, having successful business, you put all this time into it, but how do you get there? It might be very different. So you have to be able to ask them, what do they expect? Like, you know, we always talk about it in a treadmill, when you take money, you're on a treadmill. Now the speed of that treadmill depends on just you know several factors and be aware of those factors, you know, do you want to grow just to grow sacred? You want healthy growth, Do you want to go into something like this is just an example, like you know, your brand, you you don't want to go into subscription boxes, but the investors, they know that that is a growth area for them, you know, do you want the stress of taking you know inventory and risk there, but those are conversations that have to be head and you have to have a point of view and stand up for the one other thing I would say that you know is I ask them how many female founder companies are in their portfolio, ask them point blank, asked them sugar than later, if you can't tell from their website who they invest in and what their portfolio includes, asked them you have the right to know how many, you know, we, we asked every single one if we can't determine who they are, who they have invested in.

We also asked how many black innovators have you invested in, you know now is a time when there is absolutely no excuse for for this for them not to have like you know inclusion and diverse portfolio founders. Um, and you know, ask them because I guarantee you if you, if they come back and they say, you know, we have a certain percent or you know, we had these three that we're really proud of. Um, you're gonna see right away if they're gonna, if they're gonna value, not just as an entrepreneur, we all know that women get a fraction of the capital out there, you know, whether it's, you know, you see different reports. Yeah, we all know it's a problem. We know the stats, they're pretty dismal. Yes, totally. Yeah, right. You might feel really, really small, but you have a lot of power, especially if you're passionate and you have amazing company that you're about to build our amazing product. Always remember someone will agree with you now, later stages is harder, right?

Like if you don't have proof points or something goes awry, it might be harder to raise. But yeah, I definitely strongly. Right, wow, that's a great bit of advice plus I put them on the, yeah, puts them on the spot and it puts them and they kind of have to play defense. So when you're presenting, you know, it can even support your field. Yeah, that's a really good one. I love it. Yeah. Thinking about where you are now, you know, after raising money, you've obviously had incredible growth, you've got so many cool things going on, How has your marketing involved and what is the biggest driver for growth for you these days, Is it still because you know, it's it's hard to understand if, you know, people say it's word of mouth and you know, we have these innovators who are also potentially influences or people of influence, but how else are you growing and what's working for you? Yeah. You know, I want to say in the beginning our community and our customer base grew because of our process, but we always had all the other marketing but all the other what you know, they're not traditional but you know, some people say traditional marketing avenues, so I always say it's a layer, it's like a layer approach.

You know, you've got to have brand awareness so you have to have a pr in some capacity, you don't need a sophisticated or you know, a $30,000 a month pr agency. Um you can do it by targeting and getting to know specific publications, digital publications, avenues that you foster relationship with maybe four or five yourself, it takes a long time to get that, but you will find them and if you truly believe it, you know, you can foster that relationship yourself. So you know that I think I want to say it's it's everything people of influence, you know, I think influenced, you know, I follow a ton of people, there are certain people that are like like minded, I'm going to be in tune to what they do, I might not buy every single thing that they are, they're pitching because I think, you know, knowing the industry, it's a little probably a little bit more cynical, but there are different people that I trust through that interaction, that social media interaction.

So I would also say that you do probably need, you know, ideally it's organic without a doubt, so that I will say our organic growth with influencers and people of influence I think is really important because that means that they came to us somehow some way, you know, sending product to people, you know, that's great, maybe they try it and they really do love it and they become that early ambassador. We've had, you know, we've had people that have, you know, gotten our product, bought it themselves, really loved it and you know, we wanted to know why they loved it. Have you tried this? Um I think every company has that well, so the traditional avenues, I think still has to be functional for for beauty brain, you still kind of have to have that. I would say though that most of our growth right now is coming from still our process because you know, we bring up 5 to 10 innovators, those audiences are constantly growing constantly changing, I think it's what's different about us, so we nurture that, you know, we have the lab in the lounge, you know, our lab is where those consumers, those guests can come to our brand and discover new innovations and they peruse it like it's a look book, they're looking at like what they want to vote on what they want to buy.

We put a lot of love in that because that's what we own, that is us, that's what makes us different and it's paid off. So it's not just word about now, it's the experience once that one person comes in, how is that guest experience, how is that consumer interacting with our brands and then understanding the data behind it to know that, you know, they're not coming to this page on our website. So let's not put our effort onto that. Most of our heat maps. These are people that are spending a lot of time here, so all that fine tuning and knowing where people are going, what they're responding to. I know it sounds simple, it's not, it's very, very difficult, but it requires a lot of effort. So besides all the traditional um avenues, I think what we've done really, really well and I would suggest anybody to do this is know your consumer how they're interacting with your brand and dial that up because that is going to be not only the most, probably the cheapest, you know, you're not paying money to acquire that customer for coming to your site organically or through the innovators, understanding where they're going and you know, pour into that are, you know, our loyalty program is the lounge and you know, everybody's got a loyalty program, right?

Make it yourself. So you know, we can have early discovery of some of our innovations before anybody gets that. They can be put into surveys where they get product and we want to hear from them. You know, we have early stage is a really good example is when Clean was coming up, we always had a band list. Our panelists is longer than we're certified clean at Sephora. We formulate to E. W. G. Standards. Um, toxicity is our North star because that's another thing that frustrates me. I think of as an industry we have to be very clear as a brand and brands need to commit to their customers that they explain what that clean means to them because it's very vague. Everybody has different clean sense. It's like it's like today's natural right? You know, natural is being thrown everywhere. And then you find out like how do they do financial? There's not a one source definition. It's the same that's happening running with clean. So what is your how do you like? You know, I would look as a consumer. I asked if I can't figure out how do they define plea and I will be very clear.

We are cruelty free. We are toxicity is our North star. We're not arguing. We're not natural. But we are, you know anything that we put in, we look at the toxicity levels, that's why E. W. G. Is so important. It's why clean up so far is so important. So what and that list, you know, our umbrellas called Safe Science because we take all the feedback from our community. So our loyalty program might be surveyed to ask, what do you think about this? Because there's a lot of ingredients that do not have high toxicity rates, but for some reason have the perception that they do. So, you know, again, taking a loyalty program and actually extracting information about how those consumers feel about toxicity. It's kind of amazing um make it your own, you know create what you want to realize what you want to get from it and then alter it, Love that, love it, love it, love it. Thank you for sharing that. Where is the business today? And what does the future look like? What can we look forward to and shout about?

Oh awesome! So I have been so lucky. We we've been a D. Two C. Business from the very beginning. And so I do not take this for granted that through the pandemic, we have even strengthened that relationship with our online consumer. Um so we have grown during the pandemic. We have learned to, you know, even get the more engaged and let us listen to them a little bit more and you know yield, you know, change things that we're doing. We took this this period as like experimentation. So that's where we are now, we're in a really good place and again, I feel for so many business and so many other industries, um, you know, I have friends who've lost their companies during this terrible time, you know, retailers are suffering because people are, you know, not going into the stores. Um, so I'm very, very lucky and I recognize that, um, so that's where we are today. We continue to grow and expand.

We've expanded to two other retailers during this period, which is unheard of, right? But yes, this is the time to do it, if they, you know, if they're willing to take you on, this is the time, it's a different audience. Um, so what to look forward in the future, I will say that the innovations that we have coming for this year are amazing. I think there is, you know, I can't tell you exactly what the product is, but there is a product is coming and the end of september it will be announced within that, probably the next two weeks. I think it's the best for one of the best for you, is I have ever done, like never been part of, out of all my years. Okay, phenomenal. It's also one of our few examples of one of our already existing innovators who has an amazing product. It's her second product with us and so yeah, so look for that, it should be within the next week and a half at the announcement will be on our site, you know this episode will probably be going live, I think it was the sixth of april I had in my diary.

So if you want to say a little thing you can or I can I can, I can follow up and link link it in the in the show notes when it goes live. Well it's it's Nastia Liukin who has our celery green cream, which is one of our amazing moisturizers. She came to us with celery as that secret ingredient because before the whole celery juice cleanse funny enough, she her mom was her trainer, her mom, dad were her gymnastics trainer and she made her mom made her dread celery juice. So she was little and like every time they would like they would work out, they trained, she would have to drink the celery juice and she learned to love it because she she swears by what it does to her inside. The truth is she was an ambassador for us. She had come into a room when I was talking about like organic. She had tried one of our SPS and and love her products and posted or just love the brand. Um and I, you know it was amazing. She came home from a trip with her best friend who happens to be her manager and they were at 01 in L.

A. And was like oh God, they had a long long journey and she's like I'm gonna get some celery juice and they were in the car and she glimpsed, she got a glimpse of what she looks like. She's like I look horrible, I'm so tired. And she's like I just wanna slut slather the salary all over my face because she's like was joking. But she's like oh my God, I wonder if it does have any skin vince, no idea. But she just knew that what it did for her insight. And so she came to us and said, hey, I know this sounds crazy but I am a big, big fan of salary. I know it's not the sexiest ingredient but it's it's amazing. Do you know if it does anything for skin and she submitted an idea. So this is her second one now that we know that salary is such a powerhouse and I'm so glad you had tried it. Uh We're doing a second product with that ingredient to kind of expand her portfolio as an innovator here with coalition? Oh very exciting. I'm going to be sitting on the edge of my seat waiting awesome. What is your key piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to launch their own business.

Uh there's so much, I would, I would want somebody, somebody tell me. Um I think there's, do you mind if I say too because I absolutely, I think there's two that I would narrow down. One is when you want to launch it, launch an idea, um you've got a great idea and you want to put a, put the leg work into planning first, every facet of it, it's gonna change, it's gonna pivot, but have a very core understanding of like three things. One is why would somebody, if it's a product, I'll use a product that you can modify it for whatever, if you want to do a service or whatever, but why is that customer that consumer gonna buy, buy your product over Everyone else, understand why that is why would they too have a model create a model? No way what expenses you would need to create the product. So talk to talk to partners, understand how much it would be to do a website in the way that you would want to understand how, if it's a made product, how much you're gonna need know that up front and then third find an advisory board to help you early on.

And that advisory board could be, it could be informal, find a couple of people that you like as a mentor if you don't have it. And that was what I would do in the very early stages even before because it will help you be able to sell the product in the future. And then the other word of advice besides that kind of foundation is get a co founder, I was adamant about not having a co founder and because I wanted to fail myself or I wanted to succeed by myself. And the best thing I ever did and it was, it was by accident was to get a co founder for so many reasons. First of all, just a tactical reason. Like in the early stages you are, you're talking to lawyers, you're setting up your tax id, you're doing all these different things, You're gonna miss some things, share that load with someone, um, have somebody who will challenge you because you are so in the weeds on your idea, you think it's amazing having somebody, I having somebody counter that and challenge that or come from a different perspective.

Even just that one voice is amazing. It's hard to find one. I'm going to tell you, you know, you hear about co founders breaking up all the time, it's really hard to find one, but do the legwork and find somebody and then have draw the document, it's like a marriage, draw the document on, you know, Patrician, I had kind of like had talked through everything that could have gone wrong with co founders and said this is what we're gonna do, like how would you handle this? Okay, this is what we're going to do. Like, you know, I would never let you know if it ever came to it. One of the things that was big for me is I never want to do it without her if we're both working really hard on it and you know, companies go through difficult times? I would never want to be put in a situation where you know, aboard my push that person out or you know, no, I'm not going to proceed without this unless you wanted to move on. This is not hypothetical. Of course, understand the marios are worth that out and write it down. Like a write it down. It's like a prenup like a post nup.

Yeah, totally. Like what happens? You know, financially, you can't maybe you can put as much into as your co founder or the co founder. He puts in wants to put in more and you know, you're starting to look at Equity. Like it's 50 you know, 52 to 48. Have those conversations now. But have it with someone I believe when it's great when the co founder relationship is healthy and strong, you're you're gonna be so happy that you haven't. Absolutely for sure. A smooth sailing ship. Yes. At the end of every episode, I ask every woman I speak to the same six quick questions. So we're gonna start with question number one. What's your why? Why do you do what you do? I do it to change the face of what beauty looks like. I was a plus I lesbian for a really long time in a room where people, I would challenge models like selection and I wanted real voices in the room Mm hmm. So important. Question. Number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop?

I would have to say early on getting Pr without a Pr agency was a really big deal for us. It when we asked why we got it. We were told because we wanted to try to realize what was working. And there were there were two journalists. Specifically the one I was talking about. And then another very, very well known editor who who wrote about us in her own personal blog. Um they said they both said the same thing. I have never seen a company do what you do in a sea of companies and products that are being pitched to me? I've never seen anything like this. And it should be recognized. She's like, they're like, it's crazy. I don't It was early stages. You know, the products are great. I don't know. There's probably a million things that could go wrong. But right now it's so different. And you know, So yeah. And I imagine that would have been so thrilling as well. Having that. You know, it was happening when you didn't even realize. And you didn't understand why Question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter?

What are you reading or listening to or subscribing to? That would benefit others. Oh, awesome. So I funny enough, I get inspiration outside of my own industry. Um So because I have so many friends and colleagues it's it's yes, I get smarter, but I also know so much about it. I think that and believe me, you should always take advice. You should always seek it out from your peers and your colleagues. But the true inspiration that I get, I look at other industries. So I read a lot about different types of ceos. Um So I read a lot, I listen to a lot of different podcasts in different industries, so I will give you two and they're not the sexiest, but I'm telling you they're really amazing. One is a bob iger who is the X. C. Just recently, Ex Ceo of Disney, he wrote a book that at the very end it was so funny because you know, I read and I have pretty good retention. So you can remember like I'd like to get three or four things out of the book that I can put in real life.

Um And at the end he summarized everything. It's really so like I go back to that, I go back to that on my I've had every once in a while when I want to get refreshed because he had a lot of suggestions and a lot of suggestions. I felt like I had already done in some capacity, but there were a few, especially around creatives. Um It was amazingly, I was surprised at how much I really loved what he had to say and thought it was definitely workable within um and if you told me it was gonna, that my inspiration is kind of gonna come from an older white guy, straight white guy that's been in like the business, like, you know, for decades, I would have probably like, no, so it was a really nice surprise, so I strongly suggest that and secondly is a podcast, um anything that Kara Swisher does, do you know, who cares what her is? She's the tech, she's a tech journalist, she's in the bay area, she writes for the new york times. Occasionally, occasionally I think she's a guest editor. Um she has been in tech forever, she is famously known for making Zuckerberg cry tear up because she was such a hard, hard interview, she's amazing, she has so many different people and she calls it like it is, she'll challenge about, you know, she'll challenge, she'll have like the largest, the most prominent VCS and she'll bring them in and she doesn't just let them just, it's not a mark, it's not just a marketing opportunity as we all know the podcast, some of the founders come in to get the brand awareness, she challenges them and I strongly suggest going back to some of her older podcast, I think her current one to sway um but she, she was on box for a while and so she, I guarantee you you don't have to, you can screw, I would scroll through and go through the people that are industries that interest you and I guarantee you, it's amazing.

She's a hard interview, I learned something every single time I listened to her, whatever she's involved in. Amazing. I'm gonna link it in the show notes and check it out after this. So great question number four is, how do you win the day and that's around your am or your PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and motivated and successful. Yes. So I know this because I had to re align them with Covid, right? I, I think so many people, uh, you know, I like to separate life and work and as a founder, you can't really do that, but you can do little things like I work all the time, but I would go into the office or I would go to a cafe and work so that I wasn't, I would check email and things like this at the house, but I wouldn't do like deep presentations unless I absolutely had to because I would rather come home late really late and be home for my partner and my dog than not. So I like the separation of like, you know, I come home at eight o'clock at night, but at least then I have that time at home, weekends are different.

But you know, I always take one weekend day that I don't work at all if I can, um, with Covid change. So now it's blurred. It's so intertwined and I think that's a struggle for so many people. Um So it wasn't a struggle to actually work at home because I work all the time, but I needed to set some boundaries. So funny enough, it's simple what I set myself up to win in the morning walking my dog like an hour of outside work in the beginning, you know, I'm not dressing up for work as much because we're on zoom's. Um so it's my one moment that I have to have that that I do, that is mine. I, you know, I let my mind go. I think about my friends, I think about what I'm doing this weekend. I think about a little bit about work. I'm truly lucky that I live south of san Francisco by the water. So you know, there's, it's a beautiful space to walk up walk and he's relatively a young puppy is about a year and a half. We just got him. So that's really important to me at night. I, I light a candle.

I know that sounds really weird at the end of the day. I turn off those potent, I turn off the lights and I light a candle and that is my moment of like it's a transition and symbolic it symbolic that I'm entering my personal time. I don't care what I'm gonna do. You know, you know, totally get it. My wife is working from home too. So like there's that whole element as so many couples, So many roommates are handling. So that's my one thing. It's my mental thing that says okay because I don't shut my dad, I'll shut the lights off and I won't shut the computer off and stuff. So that's my one thing. Oh, I totally get it. I know it's not small, but mentally it helps me. It definitely helps. It definitely helps you need to change the atmosphere. Question number five is, if you only had $1000 left in the business bank account, where would you spend it? Oh yeah, that's a really good question. Um I would definitely do the $1000 somehow giving back to the innovators because I think that would yield more.

Yeah, I would, I would give it back to them somehow to uh either, you know, share with their friends the product or come into uh, come to another product and do some research on their front and kind of get that because there's, there's just the engine for a brand? They're so important. They're so valuable and so important, awesome. And last question question number six is how do you deal with failure? What is your mindset and approach to it? Okay. So this isn't gonna be the best popular. I do not let myself dwell on failures. I really don't, I've never done it. I think I've always had a chip on my shoulder for a lot of reasons when I was young. Um I kind of just yeah, I do not dwell on it. So what I, I think there's a situation that you should learn from um and there's definitely that, like, there are things that we have we have failed at and I take time to understand why, but I because I think it's important to understand it so that you don't do it again or that you can remember and modify it for future, but I do not dwell on it.

I do not recommend it. It's really hard to actually put in practice. Um you know, I had a lifetime to do that, but I move on any second that you know, like I said, you should understand why you failed and you should understand what you would have done differently to maybe not have the same result, but I do not dwell on it. I do not feel bad. I always say I only had two. I have only two regrets my entire life. Like, you know, there's stuff I've learned from everything that I've done, but do not dwell on it. Move on. That energy should be put into growing it in different ways. Keep on Moving on. I love it, Brandy, thank you so much for being on the show today. This is so great and I'm so loving what you're doing with the love and the Lounge and you know, maybe my products will come up soon. Who knows? Yes, I hope so. We grew up after that. We should have a lunch podcast. Oh my God, totally. Thank you so much. Yeah. 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, mm hmm. Yeah.

Using your customers to lead product development and building a company with a truly unique point of difference, with Volition Beauty’s Brandy Hoffman
Using your customers to lead product development and building a company with a truly unique point of difference, with Volition Beauty’s Brandy Hoffman
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