it's been a few months since I joined the hubspot podcast network and I'm so excited about the other shows in there that I'm learning from, especially the gold digger podcast hosted by Gina Kolata Jenna's show helps you discover your dream career with productivity tips, social strategies, business hacks, inspirational stories and so much more. I just finished listening to her recent episode about how she grew her show to 60 million downloads and was blown away by some of the insider tips she shares. And here's something else you should know on january 3rd, you're going to hear a certain someone in Jenna's show that certain someone being more, make sure you pop it in your diary because I am so beyond excited, I can't wait for you to hear it. Listen to the gold digger podcast wherever you get your podcasts. This is episode 17 with Cassie Imari. Yeah. Mhm Holy macaroni. I just finished recording an episode of female startup club with the founder of a soap bar brand. And oh my God, I never knew how fab soap bar brands could be until I came across nutty Kathie started her brand a few short years ago with the vision to bring sparkle back into a tired industry through a millennial focused brand.
And it's actually nuts how quickly she grew it and found her tribe. But the best part is where she tells us about a very special project she launched. When all of this Lockdown craziness got started. I just love this episode so so much and if you could have seen my face and all of this island locals, I was having, you would be in an absolute fit, We got through it with just a few minor tech shoes, which is the story of my life right now, but I hope you love it even more than I do, if that's even possible, This is CAssie for female startup club, Let's start from the very beginning, tell me about the brand and why you decided to start it in the first place. Okay, cool. So I started the brand just over two years ago, I was working down in London in pr um and creative marketing and so I'd always used soap bars, like even living down in London and uni as well, all my housemates used to like why do you bars of soap, it's so weird and I feel like I just, I enjoy using them.
Like I just genuinely felt like it made me feel more clean and like, you know when you're in London and you're on the tube and in the summer especially like you just feel disgusting because it's so sweaty and awful and he's like get home from work and be like, oh my goodness, I just need to wash, I feel awful and the only thing that would make me feel like I was clean was using bar soap, so I would use them as where did everyone else thought it was? And then, so I was working with some really cool kind of startup brands, Mission brands at my agency, and I just kind of like, I had a thought one day actually, I was in the blood shower when I had this thought, I always tell the story and everyone's like, you just made that up, like this didn't happen to you like that, but it really did. Um it was in the shower one day and I was even doing my little bar soap and I just kind of looked at it and I thought how do people like using bars of soap? Like what is the issue with soap bars, like what is it about them?
And I just thought, you know what, like, all the brands that they're on the supermarket shelves, like they're just so boring, there's been around forever. Also, it's like the same five brands that are on the bottom shelves of like every supermarket below all of the actual hand wash and body gels and things, It's like a forgotten, like a forgotten project. So I thought I can create a really cool brand and because I've been working with these other startup mission type brands, I was like completely inspired by them. So, brands like Hannah water, do water in aluminum cans, another cool brands like that, and I just thought, god, if they can reinvent a category and do something really cool like that, why can I not do it with soap? That's where like, the initial idea came from my little shower story, had you always wanted to start a brand or just kind of struck you in that moment that you were like, maybe I should start my own. So I come from a family of entrepreneurs and business people, so I guess I always thought in my mind I would like to have my own business, but I had no idea what that might be, um I just thought hopefully one day an idea might come to me, that would be good and I could try but at that point, like, In my life, I mean I was 24, so I was just kind of loving life in London, not really thinking about my future as she was just having a good time with my friends with a job, which was pretty fun.
So yeah, I had the idea then, and a week later I decided to quit my job um wow I know it was very irrational, very, I know it could have been really, really wrong as well, I often think that, but thankfully it's so far it's gone well, but yes, so I decided to quit my job. I remember bringing up my parents and I said to my mom like, look, I'm moving back home, I quit my job, I want to start a soap company, and my mom was like, well firstly she was just like over the moon because my mom is my best friend, she was like you're coming home after like five years of living at uni, them being in London, so she was just like overjoyed. And then my dad stepped in and he was like, okay, but you know, is this really realistic? Like you've worked hard to get where you are. Um and we need to think about, you know, how we're going to make this work. You don't actually know anything about soap, which was very true.
I didn't know anything about the time. So anyway, I worked my month's notice. Um I'm that was in the november. Mr handed in january. I moved back home to north Yorkshire and I started learning everything there was to know about soap and the industry and the history because oh my God, there's such a rich history with this particular product. It's been around forever in all different types of civilizations and cultures. So I learned how to make soap. Obviously that was the first thing. I was like, I'm going to have to learn how to make it. How do you make it? So it's a mixture between sodium hydroxide and oil. So back in the olden days they used to use like animal fat obviously, well you can use, so there's like, that's the milk though, actually it's goat's milk, but typically they don't use any kind of animal derivative power anymore. It's more just kind of natural oils. So coconut oil, palm oil, have a card oil, any oil.
Actually, you can pretty much makes it. So I learned how to make it. I wasn't very good at making it, but I did try and so now I have a very trusted manufacturer who does all of that side of things thankfully for everyone. So yeah, my dad said, look um they were amazing. We will, we'll help you with the business and well, you know contribute funds money to get you on your way, but you've got six months, You can't do it in six months and and bring something to market then, you know, we can't support you for that long. You know, you're 24 years old, you need to get a job which even to get that was unbelievable. And I was so lucky to be given that opportunity and how much money did they give you to start with? Was that like, hey, here's some money that you'll use to make the to manufacture the product or was it like, here's some money to live for six months in addition to like creating the product. Yes. So it was kind of like, it wasn't a specific set amount. It was like when I started gathering all the information about what exactly I needed to build this company, create the brand and get the products all the different parts every time I would, you know, found out the cost of things and you know, we'd sit down and be like, right, okay, so this is that X.
Y. And said this is how much money we're going to need and then aside from that I was I was living at home, you know it didn't have a car, I wasn't really doing much but they were being for my food and things like that, which was great. So I had like rent free um It ended up being I think it was probably around 20,000 to get the business started, okay that I borrowed from my parents and with that like how many, how much soap did that produce? Well yeah, I have no idea. No, well I had no idea either. Um So it was actually really to finding a manufacturer first to create a bar soap because it's not actually that many left around to be honest, especially not in the UK. So all the parts that was made in the UK, there's like some really big players in the personal care industry and you know that um okay you are really, really big, so we're talking like 20,000 plus, that's a lot for a startup to commit to 20,000 units.
So I ended up finding a fantastic manufacturer who were based on south, their family run business and Their minimum order quantities for a little bit less. We actually started with 5000 units which is still a lot still a lot 5000 bars of soap. So I was like Oh goodness, I really need to sell this, did That get shipped to your house? Like you had 5000 bars of soap just like in a room. Yeah, so yeah, literally, So we kind of converted my parents garage, which I still work from. So I, we don't, we don't have an office or anything right now, I still do everything from home, which is, you know, some people think it's, it's crazy, but I'm very fortunate that the garage is pretty big and I could probably get the first unit, I would probably be a similar ish kind of size to it. So I've been quite fortunate with that as well. It just means I don't have to pay any extra rent or rates and anything you can save on as a startup is as a plus.
So yeah, it came on a pallet and I was just looking at it thinking, oh my goodness, how big was it huge? So it was, I think it was a quarter of a ton, So each bar is 100 g. So yeah, that's right, quarter turn 5000, I think that's right, somebody's gonna be listening to this and thinking that's definitely not right. Math is not my strong point, but I'm definitely not thinking about that, I'm not trying to calculate. And so then what happens, you basically invest in 5000 units of stock and then you've got to sell this 5000 units. So like what do you do, what's the next process? So even before that I guess I should start with the branding and the brand that I built, because I did all that myself as well. Brandon has always been like a real passion of mine. I was working pr not branding, but the agency that I was working for, I was actually their first employee. So it was these three guys, two brothers and one best friend and they started these agencies, they were all from like kind of different creative background, so one was kind of focused on videography and um he did directing and things like that, the other was focused on branding and the other had a copy writing and journalism background.
So the three of them came together to offer like a 360 approach for brands and I learned so much from all three of them. So although I had never been exposed to like branding, even though I had an interest in it and I was You know, always super interested in how to products can be exactly the same and sit next to one another in the supermarket, but one will sell the other 1/10 fold because the branding is better. So I learned a lot and then I'd see them developing brands and the creative strategies around them and then I was getting involved in that too. So when I had the idea for nobody, I knew that I could create a cool brand, I just believed in myself. So I spent a long time working on the brand strategy within those six months and really looking at everything in such great detail like I wrote, I think it was like four pages about what my ideal consumer would look like. Like I created like a case study of this particular person. Um, I think she was called Anne and it sounds crazy, but I think that because Annie is totally not all consumer anymore, but at the time when I was kind of like creating it all, everything was so in detail.
What was she like? What was the any girl like? So Annie was kind of just like a storage, so she was mid twenties to late twenties and she, you know, a conscious consumer, somebody that really cared about the things that she was purchasing, she was vegan as well at this time when I first started doing the brand strategy affinity, I still ate meat as well, which is also totally fine, but I'd have so many people being like, you're creating a vegan Stewart brand, but you're not vegan. And I was like, well yeah, that's because I'm creating a project which is all inclusive, not just just for vegans and you have to be vegan to use a vegan soap brand, it means that, you know, anybody can use the product and feel comfortable using the product and that's something that then board needs to be highlighted. But anne was a vegan in the case study anyway, so yeah, I just, I really, really went into detail with every part of it. And I wanted to create a brand that was just that stood out from when it was going to be easy to stand out against the tired.
So brands which on the shelf, but I didn't want to just do that. I wanted to go above and beyond and from the moment the customer would see the nutty box on shelf. I wanted to start the journey. So obviously all the boxes have little quotes and phrases on the front um which I always get my stock is felt like, you know, some of this morning independence will bring me up and be like, I keep hearing people just like laughing in the store and I look over and they're just laughing at the noted boxes. Oh my gosh, that's so cool. I was just actually listening to a webinar today from Clay vo the email provider. And they were talking about how They gave some percentages around online shoppers at the moment that they surveyed and people who were very satisfied with their experience of like their brand experience. And the people, there was a huge percentage, like 30% were really neutral neutral. And they were talking about the opportunity that brands are missing to really wow their customers and the importance of things like packaging and the opening of a package that you receive and what it looks like, what the point of sale looks like all these different elements that I mean, point of sale isn't relevant in the market at the moment, but in general, you know, Yeah, brands really sometimes can forget that, and so it's really nice to hear that that's something that you thought about from the very beginning, Honestly, that was like the most important thing.
Our brand was the most important thing. Obviously product had to be brilliant as well, but I chose to work with this particular manufacturer because I loved using soap so much that I learned so much about what I liked from a so far. So when we started discussing, you know, formulas and what would go into the bar, I kind of already had like a pretty clear idea about what I wanted from the product. So for me, product straight away, I knew the product was going to be great, I trusted them to help me create a fantastic premium quality shofar, the thing that I was responsible for, and the thing was super important to me was the brand. And for me with nobody brand is king brand comes first and it's our brand that has really led to the success that we've been so lucky to have. Really, So yeah, that's amazing. And so then to just move forward a little bit back into the moment of sort of, you've received your stock and you've got to take it to the next level of launching the brand, finding wholesalers, because I know you have about a million StarKist.
Um what, like, what did you do? What was the actual step by step process to get started? Okay, so I'll just be completely transparent this bit I had no clue about. So the branding and all of that before I was like, yeah, I can totally do this. Great, all the creative. And then I got to this point and I was like, I have no idea how to run a business or like how to sell these things. We obviously we set up our Shopify website, so that was really easy to run and that was great. And in my mind I had ordered five, this is quite funny. I had ordered 5000 soap bars and I also ordered 5000 postal boxes, because I just thought, oh yeah, everyone will just come and buy them online and we'll just call them. They're brilliant. So we launched them and we had, like, a really great first weeks, I guess it was more like friends and family and people like that. And then very quickly we had quite a lot of press because pr was my, you know, my thing, I had background in pr I had contact and I sent our little pr created mailers to all of the biggest beauty editors, Maybe 2022 or something.
I sent out all, but maybe one or two, like, didn't posted about them on their Instagram stories, or even on the grid. So we got loads of press, which was really great. Then we really quickly had other brands approaching has been like, Oh, you want to do brand collab. Like we've seen you on this person's instagram story and I was like, oh yeah, I mean amazing. This is really cool because they were like, pretty big brands well in my eyes, like the likes of Rebel Kitchen and and things like that, Like, cool, like London based indie brands, which I'd always, you know, as a as a pr been very aware of and then building my own independent brand, being quite inspired by, I guess. So yeah, we had a reasonably good sales to start with and then I was like, oh, they're probably not selling as well as I needed to be right now because I'm still living with my parents. And um very quickly I realized that the trade side of things would be the thing that really carried us. And I'm not gonna lie probably a month before I launched.
I haven't even thought about trade and selling into wholesalers and selling to other retailers. I had no strategy at all. It wasn't until a company called beauty mart who are an independent beauty retailer online approached me, I think about 10 days after launch and and said about stocking the nudie bars and I was like, oh, I didn't even think about other people stocking the bars. So I was so naive and just being completely transparent here, I'm only gonna tell you the truth. I didn't know how it was going to go and I didn't know how the brand was gonna be perceived. I just, I created this brand and product because I couldn't find a brand that spoke to me in this category and I thought other people must be the same, but I hadn't really thought about how I would find those people, which even still today, that's one of the most difficult things for a brand is finding your customers. It's really, really not easy once you found them and you've got them then like treasure them.
And you know, it's, I'm sure every, every brand out there, you know, even the huge ones will still say that they're still actively trying to find they're perfect customers. And so the beauty mark basically came on board. They stopped you. And then was that kind of a snowball effect for other brands to come forward and say, hey, I want to put my hand up to stock you too. Or did you then start thinking, okay, I need to like take on this approach and you know, put on my wholesale heart and start outreach and that's what I did. Yeah. So one of my brother's friends worked at boo hoo and I messaged her on instagram really randomly. We met once at a party like years ago and I was like, oh and hey, you know, I've just started this company, nobody, I think it could be quite a good thing for Pretty Little Thing. I know they have a beauty section at the time. People who were just doing their own branded beauty, not other brands. And she was like, yeah, that sounds great. So we ended up getting the d entrepreneurial thing and then on Misguided and that really, really, really elevated us in terms of exposure.
So many other brands then caught on to to unity to do collapse with and it's like every single time you collaborate with a bigger brand, you then get exposed to their audience and within their audience. Obviously these customers, but there's also really, really interesting people who could also help you then grow your brand. It's really weird how it happens. And so how fast did all that happen? Because getting onto those stores is major. Yeah, so in our first year we had worked with Beauty Mark, Pretty Little Thing, Misguided, Top Shop, um skinny dipped, I'm definitely missing urban athletes. Urban outfitters came in here to know in your your one. So this is After year one. so yeah, we had all of those. Then we had our first anniversary urban outfitters came after that urban outfitters are quite quite recent actually in anthropology.
Well the first year was just crazy, but the thing is once again being really transparent, we would have these orders come in. It's like I created this like people thought the brand was much bigger than it was, like, you gotta remember, I'm still operating this, I was still operating this from my parents garage. It's because we had so much press and we've collaborated with so many other cool brands that, you know, people thought the brand was much bigger, but it wasn't so we hadn't really built on our brand awareness enough to support those retail partnerships, which I learned very quickly and everything like, you know, every single day there's a new learning, but you know, we would get orders from from some bigger retailers and then we wouldn't get us back and order because the soldiers didn't sell that well, and of course they were never going to because people knew nothing about them. I hadn't even I hadn't had the money to kind of invest in like advertising or anything like that.
All we've had, up until that point was like, organic pr so nothing even pay for just me sending out information to journalists. So that was quite a big learning and that was a big challenge and it was it was pretty tough at the time because I would get the contracts and think, oh my God, this is amazing. Like if they just keep ordering this from me like month to month, like this is fantastic and it just didn't happen. And I was like, oh God, so then you'd feel like knocked back, why are they not selling? You know, I know the products great, The feedback that I have had is fantastic. So why, why did not more people not want to buy them? It was, I would spend my nights just staring at the ceiling, being like, what can I do here? And so what did you do? Well, I spent, uh, you know, a long time just just being like, what can I do and not knowing what to do, because it's not like you just get like a random shining lights in the sky with this message saying, here's what you do cast, like this is gonna be the thing that makes it successful.
So for ages, I was like, I still don't know, and I would, you know, look to people for advice, but you know, it's really, really difficult starting an independent brand with, you know, not a lot of money behind you and getting people on board, especially when it's something like a product like a soap bar, because I wasn't just trying to get people to buy your soap. I was, I was trying to, I was aiming the product at millennial females, right? So I knew it was gonna be a challenge, You know, when I started, because many millennial females haven't even hadn't at the time even heard the phrase bath soap or bar of soap, like ever they just thought about that granny's house and like a little bar repairs in a lot of on a soap dish. So even when we went into Top shop, we will buy the tills in top shark and they just weren't selling great because the girls probably picking them up and been like virus so I don't want that.
And he was so hard and it was so frustrating because I was just thinking my mind just try it like I wish they would just try it. But at this point I couldn't afford to do sampling because to sample is it costs so much to sample and I just I couldn't afford to do that. So I was really like stuck between a rock and a hard place and how I could really like get the brand to grow I guess. Um And then we got urban outfitters which is fantastic and Anthropology and they just seemed to do a lot better I think as I was saying before about Annie the perfect customer. It turned out that anne was definitely not our perfect customer and there are customer base is probably a little bit older. So anthropology really worked as a retailer. And then very quickly after that we were approached by the U. S. Team um urban outfitters based over in Philly. And they were really keen to get an idea on board. And this was like amazing because it was it would have been for the retailer in the US.
So that was really exciting and I was like oh like now every time I would be like really really hope it works because you just don't know and and it's out of your control. Really. I mean obviously you can support and assist with things like social ads and try and like push people in that direction. But when your product goes onto one of these bigger retailers, if they're not trying to push it, like it's quite difficult, especially for such a young brand. But even still, you know, at that point at this point we're still growing our brand awareness all the time, especially in a market like the U. S. As well. Obviously we've done nothing in terms of brand awareness, but they have been selling well, which is good. I think it's because of the current climate possibly. But that will be encouraging more people to dry the soap. So yeah. And so who did you find was the kind of the customer Because originally thought it was like early 20s millennial girl who did it turn out to be that your customer is now.
So I think it's really, really hard to pinpoint and define exactly who it would be because it's it's kind of turned out that everybody loves study. So we've got so we've got such wide customer base with a lot of guys, like um in terms of our direct consumer, I think it's probably about I would say, oh this might be a bit bored, 60 40 split. Oh wow. Which you wouldn't, you wouldn't expect looking at the brand at first glance, but but yeah, like it is, it's incredible. And a guy, I love using the bars, I mean we've been featured in GQ a few times if you take some of the bars away from the others in terms of the branding, like the lime and lemon and the mango have both been in GQ. And I guess if you take those bars away from our instagram setting or the rest of the collection and they're just to stand alone, then why why not?
Like why could they not be kind of seen as a more gender neutral, which they are engine neutral anyway, but you know what people would perceive to be feminine or masculine. So a real range. But mostly I would say kind of 32, old women. And I imagine your product is really great for gifting as well. It's something that people can pick up in a place like urban outfitters and know that they can give it to the younger girl that they're buying for in those kinds of stores as well, definitely that and that's been a really funny one as well actually. So when we launched and the whole strategy I built around a day was definitely not for it to be a gift. It was for it to be a personal care beauty product that I wanted to encourage people to use soap bars every day. So I wanted to encourage people to ditch plastic bottles, you know, become more conscious consumers and really promote that kind of idea of conscious consumerism and just like, it's not asking people to be perfect.
But if this is a small thing like what you're using towards your body with and you're not compromising, right? So it's it's great. It's premium quality project, you know, wonderful to use in terms of experience and everything. And and at a reasonable price point as well, I wanted to create a product that would be like, why would you not just try that? Why would you not use that? It's one of the easiest things that you can swap into your life to try and be a little bit more eco friendly. And but we very quickly fell into the gifting category, which I think was bound to happen just from the way that I branded the products. So we're in like, a lot, like you said at the beginning of of stores, a lot of them are independence. So I have an amazing list of independent stores. So they're like, you know, high street gift shops and small wellness shops, things like that. I love those retailers more than any of the others because you just have, like, a genuine relationship with the owners of the store.
Yeah, absolutely. And you get really great feedback from them. And is it still you managing all the stores, like, or do you have an agency now, who does it? Because primarily your business must take a lot of time to manage all the retailers that you have. Yes, it really, really does. I do everything. So I don't employ anyone as of yet. So it's just a, no, no one can never believe it. But um, across everything, so from the social media, but very recently I now have a pr agency who deal with that side of things. A great agency be. Um, and even though that's the one thing that I do best, That's the one thing that I just can't find time to do. Are you still packing the orders yourself as well? You don't have any help? Yeah. Crazy. I do everything. So at the moment I'm sure you would have seen on our instagram. We started an initiative. Amazing way.
We started an initiative. Thank you offering free soap to those in need. So this is quite a funny story. Um I seem to be telling a lot of them in this podcast. I'm I'm very grateful for it. I love the laws. Um so my boyfriend lives down in york and we kind of lived between both of our parents houses at the moment. It's so romantic. But yeah, so we went to the local supermarket and down there. It must have been like three, It'll be four weeks this coming Friday. And we just got back from Switzerland the week before because we've, you know, we've been on a plane and stuff. We thought we're going to self isolate for two weeks and we're not really, you know, going to go out or anything, not that we had any symptoms, but we've been on a plane, right? So we just thought we'd best be say, but we had to go out and get some food before we decided to to do it. And I know this must have been at the end of the two weeks we've gone out to Morrison's.
Yeah, that's right. So here we were in the supermarket and whenever I'm in any shop, I will always go to the sounds and just see what's that say. It just like any new brands I might not have seen before and why are they there instead of nutty? And there never is any new brands. But um, just see like how they're selling and you know, prices and stuff. So I went and obviously there was just nothing on the shell was at all. And, and it hadn't even really dawned on me because everyone had been saying about, there was no liberal, there's no toilet roll, every stop piling on stupid things like that. I hadn't heard anything about show up. So when we went, I was like, oh my goodness, of course there's, there's no stopping at this point. I haven't seen like a spike in sales or anything at my end because this was like, right at the beginning of when it was getting bad in the UK and before any restrictions or anything like that. So we got back from the supermarket and I just said to my boyfriend, like, what, what can we do?
Like there must be something we can do here because you know, I've got loads of soap, I have thousands of miles of soap. I just got a lot of so and community, there's people who can't get any. And then I'd see like I was scrolling down my facebook that night and I think it was like a friend's friend's murmur or something. For some reason I had on facebook I posted saying that she couldn't find any soap anywhere and I was like, okay, this is definitely a thing is the thing. Um, so it was actually my boyfriend's idea, he was like, well, because why don't you, you know, start giving away free. So you know, you can still ask people to pay contribution to cover your postage and packaging because I mean as a small business, there's just, there's no way I could give the way the product and then send it, which, you know, is not cheap because of the weight of the soap. Um, so, you know, we figured out people would be more than happy to cover that.
So yeah, we posted about it on the friday morning on instagram. Just being like, you know, I had this experience yesterday, if anybody can't get hold of. So I'm more than happy to send it to you, All you have to do is cover the postage and packaging and then you know told them about, you know, all the great upsides to nobody's when it is being friendly. Plastic free cruelty free, you know no sls no nasties and that they're laced with shea butter. So the full range of so far they're all created using the same base. So it's a shame but a base. So they not only clean your hands, they moisturize them too, which is you know a huge kind of U. S. P. And then a real kind of reason for people to want to buy the at this current time when over washing your hands can like lead to cracks and dryness and you know even like bleeding knuckles and things like that. So I have no idea by the way how this was gonna go. Like I really really didn't, I didn't know if like nobody would want a free bar or maybe loads of people would want to free bars.
They're very naive. Um A lot of this business has been kind of like got into completely Clyde lee by the way and we just like tripping through things. Um So we put the post out and it just went absolutely crazy basically. How many so far as did you give away in the first day alone? I think we did. I think it was like 1050 in the first day, wow. And was it like repeat kind of people who already buy your soaps or was it like new people coming into your network? So it was new people? It was, it was, I mean it was it was a mixture of both, but up until then like our our director consumer side of the business was like, no, you know, I was probably selling about £300 a week, like no joke. I just we haven't had concentrated on the website at all, It was kind of like a dead space in a way. All of my focus was weirdly enough because this was not the plan at the beginning, as you know, was on trade. Um so all of the, you know, the money that we were making was from all of our starkest and then we would, you know, sell direct Cosima when the orders came in, but just no money put into that at all, no time, no effort.
And then all of a sudden I was like, oh my God, and we just we were really prepared for it because I was down at york at the time as well, I wasn't even at home, I mean going to the post office with 1000 orders, they must have been like get out, it was ridiculous. And I thought I wasn't at home, I came back home and I said my parents were tired. Well obviously when they wouldn't have been at work now anyway, but there would be a blessing and I said the most that look like we've got to send all these soap bars and they were just like, oh right okay. So we're gonna have to do it. Like they're so great. They totally like have my back on everything and believe in me. And they were like okay, cool. And I'm just not gonna do blah blah blah. So we got them all together. It ended up actually being three days worth of orders that we had to send out because it was the Fridays and then saturday sunday. So we send all those out on monday morning. So I can't remember how many there was book bags and bags. It was ridiculous.
And I had to go at this point we didn't even have a business account with the royal mail or anything because we didn't really stand that much like small parcels. They were all bigger trade parcels which we would use like other couriers. So I had to go buy stamps from over the counter. So I was going and buying like 1000 stamps at a time, which was crazy. And the woman was like, what are you doing? Like uh like I explained to her what I was doing, she was like all right, okay. Like I still think if you say so uh and the stamps are so not cheap as well. So like postage is expensive. Obviously that was being covered. But at the time I was having to like, did you have a lot of money to get you know, enough stamps tonight cover us. So very quickly came off a challenge actually. Um So bless her. The wonderful lady at our post office hadn't told us about weight, like the weight restrictions. So typically you can By a trial bar from the Nerdy Web site, which is a 20 g Small bar which you can just use to try and if you like it then you can buy the full size bar.
But that's a 20 grandpa. So I didn't know nor had a wonderful lady, you know, she hasn't told me that once you go above 100 g then it's a new price. So here I am like all completely naive to this. I just didn't have a clue. I just thought, oh well they're just the same as what we send because it's the same size like letter and everything is the same, so why would it be a different price? So I had priced them on the site, you know, according to that, I think it was like 1 50 something at first and my boyfriend has a skin care company as well, which is quite weird and unique in terms of the fact we both have really both do the same thing, but he very quickly said to me cast your loot if you do that, you're losing you're losing like 20 bends on on each thing, like you're not covering your cost here for postage and packaging, like you need to change it. And I was like, oh goodness max is not my strong point, by the way. Um So anyway, with the postage, I was sending them out for like a week and they were all getting their fine, and then I started getting some messages from people being like, oh I've been charged £1.50 extra, and I was like, oh that's so weird because you know, I shouldn't be happening.
And then more and more people. And then I got an email from the Royal Mail, like compliance officer, which it come through the form on nobody's website actually say like, can you get in contact with us? Like we've got a few bags of your mail here, but you know, they're not, they haven't been charged the right price. So I was like, oh my goodness, what is going on thinking, oh my goodness, I'm gonna have to refund all these people um which means that you know, that's gonna come out of my pocket and I can't really afford to do that anyway. And it was just, it was very, very, very stressful. So the guy was really fantastic and he said, look, you're just just over the weight. So I think we were like 10 g over, but you know, they were getting caught up and then recharged. So I had two days worth of parcels go out to people and then get charged extra, so for the next honestly, still some of them are coming through now for the next two weeks.
It was just how, because I would have people emailing like, oh my God, I've been recharged now. Another 1 50. This is a scam. And I'd be like, oh my God, it's not a scam. So what did you have to do? So then what we have to do is we have to set up a Royal mail business account. Well actually when the guy had rang me on the phone, he was like, I've got three, I think it was like three or four bags. I've got three or four bags here if you want, you can come and add additional stamps to these parcels and we can, you know, Send them for you. So me and my mom had to drive 45 minutes to the post center to go and add additional stamps onto those letters. So that was just, oh and at this time like, you know, it was only, you know, leave your house for, you know, really like necessary things. And I was like, oh goodness, we shouldn't really be, you shouldn't really be going out the house, but we had to go and do it.
So we went up and did that and it was, it was awful. Honestly for, for a week, I don't think I slapped this is only a couple weeks ago and it was, I felt because I feel it, you know, this business is my baby and everything that happens with the brand good or bad reflects back onto me and I was petrified that people would think, you know, there would be like reviews online and people be like, oh, I had to, you know, this is, you know, they're not telling the truth. You have to then pay this extra thing and it was all because of a genuine mistake. I was so worried. And so how did you deal with the customers who were complaining? Like what was the strategy? I was just really honest. I was really, really honest and I think what my customers want, nobody's customers have really appreciated from me is the fact that I haven't tried to be like pretended with some big team and that we've just got like this strategy whenever I replied, I replied as myself being like, I am so sorry.
This is genuinely what happened. Like I'm trying to manage everything like on my own, which is true. Like thousands of orders were coming through and it was like my mom and my dad in the kitchen trying to get everything out. It was, it's like, it was like a comedy sketch and we really had to like perfect our systems and now we've nailed it And so how many files have you given out for free now at this point today, Just over 12,000. That's amazing. Yeah. You, I can't believe that many of like come and gone through in that amount of time. I mean, also you have now a database of 12,000 emails. Yeah. So that, that's been amazing as well. So our subscribers list, which was, I think maybe hand $3,000, something like that. Now. It's now it's, yeah, it's huge. Like we're nearly at 20,000. Amazing.
Just amazing. Yeah. It is fantastic. And it means that I can, one of the things I always wanted to do with muddy is really like hone in on the community side of things and really build a strong sense of community. You know, we have things on our website, we have a blog series called stripped down, which is where people can, you know, write a blog just about an experience they've had in their life or something that they've come through the other side of, they can just be really vulnerable, stripped down a barrel and, and, and hopefully that can have a really positive impact on somebody that might be going through a similar thing when they read it. So for me, it's like, oh my God, fantastic. Now I can really finally start to get this sense of community moving and it's not something that I had even put any energy or time and do before. But now I've, it's like, now I've got these customers, like I really wanna look after them and I want them to feel like they're part of something and that's really important to me.
So that's always going to be at the top of the to do list and I think by, by the way, you've gone about it, you know, you, you will have built such a strong sense of loyalty by doing this, give back initiative, so you're really starting off on a great kind of foundation to be able to, you know, deliver on your promise and fulfill that, which is just so nice to hear. I think, yeah, I mean I had so many messages, like thousands of messages from people being like, what you're doing is amazing, thank you so much and just like really, really kind words. So when I was going through the really hard for that and I'm really struggling actually, it was those messages of appreciation and people like genuinely like reaching out hard to be like, you're doing all right now. Um, that kind of pushed me through it because it was tough. I bet it was, I bet it was tough, massive appreciation for anybody that works that customers that there was times that like I would, you know, there were few and far between like really bad emails, I think I maybe had three people go full on like, like nasty ninja go ninja keyboard warrior on you and you're like, why this was even before they had given me a chance to say what had happened, like they got something through the post, there was an extra £1.50 that could have been through from so many reasons and they hadn't even Given me a chance to say anything and this was their opening email and actually two of those people wrote back and they were like, Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.
One of them even ordered an additional, I think it's like a £20 order to apologize and was like don't send the soap. Oh wow. Well that's nice though. And I think that's where you see customer service is so important to any business because it's a really, really key moment that you have to change someone's perception of your brand, which is obviously like case in point. I wanted to ask you, have you also seen now that you've had people ordering the free soap? Have you also seen now a spike in regular online sales as well? Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Which I hoped would happen of course, but straight away if it wasn't for people just ordering large orders to support which many people did. Um It was, it's now a case of repeat customers. So I knew this is what I knew all this was your sampling process really. Yeah. In a way I just had 12,000 people stand for your product. Yeah, which is exactly what I needed. And it wasn't, it's funny because my boyfriend said that to me yesterday actually about it, it's basically a sampling process at the time.
I didn't even think about it like that, but that's how it turned out, and it's it's been amazing because I've had so many people message as well saying, oh my goodness, like I've got psoriasis, or I've got eczema and using the nutty service has cleared it up, wow, that's powerful, Amazing. Before and after pictures and and everything, so, and this isn't even, that's not even part of my messaging with nutty, it's not, you know, we've never been like, oh, it could possibly cure, like, skin concerns and but just to know that that is actually happening is fantastic, but I guess when you're, when you've got a wider consumer base, you're going to learn more about the product and how it's performing with different people, because now I'm getting all those, all that feedback directly back to me, as opposed to into retailers, which is amazing. Really fantastic. So yes, are Our direct to consumer business on a whole, including the free bars has grown about 700%.
Oh my gosh, in the past three, just incredible. Yeah. So incredible. Oh God, it's been a lot of hard work, like yeah, it's, you know, it's funny because when you're going through it and it's the same with everyone at the moment, you're just trying to get through day by day because it's just such a weird time and a scary time, you don't want to think too far ahead, and you kind of double to think too much all of the wise, it kind of freaks you out but I haven't really spent a lot of time to reflect, like reflected at all because I just keep going and just keep moving forward, but yeah, I guess it's been pretty, pretty amazing for the brand of Finality and now we were finally getting that exposure that I know that the brand and the product deserves because you can see that by the repeat customers and people being like, oh my God, this product is amazing, I'm a convert no more shower gel and that's all I ever wanted, so we've got some customers for life now which is really nice, yeah, that is really cool, really, Really cool, what's next for the brand?
What's the goal for kind of, I mean 2020 is obviously canceled, but what's the goal following? Um well actually, um saying that we have got very big a new product launch coming in five weeks time, which is super soon, so we're launching our range of shampoo bar, oh my God, amazing, love it there. Oh great, I have been working on this project for over a year now and I was the one that tested all of the samples, oh my goodness, we went through all sorts of different kind of formulations and you know, I really, as soon as I launched the site, but I knew that I wanted to do with shampoo bar, that it would take a little bit longer, but the base that we're using for the shampoo bar has been in development for the past five years and it's the most innovative base of its type. It's unbelievable and you know, we've chosen to mix that with kind of really high percentage of coconut oil and argan oil and I've always been so funny about what I use on my hair.
I know it doesn't look like it right now, but normally it looks much nicer than this. Um and I've always used like, things like tv means like really good quality shampoo and conditioner. I always say that my scalps a bit of a snob because if I use cheaper hair products, I just get really flaky scalp. It's really weird. Um and so I've always had, you know, sensitive, sensitive scalp. So I knew that the product that I was creating needed to be nourishing, hydrating lux your meal alongside a really fantastic cosmetic chemists that I can't take the credit for creating this all by myself because I definitely didn't. Um but yes, in a long time in the making the shampoo bars, three different shampoo bars. The first one that we're launching is our ultra volume blow dry bar. So it's basically like getting a blow dry at home. It's unbelievable. I am so excited to bring it to market just because I know how amazing the product function.
I feel like we've just sold me on it just by hearing the way you talk about it, it's so amazing. I can't wait five weeks in the diary. Um and then aside from that, it's pretty hard to get going with any kind of development at the moment, but obviously we launched with our core range of five ft bars. Now, we have our candles which soy wax candles and we've got our beautiful cotton bed t shirts, which, you know, everything that I bring to this brand or we launch on the site is basically just things that like, I really, I want, I think that other people will like you, there's so much kind of genuine thought that goes into everything from me. Um so yeah, I'll never bring a product out just for the sake of filling a gap. You know, everything that I do with nobody moving forwards will always be to kind of breathe a breath of fresh air back into a market or like just bring something different or some like, fun, but always the best quality they can be.
Oh, that's so amazing. My last question before I ask you the six quickie questions is um what advice would you have for any, any woman or any guy for that matter who's looking to start a business and start from scratch. That is a good one. So I have helped numerous kind of aspiring startup founders. Uh, the advice that I always give them is just like, is really, really plan and research into your field and what's already out there. It's so you know so many people have amazing ideas. People have amazing ideas every day but to actually then create a business out of that idea is a very very different thing and I think people can be very naive, I mean I was naive, it turned out well for me but I wasn't it could have went very differently and I was in a very fortunate position to be able to have the help that I did but just really research and like don't take that step until you genuinely know that you've ticked all of your boxes and that you're prepared and you're ready.
And I know it sounds silly me saying that when when I definitely wasn't but but in hindsight I know that it could have went the other way and you've got to be bold and you've got to take the chance but also just make sure that you're educated in in what you're doing and you got a plan man with a plan man with the plan Woman with a plan, I love it. All right. The six quickie questions. It's just a quick fire round. Number one is what's your why? So when I first thought about this I started answering it more in a business sense and I was like no I'm going to do more personal one. So I guess personally we're still with nobody that I wanted to prove generally that someone like me at the age I was could start a business or a brand, like a viable brand and actually make it work. I mean it does just like it seems unrealistic and out of reach and at the time I didn't even know if I could do it, but I somehow managed to do it.
So I guess now I just want to, as I said, I like to help like other young founders, you know, just believe in themselves and if I can pass on that knowledge that I have on to other people and you know, I didn't, I didn't have anyone to kind of help me and anyone to ask the questions. So I always say if anybody and if anybody is listening to this and just want any guidance about how to do things wrong a lot of the time, but then come back from it, then I'm a girl, it's amazing, we'll get your details at the end. So where people can reach out to you definitely what's The # one Marketing Strategy that really made your business pop cool. So for us really, as I'm spoken about in detail, just like to strip it all back at the brand, really, it's also really stripping back to basics, but that initial focus on the brand and having like a really strong brand messaging.
So from the outset, that's what got us noticed on, you know, portraying that through the likes of instagram and social media, there's there's so many things that go into that initial pop, But I think that's the thing when you first launch, you've got to make sure you launch with a band. Yeah, absolutely. So you've got to have all the different things that I think about, all the things that will help you to do that. Yeah. Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? Mm hmm. This is a difficult one for me. Um, so I like to listen to Guy raz is how I built this podcast is oh my God, it's so great. I've learned so much from listening to those points. Uh, learner people like that. They're amazing. And then aside from that, I think maybe once a month and me and my closest girls will have, I like to call them creative strategy sessions. Obviously none of them work for nobody, but they all helped me like think of different parts of the brand and I just like to the people who are closest to me, some of the most amazing, inspirational, creatively talented people ever.
So I like to just talk to them and utilize them in every way that I can. And I love that they're part of nobody as well. So even not in an obvious way, but there's little bits of all of my nearest and dearest in this brand, which makes it all the more special. You have, like a full time permanent focus group. I do, literally. And they love it as well. It's so now amazing. Uh number four is how do you win the day? Okay, so I've got a few things that when I shut my eyes at night, if I've done these things and I feel good um the first is working out, so that's not to say that I do that every day, but at least four or five times a week, but I always feel the best once of dinner, helps me focus a lot and then doing my skincare routine. So am pm if I sometimes I actually I did this last night, I looked myself in the mirror and I just can't be bothered and then I thought, nope, like I have to do it, I'm going to sleep so much better if I just do it.
So just those two things really made me feel like like I've won the day, I totally get that I get in that mindset as well where I'm like, it's almost like when your brain tells you not can't be fucked, you're more like, okay, that's what I really need to do it. So I don't drop the habit. Absolutely, exactly. Uh if you only had $1,000 left in your business account, where would you spend it? Facebook ads all day long, um you know, we are now spending quite a significant budget on facebook ads and at first I would have agencies, you know approach her and be like, you know, you really need to do this. And I was like, it must be a waste of money? It's so not a waste of money and if it's such a drive to sales as well. So yeah, it would go straight on facebook ads and then hopefully we'll get cells from there. And lucky last is how do you deal with failure? Mm not very well, but I've had to get used to it as all the founders. No, especially in these past couple of weeks because that has just been challenge after challenge.
Um I used to really struggle with it and I could just go into, you know, a really anxious place and I suffer badly with anxiety. Um and it was, it was really tough. But you've, you've just got to learn to deal with failure I guess because you're constantly challenged and and and growing. So now I just, if I'm having a hard time or something is going wrong, I just like to take myself off um and just check in with myself and and just breathe, actually do very loose meditation. Um, and then just know that I can pick myself up again because every time you do because you have to love that where can people find you so people can find nobody um on nine on our website at www dot needy dot co dot UK. Um and then all of our stock tests which are listed on the nudie website, but currently High street's darkest.
we're in on urban outfitters and anthropologie um on top Shop as well. And what about you personally? What's your instagram? Oh, and my instagram. So my personal instagram is CAssie Ahmadi over. So that's K A S S E M A D I and the nobody's instagram is nobody official? Yeah, well, thank you so much. I love this episode. This was so fun. Oh, no worries at all. It's been my pleasure. It's been so lovely chatting to you. Hey, it's just me here. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode of the female startup club podcast. If you want to hear more, head to my instagram at Dune rasheen to see my filmed interviews with incredible female founders like Erica from fluffy beauty Greta from drug bottle and Sammy leo from breeze bomb. And if you like what we're doing here, visit our website and sign up to female startup club dot com to get all of the good stuff delivered straight to your inbox and lastly subscribe to the female startup club podcast