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Her Tiktok video went viral and sold out 4000 units (!!!) so she sold her house.. with Love & Pebble’s Lynda Truong

by Female Startup Club
February 23rd 2022

I am SO excited about this episode, Lynda was a longtime listener of the show and we got to cross paths having her share her story behind Love & Pebble, the beauty pops that have been taking Ti... More

are you on the lookout for a new podcast? To listen to being boss by Emily Thompson is brought to you by the hubspot podcast network and something I love about this show is getting the chance to support my community of fellow creators and business owners. Being boss is an exploration of not only what it takes, but what it means to be a boss as a creative business owner, freelancer or side hustler and I know it's going to resonate with so many of you who are listening in, so if you like female startup Club, trust me, you're going to love being boss, This is linda trunk for female startup club. Hey everyone, it's dune here, host and hype girl, I am so excited about this episode, linda is a longtime listener of the show and we've got to cross paths, having her share her story behind love and Pebble The beauty pops that have been taking Tiktok by storm in this episode where once again talking about the power of Tiktok and I hope you're hearing these and immediately jumping to create content and giving yourself these same opportunities to go viral.

It is crazy stuff out there. We're also talking about her worst and best advice that she has received so far and an insight to what happened when she didn't get a deal on shark tank and by the way, if you're feeling groovy, please feel free to pop over to the Apple podcast app or Spotify to leave us a review. It makes a huge difference to helping new ears find us and I would be so grateful. Let's get into this episode. This is linda for female startup club. Mhm. 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 club precincts linda. Hi, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Me too. I'm excited to have you on here. Tell us about love and pebble and the ethos behind the brand. Sure. Yes. So we are a Icee facial masks that melts into a skin loving face masks.

So it's made with all natural superfoods and it's like all food grade. So what sets us different is that it's a food grade product that you mix with water and you freeze and apply it to your face as like an icy facial. That is so cool. I've never seen anything like it and I was watching videos of like your mom using it and it just looks so interesting. How on earth did you come up with this idea and when like take us back to this time in your life where you were deciding to actually start this and turn it into a beauty business? Yeah, so I actually struggled with acne growing up and um I would get this really bad like cystic acne, like on my chin where it's like not ready to pop, but it was just like deep into my skin. So what I would do is I would take like ice cubes and I would, where I would freeze like aloe vera and then just like rub it on my skin. And I noticed that that was like really working for me and so I continue to do this like, you know, even as an adult, I would apply like frozen bananas or I'd mix up this concoction and like I blend it and then I'd freeze it and apply it to my skin.

And so one day I was like with my boyfriend who is my husband now, we were like on the couch and I was like applying it on my face, he's like what the heck are you doing? And I was like oh my God you have to try this, this is so amazing, like it's really good. So he tried it and he was instantly hooked like he was like oh my gosh, like this feels so good and it just gave him like this instant glow. And so he was like you know like how can we share this with everyone? Like how can we create this as a product? So I was like, so we were just like, you know it's like how do we how do we send like fresh fruits to consumers? You know, you know after two years of R and D. We figured out how to do that. And so we wanted to make sure that we maintain like natural ingredients so you know our formulas food grade but still keeping it like fresh and not require chemicals or preservatives. So we kept it in powder and so it's kind of like a little make sure that you mix with water and we were able to do that without having chemicals in there.

And so here we are, here you are. And what year are we talking when you started that when you had that conversation on the couch? Okay so that was in 2018, right? And when we first launched, like when we first started our company, we didn't start with our beauty pops? We started with facial tools. Having the beauty pops in mind. So you know, we were, I was really worried about like I was scared about launching it like, you know, what do people think it's stupid, what if people don't like this? You know? But thankfully it's been a success and like, you know, after two years, so 2021 which is uh last year's when we officially launched our Beauty pops. Okay, right, got it. I love a bit of a timeline. So I can kind of keep in mind when everything is. So going back to that two years of development, are you kind of like have you invested a lot of savings in that. How much money did you need to actually get it to the point where it was able to be put out into the world? So when we first started our company, we started with about $20,000 and then we reinvested everything.

And then we got to a certain point where like when we launched the beauty pops, it required new molds or new more inventory and just like new formula. So we, I sold my house. Actually no way, wow. Yeah. So I sold my house and we were like, you know, what are we all in? We're all in. So let's do this. So I love how you are also like not going straight to like raising money. You're like, hmm, what money can I pull out of myself right now? Where where is the asset that I can sell? Yes. So because we were going back and forth a lot like my boyfriend and I, we were, it would be like your house or my house and it just made no sense. So we're just like, okay, I'll just move in with him, sell my house. And you know, we were really serious about this, this business. So I sold my house and then I put another $100,000 into the company after we launched the beauty pops. And you know when you were saying just a moment ago, you know, you weren't sure what the feedback was going to be when you put it out there into the world, what was your personal community of people around you saying like your friends and your family or you know, old colleagues, that kind of thing.

So a lot of people were unsure because it's something they've never seen before. So they're just like, I don't know, you know, like it seems interesting but there's nothing to compare it to because there's nothing like it. So, you know, actually like when we first launched, we did a little, we call it the beauty pop ups. So we were at like a local salon and this lady, you know, we were talking about a product and she came up to us and just laughed at us. She was like that's silly. Like these are pops to eat, not for your face. You know we were like no it's it's for your skin and my husband's a pharmacist. Um he's been a pharmacist for over 15 years. And so he helped me formulate it. And he was like, you know, the ingredients in here are you know there's there's research behind this like there's two mark is great for its anti inflammatory alvarez antibacterial. So these ingredients are actually good for your skin. There's a there's a reason why these we chose these ingredients. So it's not. I mean it's there is a cute and fun aspect to our product.

But they really work. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And so when you launch in 2021 obviously, I'm assuming you had a bit of a customer base from the previous year selling the beauty tools, are you able to paint kind of a picture like how big was the business before you launch the beauty pops. So we were we weren't really big actually. We were you know, we we started off like with some tools on amazon and I didn't have much of a community at that time. And what really changed was when we reinvented ourselves and did the beauty pops And I was really surprised because I started really we started small. I only ordered like 4000 units of the beauty pops. I didn't, I was expecting, we called it a soft launch. It was kind of like getting your MvP product out and I was expecting, you know, just to sell it, not sell it but just like give it away, get some feedback and just kind of see how like the market reacts to this, right? But we actually went viral like two weeks after launching it because they are an influencer.

Well she wasn't really an influencer but she was just like, I think she only had like 2000 followers and she posted our product on Tiktok and overnight she had a million views. So we and so completely sold out our inventory. So I sold out the 4000 units like within two weeks and we were like whoa, like this is crazy like and we've got an at that time we got so much good feedback. People were like, oh my gosh, this is so cool, this like this really worked for my skin. So we had to like get, you know, we had to do another order. And then after that the other order, it took us about like two months to get back in stock. We went viral again. And it was my mom's video video. Like seriously when my mom did the video it was like unintentional. It was just like okay, I'm just gonna throw this video of my mom because it was her first time trying my new concoction. So she, she applies it and then the before and after, it was like amazing and people fell in love with it.

They were like, you know, we sold out again within two weeks. Within those two weeks we made over $100,000 in sales. Like we sold out like all of our inventory. Like thanks mom. Yeah. Seriously? It was just, thank you very much. Yeah, it's, it's been wild and you know, it's like really reassuring to know that what we created like people love it and, and it's just like, now it's just like, we can't stay in stock, which is a good thing, but it's really stressful. It's really hard. It's a bittersweet problem to have because of course you want to be in stock. But yeah, of course, having that demand is interesting. I have a few questions. Just going back to the first influencer post that went viral. The 2000 followers influencer. Was she someone that just posted off the bat? Like you didn't know she was posting or was it like a paid opportunity? Not at all. We did not pay her anything. We just gave her, she, you know, she was like, I think she only had like 2000 followers on her instagram and like barely any on her Tiktok and we're just like, you know, why not?

Like, let's just give it away to as many people as possible. So we just gave it away and then all of a sudden like her video was pretty, it was good, but we didn't think much of it. And so when she posted on Tiktok, we just started seeing sales coming and we're like, what in the world's going on. And then she dM me and she was like, do you see my post? I have like 700,000 views right now. And we were like, Holy moly. It's just mind blowing to me. Like how many times I'm speaking to people now? And they're like, yeah, we just had a video go viral for no good reason and it's just changed the game. Like the power of these platforms now is like next. Well, I haven't seen it as much on instagram or heard of that happening on instagram to be honest. It's Tiktok really, but not leveraging that and harnessing that power is like such a missed opportunity right now in today's landscape. Absolutely. I mean we have gone viral five times at this point and it's like my husband's like, what do you do? Like, how do you do it?

I'm like, I don't know, it's just, I'm not doing anything fancy. It's just, there's no, I mean, there's no like equipment. Like I'm not, I don't have like a full like production team behind me, like doing things, it's seriously like in my kitchen or like in my, in my room, you know, doing the pops or like clipping videos together and honestly, I think it's, it's telling a story. I think that's what Tiktok likes to see. It's, it's organic, authentic and just being able to tell like your story 100%. What is your like posting schedule? Like how much time do you create? Like how much time do you spend creating videos and how much are you posting on these platforms on a daily basis? So we started doing Tiktok april of 2021 I didn't take it seriously until like june and I was doing it every day for about four months, like once a day or yes, every day. Just one post today. Yes, one post today.

He was like, get on Tiktok. So I was like, okay. So I did, I was, I was doing it every once a day every day for about four months. And then when we got reached out by shark tank, it just kind of, everything went out the window because I got really busy. Um, I had to like do a lot of prep work. And um, so then I was doing it like three times a week and then after airing on shark tank, I got pregnant. So I didn't have any time. I, I got pregnant. I got really, I was really sick in my first trimester. So for like two months, I was just, I was not posting as frequently as I'd like to, but I'm still like, it's, you know, I think that people find their way to us and we have like 80,000 followers right now, which is pretty cool. We're pretty proud about that. Yeah, I mean that's amazing. Let's backtrack a little bit. So we were still pretty shark tank. You've got the Tiktok going on. Is there any other initiatives or any other marketing efforts that you're doing or you're just focusing on getting that like daily video up on Tiktok.

So we dabbled with some paid ads instagram and like facebook and stuff, but it was never our main focus. You know, it's like everything for us has really been organic and um, we find that we get better results that way. You know, it's something that I still think it's important to have, but we haven't really mastered that yet. It's just, it's like Tiktok has been the best thing for us and then obviously, you know, being on shark tank and a lot of press, but that happened all organically. So yeah, I'm not against paid ads, but it's just something that we haven't mastered yet. Unpredictability is part of what makes starting and growing a business both exciting and terrifying from the next loan payment to your next big sale or your next acquisition finding predictability and business is about as likely as finding a last minute valentine's day dinner reservation, unlikely hubspot Crm platform is here to help grow and scale with you through uncertainty. So you can spend your time getting to that dinner reservation, hub, sports reporting dashboard is like your crystal ball giving you a bird's eye view on your marketing, your sales and customer service performance so you can get ahead of any issues before they happen, lead rotation and automation takes on operational sales tasks.

So your team can focus on customer needs and shared inboxes, make incoming chats and emails easy to manage and scale for the whole team, learn more about how a hubspot crm platform can help your business grow better at hubspot dot com. Okay, let's talk about the shark tank experience. Someone reaches out to you, when are we talking about like what's the timeline for this? We got reached out in april and so did they see you on Tiktok, is that kind of like did they see one of your viral videos do you think? Yeah, okay. They see you that way. They did and they reached out to us and we got an email and we're like is this fake? You know like this really does shark tank reach out to people. I thought you apply. So I had someone say the exact same thing on the show yesterday, it's the founder of bora. And she was like you know we had someone claiming that they were like the producers or like the casting team and we were like writer, this is a scam like yeah, you know what's crazy?

Is that two days before being reached out by shark tank. My husband and I walked into Kendra scott store and you know Kendra scott is actually one of the um she was one of the guest sharks on there and my husband's like we're gonna be on shark tank and I was like later you know like we're not ready for shark tank like let's let's maybe next year you know? And he was like well you know like he's like I think we're gonna be on there, you know I think our product is pretty cool and I was like okay cool. You know I wasn't thinking much. It's so weird. It's yeah so manifestation I I believe wholeheartedly in that. But anyway like they reached out to us and we didn't think it was real but we went in, we went on some interviews and yeah, surely it was it was legit, it was real. So we were like jumping up and down. But they do have like um it wasn't, it was a process like there are several interview processes and like you have to kind of do like they have to do like your due diligence just to make sure everything looks, you know good and it's accurate and so it was it was a really cool experience, tell us about the experience what happens when you go on the show.

So like we were you know there's a lot of prepping. We were really nervous but honestly it was probably the most exciting experience I've ever been like it was like the adrenaline we had, it was, we're really nervous and just seeing the sharks in real life was so surreal. They didn't feel real to me because they were just like perfect looking like they looked like like the wax. Yeah, like they were just so perfect looking their hair and everything wardrobe. They were just beautiful and it just happened so fast. Like everything was just, it went by really fast and you know, we, we got a lot of love and support. Like they were really nice and really good feedback and ultimately like we didn't get a deal but we learned a lot and I took a lot of their feedback, you know, back to our business and really applied that and I think um what they said was that we were too early and you know, we grew so fast, like, you know, within a couple of weeks of launching, we went viral.

And so they weren't sure if we were gonna, you know, that was like sustainable or if it was like a one hit wonder thing. But you know, it's been, it's been like eight months since then and you know, we're still going strong so we're working really hard with the feedback. Like what did they say rather? Like what they would have needed to see to be interested. Like were they interested in like obviously, yes, you've been viral, but what would they have needed to be interested. So they were really interested in the product. They really liked our numbers but I think they just needed more time and more of like a track record because when we when we pitched it was only like three months in three months in of after launching the beauty pop. So it was just like you know they were just like I'm not sure like you're where you're you're really early on and you know you went viral a few times. Is that something that is like you know going virus kind of unpredictable?

Like you can't really you can't plan for that, you can't plan for that. So that was their concern. But also like I think it was just really new for them. I think that was the main feedback that we got the episode aired though right? Yes, it aired in november of last year and how was it like the impact after the episode aired? But we got so much support and love I think just like you know we were like really humbled and grateful for all the support that we got. Like a lot of people reached out to us and was like you know I really feel like you should have gotten a deal but you know it's yeah it's I think the love and support that we got from the show was even more it was like actually better for us. I think us not getting a deal was a blessing in disguise because on the show you'll see like at the end, like I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but we were really emotional and I was really bummed that we didn't get a deal, but like it was a blessing in disguise.

And like now looking back, I learned so much and I realized that we weren't ready. Like we can't even stay in stock. Like we just got back and stop a week ago and like, you know, we're, we're still working on supply chain and all of that. So it's like, you know, I think that it's best to go slow and you know, we're just like listening to our customers trying to collect feedback, trying to see how we can improve. We've been in some interviews with some retailers and um, that's been great. So you know, it's just, I think it's better this way that we go slow so that we're not like getting ahead of ourselves. And I also feel like you probably reaped the benefits of being on shark tank and you know, still got what you needed to get out of it out of that experience. Obviously mass exposure. I'm sure you had sales through the roof, all that kind of good stuff and lots of love from your community. So you know, that's amazing.

Yeah, it was really, I mean sales were through the roof. Are you able to share? Um, yeah, I mean I could share some, I could like, so we did sell out, We sold out in like two weeks of airing and I think we had like, I can't remember because this was my first trimester and I was like really nauseous. I was sick. It was really good. We we sold a lot and we had, we set up a preorder list and we had like over 2000 pre orders and yeah, it was just, it was wild. But what, what was really crazy was that? It was right before black friday. So yeah, like you know during black friday sales are like sales are really crazy. So when we air it it was like the weekend before that and people were are, you know, people were buying a lot for like gifts and stuff so it was just, it was crazy just completely nuts. My gosh! And so where is the business today coming into 2022? And what are the kind of, what's the future roadmap looking like for you?

Yeah, so a lot of people have been asking for more flavors and that is what we're gonna do. We have three more flavors coming this year. We're hoping that we can get it out. I've been working on this, the new formulas since last year but I'm not like, I have to make sure that it's perfect before we launched so we're hoping to have it launched by second quarter, so new flavors and then we're actually in the talks with some retailers. So we'll see retail expansion. It's exciting. Yeah, we're really excited. How do you approach like funding now and what are your thoughts on, you know, getting investors and things like that? So we haven't paid ourselves and that's actually not the best way to go honestly because we sometimes feel burnt out. I don't recommend that, but that's what we did. We kept reinvesting our money, our profits and friends and family. We got some loans from family and that's helped and gotten some credit card.

You know, we increased our credit card limit and some bank loans were trying to hold out as long as possible. Yeah. So it also sounds like probably really the right decision to not take a deal on shark tank until you're in a much better kind of like position for more leverage. Yeah. Yeah. It's just, we've been bootstrapping everything and um, you know, we don't, we don't have the fanciest, you know, marketing, but it's, you know, for us what's really worked. It's just organic and I think people appreciate that nowadays. It's like, we don't, we don't have the fanciest like, like pictures on instagram, but you know, we show like we tell our story, we show a lot of like the behind the scenes and it's worked for us. Yeah, absolutely. I think it's also like people now want that breath of fresh air with just like what's real, what's actually happening? Who is this? You know, what's the more authentic side of this brand versus like everything being polished and you know, everyone having just huge marketing budgets to spray all over the internet.

Absolutely. What is the best and worst advice that you've received in your entrepreneurial journey, let's say. See, the best advice would be to honestly was what we got from shark tank, which was gross slow. And I didn't understand that until we started running into a lot of issues and like, you know, with with staying in stock like supply chain that was, you know, we grew so fast, we couldn't fulfill our orders in time and a lot of things fell through the crack and now I really understand why they said grow slow and then the worst advice would probably be. I think someone, you know, the lady laughing at us, she, you know, she didn't, I felt really bummed when she did that and I felt discouraged and if I had let that get to me then I probably wouldn't have launched the baby pops. So now looking back, it's just like, you know, like go for it, believe in your product and believe in yourself because it's like we wouldn't be where we were at if we were, if we let you know that one person put us down 100% I think blocking out the noise and choosing what advice you take on and what you kind of leave behind.

It's like it's a skill. I think it's pretty hard like to develop the, you know, the thick skin attitude where you're like, oh yeah, I just brush that off because you know, those things really can get into your psyche and your like mental state. But it's so important to try and just leave that stuff behind and keep forging forward. So there was actually this one Tiktok of a really famous, She was like a really famous Tiktoker and she made fun of our product. She like, she kind of used a clip of my viral video and it was just kind of like laughing at it. Like these are pops that you should eat. And I was really bummed out about that too. And it took me some time to get over it because so many people were commenting like that's crazy. Like, you know, why are you like, why are you rubbing popsicles on your face? And but then I realized that, you know, like not everybody has the same like mythology. You know, like there are some people that, you know, believe in like using like doctors.

And I guess I'd say like Germ Atallah gist would, you know, sometimes for acne they would recommend using acne treatments were like and stuff. Yeah, like raw Accutane or taking like drugs. Whereas for us, it's all it's natural and going the holistic way. Mm hmm. Yeah. Everyone has a different opinion and a different approach for life themselves. But yeah, I mean that sounds stuff I get like a, you know, snide comment on Tiktok and I'm like, oh, like what the heck it's tough. Yeah. So I can't even imagine that kind of feeling like must be, you know, a difficult one to rattle with battle with battle with. That's what I was going to say. Not rattle with. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode. We are testing out something new here for the next while and we're splitting up each episode into two parts, the main interview part and then the six quick questions part to make them easier to listen to. So that's part one. Done. Tune into part two to hear the six quick questions.

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, N. 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 other heirs 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. Mm hmm. Mm hmm mm hmm. Mhm

Her Tiktok video went viral and sold out 4000 units (!!!) so she sold her house.. with Love & Pebble’s Lynda Truong
Her Tiktok video went viral and sold out 4000 units (!!!) so she sold her house.. with Love & Pebble’s Lynda Truong
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