Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello everyone! My name is Daisy Kimbro, the founder of Aromaology all-natural bath, body and home fragrance products. Aromaology was started with a vision to create natural products that are designed to add value, offer performance, and are ecologically sustainable. This has now become a vision come true.
I not only wanted to create natural products but also create a wholesome brand that focuses on the well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. Our formulas are chartered in honoring generations of recipes passed down from my ancestors, my grandmother (she lived to be 101), and my mother (who lived to be 96). I added other hand-selected high-quality natural ingredients to ensure the finest quality products. Sourced from nature, in small batches, our products are developed and formulated by standard manufacturing processes that retain the strength and purity of the natural ingredients.
We use premium natural and raw materials extracted from plants that are combined with high-quality oils and mixed entirely by hand. These ingredients are formulated together with love to produce beautifully aromatic bath, body, and home fragrances that are effective, easy, and pleasant to use.
My first product was a soy candle which immediately became popular. I then launched our body butters and an all-in-one bath, body, hair, and massage oil. This collection from my product line is my best seller. I have expanded to include diffusers, balms, serums, gift baskets and sets, a men’s collection, and a host of other products that are handmade in small batches in our studio in California.
Some of our upcoming releases are our monthly subscription boxes. We launched our Mindfulness Box this past November and it has become one of our top sellers. It comes with a lavender vanilla candle, eucalyptus room spray, rose quartz heart crystal, body butters, lava stone bracelet, mindfulness cards, stress-less cards, green tea, and a cute green tea strainer.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
All of our products are formulated, designed, and manufactured in small batches by myself and my staff. When I started growing I found myself facing several opportunities to grow my brand. At the time I knew I was not in a position to scale to produce thousands of products on the volume to fulfill those orders.
I researched a few cosmetic laboratories and I met with 3 different labs. None of the labs were willing to use the raw materials and ingredients I used to formulate my products. I was told that my ingredients were high-end and would be too expensive to produce the same product. I did not want to lose the integrity of my products and brand so my other option was China. I opted due to the many horror stories I heard. The bad outweighed the good and I did not want to take the risk.
I decided to continue to grow my brand organically. My goal was to improve my manufacturing practices and master my formulas so that I could produce better quality products and improve our customers’ experience. I researched skincare lab practices and took a course on how to set up an artisan skincare lab. It was a lot of work but my passion propelled me to get it done. I made my plan and I put it into action. I upgraded our lab with new and improved equipment, developed and mastered my formulas, created systems, and implemented improved standard operating procedures.
My friends and family went into a particular store for about a month. They would ask, “I am looking for Aromaology products.” About a month later the store contacted me to set up a meeting and the manager gave me a trial run.
The results were phenomenal. The improvements helped us scale and improve in all aspects of the business. We became more efficient with the materials, supplies, and raw ingredients which helped us to consistently create effective products.
Describe the process of launching the business.
When I launched my first collection, I was both scared and excited. I was nervous because I didn’t have a website and most people will not believe you are a legitimate business if you don’t have one. I also wasn’t confident in launching because I didn’t test any of the products to see if there was a market for them. My family and friends thought the candles were amazing so I let that be my motivation to launch.
With the recommendation of a friend, I decided to showcase my products at a 3-day Business Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I was working full-time in a dental office in Beverly Hills while planning to launch. I knew there would be tens of thousands of attendees and I wanted to make an impact. Despite the challenge of working 40 hours a week and spending 20 hours commuting to and from work every week I stayed the course. I accomplished what I set out to do and met my goal of what I thought would be enough inventory to sell at the Expo.
There were many sleepless nights and many sacrifices during the 3 months of planning. I built my inventory by making cases of candles, body butters, and body oils every evening after work and on weekends. I was confident that I had more than enough, WRONG! By the end of day one, of the expo, I practically sold out. I had no inventory to return and finish the remaining 2 days. It was then that I had my Aha moment and conceptualized the idea of an all-natural handmade bath, body, and home fragrance product line. On that day Aromaology was born.
aroma (a·ro·ma) noun
- a distinctive, typically pleasant smell.
ology (ol·o·gy) noun
- a subject of study; a branch of knowledge.
I went back to work and everyone could not wait to hear about the Expo. My boss heard the good news that I sold on the first day. She suggested that I sell the candles in the office. I was shocked! Needless to say, I took her up on her offer. Once again the candles were a huge hit. The sales were growing and the feedback was phenomenal. News spread quickly about the candles throughout the high-rise building that I worked in. I was now known as the candle lady!
I leaped faith! I knew deep down in my heart the only way to take my business to the next level would have to quit my job. I wrestled with the thought for a few weeks. Then one day I woke up and decided today I am going to give my 2-week resignation. I could not believe I did it.
My friends and family thought I was crazy, I thought I was too! But something inside of me pushed me and when I decided to go for it, I knew within my being I was going to make this work.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
After launching I had to build my customer base. Social Media Ads, PR, or marketing did not fit in my budget. The majority of my customers have been by word of mouth. I also tried a guerilla marketing technique, which worked. My friends and family went into a particular store for about a month. They would ask, “I am looking for Aromaology products.” About a month later the store contacted me to set up a meeting. The manager gave me a trial run, my inventory sold out regularly every 2 weeks.
I also gained exposure from selling my products at farmer markets, the opportunity to set up a display in a few West Elm Stores, small boutique shows, business events, and by promoting on social media.
You will fail, it’s part of the process. My advice during difficult times would be to remain positive and to keep moving. There is no better teacher than failure. It helps us to learn from our mistakes and deter us from going down the wrong path.
What really helped me pivot my business is when I started selling on Etsy. Sales were mediocre for a few years. Etsy launched a platform for entrepreneurs to sell products wholesale to retail stores. I applied and was accepted into the program. I was able to get my products on shelves of 25+ stores across the US.
My best marketing platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I post on these social media outlets usually every day. In the future, the goal is to implement new strategies when it comes to marketing and branding. I have a few ideas and plans in mind that I believe will be of great value for my brand.
I recently received an influx of new followers and customers from features in several media publications. Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, MSN online news outlet, Elle magazine and the Pioneer Woman Website along with many Influencers and several Blogs.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
In 2020, Aromaology grew expeditiously despite the pandemic. Our distribution channels are through our website, Etsy, and a few stores. We also wholesale and white label our candles and body butters for several businesses. We are looking to expand our distribution channels to more online platforms this year. Our goal is to build partnerships with wholesale platforms and more retail stores.
We had an exciting year in 2020. From June through December our sales skyrocketed between 51,000% - 89,000%. When you experience rapid growth more is required from you. It wasn’t easy making handmade products on a much larger scale. Not only did we have to purchase more equipment and manufacturing machines but also had no choice but to move into a larger facility. We ran out of room at our previous location. This move took place during our busiest time of the year, the holiday season.
We moved on a Saturday. On Monday we ran the numbers from the weekend, to our surprise we had over 400 orders in addition to the hundreds of orders in queue. Needless to say, I had no time to waste, I hired 2 new employees. With increasing, orders came increased challenges, even more so, due to the pandemic. We experienced delays receiving supplies from our vendors and USPS, which meant delays in processing orders. The majority of our customers were understanding, some were not.
Despite the challenges we faced In 2020, our gross sales averaged $20,000 - $30,000 per month. Our monthly traffic increased 55,000% and our orders had an increase of over 30,000%. This year our goal is to increase our revenue by 30%.
Last year we hit the international market in Canada, Dubai, Europe, and the UK. We are looking forward to expanding our territory even more in both domestic and international markets. We are currently negotiating distribution deals in China and Europe.
Giving back and sustaining the planet is very near and dear to my heart. We have planted 103 trees abroad in Tanzania and Haiti. With every purchase from our Etsy site, we plant trees in collaboration with Forest Nation. We plan to plant 1000 trees!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The life of an entrepreneur can be challenging. I have found that challenges help you to grow and discover things you never really knew. One valuable lesson that I learned when I was contacted by an investment banking firm. They were interested in investing in me and my company. Even though I was thrilled and excited that I would make millions, my gut feeling was telling me something was not right. I turned down the deal.
We were guaranteed placement in several big-box chains and several luxury retail stores. The problem was that they wanted 49% of my company. I remember previously a friend of mine sharing her experience when she brought on investors. She started out owning 51% of her company and in the end, she was left with only 1%. She expressed to never allow anyone to own a chunk of my company, I would lose in the end.
My attorney gave me some sound advice as well. He told me If I sign the contract, the investors would take control and leverage ownership of my company. I walked away from the deal. What I took away from this experience is that always go with your gut feelings because if something doesn’t feel right it usually isn’t.
I have no regrets. My hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and determination have paid off in building this company. Success is not a destination but a continued commitment to growth. Last year we were so excited that we exceeded our sales goal beyond anything I could have imagined. I have raised the bar for 2021 to develop and grow even more. New labels, packaging, and re-branding are on the horizon this year. (below is a picture of our new packaging design)
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I rarely listen to podcasts but I frequently use youtube videos for motivation and inspiration. Les Brown, Lisa Nichols, Evan Carmichael, and Motivation hub to name a few. I also am new to the new social media platform named ClubHouse. It is truly an amazing tool to learn from experts in any field or subject.
I love reading books related to business, success, wealth, and personal development. I read at least 1-2 books per month.
My top 5 books that I would recommend are:
- The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- The Prosperity Bible by Hill, Wattle, Holmes, and others
- The Leader who had no Title by Robin Sharma
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
There will never be a perfect time or the perfect situation to start a business. The most important thing to do is to start. You don’t have to have the entire plan in place, products perfected nor do you have to have a lot of money. Just start where you are with what you have and keep building. The experience and the knowledge that you will gain in the process will help you to become stronger and give you the motivation to keep going.
You will fail, it’s part of the process. My advice during difficult times would be to remain positive and to keep moving. I have had many roadblocks on my journey and I wanted to give up but I knew if I quit I would fail. Not on my watch! There is no better teacher than failure. It helps us to learn from our mistakes and deter us from going down the wrong path. It helps us rethink and reconsider to find new ways and strategies to achieve our goals.
Give more than expected.
Set your goals so big that they scare you and work on them every day. Wake up early, give more than is expected, create daily success habits, and keep growing as a human being. You will be successful.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
At this time we are not looking to hire but I am always open to mentoring anyone interested in this field of business.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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