This is a follow up story for ScrubzBody Skin Care Products. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Roberta Perry and I am the grateful founder and president of ScrubzBody Skin Care Products. My company makes natural sugar scrubs and lotions and creams, but the truth is, we sell permission for people to pamper themselves. I started the business with my late sister, Michelle, in 2006, and after she passed, my dearest childhood friend, Wendy, stepped in to help.
What started in my kitchen over 14 years ago has taken me to far-away places, introduced me to some of the greatest people I could ever hope to become friends with, and given me a business that I can grow and shift and enjoy more than I ever dreamed. I get to have customers who become friends, and who bring their friends and family. I get to have private label clients that I can mentor as they grow their own business.
We grew from my garage to a storefront/production place in the heart of Farmingdale, NY, a thriving Long Island village of shops, destination restaurants, and bars.
For years I paid others but not myself as we juggled and struggled to grow. Moving to our new location in 2017 took us from a $9-10K a month business to a $16.5K a month business in a little over 2 years. We love the vibe here!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We were enjoying the steady growth of our retail and party business since we opened the shop. When Covid-19 hit hard in NY and I had to shut my store, I was worried that we would suffer because the majority of my business was store-based, not online. I decided to add free shipping during the quarantine and came in to handle online orders. My customers showed up in droves and my online orders were up 365%.
Keep building the blocks of your brand the right way which means ditching what doesn’t work and massaging what does.
My purpose every day was to fill those orders as fast as possible, as well as fill boxes with scrub and lotion as donations for 28 of the area hospitals and first response units. That is where I put most of my extraneous marketing budget for the year! The feel-good response was incredible. I have even had a few orders that included a note saying thank you and that they had gotten a gift.
I switched over to Klaviyo as my email server. I find I am more streamlined in my approach to segmented and flow emails as well as the weekly ones I send to all on my list. I am so happy with the service and can see the increase in sales based on each campaign.
Another shift has been adding product private labeling. When the pandemic hit we lost our in-store party business. We refunded deposits on 4 parties and have not booked another one yet. We were struggling to figure out another way to compensate.
And then my private label business started gaining some serious ground. Private label businesses make the product for others, selling it in gallon buckets or more, and those businesses put their brand label on the jar. This new stream of income also offers me a chance to help mentor someone in their own business, which is something I enjoy.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The pandemic made me realize something really special and important. If you build relationships and not just sales, your customers will support you during the good times, for sure, but more importantly, during the more difficult ones. The lockdown in NY brought out the greatest in all of them.
The biggest lesson I learned is that my business model is fluid and I can shift things as I need to and as I see fit. As I was figuring out the new part of the business, I made quite a few errors. Whether it was an order form that was too busy to understand easily or a shipping issue, I learned. And I learned again. I am hopefully not making the same mistakes twice. Or at least no more than that.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
My 1 year and 5-year plans are very much the same as what I am doing now. I’ll just do it more efficiently, with more staff and serving more people which will generate more profit.
I thought I might want another physical location, so from August 19-Jan ’20, we opened a satellite store. It was in a salon that I already sold products to, so there was already an audience. I thought it would be easy. Then I had to find help and figure out the hours we needed to be open to making it feasible. It did not work out anywhere near how I had hoped.
I realized that I wanted to put all my attention into serving my existing store, building my online audience, which can be done from anywhere, and serving others, which the private label portion does so well. I can also take more time off and enjoy the life I have built.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I love reading but I am a slow reader and tend to get distracted. Enter Audibly! I love listening while I exercise or do chores. It’s a fabulous multi-tasking way to get my books in while doing my other things.
Lately, I have listened to The Dutch House, Kafka On The Shore, The Red Lotus, Redhead on the Side of the Road, Swing Town, The Vanishing Half, and Dear Edward. I am presently listening to The Girl with the Louding Voice.
I always listen to the Indie Business Network Podcast.
I always read and/or listen to Marie Forleo.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Figure out what worked best when things were good. Do those twice as much.
Think about things you have been meaning to tweak or change entirely. Make those changes now. Keep building the blocks of your brand the right way which means ditching what doesn’t work and massaging what does.
Go back to your existing customers and wow them. Then do it again. That is when they bring you friends and relatives. They become your brand ambassadors. Remember, it’s all about the relationships.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not at the moment. We have the perfect amount of staff but will hire more production help as we grow.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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