This is a follow up story for Tribe Skincare. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Thanks for having me again! I am super excited to update everyone on my story and the progress since my last interview. My name is Kayla Houlihan and I am the founder of Tribe Skincare, an all-natural, Australian made skincare brand for sensitive skin. In a nutshell, we create super gentle, yet super effective skincare for people who often react to other skincare. So it’s free of harsh chemicals, parabens, and common allergens and irritants.
We have kept the Tribe Skincare routine super simple and easy-to-follow for people who feel overwhelmed by the skincare industry. Transparency is a huge focus so all the customers know exactly what is going on in their skin and how it is expected to help them. In the 3 years since launch, we have used social media as lead generation for new customers as well as nurturing long-term relationships with existing customers. In the last 6 months, we have added Tiktok to our list of platforms and quickly grew our audience to over 140,000 followers.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The business has been really up and down the last 12 months with the global pandemic. We had periods where we were super business and periods that were very quiet. Overall, it has averaged out to be on par with the 12 months before the pandemic. While we didn’t experience growth in the last 12 months, I am happy to come out the same overall, when retail has significantly decreased for many retailers and other businesses no longer exist.
Find your true point of difference and put 100% focus into it.
We spend 2020 really focusing on looking after our existing customers and will do the same in 2021. All brands want new customers coming on board to grow the business and while we are naturally growing our new customer base, we want to ensure the existing customers are happy and keep coming back. After all, they are the reason we got through one of the craziest years for businesses and we are so appreciative of their support.
Since I last interviewed with Starter Story, I have moved the business out of my house and into a warehouse. This was such a milestone for the business and I absolutely love having an office and warehouse external to my home. It’s given me a much better work/life balance. I also changed roles within the business. I employed a full-time Marketing Manager so that I can focus on product development and spend more time working on the business rather than ‘in’ the business.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I have spent the last 12 months really noticing that you can’t do everything yourself and getting in help and professionals leads to much better outcomes. At the start of my business journey, I tried to do everything myself and was always trying to learn new skills. While it’s great to be skilled in many areas as a business owner, you also need to be able to delegate and outsource to grow your business.
I think as our businesses progress, they naturally get ‘busy’ with us trying to do everything and be everywhere at once. This year, I am looking at all aspects of the business and simplifying where possible. We have discontinued our candle range as it was not enhancing our message about being ‘skincare for sensitive skin’. We have also been assessing which marketing channels are working best for us and focusing on them. Instagram, Tiktok, and email marketing are our primary focus as that is where the majority of our customers are coming from.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In 2021, we are really focusing on getting the brand ready to go into a retailer. Selling in-store is so different from selling online and we need the brand message to translate when people see it on the shelves. While we will still be ‘Tribe Skincare’ and the core of the brand is remaining, the look and feel of the brand are going to be changing a lot over this year. It will still have the same Tribe Skincare flare, but a much more ‘minimal’ look.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
YES! I am not a reader, but I have recently gifted a book called Copywriting Secrets by Jim Edwards. I have always been a believer that copywriting skills are essential for connecting with your audience. This book outlines all the practical and easily actionable ways to slightly adjust your copy to get better results. It’s been great to really reflect on exactly why people use Tribe Skincare and exactly how we need to communicate our messages to them.
Apart from that, I love listening to podcast interviews with other business owners. I learn so much from hearing about other business owners' journeys and their tips and tricks. A podcast I really love is called ‘Lady Brains’ and I was lucky enough to be interviewed by them too!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
It is crucial to always find your own identity and points of difference. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to be like everyone else, but the strongest brands out there know exactly what makes them different from the rest. Find your true point of difference and put 100% focus into it. Tribe Skincare’s point of difference is that we are skincare for sensitive skin so we talk about this all day, every day. With customers, in the office, and all our marketing.
Where can we go to learn more?
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