This is a follow up story for Tribe Skincare. 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.
Hey! My name is Kayla Houlihan and I am the founder of the skincare brand for sensitive skin, Tribe Skincare. The brand has been running for 4 years now. Note that I said ‘brand’ rather than ‘business’. This is something I am focusing on at the moment. Tribe Skincare has become the trusted brand for ‘skincare for sensitive skin’ with all-natural products focused on anti-inflammatories to reduce the sensitivity.
90% of our customers are in Australia (where the skincare is manufactured) but the New Zealand and United States customer base is quickly growing. Majority of them come to us because they have sensitive skin, but others just want to be a part of the community or love all-natural skincare.
The products are all free of harsh chemicals, common allergens, and parabens and packed with soothing natural ingredients. We help treat skin conditions and symptoms such as dryness, redness, breakouts, blackheads, and dehydration.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since my last chat with Starter Story, the brand’s ‘look and feel’ has completely changed. We recently went through a full rebrand, including a new logo and all-new packaging, but the skincare formulas remained the same.
There were a few motives for the rebrand:
- Make the appearance of the packaging and branding reflect the quality of the skincare inside the bottles
- Improve the user experience with better functioning packaging
- Reinvigorate the brand and keep it ‘new and fresh’ for the users
Everything we do is very ‘customer-focused/driven’ and their feedback is like gold to us. We are constantly trying to evolve and improve and are very reactive to customer feedback, so they were a huge help during the rebranding process.
A few interesting stats to come out of the rebrand, in the 2 months since it launched, we have had a 20% increase in sales. This is selling to the same audience and community on the same marketing budget, so the increase purely came from customer demand for the new-look packaging.
The ‘Repairing Facial Oil’ had a 500% increase in sales in those 2 months purely from us changing it to a more aesthetically pleasing, functional packaging type.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I said at the beginning that I am focusing on building a ‘brand’ rather than a ‘business’. There is a lot of crossover between the two and I think for the majority of the 4 years my focus was really on ‘business’. Running the business, sorting out the daily logistics, figures, data, etc. That is all crucial and still very important to me, but I am sharing that focus with focusing on the ‘brand’. That’s more thinking about what we are building in terms of getting our key messages out there and communicating our brand values.
So as a comparison, rather than posting about a 20% off sale to focus on getting sales, we might post some advice for people with sensitive skin. It’s more just about me thinking about the longevity of the brand and being forward-focused and ensuring we build a community that genuinely loves the Tribe Skincare products, but also just loves being a part of the brand.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In 2022, we are going to team up with some retailers to give customers an ‘in-store’ experience. People love to ‘touch and feel’ with skincare which they, unfortunately, can not do while we are exclusively an eCommerce business. We are looking forward to having the products in stores and have been meeting with a particular retailer who offers customers a bespoke shopping experience with education at the core.
Figure out exactly who your ideal customer is, what they need from you and how you are helping them.
In the next 5 years, Tribe will be a household name and the trusted skincare for anyone with sensitive skin. When you hear the words ‘sensitive skin’ you will automatically think ‘Tribe Skincare’.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I have not read a book in years, but I get a lot of great business advice from podcasts. ‘Lady Brains’ has been my favorite business podcast for years and I was lucky enough to live out my dream of being a guest there this year.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
It’s a cliché, but it’s so true that you can’t be something for everyone. We have tried over the years. As the brand became more popular, everyone wanted to use it so we stopped talking about the fact we are for ‘sensitive skin’ and were essentially ‘for all skin types. This may have led to us getting more new customers, but the customer retention wasn’t the same. We are better off being the perfect solution for our niché target market rather than trying to please everyone.
Figure out exactly who your ideal customer is, what they need from you and how you are helping them. Those 3 key points should completely shape your business and brand and ensure longevity.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We have an amazing, full team at the moment but we all have split roles, eg, Marketing Manager/Designer. I’m sure when we expand into retail stores in 2022, we will need to split the roles over 2 people, so the team will essentially double.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Tribe Skincare has provided an update on their business!
Over 1 year ago, we followed up with Tribe Skincare to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
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