Founder Stories: Roberta Perry On Building ScrubzBody Skin Care Products
In today’s Founder Story we feature Roberta Perry, the Founder of ScrubzBody Skin Care Products!
Read on for lessons she’s learned from launching and marketing her skincare products business.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
My business, ScrubzBody Skin Care Products, is really about customer service and reminding people that self-care is not only important but actually necessary for survival! At least that is how I think of it.
This kind of pampering does come in jars and bottles, but it really comes from the heart and soul of each of my customers.
I run the company with my best friend from growing up, Wendy. She came in after my late sister, Michelle, passed. I could not run my business without her! We have another woman who works part-time to help us manufacture and even my mom, who is in her 80’s comes in to put stickers on the bags and do all the little odd jobs.
It really is a family business.
We have both a physical retail shop and an online store. I also have a white label business, which is when I sell in bulk to other businesses and they market the product under their own brand. We wholesale in a few select shops.
2. What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
ScrubzBody started at my kitchen table. I was playing around with some of the original scrub type products I had purchased and was comparing notes about which I liked better and why.
I started researching natural botanical oils and learned their benefits for the skin. I was amazed at how these oils could literally transform the look and feel of skin. I knew I could make something better than I was purchasing because what I loved I would keep and what I did not love, I would ditch.
It worked! My scrub felt differently and performed better. I was hooked on my new venture almost immediately. Michelle, my late sister had some experience in retail sales, so I ordered a few dozen jars and we started making the scrub to sell at craft and holiday fairs.
That was April of 2006! We were an official business by June.
3. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
I went from craft fair to holiday boutique to private party and things like that for about six months.
Then I met the owner of a chain of salons on Long Island, NY, where I live and started selling at all the salons.
I became adept at getting free publicity which really helped put us on the map, locally.
For example, I created a scent at the time called The Breast of Everything. Sales of this scent donated 50% to breast cancer research. I hosted a fundraiser at my home as well. The story was picked up by a local paper.
The next week I got a call from a buyer at a high-end food market with 4 locations. She had seen the article. I started selling wholesale to that chain. Then the butcher at one of their stores introduced me to the buyer from our local Whole Foods. They used to work together and he thought our product would be a good fit.
It was. So, until I decided to not sell to them anymore, I was in all the Whole Foods in the North East.
And that is how I launched!
4. How did you come up with your logo and the visual identity for your brand?
My background before ScrubzBody was in graphic design, so luckily, I am able to do all the design and visual corporate identity as well.
Unfortunately at first, I was my own worst client. I was so eager to get started that my original logo and labels were way too busy and not nearly sophisticated enough, but I had rushed to get them created and didn’t want to waste what we had printed.
It took a couple of years before I redesigned the concept and went with a clean, natural look. Then it was easy to stay within our branding.
I have a website designer who helps me keep that looking clean and updated.
5. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
As mentioned earlier, free publicity is really great way to get recognition. I even wrote a book on the subject:
The best marketing I do a few times a year is when I send 25-50 samples of our scrub for an event or fundraiser. It gives me an opportunity to get our product in actual hands.
Ad campaigns have never worked for us, so I stopped even trying. I can’t compete that way against the big corporate brands, so I found other ways to reach my tribe.
I am also super grateful to all our customers who bring in friends and family as well as give our products as gifts. That is the biggest compliment and the most wonderful way to grow a business.
6. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
The most influential business brands to me have been the Indie Business Network, of which Donna Maria Johnson is the lead mentor, etc. The value from that group has been off the charts good and I absolutely would not have the business I enjoy without that kind of learning and mentorship I have found there since 2008.
I also adore Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project book, Meat, and Hair Writing Course, and The Vivette. Her writing style inspires me to use a more authentic voice for my business and with stories and embellishments and pinpointing a way to solve my customers’ problems.
Peter Shankman is someone who inspires me with his business and life ideas. His book, Zombie Loyalists was one of my favorite business reads. It drove the point home that you need to create “rabid fans” who will love and promote your brand with passion.
7. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
I use Klaviyo for my weekly, special and promotional emails. I have always found that direct one-on-one emails drive more business to us than any social media.
I had been using Facebook and Instagram as fun posting places, however, my personal account was hacked and then deleted, (from within the FB app, so be careful) so I have no access to either my FB or Instagram pages.
Rather than freak out, I have decided to use Google business, Pinterest and LinkedIn more often, but fully concentrating on sending out really relevant and fun emails is and will be my best marketing tool.
8. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
- My husband and immediate family and friends for being the cherry on the whipped cream sundae of my life.
- My mom has slowed down due to age decline, but she was a force to be reckoned with for most of my life and I always admired her tenacity and smarts.
- My best friend, Wendy, who is my production VP works really hard and shows up every time I need her now and in the past. That has always made me admire her.
- My business besties who remind me of how far I have come and lift me up to see where I can still grow.
- My customers and clients. They make me want to serve them.
9. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
The best lesson I have learned is that customers’ opinions really matter and must be the first and foremost thing you care about in your business. It’s the best way to have your solution solve their problem. That is really all it’s about.
Also, don’t be afraid to launch. Waiting until the day something is perfect is the day that will never come. You can always tweak things after they are rolled out.
Don’t be afraid to admit when something didn’t work. Stop it, and move on. Business plans should be written in pencil for easy changes as you grow.
10. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
I am basically an accidental entrepreneur in that I had not planned on starting my business, it just somehow found me, but I knew about treating people right.
Caring for customers like the gold they are was the first and the best thing I practiced and still practice, and believe it is the key to our growth.
Listening to my staff is another super important step in the process of our growth. They have great ideas and many are implemented.
11. Let us know where we can go to learn more!