Today on the show we’re learning from Allison, the founder behind Mara Beauty.
A lifelong beauty and wellness enthusiast, Allison has always had a passion for beauty and drummed up the idea for her clean algae-based skincare line MARA on a trip to Istanbul, Growing up with her father working in skincare and color cosmetics, she’s had a robust knowledge of ingredients dating back to middle school and spent weekends on commercial sets learning about brand marketing and formulation.
We cover her journey in creating the brand along with some mishaps she’s had along the way, the time when Hailey Bieber bought her product and spoke about it on Youtube and a painful money mistake she made early on.
Total side note here but I’ve been having so much over on Tiktok creating quick biz breakdowns and money mistakes. If you’ve got a money mistake you wanna share with us check out the format and slide into my DMs with the deets, I’ll be choosing a handful of favourites to create videos out of over the coming weeks.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
So my name is Allison McNamara and I'm the founder of Mara, which is an algae based clean skincare line. I launched it in 2018 with just one hero product, the Universal Face Oil. And every product that we created centered around this proprietary wild collected algae blend.
00:03:42Edit We spent two years clinically developing it. So it's clinically tested too plump, firm smooth. We use two types of malaria escalon to extract from Brittany France and Ireland and a micro algae. And so this is really like the secret sauce in all of our different products. And so I've grown the line from the one product to now include six full size skincare products, lots of travels and minis and some supplements and more on the way. Oh, it sounds so good. I love anything algae related like Spirulina. I'm like, this sounds like health, health and wellness, Health and wellness, it sounds like health. I know you started developing the brand quite some time before you launched in 2018, I think I read circa 2015, where do you like to kind of start your entrepreneurial story with this brand? Well, honestly, I think my entrepreneurial story started when I was a television host because even though I did work for brands really when you are the product, when you're selling yourself as the product, you have to become an entrepreneur pretty early on. You know, I didn't always have a full time job.
00:04:45Edit I started out doing a lot of freelance work. So I think that was always kind of built in me in a way. But my journey started in 2015 for mara when I thought of the idea on a trip and you know, I didn't know if anything was going to come from it, but I, I planted all the right seeds and did all the right exercises and then I'm so excited that it actually did come to fruition. Where were you? And what gave you the idea? Like what's the lightbulb moment for you? I was on a trip to Istanbul Turkey. We also went to Greece and I've always been really obsessed with the mediterranean. And so I thought of the idea Mara on the sea of Marmara in Istanbul Turkey and mara is also the last four letters of my last name. So I'm like Mara, that's perfect. It's like my name, but also means sea and Gaelic and it pays homage to my irish heritage. So I thought basically if I could get the name mara trademarked, if it wasn't already in use, that would be a sign to kind of go forward with the business. And we were able to get it. So I took that as like my little sign, not that you need one, but that was my, I kind of took that as my, you know, omen to try and put more direction into this versus hosting and then all of the color palettes are really inspired by my travels.
00:06:00Edit I love just traveling like Italy and Greece and my hometown of Palace Birds all really play into the aesthetics of mara amazing. And so in that like kind of three years from when you have the idea in Istanbul to, you know, when you're on the trip to Istanbul and you know, actually launching in 2018, what are the key kind of milestones that you like took to bring the brand to life and develop the products, hero product rather than the hero product. There were so many small steps that really kind of led to the launch right? Like you don't realize you're doing these small steps and you don't realize that they're so important until you have some hindsight under your belt. But I think really just learning as much as I could. I went to so many different, I call them ingredient festivals, but I'm sure anyone in the beauty industry would like cringe if they heard that I went to know they're like cosmo Prof, all of those like makeup L. A. Where you go and they're basically booths and there's everyone from manufacturers and ingredient raw materials to packaging.
00:07:04Edit So I called the ingredient festivals. But I went to all of the ones that were in close proximity to me. So luckily being in Los Angeles, we have a lot of them, you know, cosmo Prof is in las Vegas and they have makeup L. A. And there's a scientist convention here of ingredients in Long Beach. So I did all of that in the years leading up to the launch, I met with lots of different manufacturers and formulate ear's and I really found one who I thought specialized in what I was trying to create and also really understood the vision. So picking the right partner for your formulation, if you're not a scientist is super important and you also have to make the decisions if you want to own the formula or if you want to do more of like a white label manufacturer where you go to a manufacturer and you create a product but you don't necessarily own it, you don't know exactly what's going into it. You have the pinky list but you don't know all the suppliers and the raw materials. So yeah, if you don't own it just to cut in here for a second, if you don't own the formula, how does it work if you sell the business down the track, you know, you basically have an agreement with these manufacturers but they're not really permanent.
00:08:14Edit So I've had friends who have had actually are going through issues where you know, they're manufacturer took on a really big client and they no longer can have time or make the quantities for, you know the smaller brand and since that manufacturer owns a formula, you basically have two backwards formulate, which is really hard. Oh my God, that's crazy. So in that scenario, like is it really because I obviously don't come from the beauty world, so I'm just trying to understand here if you go into like building a brand, but you don't necessarily know that you need to own the formula or not need to own the formula. Is it made clear to you that you can buy the formula in the beginning or is it kind of like a gray area? It's only if you bring it up. Not really, because most people go straight to manufacturers to work on products and most manufacturers don't sell their formulas because they'll use like a tried and true based formula and then add in your marketing components. Um I went to an independent formulate er and had to like pay a ton for our formulas and then I had to find a contract manufacturer to scale up the formula that we've created, so they're very separate, so it's more work.
00:09:22Edit Got it. Okay, I understand. Now, are you able to share, like, you know, ballpark what you spent to like develop those formulas versus what it would cost if you just went to like, you know, off the shelf product? Well like white labeling a product. Yeah, so we we got a bulk deal for our formulas I created, I think five of them in the first package, you know, that was kind of what we built together and it was over $100,000 just to make the formulas without having anything. So no no actual product that's just no blanket that's like a piece of paper with you know how to make it and the raw materials. Okay so R. And D. Is expensive in the beauty world. Got it. Okay. Yeah but I've also done, I'm working on something with a manufacturer and my R. And D. Costs were between $502,000 for the one product. Right? So it can vary drastically much cheaper though if you're thinking about a five products cost you over 100,000 that's on average about 25,000 and Formula it's a lot more than 500 to 2000.
00:10:30Edit So got it. Okay so in that early time you've obviously formulated in those first few years you've formulated the brand, you've you've invested that amount of capital. How much do you then need to invest to actually buy into product for your launch product and launch the brand. This is so different now than it was when I launched my brand. So I almost feel like I can't speak eloquently on it because in 20 I started ordering my components in 2016 2017. And at the time people were still really keen to work with indie brands and I felt that the M. O. Q. S. Weren't quite as high. The minimum order quantities. So what I did is I actually purchased dead stock materials which ended up being the kind of core color way for my brand? I found these blue bottles that were just here in Los Angeles that some other beauty brand had purchased and no longer wanted. So they're just they're called dead Stock. And so so clever. It doesn't happen for everyone. I actually looked at several different houses that had dead stock or things that people had printed on that they rejected that I could easily just you know, remove the printing from.
00:11:35Edit And so I found those so I was able to buy very small quantities. They let me by I think like 5000 units or even 3500 units for my first order, which is like unheard of usually an M. O. Q. Is minimum 10,000 if you're going for somewhere in china 20,000 plus units. So I didn't have to invest as much capital into my components even though they're very expensive components. It was definitely a way that I was able to save money but I'm not sure like with supply chain issues in 2022 I doubt there's dead stock anywhere. Everyone is just trying to like get stuff wherever they can. So it's a lot different now, that's so interesting. I've literally never heard of that when you say like these houses where you would go and find the product, is it like how do people research these? Like how would other people that are like listening being like wow I'd love to see if there's anything out there, what would they do to find those? So you go to those different raw materials ingredient festivals, if you will that I mentioned cosmo Prof, any of the ones that make up L.
00:12:36Edit A. They have them all around the world and like there's one in Italy, that's the biggest Cosmo Prof but that's where you can find, you can see different suppliers from different parts of the world and if you know you want to maybe cut some costs then maybe you do a chinese based brand for your glass but maybe if you want to go a little bit more luxe you go for like a Taiwan or Korea glass and you kind of see the different suppliers there from where they're from and you can learn a little bit more about their minimum order quantities. We just so happen to be in Los Angeles and there are a lot of different manufacturers based here, so we're kind of lucky so I was able to go and physically see things I got it, That's so cool, I've never heard of that, love that great tip, I want to talk about, you know, your kind of leading up to the launch and bringing this brand into the world, you obviously come from a beauty background, you've worked for amazing publications, you were a reporter and you had a lot of connections, you have an industry connection kind of black book, I guess you would say. So you're in this really great position to be able to launch with a lot of coverage for anyone listening who is like wanting to get pr coverage and kind of doesn't have those connections.
00:13:44Edit What was it about? Like when people were pitching you when you were working in the industry, what stood out for you or like what would get you excited about a new brand and what's your kind of advice to small business owners who were in that position? Your brand has to be beautiful and stand out in a press release because at the end of the day, you know, if you're a publicist you're just getting or if you're an editor, you're getting hit with all these different Pr requests every day, these different blasts. And so things that were beautiful, always stood out to me when I was getting sent all those blasts, which actually, I still get a lot of blasts and it's funny to see the ones that I open versus the ones that I don't even open, it just delete because honestly, I'm not in that world anymore either, but I think, you know, having a beautiful brand, having a really strong founder story, having a really strong point of view when it comes to what you're trying to deliver. And I think that mars messaging was very clear early on and we also only had one product, so it was really easy for the customer to understand or the publicist or the writer to understand. So it made the whole thing really easy to pitch because it was one product, it did it all, it was super hydrating, it was in the clean space, which was new and innovative at the time.
00:14:53Edit And so I think that was what really stuck out to people early on. And it was also this new concept of launching less, you know, back in the day, even in 2018 when I launched, people were still launching full lines, you know, like seven plus products and I was like, here's one product and a few other brands in the space also had the same idea and I think we kind of started this new wave of like a less is more approach to beauty. And do you think when people are sending those, you know, blasts and emails, is it 100% necessary to send, you know, the pr package and the samples to the editor or is an email going to cut through? I think it's really important to get product in people's hands because where our product, yes, it looks gorgeous in photos and it reads well on a screen, but I think where it does the most is when you get to see it feel it, you feel the weightiness of the product, you see the details on the box and then you get to experience the formulas and they're amazing. We obviously worked really hard on them. So it's always my goal that even if someone is hesitant about the brand for some reason as long as I can get it in their hands, I know I can convert them to be a fan.
00:16:02Edit Got it, got it, let's talk about the launch. How did it go? What did you do besides like obviously the P. R. P. S. What else was going on in the background to bring this into the world? Literally nothing I look back and I'm like wow that was crazy that we did it that way. So I was just, we basically operated the business out of my house which I'm currently sitting in and we stored the product down in my guest house and we actually had the pallet truck, you know trucks come on pallets, you know all the product is on one large palette, we had them roll it down my driveway which is steep because I live in the Hollywood hills and the palette actually landed on my foot. I didn't break my foot luckily but it was like a £3,000 pallet. And so that was also, thank God it didn't break. Oh I know it was, it was honestly like I have ptsd from that that day when it arrived but I guess launch day rolled around. We had um we didn't send out any of the press product until the soft launch date which was february 19th.
00:17:04Edit So our fourth birthday is coming up in just a few days, but nothing. I literally put press live on the website and was like, okay, I wonder if people are going to come and they did, you know, we we had we had some sales our first day, we had a good amount of sales. Our first day, we didn't partner with a retail partner for the launch. So it really was just my reach and my contacts that got the business started. And then, so like what are those early months, like trying to get the ball rolling and what's happening, like, can you fill us in a little bit of, you know, trying to get that traction in those early days. Well, kind of like you mentioned before, I did work in the industry, so I had a lot of great contacts that were really excited to try the product and a lot of people, even though I didn't always work in the beauty space, I did a lot of fashion and beauty. I was always asked about my skin, I grew up with my family working in skincare, people would always ask me for what I'm using to keep my skin clear and healthy. So people were really intrigued people that I didn't even think would be intrigued from my, you know, that I had met in passing big bloggers, huge editors.
00:18:10Edit A lot of people were reaching out about this product and so I was very lucky to get a lot of buzz early on. And so we launched in february and then by May we were at Credo Beauty which is like one of my, my favorite store. Honestly, it's where I shop for beauty products. They have been the most incredible partner. They believed in the brand so early on and they were really excited about mara and so that was like our first big moments. Within the first three months, we were already at a pretty major distribution in the US. And then after that we locked in cult beauty which is an international, I'm sure you know, because you're a London based but cold Beauty is based in London and that's really big for a US brand to be able to have this international distribution at such an early stage in the business. So they were incredible too. And so it was a busy six months. It's, it has always has gotten busier every single month. So I love that for you. Yeah, if you're on the lookout for ways to make your business sail smoothly from one quarter to the next look. No further hubspot helps your business get shipshape with an easy to use crm platform that aligns your business and delivers a seamless experience for your customers.
00:19:20Edit Other serums can be cobbled together. But hubspot is carefully crafted in house for businesses like yours, its purpose built suite of ops sales and marketing tools work together seamlessly. So you and your team can focus on what really matters your customers plus with helpful educational content, a supportive community and access to hundreds of app integrations, hubspot, all in one platform is built to grow with, you learn how to grow better by connecting your people, your customers and your business at hubspot dot com. Are you a founder that's been trying to relocate, meet with investors or participate in accelerator programs in the US? Traditionally the work visa application process has been time consuming, complicated and quite frankly, frustrating legal pad is changing that. Legal pads specializes in the sought after founder friendly 01 Visa for individuals of extraordinary ability. Now this may sound intimidating, but it's just a fancy way to describe someone at the top of their field. Many founders qualify, entrepreneurs engineers, scientists, graphic designers and researchers can all qualify with the right accomplishments, curious how legal pad can help you Get in touch for a free consultation and get a $500 credit for female startup club listeners when you tell them I sent you find more info in our show notes when you're talking like tactically about the, you know, stores like the retailers that you're getting into.
00:20:50Edit How do you approach them and how are you getting stopped into those places? So credo was word of mouth. I had reached out to the buying person at the time through a generic email that I had found, but I believe we were seen by the buyer on a big makeup artist instagram and she had shared it and I got really, they didn't respond to my pitch email, but I got a separate email being like, we saw you on. So, and so's instagram, we'd love to call on the product and so that was really big for us there. And then Cold Beauty, I got introduced to the buying director through um, a friend. And so that was how I kind of got my edge in there. So again, it's kind of like, it really is networking and who, you know, but I will say I have gotten into retailers through blind emails as well. Like Blue Mercury is one of them repeatedly emailed them for a long time and we launched with them in? I want to say I didn't, I'm not overly annoying. Like I'll send one and then I'll wait like three or four months.
00:21:51Edit I'll send, I only send when I have updates. I'm not like sending things just to send things. But Blue Mercury probably emailed them for like about a year before we got into their store. So yeah, I mean that's, I mean that's pretty substantial. That's a long, that's a long hustle. I love that for you when you look back, You know from those early months to now. What are the kind of key milestones that have moved you forward and propelled the business forward, whether it's like a positive milestone or like a really big challenge that like, made you pivot or whatever it might be. What are the kind of key moments since then? Yeah, that's a great question. I think the big ones were with supply chain issues that I had early on before Covid, you know, really making sure we, we had these amazing viral moments where the product would sell out, but when you only have one product, you don't have anything to sell if you sell out, so like, you have to make sure you have something to sell. Whereas when you have more products now, like I do, it's a little less stressful if we sell out of one skew because we probably have a smaller size or other things that people can still shop.
00:22:58Edit So I think that having that one skew early on taught me the importance of always being really on my supply chain and making sure I had, I was doing the proper forecasting in the proper order volumes to make sure we're meeting up with demand. And that is hard when you sign on a new retailer and you kind of go through what the predictions will be. Sometimes you blow them out of the water and sometimes you don't, but if you do blow them out of the water, you want to make sure that you have at least a way to continue feeding that customer at this new retailer. So I think that was really big for me and I went through some stuff in 2019 actually before Covid, so that I think really prepared me for this new phase of our lives where everything takes like a half of a year minimum to get in. It's true. Um and so that was big. And then I think the other things that have really propelled the brand are like the amazing celebrities, like true celebrities who have organically shared the brand, it's so cool when a huge public figure has the confidence to share, like a small indie brand and it's not only just pushing major brands, they're getting paid for, but also or the brands that they, you know, own or their friend zone, but you know, push a small indie brand, it changes our businesses.
00:24:11Edit So that's been really cool for us. Well, please name job, who are we talking about and how did they get hold of the brand or how do they know about it? You know, a lot. I'm so honored honestly to even have a list like this, but you know, Hailey Bieber was the most recent huge person the front door. I'm obsessed with Hailey Bieber, I mean obsessed, I mean, totally obsessed. So she mentioned Maheras Cleansing oil in a Youtube video last year and we've honestly, it's still been viral since then, like people were still getting press it on this story just because Hailey Bieber is so trendy and gen z and they married to Justin. So like, honestly perfect skin too, couldn't have asked for like, I mean perfect skin wow yeah, a more amazing spokesmodel and for her, she um, she actually bought the cleanser off of our website, which we did not realize because she used a different name than her last name. Like I'm sure a lot of celebrities do, but she did purchase the cleanser, but she knew about the brand because my fiance has colored her hair in the past.
00:25:20Edit My fiance is a hair colorist and so that's how she kind of was introduced to the brand I think. But yes, the cleanser was purchased, which was very exciting and then I guess some other people, I mean Addison Rae has tagged us Olivia munn has tagged us chrissy Teagan rosie Huntington Whiteley, we've had some really amazing people share or mention the brand. So oh my God, I love that for you. When you say like someone like, we'll just say Hailey Bieber because she's obviously like who we just spoke about when she does the Youtube video, are you able to share? Like what the kind of impact is? Like how many units does a celebrity like that actually like generate. We don't have exact numbers to share on this honestly, because it is a lot of them are more like a trickle effect, you know? Yes, she mentioned it in the youtube video and she did link to the brand, but she didn't actually say the name in the video. So where we got the most substantial, I think click back to the site would be from the press that we received as the aftermath. You know, Hailey Bieber shares her entire nighttime skincare routine and gets picked up by every major outlet and that's where the attribution comes from, even though I know it's directly related to Haley, so it is hard to kind of see and sometimes those attributions take longer, you know, someone sees it once, they see it twice and then a month later they buy the cleanser.
00:26:35Edit But it's, you know, we definitely sold out of the product within a few days when that happened. So it definitely moved volume for us and it still continues to do. So that is so cool When you think about now, like, you know, coming into 2022 and you're thinking about growth, what is working for you and what's your kind of like overall plan. So I know what's not working for us. How about that? Yes, it's not working. We have had and I'm sure lots of brands if they're listening will have the same thing. We've had a really hard time with our digital marketing since the IOS update last june and when you are a small brand and those marketing dollars really means something to you, you have to kind of go with what's working. So we ended up letting go of our digital marketing agency last month and we are going to just kind of restructure how we do our digital marketing and media buys. It's so hard. I think actually investing in things like podcasts like run, you know, is probably an easier and better and more effective way to actually reach the kind of consumer that we want to reach versus sending these ads out until God knows who's seeing them or not seeing them.
00:27:48Edit You mean like ads on podcasts? Yeah, I've been listening to a lot of great ads on podcasts. Um, A lot of my friends are also our podcasters, so when I'm listening to them, I'll hear like brands and I think that's so cool that they are doing that. So I think podcast ads, I think Tiktok ads, I just think like stepping away from the traditional, like dump all your marketing buys into instagram facebook because they have not been performing at least for us. And so that's something we're really focusing on this year is how to re engage with our digital customer because we're digitally native brand. And so we really want to make sure that we are having access to our person and being able to serve them the things that they want to see. So that is what's not working for us. And I guess what's working for us. I don't know, we're having a lot of fun with Tiktok, we don't have a ton of followers, but we get some really great viral hits that we find just to be so fun and the whole team enjoys doing them. So that's something we're focusing on and we've got some really exciting launches for this year. Products are at the core of mara, great formulas, great products, so exciting launches, anything you want to tease out there, any upcoming in a few months.
00:28:59Edit We are very secret about our lunches. Okay. We are, we don't talk about them, they're embargoed until the day they come out. So we're, we're one of the, I know I'm excited for you though. That sounds so cool. Yeah. What is the best and worst advice you've ever received in business? Oh, that's a tough one because there's so much bad advice that you receive. Um, you know, I just think like it's not one particular thing. I just think it's listening to too many people's opinions, right? Everyone's going to have an opinion on how you should be doing things and what you should be doing or what you should be doing differently. Your retailers, if you're in the product based business are also going to have a say and what you do and what they think you should do, and I think you should listen to all these different people, but also like keep your vision to the brand. And then I think the best piece of advice was from my dad that said, don't listen to all the advice you're getting kind of the same is that the advice that you like to pass on to other entrepreneurs or do you have something else that you like to share?
00:30:05Edit I share that pretty often. And also I think it's important to, I think people kind of glamorize this idea of getting big investments from, you know, you know, a big amount of money from another, you know, an investment banker or um you know, a big growth partner, which is a huge accomplishment, don't get me wrong, but I think there is power in being scrappy and self funded because you do control the business and so that's something I oscillate between mara has not taken any outside investment. So, um yeah, do you think you will take investment in the future? Obviously, given that, you know, building a CPG brand requires so much working capital to kind of keep that growth going. I do think at some point we will take investment, but I'm not sure when that will be got it. Cool, thank you so much for sharing that advice. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode. We are testing out something new here for the next while and we're splitting up each episode into two parts, the main interview part and then the six quick questions part to make them easier to listen to.
00:31:11Edit So that's part one. Done, tune into part two, to hear the six quick questions.
So question number one is, what's your why? Why are you doing what you're doing? I feel like it's so powerful when you feel good about your skin. At least for me. And so I love being able to give the gift of gorgeous skin to people, Especially people that have had struggles with acne or breakouts or aging or texture or plumpness their whole lives to see the transformations that people are seeing in their skin is truly like the best gift. And it's the y mm hmm mm hmm mm hmm.
00:01:14Edit Yeah, skin confidence is like a real it's a real thing. I'm going through like this treatment at the moment to kind of like, I don't know what the terminology is here because I'm so bad at this stuff. But it's kind of like to help my pigmentation damage from sun damage. And I was with the clinic yesterday and we did like a before and after photos just from when I came into like the few weeks of like this skin stuff that I'm using at the moment and I can already see a difference and I was like wow, like that makes me feel so good to see that progress even though it's small and she was like yeah you're gonna have so much more progress as well. And it made me feel so confident just in that moment, that tiny little moment I was like wow, I feel really good about that. Oh it's yeah, it's the best and your skin looks amazing. So you have to tell me more about this treatment. Oh I will, we can do this. Offline question number two is what's been your number one? Like top favorite marketing moments so far? Oh I have to, is that okay? Yes, absolutely. So the first one I have to say is not like a skin care focused marketing moment but it was just such a big accomplishment and we were really one of the first brands to do it are mara by air juan skin detox tonic collab.
00:02:24Edit So we did a collaboration with their wand which is like a super trendy grocery store in Los Angeles and we did a tonic bar takeover. So for two weeks last august they used our supplement to make this really delicious drink that was free for members and a small price for non members and it was really just a fun marketing activation that with a brand that I love so much and respect so much. So it was really cool for us, that is so cool. I love that. Really one of the first, the first beauty brands to do that because we, we have supplements and skincare and number two, I'd have to say, I really loved our volcanic sea clay detox mask launch. It was like the height of the pandemic and vaccines have just started rolling out and I just loved our cozy, cute box that we did. We did this beautiful like sweatshirt that people loved and we did a custom base coat, nail polish color that matched the color of the product and then we did these mara hair claws that we still sell because they're so popular.
00:03:25Edit I love how like when you're describing these marketing moments, like you're creating these different kinds of moments, it's not just like, oh, here's the products like buy the product, it's like, hey, come and experience us in this new way in this cool trendy spot or like, hey, let's also add layers to this experience when you receive it in the mail. I think that's so clever and something that everyone listening should definitely think about. It's hard. Sometimes products lend themselves so easily to something like that, like the mask was like a home run, we had so much fun putting that kit together. But then other products are a little more challenging so you kinda have to just lean into the ones that you can make really fun and then if you can't make it fun, don't reach, you know? Yeah, yeah. Don't make it a stretch, make it feel easy for people to get it and understand it. Yeah, I love that question. Number three is, what's your go to Business resource when it comes to a book, a podcast or a newsletter? Hmm, this is a good one. I listened to so many things. I love just any sort of self help improvement books.
00:04:30Edit So I'm always listening to something on audio books. I love um what's that? Oh my gosh, of course, I can't think of his name at the moment. I always talked about his book to um Ben God, I have long, covid brain. I'm with you, don't worry, I'll tell you, I'll tell you about that one later. But I also love listening to the Goop podcast. I really love that podcast. I think it's really interesting topics that are not just business related, but a lot of like mental health and just physical health related. So I listened to Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop a lot and a big fan of her just in general. I love Goop Kitchen and her website. Um I listen to the daily every day, which is just like a general, you know, news podcast. But I think being informed with what's going on in the world is important for running a business and that's basically it, I do a lot of audio books. I'm always listening to something. I love his voice and like the way that he says like, I'm like, I'm not gonna try and say, because I feel like I'm gonna butcher it, but I love his voice. Like how he says like, like I don't know how he says it, but like in that way I love it.
00:05:39Edit It's so good question number four and I feel like you're gonna have some really good answers for this one. How do you win the day? What are your kind of like am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and productive? I wish I could say I was like that girl and had like a full morning routine, but mine's like much more simplified. So I'll wake up usually between 77 30. I'm not a super early riser and some days I do Pilates first thing in the morning. The other days, I kind of just go straight into my routine. I love my gratitude journal. So it's pretty short takes me like a few minutes. I always do that. You know, do my skincare. I've been doing some stretches lately because I feel like I've got a lot of Tightness as I'm getting older. So I do about like 5, 10 minutes of stretching, you know, walk my dog, make my coffee and then I jump into work pretty fast. So I wish I had a little bit more time. But you know, there's a lot to do. And then at night I just really do my skincare and watch real housewives because balance balance, balance is key. Love that for you.
00:06:43Edit Question # five is what's been the worst money that you've ever spent in the business? Like a money mistake. Yeah. So when I first bought those dead stock bottles, I mentioned earlier, the person who sold them to me told me that I had to get them engraved in order to get the writing on it by someone who did wine bottles because they had already been sealed and I didn't know anything about what I was doing. So I listened to him, I paid all this money to have them freighted up to san Francisco and they get there and the guy was like, yeah, we can do this, but they're not going to be shiny gold, it'll be like a flat gold, which is not what I wanted. So I had to ship them all the way back down here. I got these labels printed and um, the labels weren't correct. So I went through like three revisions of the front of the bottle for the universal face oil without actually wasting any of the bottles. Just, I wasted a lot of time and a lot of money. So, and the reason for this is because I didn't order the components from manufacturer and they came, they didn't come custom for me, they were sitting here.
00:07:49Edit So that's definitely one of the challenges and it probably would have, it probably would have even doubt honestly cost wise if I would have just ordered them originally from, you know, Korea where they come from. But of course the quantities would have been different so totally, how much was it that you kind of like lost in that saga? Ish, I think around $10,000 of some sort there was a lot of this. I mean it's still a lot. Yeah, I mean just, yeah, it was sucked. I was like, oh my God, what am I doing? But I hate that for you. Question # six, last question. It's kind of a blend on from this. Um, I might have to mix these up in the future. But anyway, for now we'll go with it. What's been a major fail in the business that you can share and how did you deal with it? I wouldn't say it's a major fail because honestly, I think every kind of downturn points you up again, right? Because that's how things cycle goes. But one crazy story that was wild was when we were getting ready to launch our retinol oil, which was our second product that we launched.
00:08:54Edit We uh okay, the bottles left from Korea and the largest storm, like in our generation has hit the coast of Korea and they couldn't find the boat, which is really scary for the people on it. They couldn't find the boat for two weeks and they're like, yeah well we think it may have like sunk, we're not sure. And a lot of manufacturers are DDP but we didn't have GDP which means delivered at place, they're responsible until it gets here. But we didn't have DDP pricing. So basically like they were kind of saying like well they're gone so you have to buy them again but luckily for the people on board and for our bottles, they arrive safely just like a month and a half late, jesus, whoa. Yeah it was really traumatizing. Yeah. Gosh that is wild stuff, Wild stuff question or not. What happens like, do you have to have insurance? Like what happens if they actually, you know, went missing like properly Yeah.
00:09:56Edit At the time I don't know if I I definitely had business insurance. Like I had liability insurance and all of the things that you need to operate a proper business. I had that at the time but I don't know how it works with things that you've ordered that you haven't received. I mean knock on what it hasn't happened since then and we never got to that phase. But um yeah I should look into that. I'm sure insurance would kick in in some capacity but I'm not sure how much they would probably argue over who was liable for it mm mm mm mm mm mm Gosh that's a crazy story. I'm actually gonna change that question to be like, what's a crazy story in the business that's going to be moving forward to? Everyone listening. Love that for me. Allison, thank you so much for taking the time to join me and share your story with mara. I've loved hearing all the things. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.