Joining me on the show today is Ann McFerran, the LA based founder behind Glamnetic - the go-to magnetic lash company.
Glamnetic is committed to providing the highest quality products and experience to customers and finding ways to continually make your beauty routine easier!
Ann launched her brand a year ago from her bedroom and within no time at all was doing 7 figures a month in sales!
In this episode she’s sharing that early hustle with us and what she attributes that success to, a great strategy to get orders when you’re just starting out and why social media and community is so critical to building a brand in 2020.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Ann: Yes. So my name is Ann McFerran and I'm the founder and CEO of Glamnetic, which is a magnetic ocean liner company. We also now I've just branched out into Nail's.
Doone: I saw, I saw it looks so much fun. Very, very cool, very exciting. We will get to that.
Doone: I want to go first back to the very beginning before you started Glenfiddich and what you were doing in life, what was going on and the light bulb moment that led you to getting started.
Ann: Yeah, it's actually it's been a pretty windy road, I feel like, to get here and definitely not a straight path to success, which I'm pretty sure everybody's been saying that. But I basically was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and I moved here when I was seven. I grew up actually pretty poor and my parents had had a divorce.
Ann: And basically, due to my parents' remarriage, I was able to come to the United States and have a stepdad. That's why my name is McFarren.
Anne: So it obviously doesn't make sense as an Asian, but my dad is Irish and German, my stepdad. And so basically with a divorced parent that everything had a rough kind of childhood but thankfully came to America and was able to. Kind of reconcile all of that, and I felt like I discovered makeup at a really early age because when I was moving here, I looked different from everybody else.
Ann: I came into an all white neighborhood and pretty much was the only Asian kid at the school. And they made fun of me for the way that my eyes looked and I think smaller or whatever.
Ann: Obviously, when you're young and people tell you that, you get pretty self-conscious. So I finally discovered makeup and that was when I also discovered eyelashes. And I remember how it just made me feel like a completely different person. I felt beautiful. I felt confident what seemed like the first time in my life. And that's where my lifelong obsession with lashes started. And I sort of just played with makeup my whole life. And the lashes kind of were the sort of the conduit for me to feel confident about myself.
Ann: So much so that even when I wasn't wearing them, I started feeling comfortable about myself, are like a training tool to feel confident. And I felt like this is the power makeup that people talk about. And that's why I think we're so obsessed with beauty, is because it really makes you go into your best version of yourself because you feel your most confident. And I think this is also where my my slogan came from, like the magnetic glove. It's kind of that concept of, like, your be your most confident self. It changes your aura. It makes you a magnetic person. So over the decade, I tried almost like every last one to think of became an expert in lashes.
But I always found it was pretty weird that it's only beauty products where you actually have to glue it to your face. Very serious. Like, why do you put this toxic glue, glue it on your eyes, the most sensitive part of your face. It's very strange. Anyways, like that's something that had always been thinking about Fastforward I went to college. I actually actually moved you into NorCal in a very small town called Tracy, California, and then moved to so moved kind of a little bit down more to a smaller town called Manteca, California. And literally there's more cows and people there. So I had a very at a very sheltered upbringing. I had to be home by like I actually had to be just like inside by five p.m., my mom would go out like past that. So I had a pretty sheltered life in L.A. and my mom was like one of those, like Asian strict Asian moms that didn't let me go anywhere and was like, OK, you need to always study. So I was very good at school. I was really passionate about the sciences. I love science. So when I got to UCLA, that's naturally what I gravitated towards. So my major at UCLA was psychobiology and I felt like this sort of fed my experimental and analytical mindset and also just being in L.A.
for the first time where I had no curfew, I thought I was a wild, so to speak, and I just went out all the time. I met so many people and completely expanded my horizons about what was acceptable, I guess in the world. My mom would always say, like, be a doctor, do something safe because I'm a first generation college student. And so getting into college for her was a big deal. So obviously she didn't want to she didn't want to sacrifice that. I had a different idea of what work was for me. I couldn't see myself in a medical field, so I started taking art classes in college. I had actually been doing art kind of even before that in my childhood because my mom was actually a really good artist. He was really talented and would paint murals for the neighborhood. But she always told me you can't make much money off of it. But that sort of changed when I went to L.A. and I took art classes and then I started selling my own paintings.
And one of the first paintings I sold was for ten thousand dollars.
And my gosh.
And so I thought I made it, you know, I was like, oh, my God, this is my path. This is my ticket to success. Exactly. I got this. Exactly. So I was like, OK, forget science. Like I love I graduated anyway.
I graduated from college, but right after I finished, I pretty much jumped right into art and making commissions for a bunch of just rich people that I found in L.A. and and on the way there, I met a lot of successful men who had like who had their own businesses that were thriving and they were building their businesses. So I felt like I was around those types of people quite a bit due to the art. In a weird way, I think that's what it was with art. The main thing with art in Los Angeles, you have to be really good at networking. And so I was just always be networking and and obviously trying to sell my art. That was that was the hardest thing because nothing was guaranteed. Since it's all it's all project by project basis, and pretty much I did that for four years and I showed it like the art show, like some big conventions, and I kind of felt a little bit like lost, though, while I was doing it. I didn't feel like I had a lot of guidance in my. A lot of guidance in my career. So I wasn't sure where it was headed. Artist. So, like, I feel like it's definitely one of the hardest things ever to do by yourself, especially if you have no guidance, no mentor or anything. And I felt pretty lonely being in the studio by myself, like all every day. You just had to put in the hours in the studio and I felt like I didn't talk to people literally the entire day and sometimes feel like self quarantine and that feeling.
So it was like that for multiple years. And basically on the side, I was sort of doing I was sort of discovering like business outside of that, like, how do I start my own business? How do I make money on the side? I got into stock trading. I was doing training, like learning how to trade initially as penny stocks, and then it just kind of like expanded to other things and even crypto sort of like at the height of that, I sort of just and then I would contact like the best people that were like one of the best traders. I contacted him and I was like, let me learn from you. And I was doing that, like while I was also doing art. So it was like multiple things at once and definitely learned to be a lot more strategic with the money, like with investing and also just learning the technical skills of of day trading, I think kind of put me in the mindset of like doing my own business. And I felt like that molded me for like the two years that I did that and the intense amount of stress and roller coaster of emotions that you have to go through while doing that is also, I think, also trained to be and it prepared me for for entrepreneurship later on down the line and also how unstable it was, the most unstable thing ever, especially in the beginning when you're just like you have an account and you blow it up and you're just like, wow, I just lost all my money because I made mistakes, like every single moment. It was like your money was on the line. And if you mess up even for a minute or two, like, you literally could blow up your account. So it was one of those like super high stakes things that I went through that I felt like prepared me emotionally and for how crazy entrepreneurship was going to be. And I sort of like was looking for other things to do. And I I knew that I was always obsessed with lashes. Right. And I felt like, OK.
There is a problem here to be solved, and and I felt like when I started seeing I had seen magnetic flashes come out, just the normal ones, and they were like very thin and plasticky. They had like two magnets, max, on them and.
I was like, this is this is an interesting idea, but it's just not quite there, like it's not it's not something I would ever want to wear. I like to glam beautiful, thick lashes and the sides part of me came came out and I was like, OK, I really want to see if I could make something that I would want to wear where I love thick volume lashes and I want to add more magnets. I want to have five. And I even came out with six magnets. So I sort of began like just through YouTube, literally just from YouTube. Teaching myself everything in product development, just understanding how even part of developing hadrosaurs and all of that stuff, I taught myself all that. And that's sort of where my journey started. I didn't even know if it was something that I was going to fully commit to was just like, I just want to see if I can do it, since I was like, oh, I'm already doing this. I'm doing all these other things on the side. Let me just see. And basically hundreds of samples later, literally hundreds, where some of the magnets were literally falling off the band because they were using like Taqi like super glue and all of the factors just had no idea what they were doing. But I finally was able to get a prototype that actually worked and had five magnets on the band. And it was like a volume main clashes between Flash and it looked absolutely beautiful.
So that's sort of like where the. Like research and development started and I went into it pretty deep for about a year and a half of development of development now. And then that's when I was like, OK, like I do I do really want to see if I can make this into a brand. Like I do want to launch this. And I want to quit painting pretty much in a way that was like still doing on the side to make money because it was good money still. And I needed that to invest in inventory and all of this. So that's when I sort of went full throttle and I decide, OK, like I'm going to do this. And I myself, everything in like marketing, photography literally got myself like professional camera equipment and started doing photography and shot like I remember like I asked my friend, I was like, do you have any friends that are models? Like, let me just I want to like, shoot them. Like, she's like, Oh, sure. And she just thought it was like a really fun, like, silly thing that I was doing. And I was like, yeah, I know the brand, but I don't think she actually was think that I was serious I guess. And she's like, it's me, like tiny little brand or whatever. So I was like, OK, yeah, let me just shoot her maybe at your studio. And so she let me borrow her little studio in downtown L.A. and she saw the photos.
She's like, holy crap. She's like, how did she do that? She's like, how do you as I like I tell myself everything from YouTube, all from you to school of YouTube.
I love the school of YouTube.
And so they were impressed. They all was crazy. And that was pretty much the the first image that I shot and the one that went on the homepage banner, silly, like so funny enough, like recently one of my interns that me like, kind of like a video from from Spain of basically the all the first photo that I took, someone painted a mural of it in Spain.
No way. I don't know how I even know how that photo got out in Spain.
And and then in twenty twenty, someone painted a mural of it in some back, like, I don't even know. I was so confused. I was like, how did it even get out? But yeah, they literally use the photo is like inspired to paint the mural. So I thought it was hilarious and so cool too.
That's amazing. Yeah. Wow. Your mom must be so proud of you. Now that's such a such an interesting start of your of your entrepreneurial journey and.
Oh my gosh, obviously, fast forward today to today. It's just absolutely nuts. And I totally want to get into where it is now. But I want to stick with that early, early on hussle when you were getting started with the product development, I always love to ask about the numbers, like, did you invest personal savings?
Did you have to get a loan using the money from the paintings to be able to fund that? And and then what happened next?
Like, how did you actually start selling and being like, I need to find some customers now and get people on board with what I'm doing?
Yeah. So I actually invested my personal money like I didn't really understand how to raise money. You didn't even know that I could and didn't know people anybody would be interested.
It was one I just had heard people about. I think I heard about people raising money, but I was like so intimidated by the concept. And I also was like, I don't. I have money like I don't need to raise money, I had saved up every like I was. That's one thing I give myself credit for was I was really frugal with my spending. I would I would earn a lot and I would just save, like, literally every dollar and try to get like I was also a kind of an influence there on the side for my Instagram account. So I would get free clothes, free food sometimes, and I would and makeup. And so I never had to buy anything, which is which is amazing. You try to use my sort of micro influence, your power to to get whatever I needed without having to pay money because I knew I needed to save the money because money was hard to come by at the time as an artist. But yeah, I pretty much invested that into the inventory. And initially, you don't need a lot of inventory like I started maybe with two hundred units per SKU and I, I only had five screws and yeah. So it was very, very chill. Wasn't that capital intensive at all. I can't, I can't say that for tech like I don't know what that is like, but I'm sure Texas Tech is like capital intensive. But for me it wasn't. And so. And what was the second question launching?
What was your go to market launch? How did you start finding customers to buy your product?
Yeah, so I actually started with a very small Instagram. My initial my other Instagram I had gotten traction on. I have like maybe 40, 50 followers and I had painted this is another weird side note. I actually used to paint murals for like the vlog squad, like David Dobek. And like all of them, they had asked me to I guess I was one of the few artists in L.A. that could do that. And they somehow contacted me, found me. And basically I painted a mural for for David Dobek when he was doing pranks on, like his his assistant, Natalie.
So I was in one of his videos.
And and then after that, it was like Jeff, who is like also in the Blogspot, asked me to do a prank on David's. It painted a mural in David's room. And then and then it was Dirty Dom, who is also part of the blogspot. And then it was Sam and Colby who they have a big YouTube channel. So I was able to leverage, like a lot of, I guess, the those jobs to go out to get me started in terms of like having traction. They would shout out my accountant and I would gain a lot of followers. And and from there, I sort of push those followers into my Glenfiddich account, which was a baby account I had just started. And so I just kept promoting like, oh, I'm going to start a brand and start a brand and sort of just like kind of hype that up. And it still was a small account. It wasn't it wasn't a big audience in any by any means. Right. But I found that if I started Demming, every single person that followed the account and there wasn't that many. But I d.m. those people and give them an offer on the product that they would use the code. So that's what I did in the beginning. I literally D.M. like before the first month, IDM, every single person that followed the account just manually. I spent all day doing that on top of actually taking photos of all of the product shots. Like every post was created by me. Like I would I would I would set it up. I would take the photos, and then I would face to them and and I would do that, like for every single photo, even like the quote unquote user generated content was like, are you content? They were my friends. I would come over people that girls I would find. I was like, oh my God, you're pretty.
Like, you want to come over like like I'll put you at Lightbody and I would say, yes.
And I would you I would start shooting videos with them and. It's pretty funny, I put makeup on all of them and I would do a photo shoot with them, and so that's how I got all of the content in the beginning, because obviously no one was wearing it organically.