Joining me on the show today is Beatrice Dixon, Co-Founder of The Honey Pot, a plant based feminine care brand that cares about the health of our vaginas.
The Honey Pot has grown from being made in her kitchen for herself and her friends to being stocked in every Target and Walmart around America.
What started as something that came to her in a dream changed the course of her life and millions of other women's lives around the world.
We talk about the event that really led to her and her brother starting the brand, when you should and shouldn’t fundraise, and why their brand resonates with so many women.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
So my name is Beatrice Dixon. I'm the co-founder and CEO of the Honey Pot Company. The Honey Pot Company is a plant based or plant derived feminine hygiene company. And we focus on everything that a woman needs for her daily monthly health or anything revolving around vulval care, vaginalis care, menstrual care, the vagina company.
I think I've read you read you call it that. We are the vagina company. Exactly. I love that.
I read that the honey pot came to you in a dream. So I want to go back to your life before the honey pot and what was happening and what led to that dream coming about.
So I was literally just dealing with bacterial vaginosis for almost a year. That's really what was happening. And what made the dream come about, I think, is just the struggle that I was going through. My grandmother in the dream told me that she had been walking with me and seeing me struggle. And, you know, she told me that what she was giving me was basically going to solve my problem. And so in the dream, she had a piece of paper. I had a list of ingredients. She kept telling me to memorize it. That's what I did. And I made it, used it and it worked.
That is so crazy. What was in the what was on the list?
Coconut oil, water. Apple cider vinegar, lavender, rose garlic, very simple ingredients, you know, but the point of it was for me to make a formula, you know? Because everything is blended together cold, I didn't have to do anything crazy or anything crazy heat things up and things like that, but it was really like a vagina potion. You know, I love that it sounds magical and I feel like it is magical.
Yeah. I mean, I guess it actually is magic, especially coming to you in a from your grandma. That's so beautiful. Exactly. And I've never met my grandmother. My grandmother died when my mother was very young.
Oh wow. That's so interesting. So what happens next? You you create the potion. It obviously works.
Yeah. What's the next? And then I create the potion from there I start giving it away because I had to make sure that it worked not for just me, but for everybody. I did that for like a year and a half and then, you know, people that I was giving it away were like, you can't give me this anymore, you know, I want to pay you. So they started to be like email customers and then. And those people, they started ordering email, we basically had a it wasn't anything major, we hadn't launched a website or anything yet, but then an opportunity came to go to a trade show, which is called the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.
We did that. That was like February of 2014. I got the you know, I met somebody that knew somebody that could help me get a booth. And my brother, who's my co-founder, you know, basically puts together the money with one of his friends. And we bought bottles, caps, labels, ingredients, all set up a little assembly line for us to make the product. And we just got started. And the process was, if that went well, right then, then that would really open the door to us actually doing this. If it didn't go well, then maybe we would have focused on something else, but it ended up going really well. We sold like six hundred bottles in a weekend.
Oh, my God, that's crazy. Yeah. So you were like, OK, this is this is something we have a business here. People obviously want. It is a market for it. So what happens next? Do you have to like, I don't know, get money from somewhere. Do you have savings? How much does it cost to create.
No, I would never have any savings. We just started a website.
You know, we my brother and he he's our CFO at the time as our CFO. But at that time, it wasn't like we needed to raise money. We needed to build a concept. So we started a website. He had friends that built websites. So we built a website. We started getting into small stores. We got into Whole Foods regionally. You know, it was just kind of just slow building.
Then from there, we realized that we couldn't just sell watches because people weren't, you know, because you need in the consumer packaged goods space, the key word is can still write.
You need people to consume your shit if they're not consuming it fast enough that you're not making money fast enough. Right. So what we realized is that we needed to bring in other brands because it wasn't like we could brand everything ourselves at that point. Right. Like what we do right now. So what we did is we brought in brands, a brand that did white brand. They did. PAD's Pantelion is a brand that did mommy products. We just kind of created this marketplace, just kind of little of the vagina story in a way. And what we saw is huge growth, huge meaning. We went from like thirty thousand, maybe two hundred and forty thousand, which is still a lot of money, you know, at that time. And so we did that and then that started going well. And then in twenty sixteen that's when targeting twenty seventeen we got into target twenty eighteen. Was pretty much we were still in Target, had some other retailers, but really the biggest retailer was Target, you know, two thousand nineteen is when things really started to get big and we got in a Walmart started falling into other retailers from there.
But, wow, what a crazy journey I want to dig into like the earlier phase, when you see getting into Target, like, how did you get into Target? How were you like how were you growing and finding all of those customers and getting people consuming your products?
I mean, we were doing a lot of events, a lot of festivals, a lot of Trajan's, a lot of Expo's. But this was a time when that was happening a lot. Right? We were building our social organically. You know, word of mouth was a thing. That's really how we really grew. Our brand is through word of mouth because our products are good, you know? And so the way we got into Target is the buyer had went to get her hair done and her and our hairdresser were talking about. Feminine care, because that's the that's the part of the department that she was buying, right. And they were talking about her new job and her hairdresser accident, you know, about honey pot. And she said no. And she came and looked at stuff and then she contacted us and then we met over the phone because, you know, they don't just right away just invite you to their headquarters. Now, you're not going to headquarters at all because, you know, nobody's work at headquarters. Right. And then we got invited for a second meeting and then a third meeting in and all these things like. You know, you have to do a lot. You have to get a broker once you start getting into the process because the because the buyer in a buyer doesn't necessarily want to. They want to deal with the brand, but they have to deal with the brand in a kind of in a silo because brands don't speak buyer, language, brand, speak their brand language. So, you know, so we had to get a broker and we had to I mean, we had to do mountains of paperwork.
And, you know, it's a process, you know what I mean? Like, if it's not, it's not. You just go to some meetings and they say, yes, no. Like, you need to know dimensions of your product, what's in it. You know, you have to sign up on certain platforms to register your UPC codes. You have to have just one bar codes.
I mean, there's just so many levels of things that you have to do. You have to have good packaging. Right, because it has to. It is. You're essentially using their real estate to sell your products. Right. So so you so you have to have really clean, beautiful packaging. You know, you can't go into the target and everything that isn't in order for that matter, you know.
Yeah. You know, so there was just so there was so much that we had to do and that any brand has to do, frankly. And then then that's when we raised money, when we were going into Target.
That was the time to fund the the amount of product that you would have to buy to stock in.
Yeah. You can see the amount of money that you have to have. To buy inventory, because it's not like it's not like when we used to make it in our kitchen, right. And you can assembly line it and you can make hundreds of bottles a day doing that, you know, you can work for a few days and, like, really pump some shit out. Right. But like, when you're going into a mass market, retailers. And you really have to understand what your concept is like, how much this finished product, when it's done, what is all this cost? Right. It's hard to do that when you're just doing it yourself. It can happen.
But, you know, using a manufacturing and tapping into their resources was like really the only way that we could do it. Right. Otherwise you'd have to have your own manufacturing facility and all those types of things.
So, yeah, like you must. In my mind, it's easier if you have a contract manufacturer because it's hard to be taking your business from zero, right, trying to get it to 100 because if you're manufacturing your own things. You are a manufacturer and you are a consumer packaged goods company. Your mom got it right. Yeah, I've never thought of it like that. You're essentially running two businesses. You know, it may all be the same business, but you're pretty much running two businesses and that's complicated and scaling into volume retail that's good is complicated enough, you know. That's why we chose that route. It allowed us to focus on the business and raising money and the scale and in in the forecasting and the planning and all those things because we didn't have a clue of what we were doing, you know.
Yeah, I guess first time fundraising is like a huge challenge for anyone and crazy. You just don't even realize the time that it takes. Everyone that I speak to is always like, yes, we didn't realize how long fundraising takes yet.
Yeah. And the reason why it takes so long is because you think somebody's just going to fucking cut you a check. You think somebody is just going to say it goes one hundred thousand or a million or whatever? No, they need to know your life. They need to get into your business. They want to understand how much money you made last year. Did you do your taxes? What is your profit and loss statement? And most of the time in the beginning, you're running at a loss like profitability is not is not realistic in the first few years or sometimes ever. Right. You know, they want to understand who's on your team, who are you going to hire? Where is my money going? What's your marketing strategy? How are you going to execute that? Who's going to run your operations like. No person in their right mind would just hand you money. They need to understand what you're doing and then they need to feel comfortable, especially for us, because that was a family and friends around. So these weren't life and these weren't like. Investors with funds, these were investors with their own money, you know what I'm saying? So it's like somebody worked their whole fucking life for that. You think they're just going to know and you know, and and then sometimes it's hard because. You're pitching and pitching and pitching, and you're like dating somebody in a way, right, and trying to trying to just get them in in their best graces and just trying to get them to a yes. And then at the last minute, they could be like, you know what, I don't think that this is I don't really think that this is the right, you know, I mean, they break you and ghost you break up with you and goes they break down and go shooting it.
And guess what? That's their right to do that because it's their fucking money, you know? So it's just a lot of that. It's a lot of unknown. It's a lot of things that are completely a thousand percent not in your control.
Yeah, a lot of rejection.
I hear a lot of rejection. A lot you have you get so comfortable with rejection is ridiculous. Like no doesn't even mean no. I mean, I'm a salesperson.
My my works history as I, I worked in sales, I worked as I worked at Whole Foods in the store as a sales person, a buyer in the store, merchandise in the store. And then I left there and I became a broker. So now. Like it at Whole Foods, you were my customer when I became a broker, Whole Foods became my customer and I basically sell products. Right? And then from there, I was the area sales manager for Caltrop Company, which was basically the same thing as broker. But I worked directly for the brand, so I was doing all that. Wow.
Oh, you weren't working on honey pot full time in the beginning.
How is that possible? How can you do that?
If I did, the honey pot would have suffered the money that honey pot would have been paying me, would have needed to go into some other shit, honey, they needed, you know, honey pot and afford to pay a living wage where I could, like, eat well and, you know, a decent place. You know what I'm saying? It was in a way.
And then you're able to have that balance of, you know, when your side hustle is tipping the scales and you're actually ready to jump into it and do it full time.
For me, it was never a side hustle. I was doing really well and I was still working another job well into getting into Target. We were in Target. We were in Target like six months before I quit.
Oh, wow. Holy moly. That's so cool.
What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs who are going through fundraising or who want to think about fundraising?
When you think about fundraising, don't you think that it doesn't just happen?
It's not like you just start a business and all of a sudden now you should raise the money, right?
Unless you have a track record for running businesses and you've done this before. In that circumstance, it might be easier for you to raise money if you're if you're just starting something. Right. But don't raise money until you're kind of desperate to raise money, especially if you do what I do, because every investor is going to want to know what kind of scandal you have and what have you done. How can you show me that the thing that you make works, right? Like, those things are important. And if you're not able don't make me wrong.
There's people that raise capital before their businesses launch. Those people typically have connections. Those people typically have relationships. Those people typically know how to raise money and they've got maybe a team or maybe they have a tech play or something like that, you know, but in the consumer packaged goods space, it's really important that you understand your business first and that you know what it's like to struggle before you go and ask somebody else for their money. You know, it's just not a good it's just not a good idea, you know what I mean? I believe in raising capital when you really when you are fucking desperate for. When you've got a reason like you're like you, you figured out how to make half a million on your own.