How to start an indie beauty brand with Kiramoon’s Lindsey Martin
Joining me on the show today is Lindsey Martin, Founder of Kiramoon.
Kiramoon is challenging the way effective skincare can be delivered. Inspired by the fun and whimsy of Y2K pink aesthetics, they create holy-grail, science backed formulas and deliver them in a cute and user-friendly package.
In this episode Lindsey steps me through how she started her brand from finding the manufacturer, through branding and finding a design agency to her influencer marketing strategy, to launch - and she spares no detail! This is such a cool insight into building an indie beauty brand and what you NEED to be doing in 2021 to win at e-commerce. Lindsey is such joy to speak with and this episode is packed with so much value that I guarantee you’re going to pick up some insights, especially if you’re a small business owner working on your brand at the moment.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Speaker2: Definitely so. My name is Lindsey Martin. I'm based in Austin, Texas, and I am the CEO and founder of Kiramoon and we are skincare brand that just launched three months ago. So you're here at the very beginning of our journey and we are creating skin care that inspires joy and self care.
Speaker1: I do feel a lot of joy when I look at your brand and when I look at your channels. That's definitely taking the bugs of Karaman. By the way, what's the name from.
Speaker2: Yeah, so I knew when naming my brand, I didn't want it to sound clinical and obviously skin care because, you know, my wife or care about is so much deeper. It's more about a feeling. And so I wanted the name to evoke the same feeling that the cute products or the formula that smell so nice evokes. And so Chiara is a common Japanese girl's name and Caracara is Japanese also means glittery or sparkly, which is a nod to kind of the over the top branding. And then moon is a nod to luminosity or glow of the skin without being so obvious. And together, in my mind it sounds sort of like this mythical fun, you know, person that loves skincare and pink and iridescent. So that's how the moon was born.
Speaker1: Shut up. That's so cool. I love that. And I love that Instagram filter called Caracara. Is it an Instagram filter, I think, or something like. Yes, yes. Oh, my God, I love it. Pink and stuff that speaks to me
Speaker1: I want to go back to pre launching the brand. Where does your entrepreneurial journey start?
Speaker2: Definitely so to go way, way back, so my dad is an entrepreneur and growing up, he never you know, he never pushed or taught, oh, you need to be a business owner. But I think, you know, as a child, you observe and you kind of see and I think I saw the work ethic. I think I also saw the highs and the lows and I saw how rewarded and fulfilled he was when his business was successful. So deep down, I always had that entrepreneurial seed, but it took me a bit later in life to kind of nurture it. So I'm thirty five now and I think my entrepreneurial started probably around 30 and I was having quite a bit of success in my corporate job. I was running a sales team for a very large, large software company and I really got to see, you know, the top end of the business. And I saw all the cogs that were making the machine turn. And I thought, this is incredible. And I kind of fell in love with business and I saw where my career was going and I thought, I can do this. Why would I aspire to be the CEO of a software company when I could build my own dream product or service? And I think that that's when it kind of clicked for me. I had enough confidence in the career that I'd built and in myself to kind of take that leap and say maybe this is something you should consider. And so that moment, maybe I want to start my own side hustle or business or whatever, that happened at an intersection between having a really hard time at work and little time to myself and my skin care being this kind of sacred moment at the end of the day. And so that's kind of how the idea of a skincare brand came to life, because for me, skin care had become such an important part of my everyday routine. And so those things kind of happened at the same time. And here we are now. I have a skin care brand
Speaker1: And here we are. Can you dig a little deeper on like these things are happening in your life. You're enjoying your moments of self care in the evenings, but what was actually the thought process into being like, OK, I'm going to start a beauty brand? Like, that's it. That's the light bulb.
Speaker2: Definitely. I, I remember I had gotten off a phone call with a girlfriend and I was sharing with her. It's so strange. I studied fashion. I worked in fashion before I got into software sales and I was on the phone with a girlfriend that I went to college with who was working in fashion and just telling her I feel really confused. I'm very successful in my career. I'm financially stable. I should be so proud. But there's something missing. And she was like, well, what do you love? Like, if money wasn't an issue, what would you be doing with your life right now? And I was like, well, I spend a lot of time like Googling ingredients and product formulation. And so she was she said, oh, you should start a blog, you should be a skincare influencer. And I really didn't want to be in the spotlight. I said, I don't know. So that night I was doing my skincare routine and I was kind of looking at my products, these products that I love, that, you know, when you buy that new lipstick or new serum and you get so excited, there's like this hope like this is going to make me feel beautiful. I can't wait to use it. I think any beauty lover knows that feeling. And I had those feelings about all my products, great brands that I still love and adore today. But I looked at the packaging and it felt like it was really only catering to one aesthetic. It was very clinical and it was white and black and cream. And I just thought to myself, we can do better. This is magic to me. These are magic potions that put a smile on my face. Why is the packaging kind of lackluster? Of course, that was five years ago and I don't think the landscape is the same at all. There's so many incredible brands doing really unique things with visual branding. But that was my aha moment. I looked and I said, we can do better, I can do better. And I decided to do it.
Speaker1: I really love that question. Your friend asked you. And I think it's a really important question that people should remember to ask themselves. Like if you could do anything, if money was no object, what would you do? What would your life look like? It's like a really important deep dive that people should catch up with themselves every now and again to just check in and be like, is this the path for me?
Speaker2: Absolutely. I think it's really hard. There's this sort of momentum of life that we're pushed through. And it's, you know, you go to school and you decide what you want to be when you grow up, and then you're supposed to work and maybe become a manager. And I think having the courage and honesty with yourself to stop and say, am I happy? Do I want this is so scary for me. The moment I realized. There was something greater I was meant to do with my professional career. It is terrifying because then you can't hide from that, you've visualized it, you've realized it, and then you have to do that hard work, which is all the courage and bravery and vulnerability of deciding to start a business, of giving up maybe financial stability. And I think for a lot of women and men who do a career shift in midlife like I am, I think you lose a part of your identity. I really identified with the career that I had before I had so much of my confidence, so much of my confidence came from that career. But I knew I had to take a few steps back and kind of start over to get to a greater long term outcome. So I thought I did it. But it's very scary.
Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. Something that I really love about your content, especially on Tick-Tock, is how transparent you are about the process. So I want to kind of go back, you know, to when you've started building the brand and you're going through that phase of finding the manufacturer and actually developing the branding and things like that. What are the key steps to building a beauty business?
Speaker2: Yeah, definitely. So I think first step, all the things you need for any business you need to incorporate into business banking account. You need to pick a name, make sure that you're not infringing on anyone's IP, make sure the domains and social handles are available. I made the mistake early on if picking a name before I checked with an IP attorney and I got kind of far in the development and then had to pivot. So yeah, it was awful. I would say that was that's step one in any business. Make sure you have your IP in order and everything is good to go in terms of a beauty business. It really does start with the formulation and the manufacturer. And there's many ways you can do it on many different budgets. The biggest obstacle I had was finding a manufacturer that had the history and longevity that I trusted and felt really comfortable with their practices, with their formulators, their chemists that would also accommodate the Mockus for someone that was self funded. So I would say typically when you approach a large scale beauty product manufacturer, the MACU start at around five thousand units, which, if you're not heavily funded, isn't within reach. And so in the beginning, I was just emailing all these manufacturers and just trying to get them to respond to me. And I would ask, what's your specialty and what's your Macu? That's the most important thing to us, because Amoco's is what's going to eliminate you from being able to work with 90 percent of the beauty manufacturers out there.
Speaker1: Mm hmm. And when you say you were reaching out to people like, how many people were you reaching out to, for example?
Speaker2: Yes, I for sure emailed more than 50 manufacturers. And I would say for the most part, they would reply with some automated message just to filter out. They get inquiries like this all the time. It's I think every day there must be dozens of people that want to start a beauty brand. It's kind of like, you know, beauty is it's a thing right now. And so they would basically reply and say, these are our Mockus just to weed you out. And I think at the time, I was also reaching out using my Gmail, which isn't the end of the world. But I think if you really want to get traction with some of these legit manufacturers, you need to look at yourself. It's a two way street. You know, they're running a business as well. And so I struggled in the beginning. I emailed at least 50 manufacturers with my personal Gmail. And I don't know the response rate from people that took me seriously. That wasn't just an automated email was very low. It was definitely a labor of love.
Speaker1: Like five or like less.
Speaker2: Probably five. Yeah, right. That really replied and said, great, tell me what you're working on. And it's interesting, the manufacturer that I have right now that I landed on, I just caught them in a pocket where I think I emailed them first in like twenty eighteen. It was a while ago and they were really trying to expand their beauty business. So they had lowered their mockus to fifteen hundred units per formula, which was crazy because I'm like, you're one of these big manufacturers, they're based in Dallas and they manufacture products, you see, and Sephora, Alta, Nordstrom, they're legit. And I couldn't believe they were really willing to work with me at that quantity since then. Actually, just this year, they raised that Macu again because they realized, you know, they were opening their doors to so many small businesses that weren't going to become profitable for them. So I feel really lucky that I got in at the right time. But to anyone listening that wants to start a beauty brand, that is something you're going to come up against. So you do almost have to sell yourself. Let them know why they should take a risk on you. Why is your product different? What hole in the market are you filling? Otherwise it could just take you months. It took me months to find my manufacturer. It wasn't easy to get started in that way.
Speaker1: What's the timeline difference that like from when you were doing that? Reach out to now I know you just mentioned twenty eighteen. What's the kind of time that it takes to find someone and formulate.
Speaker2: I would say you can expect. Two to three months minimum to find your manufacturer, unless, of course, you know someone that can vouch and say this is great and you're very excited, but if you're like me, I had no beauty industry contacts. It was me and a Google search. I would say two to three months to find your manufacturer, make sure they're right for you. Hopefully in the future, some day will be able to visit facilities again. I was lucky enough that it was before, but I got to visit my facility. And then after that, the formulation can take anywhere from one to three or four months. And then right now lead times to manufacture a product at your actual fill facility, another three to four months. And that doesn't even include sourcing, designing, testing your other components. But just like, say, today you met your beauty manufacturer, I would say at least a year to get a product to market if it's your first time doing it. That's the timeline that I would expect a year to year and a half.
Speaker1: Got it. Wow, that's so interesting. Yeah. And when you started having this conversation and these guys were like, yeah. Fifteen hundred Macu per formulation, et cetera, what actually happens next in formulating a product like what are the steps.
Speaker2: They're definitely so it absolutely varies. But I can give you what I believe is a pretty general like standard procedure. So basically you just consult with each other on what it is you're trying to create. And in my case, they sent me like a brief to fill out. I have two products that they helped me formulate, which is are exfoliating mask and are hydrating serum. And basically I filled out this form that says I'm trying to make an exfoliating mask. I want it to do these things. I want it to look like this, smell like this. I want you to include these ingredients. Don't include these. There's like the super long list of things that they can't include. I want it to be vegan, gluten free, cruelty free. None of the even ingredients can be tested on animals prior to the lab purchasing them. So basically, you send them this like big you know, it's like a cake recipe and you say, I want you to make this kind of cake and they send you the first iteration. It's like the most exciting thing. They send you samples to try and you smell it and you use it and you give it to your friends or your test group and then you go back. I think most formulators will include three different variations of a formula before they charge you to do more. A really good chemist should be able to nail it in those first three, but it's also not unusual to have to do a second round.
Speaker1: Hmm, that's so cool, I must imagine that getting those samples back would have been like Christmas, getting so excited to be like, is this it? Is this the one?
Speaker2: It's so fun and exciting. But I'll tell you, you know, pretty immediately it's no different than as a consumer when you buy a new cream or whatever and you put it on and it doesn't take a day, it takes minutes to know, did I enjoy that experience? Does it feel nice? Does it smell nice? What's the packaging like? And so it's pretty similar, I think, with the exception of long term actives like vitamin CS or retinol, obviously you need more time. But you know, the products that I've developed up to this point are pretty much like you should see the benefits in one use. And so, you know, immediately this is great or I'm going to have to email my chemist and make modifications. So it's like the build up of the samples and then the letdown if it's not perfect, but that's fine. You go back to the drawing board and if you can communicate with a chemist that you trust, you can make something really special together.
Speaker1: Mhm. Absolutely. I want to talk about your branding. I had a bit of a look and a bit of a dig on the Internet to find out who you worked with. I think the agency was called Youngblood. Yes. What was the situation there. What's it like. How did you have the vision. Tell me everything.
Speaker2: Yeah. So I think it's important to touch on my branding experience, especially for any of your listeners that are just getting started or they're not sure where to start or when to start. So I had my formulas developed long before I reached out to young blood and actually committed like the capital to have them do our branding. I was really afraid of spending that money. And looking back now, the money that I spent on the branding, which I'm happy to share with you, Youngblood, they did all of our package design, all of our branding. They did our website and our photography and all in it was like twenty five to thirty K, which is a self funded brand, was I mean it was the scariest thing I've done for this business up to this point. But looking back so important and so I'm so glad that I took that leap. But to go back to your question, I knew that branding was going to be such an important part of Karaman, it needed to be Instagram a from a business perspective. It needed to be shareable. I wanted it to have sort of that like take it out of the box when you buy it and immediately want to take a photo of it. So that's kind of the North Star for everything that we do. And so it was so important that I picked a branding team that understood that vision and was willing to push the boundaries for me. And so I think I was on Behance or I was Googling, trying to find designers.
Speaker2: And I found some work from Laura Miller, who's the founder of Young Blood. And if you go to her website, it's like bright pink and neon and like topless women with nipple rings. It definitely pushes the envelope. And I wouldn't say that represents what I envision for Karaman, but I knew this is someone that is willing to push the expected in terms of branding. And so after interviewing lots of different agencies, I decided to go with Laura. And it's been an incredible experience. Laura is like my most trusted partner in Karaman. I feel like she totally understands what it is I'm trying to do. And we do a really good job of pushing each other. So like in the beginning, I came to her and I was like, Karaman, it's pink and it's purple. That's what it is. It's sparkly and glittery. Go make me this cute iridescent brand. And she was like, no, she was like, no, it's too cute. It's too much. You need edgy, you need sexy. And I was like, no, I want cute. And so we ended up somewhere in the middle and we find a balance. But yeah, I think that investing in the branding and making sure you picked the right partner is so important. And I just feel really lucky that I got it right on the first time. And it makes me sad thinking about what Karaman would be without young blood.
Speaker1: Honestly, they're so. Gosh, what a glowing review. Yeah. I love that for them. Were there any challenges in building the branding side of the puzzle?
Speaker2: I think one of the challenges I face right now that's worth sharing. I think I'm kind of pushing the envelope in terms of my branding and the price point of my product. I think a lot of people associate fun, playful, with lower price points. And at the end of the day, we do have a premium component. Our bottles are top of the line. We have an airless pump. One of our products includes a free brush, the mask brush and the formulas are exceptional. They're great formulas. And so I think that's something that I'm going to have to come up against a little bit just in terms of branding. But other than that, the branding has been received super well. I think people immediately see it and get it. So I think the only challenge that I'm going to have is can this premium product be packaged in this fun and playful way and be taken seriously. And that's really what I'm what I'm trying to do. Like, if we go back to my story of inspiration, that was the whole thing that I. Was missing. Why can't these Holy Grail science backed formulas be packaged in a cute and playful way? And so I'm really trying to push the envelope in that way.
Speaker1: The main thing I love that I think you're going to figure it out and hit the nail on the head, I'm sure
Speaker1: We've touched on how much it costs for branding and how much it costs to work with top tier agency. But something I always love to dig in is how much it actually costs to start a business when you're looking at kind of like overall and also how you actually financed the brand.
Speaker2: Absolutely. So I am a big saver. And so in my last career, I was in software sales and I lived quite modestly with the income and I was able to save enough to fund the business. So up until January, I was completely self funded and I personally put in about seventy five K of my life savings into Karaman and up until launch I still had quite a bit of money in the bank, enough to sort of get me through. But after launch I had I had to take a serious look at what kind of business I was trying to build and if I was playing it in a way that was going to get me to that goal. I think I like the idea of being self-funded because I was nervous about fundraising. It was very intimidating to me. It still is. I think it is for a lot of people. But I had to be really honest with myself and say, is this enough capital to get you where you need to be? And I knew that it wasn't. And so shortly after launch, I raised a friends and family round, and that's enough to get me through the next year and a half. But yeah, to achieve what I want to achieve with Caromed, I am going to have to fundraise. And I'm sure that you hear this from every one of your guests that it's really, really hard for women. I'm just grateful that I was in a financial situation up to launch where I had the type of personal savings where I could, you know, I could take it on myself. Most people don't even have that. So I feel lucky in that way. But there certainly will be more capital needed to get Karaman to where I want it to be in the future.
Speaker1: Mhm. Yeah. Reaching those big goals, reaching for the stars.
Speaker2: But to go back, just to go back you don't need seventy five K to start a beauty brand. I think it really depends what your goals are and you know, what's your timeline, how quickly do you want to grow, how fast you want to grow. You can certainly find a private label manufacturer and there is no shame in that. There are tons of amazing brands that start private label. So I'm always happy to share my truth and that was my number. But I don't want anyone listening to be discouraged and think if they don't have that amount, they can't do it. That's absolutely not the case. So I just want to clarify that.
Speaker1: I love that. Thanks for saying that. Of course. I want to move on now to the launch, the fun stuff of bringing your brand through the public. You obviously have a really thriving tock coming along. Your Instagram is really, really fun. Really, really cool. What were you doing in the lead up to launch that led to your kind of launch week success?
Speaker2: I was doing all the things I did so like before, so much so. I think something that's really important to share with your listeners. I had started my Instagram over a year before we launched our first skincare product, and that wasn't necessarily intentional. I don't take credit. That was some smart business decision. I just thought the whole process of manufacturing and launching was going to be a lot faster. Like I shared. It took forever. But what I was able to do in that year was build a community of people that I knew were going to like my product. And I attracted them in a few ways. I posted content. Kahraman was basically a ResCare account. I posted content that I knew they were into manicures, other beauty products. I showed myself. I talked about the process. So I was kind of calling people into my store saying, hey, do you want to be the first when we open? And so that was the first step. I had about a year of that. We also had a promotional product, the Magic Pouch, which is our iridescent makeup bag. I was gifting that to influencers before we even had a product, which seemed kind of crazy at the time. They're like, who's this random person sending this to me? But at the end of the day, it really helped because they were reposting it people. I kind of heard about us and it gave us a little bit of validation.
Speaker2: I don't want to say cloud because we weren't quite there yet, but it gave us some validation in the Instagram beauty community that, oh, this brand is coming. So then leading up to launch, I think we had like almost eight K and Instagram followers before we launched the first product. We had an email list of fifteen hundred people. And so we had done all these activations up until launch to get people excited and build that momentum. And so our launch was January 15th and January 1st. That was this year. Twenty twenty one was like our big lead up and we did like a full two weeks of activations. We did all of these like product posts on Instagram with everything kind of blurred out. So you couldn't quite see. We were sending emails and text saying it's coming. And so I think that sort of secrecy as well as hype really helps us because people are naturally curious. So, yeah, I think leading up to the launch, the things that really helped us. We built a community early on, I was very open with them, transparent about what I was doing, what I was working on, I sent out our little promo item and then I did a lot of, like, teasing and hype type posts. So that was all like the magic potion that together led to a really successful launch,
Speaker1: The secret sauce. Yeah, I love that. How many influences were you sending the iridescent bag to just to paint the picture of? Like, what do you actually need to send to get that response right and to get the buzz happening online?
Speaker2: Absolutely. So I sent the bag out to about one hundred influencers. I had the Excel sheet. And to be more tactical for people listening, I wasn't reaching out to like Kim Kardashian. Obviously, I had an Excel sheet that had their username, their number of followers. And I think that the person I reached out to that had the most followers had like eighty thousand and the least had like two thousand. So it was really like nano and micro influencers, people that I knew weren't just going to ignore me. But if I caught them at the right time and they saw my message and liked what I was doing, I would be willing to share. So basically, I made a list of my targets. I had one hundred ninety nine or ninety seven, something like that. And I sent them a dime and just said, Hey, I love what you're doing. I'm starting this brand and I made these cute pouches. I took a picture and made sure it was really cute that I'd love to send you one. No pressure to post. Just a gift.
Speaker2: No pressure either way. Let me know if you're interested. And I think like every single person replied and I got their information and I sent the pouch with like these little postcards I got made on like Vistaprint that had some cute branding. And it wasn't very costly, I think, like with shipping and packaging and everything, it was like maybe five dollars each and yeah, totally worth it. But I think the important thing is that you're you're targeting realistic influencers and don't be intimidated. I think people get so nervous. I was so nervous. That first message I sent, I was like, oh, my gosh, this is so embarrassing. Are these people going to reply? Are they going to take me seriously? And everyone was so nice and like, no one's going to, like, laugh at you or say something mean. Worst case, they ignore you. So I would say just go for it. Swim within a pond. That makes sense for your brand size and your follower size, but just go for it. I think you'll be surprised the positive reaction that you got.
Speaker1: I think that's such a key point that you mentioned about picking influences that aren't the Kardashians of the world and really and the people who are going to be, you know, well primed to post about you and enjoy your brand and love what you're doing out of sheer excitement versus needing payment and being at that size with it. Too big to be interested in this new thing.
Speaker2: Yes, absolutely.
Speaker1: It's really cool to hear that it was just a two week period or. Yeah, it was two weeks. You say January 1st to January fifteen for the kind of pre launch. That's something I was wondering about. You know, do you start three months before? Do you start two weeks before? That's so interesting that it's two weeks. What is the impact of launch week from that two weeks of pre launch in terms of revenue, in terms of buzz or press, in terms of your overall kind of what happened in that launch week for sure?
Speaker2: Gosh, launch week was crazy. First of all, a launch day, the morning of we hit live on the website and I'm suddenly getting hundreds of DM saying I can't add to cart, I can't add to cart. I was like my worst nightmare. Yeah, no, it was awful. It took like three hours with my developer to get it live. And so I do feel like I lost some momentum there. I mean, you lose people's attention span so quickly these days, but it happens. Nothing is perfect. So that was kind of a bummer. But once we were alive again, it was incredible. Like in the first twenty four hours we did 10K in sales and then within the first two weeks we had hit twenty K in sales. And just so everyone listening knows, that is not our trajectory. Now we're not doing you know, we're not even doing ten of sales a month or a week. I'm sorry. Yeah. We are doing 10k a month but not a week. And so you can expect kind of that pop and then it kind of you know, that's the whole point of a launch. That's the whole point of a new product or whatever. But it was amazing. I mean, to do twenty K in sales in two weeks. That's what gave me the courage to quit my job.
Speaker2: And we did get a little bit of press. I haven't paid anyone for PR and so we've gotten a few pieces written. But yeah, I mean, the results of the launch were successful sales financially. I think that we got two thousand new Instagram followers within the first couple of weeks. We had a few write ups and then within a few weeks I had some big retailers reaching out as well. So I think I think that if I had just put Karaman to market without all that background I had done on Instagram, it would not be what it is today. People were paying attention, buyers were paying attention, journalists were paying attention. And again, I can't take full credit for that. It wasn't necessarily all by design, but it certainly worked. So anyone listening, if you're thinking of starting a brand. Even though it seems awkward and clumsy and scary, do that prelaunch effort give someone a reason to pay attention? Because once your website goes live, it's not like people disappear out of nowhere. You have to drive that traffic. And so I think that two weeks up to launch, really getting that excitement, if I hadn't done that, it would have been a completely different result for sure.
Speaker1: I'm interested to know what the impact of Tick-Tock has been because you've had a few videos that have gone absolutely crazy. You have a really fun take stock account. Obviously, the brand comes through, you know, in an amazing way. Thank you. And your featured a lot on there. What's the impact of that channel for you
Speaker2: While Tick-Tock is bananas, by the way? So we really got serious with our tech talk in November of last year. I guess I did. I shouldn't say we like to have this big team. At the time I did have interns and their GenZE and they just couldn't believe I'm not on tock. They're like, you're leaving this opportunity on the table. I was like, fine, bully me into joining, ticktock, whatever. And I did. And literally three months later I had like almost thirty thousand followers. So just to answer your question, very basically the impact of tick tock is immense because we're still in early days. You know what you think about, oh, if I just been on Instagram ten years ago, I could have had all these followers. That is what's happening on Tick Tock right now. You can grow so fast. It's incredible. But I think in terms of business value, tick tock is different than other platforms because it's really hard to get them off the platform. So I don't think of tick tock as a way to convert and get sales. I think of it as very top of funnel brand awareness. That's where people are going to fall in love with me and the brand. They're going to understand what we're doing. Then we're going to take them down funnel to Instagram, which is where you can really sell and convert like brands that do really great on TICKTOCK aren't pitching their product the way that if you go to a beauty brand on Instagram, it's these gorgeous flat and you're talking about how it changed their skin. You don't do that on tick tock. Tick tock is about brand awareness and getting them to fall in love with you enough to take them off the tick tock platform because then you can actually sell them something
Speaker1: That is so interesting. Yeah, I actually hadn't heard that perspective before, but it makes so much sense and love that for you. What's been the biggest driver for growth when it comes to marketing? Like is it your Instagram channel? Is it paid advertising? Is it really organic? What's driving it at the moment?
Speaker2: I think it's mostly Instagram and organic. We did just start with an ad agency that's helping us with Facebook ads. But as everyone knows, that is just it's a time game. It's going OK for us. It's not great. I would say about half of our traffic is organic and half is coming from paid. So, yeah, I think our big pop really came from Instagram organically. We did the launch. We also sent out I know you love numbers. We sent out one hundred PR boxes to those same influencers that we sent the magic pouch to. We already had the relationship with them, so they were more excited. And so I think that had a huge impact our influencer campaign. So yeah, I guess to answer your question, organic social number one, influencer activation number two and then page social has been number three for us.
Speaker1: Mean I love the EA. Did the follow up send out. Yes, that's really clever. Keeping people who are already like in love with the brand, already familiar, already excited to share again and kind of like hitting the same audience for a second time.
Speaker2: Really, really clever.
Speaker1: Where is the business today and what exciting things can you shout about?
Speaker2: So many exciting things. I just sometimes feel like I, I wake up and I can't believe this dream I'm building is seemingly coming true. So the most exciting thing that's happening is we're launching with two large retailers this summer. I can't tell you who yet because we're still getting that finalized, but I just am so excited to have that part of my learnings behind me. I now know how to communicate with buyers. I understand the compliance that's required to get your product ready to go to these warehouses. Everything has to be done a certain way. And I'm just really proud of myself for being over that hurdle that was very intimidating for me. So we're going to be launching in June with both of them. Actually, we're also partnering with a really great beauty app. Again, I can't tell you who that'll be happening in June as well. And so, yeah, June's going to be a big month for Karaman, and I'm excited to finally be Omni and have both retailer and direct to consumer. So things are looking good.
Speaker1: Oh, my gosh, congratulations. And I'm so excited to follow on and hype girl. You from the side.
Speaker2: Thank you.
Speaker1: That's so exciting. I always ask at the end of the episode before we jump into this quick questions, what is your key piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business?
Speaker2: Definitely. So this is kind of three parts, I guess, but it all kind of fits together. So I think the first. One is just believe in yourself that you can do it, it's scary and it's hard, but believe in yourself, so don't be hard on yourself. If you make mistakes, it's going to happen and just keep going. I think inherently like making mistakes and figuring it out. That is what entrepreneurship is. And I think I could have started move two years ago if I didn't have those limiting self belief. So my advice is just do it. Every entrepreneur that you admire started where you are. They didn't have a business. They didn't know if it was going to work out. Maybe they were in a job they hated. Everyone has to start from day one. So my advice is just believe in yourself. Just go do it one little piece, one little day at a time. Just go for it.
Speaker1: Love it, love it. OK, we are up to six quick questions out of the episode, some of the things we may have already covid, but I always ask the same questions at the end to everyone that I speak to. So question number one, what's your why why do you do what you do?
Speaker2: My wife I really want I want to make products that make people smile, that bring some magic to maybe the mundane of their daily routine. That's what skin care was for me a time in my life where I was really unhappy and I was really struggling. Skin care was there for me, as silly as it sounds. And so I want to make products that if it's the one moment in a woman or a man's day when they're going through something hard, they're doing their self care routine and they see Carabine and it makes them smile. That's what I want to do. That's my way.
Speaker1: I love it. So nice. Question number two is, what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop so far?
Speaker2: Probably tick tock, I mean, just the traffic that I've gotten from tick tock, and I think most of the buyers, as well as the EDS that have reached out to me, found us through one of my viral tick videos. So it's got to be tick.
Speaker1: Wow, that's so interesting. I hadn't even thought of that, that they are going to be on there to try and find indie brands that are blowing up on tick tock.
Speaker2: Exactly. And there aren't that many actually beauty brands really killing it on Tic-Tac yet. And so I think it's a really good time for beauty brands to take advantage of that market. So I think I got lucky in that way.
Speaker1: Mm hmm. Question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening or subscribing to?
Speaker2: Well, I used to hang out listening to podcasts before I had an amazing group of founder friends. I, I really loved Second Life. I still listen to it sometimes, which is a podcast that interviews women who have made a career pivot and have gone on to be really successful in their second life, similar to some of the people that you speak to. I think now I have such an incredible network of beauty brand founders that have become like my family and my best friends. And I learned so much from them and I hope vice versa. So I think in the beginning you have to kind of seek out those learnings. But I think as you continue on in your journey, I learned from like minded people around me, that's probably a popular answer for that question, I would imagine.
Speaker1: Yeah, I love it. It's so true, though, for sure. All around you is what's that saying? It's like the five people around you like who you are. And I think that's what makes you.
Speaker2: Exactly. Yeah, something like that.
Speaker1: I forgot what the thing is.
Speaker2: I think it's like you're the sum of the three people you spend the most amount of time with.
Speaker2: That's it is super important. And it's
Speaker2: Yeah. I actually it's funny you mention that because when I was working my full time corporate job, I would think about that saying all the time because I was with these people that wanted to become a manager or loved their software sales career and I realized I wasn't that person. There was nothing wrong with that. So I had to start spending time with people that wanted to be successful entrepreneurs. I didn't know any. So I had to listen to podcasts and that's how I hung out with those people. So that saying is definitely very, very true.
Speaker1: Mhm. I love that. Hanging out with the people in podcasts. Yes. Question number four is how do you win the day. What are your ampm rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and successful.
Speaker2: Definitely. So my newest habit that's been really helpful for me in the morning I write down and I didn't create this. I think it's called the Ivy League method. Basically, you sit down and you write down a list of five or six things you have to get done during the day that are the most important or business needle moving activities. And so I do that every morning. I have a notepad and I say, if you don't do anything else, I get these things done. And that's been so crucial to me because as a solo producer or even as a founder with a partner, early days in a business, it's so chaotic. You're doing so many different things and you're constantly getting DMS and emails and phone calls. And it's very hard to stay focused. And so if you don't own the day and really set that foundation for success, it could be the end of the day. And I'm like, what happened to all those important things that I needed to get done? So that's been very important. And then also at the end of the day, I go back and reflect on what I've done. I think as an entrepreneur, it's hard to set boundaries and stop working. And I can be hard on myself. I think we all can. And so when I go back and take inventory on what I've accomplished, I can say, OK, now it's time for family, it's time for personal, it's time for Lindsay. So that list kind of serves both sides. It's like bookends. But yeah, making that list and actually writing it out has been really helpful for me. And having successful days,
Speaker1: That's a good one. I like the reflection. The end of the day, I need to do more of that question. Number five is if you only had a thousand dollars left in a business bank account, where would you spend it?
Speaker2: Oh, this is such a hard question. I've listened to some of your other podcasts. I think first I would call my therapist because I'd be really good for us. No, I'm kidding. Sort of. That's really tough. I think if it was really I had to spend it, I would have to look at what has produced the most revenue for me in the life of the business or in the last month. And I would double down on that.
Speaker1: So Instagram
Speaker2: Probably. Yeah, or like I would hire someone to shoot Tick-Tock videos for me. I don't know.
Speaker1: Nice. Very clever. We should all be doing more of that for sure.
Speaker2: One hundred percent.
Speaker1: Question number six. Last question is how do you deal with failure. What's your mindset and approach when things don't go to plan?
Speaker2: Failure is hard and I think I had a shift in perception of failure, like just probably in the last few months. I think it's so easy to be hard on yourself. I think as soon as I accepted that failure was not only part of entrepreneurship, it's the only way forward. And so now I look at I made a mistake. Maybe I spent money where I shouldn't have. Maybe that didn't work out. Now I know and that that failure is not going to happen again. So it's like, oh, I just leveled up. That's painful. It stings, but great. That's a learning. And now we can move on. So I think the faster I was able to accept that failure is inevitable and to look at it as sort of like a video game where you're hopping from level to level, that's helped me because it's unavoidable. So, yeah, you have to reconcile your relationship with failure because it's going to happen not just as a business owner, but as a human being. It's part of the life experience. So looking at it more as a learning and an opportunity to do better next time has really helped me overcome some of those moments that sting a little bit.
Speaker1: You are such joy. Thank you so much for being on the show and sharing so deeply and openly about your experience to date and what's happening with the brand. I'm just so excited for you and I can't wait to follow along and see what happens in June.
Speaker2: Oh, you're so sweet. This has been so fun. Thank you so much for having me.