Depression and anxiety lead Lisa Stelly to starting Fancy Sprinkles with $2,000. Here’s her story.
On the show today we’re learning from Lisa Stelly, founder of Fancy Sprinkles.
Fancy Sprinkles is a woman-owned and woman-run confectionary sprinkle company on a mission to reimagine the edible arts industry by way of colorful sprinkles and accessories that can be used on everything from baked goods to cocktails, and even on your veggies for the fussy easters.
We’re talking about her journey of crating this brand while suffering from depression and anxiety, her advice on what you should be spending your marketing dollars on: hint it starts with T and sounds like rickrock and why you should create a brand that stands out from the crowd.
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!
lisa. Hi, welcome to the show. Hi june. How are you? I'm so great now that I'm talking to you. I love your little necklace situation going on here. So fun. Thank you. I made it says mama, it's one of my many hobbies. Oh my gosh, I love that I used to have a jewelry brand and I would also make fun things. Love that for us. I'm so excited about our story today or our conversation rather your story, you're the first person I've ever met who has a Sprinkle company, I'm sure people tell you that all the time.
00:03:45Edit Where do you like to start your story? Why sprinkles? Well, it's interesting because this story actually starts with depression, not the most pretty thing to talk about, but I always talk about it because I think it's really important to highlight the fact that like tons of people have depression and anxiety um and we're all just trying to do our best. And so I started this company after my second daughter was born, I had really horrible postpartum depression that led to some other autoimmune conditions. I was really down um I was really unhealthy, I felt terrible most of the time. Um and so at that time I was kind of looking for something therapeutic, you know, in addition to the medication and the therapy that I was receiving, um it was suggested to me that I sort of have something that was just my own versus, you know, because at that point I wasn't working anymore. Um I was just full time bombing at that point, and so my therapist suggested to really sort of have a hobby, something that was just mine that I could do, that would give me joy and creative fulfillment because I am a creative person.
00:04:55Edit And so I just kind of went down the rabbit hole on Youtube and instagram and I kind of just discovered cake decorating. I found it to be so satisfying watching people make cakes and decorate and I thought I could do that, I feel like I could do that because I had always been into art and you know, I would paint and I do like all kinds of sorts of sorts of arts and crafts. I like decorating. And so I watched a bunch of youtube videos, I started following some of my favorite cake decorators that I'm actually like friends with now um and I just started watching their stuff and thinking, okay, I can do this. So I, I sort of watched a lot learned absorb the information and then I purchased what I felt I needed to get started and my daughter said, I want a shop kins, which is like a certain kind of toy we have here, she was four and she wanted a shop kins cake and so it was actually a really difficult cake. It required fondant and all these things that I just wasn't that familiar with, so I was like, I'm just gonna wing it and what I made not to brag looked like it came from a professional bakery and everybody, the feedback that I got was like, this is amazingly so like this is what you should be doing your super good at this and that was important to me to get that feedback, but also the most important thing to me was that it felt so good to do something that I was so interested in it like boosted my serotonin through the roof and I just, I felt so good.
00:06:24Edit So during that process, when I got really into cake decorating, I realized that the cake decorating products were really not speaking to me, you know, I appreciate aesthetics as you can see, I have a butt face here. I like just, I like decorating. I like aesthetic things in my kitchen and I was like, everything just looks like it was made in, You know, China in the 19 seventies or eighties. Like nothing's really been updated and I didn't feel like the baking industry was really approachable in the sense that, you know, you walk down the aisle and you look at things and you go like Tylo's powder, glucose powder, like what is this for? They don't explain anything. And I was like, this is so difficult for someone to just get into if they want to make this stuff, but it's actually easy if you know what to get. So, um, the thing that I thought was suffering the most was the sprinkles, I was like, I don't even eat sprinkles because they're just really waxy and crumbly and they're not really pretty, it's just standard primary colors. Um, and I just thought this could really use a makeover.
00:07:27Edit And so I started when I was traveling at the time with my family, you know, I was in Germany and I saw some sprinkles there and they were like beautiful and they tasted so good. And I was like, why don't we have these in the US? And so just through a bit of research, I kind of realized that you know, the baking industry is kind of like very corporate here. It's very old school owned by the same people who kind of just, they tend to not innovate, they just keep doing what they're doing because they don't really have any competitors that are coming in and saying, okay, we're gonna offer something that has beautiful packaging, great brands and great story, community education that was just not existing at the time. And so when I started my business, I just started kind of mixing Sprinkle blends together and I put them on donuts at my own house. And I had a friend who owns a company and he came over and he was like you should sell these. And I was like, what? Like the donuts, I don't want to have a bakery, I don't want to deal with like Bridezillas. And you know, have to wake up at 4:00 AM. And he was like, no, the sprinkles and I was like, where am I going to sell them, That doesn't make any sense, you know?
00:08:30Edit And he was like, I don't know, you could figure it out. And so I kind of just started researching like that genre on instagram of cake decorators and I started sending them Sprinkle blends. And in the meantime I was kind of working on the brand and I deviating a name. And to me, everyone kept saying these are fancy sprinkles and I was like, well then I should just call it fancy sprinkles because that's what it is. So, um, I quickly just learned how to do everything. I'm one of those people who, if I want to do something, I just go full on 60 mph and I do it. So that's the first thing you got to be really committed to wanting to do something and you have to be prepared to work a lot. So I learned how to use Shopify. I basically figured out how to do that by watching Youtube videos. Shopify has a great platform. So you can always like chat with a guru and you're like, how do I upload this and they'll tell you like they have like on command help and it was so easy. So I built this website, I learned everything that I could.
00:09:31Edit I learned photography from a friend. I learned Photoshop from a friend and then I just started sending out care packages to all my favorite bakers and they just started posting about them and from that organic Marketing tool in 2016 I started selling a lot like quickly. So it was funny because I was ordering such small amounts, I wasn't even able to get them from manufacturers. I had to get small amounts from distributors and like go places and actually pick things up physically. Um It's not like it was now we're ordering like pallets and pallets and pallets of things, but at the time you just, you have to know that like you're gonna start small and if someone tells, you know, keep asking anyway because no, doesn't always mean no. Like for instance, our manufacturer, one of our main manufacturers. When I first contacted him and spoke to him, I said I really need just like 50 lb of red sprinkles And he was like, our minimum order quantity is £1,000 per color.
00:10:38Edit And I was like, yeah, I can swing like £100 but not 1000 and I need like a lot of colors. And so I just kept on him, like I talked to him, I got to know him because they were like kind of a family business. And so I was kind of explaining him what I was trying to do and how I thought I could be different and I was like, listen, we're gonna like blow up, we're gonna be really big, we're doing product expansions. Eventually, like, trust me work with me now and I will be loyal to you and stick with you for this product moving forward. And so eventually after like a month of bugging the crap out of him, he was like, okay, okay, we have like an extra £100 from another order that didn't get sent. Like I'll send it to you and then he sent it and slowly, I just started ordering more and more and then we kind of build that relationship. So I've had that happen several times with people. It's like, just because they say no, because that's the rule book that they're given doesn't mean there's not exceptions. I've done this with multiple vendors. They're like, no, there's no way we, we can do that packaging, it's just not possible.
00:11:39Edit And I'm like dangling a huge order in front of them. Like they'll work for what they want. Like they'll try to make it work because they want to keep that relationship with you. So that's kind of, that's kind of in the future. But in the beginning it applies to don't just take no for an answer. There's always a solution to every problem. So I started selling and then, um, you know, that's just how it started. And I love how like back in those days, that was obviously a time where instagram was the hot channel of the moment and you have a huge following now, was that just primarily through those early days of, you know, hustling and posting content on instagram, It was our followers grew quickly on Instagram. You know, after the first year we had like at least 50,000 followers. And so it was all organic, you know, like everything we did was just people liking the brand. Um, that was before we even got into like email marketing or anything else.
00:12:41Edit Like it was so organic and that's one of the things that really drew in investors for us was that, you know, they looked at us like you're so untapped everything you've done so far is organic. Like what if we put some money behind this? What if we put some real marketing behind this? Like, you know, we could explode this. That's crazy. I'd love to touch on the money piece for a moment. Obviously you started super small, you're bootstrapping the brand. What like personal amount of money did you need to invest just to get started with that kind of like early order building, you know, your Shopify site and your marketing and things like you're branding and things like that. Probably like I would say $2,000, not including the camera, I already had the camera, not including my computer, I already had my computer, but I'm just talking about like actual supplies and things, but that money, like don't wait too late to start. Like just start and even if it's not where you want it, like my recommendation is don't spend a ton of money trying to get the brand exactly.
00:13:44Edit Perfect how you want it to be because honestly, by the time you launch, you're gonna hate your packaging anyway. You're gonna be like, I'm ready to change this. So there's don't delay, you know what I mean? Like start really small even with a tiny amount of money and then make money and just keep funneling that money back into the business. Like I didn't take a salary for a very long time now granted not everyone can do that, but at the time I was in a position where I didn't have to take a salary and I put every penny back into the company. Now, if you need to, you can write yourself a small salary, but don't use your business to give yourself a huge salary. In the beginning. It's just, that's not why you do it. You know what I mean? You're putting that money back in so that you can have a bigger payday later. That's the whole point. So, um yeah, such a small amount of money and I didn't spend unnecessary money like On things like having a photo shoot for a product. I'm like, we have so many tools now online with editing and Photoshop, like you don't need to hire a photographer for 10 grand to shoot like packaging and stuff like later.
00:14:47Edit You can after you've made some money in a few months, but like in the beginning, just start small and trust that your product is great. You're putting something out there that you think the world wants and needs and you really believe in it, that's going to translate and you don't need fancy product packaging, pictures for that, I love that you say that because I imagine when people come to your website, they're like, wow, this brand is like so amazing, the content is on point and it's like, people don't realize like, hey, yeah, you still started small, you started by doing these things yourself. It didn't always look like that. Yeah, I look at some of my early pictures and I'm like, oh my God, God, like, you know, I'm like disgusted, but you have to like, you have to try and keep learning. Like it's just, it's not gonna, you're not gonna pop out with a, you know, one of these websites that someone paid 150 grand for out of the gate unless, you know, web design and your creative director and you know, everything like you could put that, something like that together.
00:15:51Edit But like I had no design experience other than just my own intuitive I yeah, absolutely. I love that if you were to kind of summarize like Your journey from 2016 you're posting on Instagram, you've got that, you know, 50,000 followers in your first year things are kind of happening, what are the key or major milestones or just moments because that's not necessarily a milestone. It could also be something, you know, a challenge that happened in the business, but what are the kind of like key moments throughout your journey to get you to today? I think for us because we had so many competitors that popped up so many competitors? It was just like, you know when we were only selling sprinkles, it seemed like every week there was like a copycat and like it was, it's fine. I'm, I'm fine with like, we don't have a trademark or a copyright on Sprinkle blends, like you can mix whatever you want, it's your own art and I welcome competitors. I think it's great. It actually pushes you to be more unique and put things out out there that are different.
00:16:57Edit But I never started this business to just sell sprinkles. That was my gateway in. And my whole plan always was to expand products into the baking category that were easy to use user friendly remove that whole barrier to access that stops people from really baking their own stuff and decorating their own stuff. So I technically just like, I think with all the competitors, it really pushed us to start selling other products, like products that other people weren't selling. So I think a lot of people wait like I waited too long to expand products, but I recommend expanding your product line um, sooner than later. You know what I mean? Like rather than using all the money that you're making too, keep selling the same product and have more marketing on it. Like to allocate some of those funds to having like a component that will go with the other products? So what did you launch in that kind of early, early time, What was your next round of products? Prison powder? Our edible glitter which was probably like the single biggest Aha moment for the business.
00:18:06Edit And that was very like, that was one of those. I'm an intuitive, right? So I make decisions based on my intuition. Mostly it's part of like my personality. And so for me, a lot of the edible glitter in the baking market is not actually edible, like disco dust, you can't eat it. It's made of plastic. So, and it says for decoration only on the jar, but a lot of people were using it. And so there was all this confusion between like is this edible, Is it not edible? So like that was what we really went forward. Like this is edible, It looks like eyeshadow, it's so beautiful and glittery and it's FDA approved. And so we just like really doubled down. That was one of those things where the manufacturer was like, we can't put it in this jar, we can't do that, we can't do that and we just pressure the crap out of them until they did it. And now we have a huge relationship with them. Right? And so once we launched the edible glitter, it started selling really well. But when I realized that there was a way bigger market than just our core customer base, which is like bakers.
00:19:11Edit That's when things really started to turn. So I started putting prison powder in drinks like champagne and literally We said we're going to target some cocktail audiences and drink audiences and there was like one summer I think it was like 20 summer of 2019 or 2020, 20. I made like, I must have made personally 50 ads with prison powder in drinks and we started targeting audience members that were into like stuff like that and it just exploded. Like it was just like, so we had our baking audience, but then just simply changing the target customer was like, I mean it went to like a massive percentage of our sales for that year and continues to be and now it's like we're figuring out it's just all about finding different ways to get your customers interested in your products and it's not always who you think is going to be interested in. It is well, I mean, first of all I love your prison powder, It looks so bloody cool.
00:20:13Edit It's just like, speaks to my soul as someone who loves and appreciates sparkly fun, beautiful things. Um, I love it 100% and I can so see how it would work really well on ads being mixed into a drink. Seeing that like process, I can just associate when you were saying you were kind of going through that growth phase, was it primarily through paid ads or was there like what was the marketing mix that was working for you? I would say a lot of it was paid as at the time. That's always been something for us where, you know, we're trying to get our percentages and our ratios um to what we think is ideal. Uh it's going to be different for every company, but for us like we want a certain percentage of our revenue to come from paid media and we want another percentage to be organic. We just think it it looks good, you know what I mean? For future acquisition purposes? But um yeah, a lot of our, a lot of our ads, uh a lot of our revenue has been due to ads, but also with the last couple of years of Covid, it's kind of just been like, You know, of course like what that year, that first year of 2020, like so much of our revenue was from ads because everyone was home, lots of other companies were pulling their ads.
00:21:30Edit You know, like airlines, all these like travel companies and stuff, which normally like dominate the space. We're pulling their ads and so, you know, cost per clicks were down all of these. It was like the perfect environment to be buying ads and be testing a lot of things. And so we saw a lot of success in that 2020 era. Um with paid media, but I mean we were right now we're sort of transitioning to other marketing styles. Like we're at, we're at the point now in the company where I'm stepping out of like day to day role and sort of transitioning to things like this, you know, or getting marketing opportunities, like getting my story out there because I've been like head down on a computer With a camera for the last five years for 70 hours a week. And so now it's like, you know, doing things like the today show, I just did the today show a few weeks ago and just kind of putting that organic marketing out with like pr and you know, maybe some potential like real life experiences when the world starts to open up.
00:22:31Edit All of that was in the planet just didn't really happen because of Covid got a bit delayed. Yes, and still just keeps getting delayed. It's like, yeah, I mean, I'm so sick of Covid, I can't wait for it to be done or like what the world's going to look like when it's, you know, the new normal of it pretty much being done 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, 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.
00:23:32Edit 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, what's your approach to retail? Are you in stalkers? Are you primarily online still d to see what's the what's the strategy there?
00:24:40Edit So our strategy was always d to see that's one of the reasons that my investor partnered with me is because, you know, they own a few other pretty massive DTC companies that weren't that massive when they started, but, you know, one of them actually is going public on, I think friday. And so basically, you know, he was very interested in the D. C. Model, his daughter I worked very close with. She's actually our Ceo now, like five years later. And so we just love the DTC model. She and I like, we just really love it. And you know, we're in a few small retailers, like more boutiques, but we always wanted our retail plan to really be solid before stepping into that. Now, what I can say is that that is something that is actively being worked on right now. I can't say when, where we're gonna be in retail, but when we are, it's gonna be big. Oh my gosh, exciting. Yes. With some very really, really cool retail packaging.
00:25:41Edit Like I saw it yesterday and I was like, whoa, this looks awesome. It's just so different than anything else on the baking aisle. It's just like, oh, did I land in the cosmetics? You know what I mean? It's just, and so it just sticks out like a sore thumb, which is what we wanted. Um, and so I'm really excited about that because I've been wanting to do retail for so long. It's just getting it right and partnering with the right people like, we have a high price point. So naturally a lot of the stores that's all the baking stuff, they wanted to be cheap, They want it to be, you know, But it's like, our stuff is not cheap, our stuff is high quality, it has excellent packaging, great community. Like, we're a brand, we're not just like a commodities pumping out things for a dollar 99 that's not who we are. And so just kind of finding those right partners that are willing to take a chance on like a higher priced product. Um Again, that's one of those things where we're I'm not going with the word no, and it's paid off, you know what I mean? It's just like, oh no, but then it's like, alright, then you're not getting it, you know?
00:26:45Edit And they're like Guns on that one. Yeah, we did. And it's actually been a great decision. So um yeah, I'm just I have another really exciting opportunity that I'm crossing my fingers on, which could be really huge for us. Um So just there's like a lot of exciting things happening. But back to your question, it was always meant to be mainly due to see. Um but then we do want a retail component. I think it's harder to start with D. Two C. Honestly, because like, you have to stop so many more people and it's just like the retail now, it's just like a completely separate operation. So, you know, this kind of segues into a question that I was going to ask you in a moment. So I'll ask it now if you were to start the same business again tomorrow in today's landscape, is there anything that you would do differently? Like would you invest earlier? Would you get funding earlier? Would you have gone retail like or anything you would have avoided altogether? What are your kind of like thoughts in hindsight? Oh my God. We have such a complex operation at fancy sprinkles because we blend all of our sprinkles in house.
00:27:49Edit Like I have a full on like food processing facility here and so it's so insane what we do and people are like, what are your sprinkles so expensive? And like you have no idea of the amount of work that goes into this. It's not like we're calling china and saying, make this Sprinkle blend and jarred up and send it to us. It's so different. Like we get all the raw ingredients. I come up with the recipes like With each ratio and then like we have recipes that are like £70 and then it goes into our food processing facility which is on site and it is then blended there. So, and then jarred there. So that's one of the things that I don't know that I would do that again because it's so complex and it's taken so many incredibly smart people to figure out and like we still haven't really figured it out, you know what I mean? As far as like inventory, like it's so difficult, it continues to be a problem. So I think like, maybe I would have done something different there. I don't know what I would have done, but again, I didn't expect it to blow up that fast. Like I thought I would have had time. Um, something that I would have done differently, but I couldn't have was like, now that I'm more, um, I think if I were to start another business or restart this one, I would have had a very clear plan of like product expansion first and then taken the funding and applied it to that.
00:29:07Edit Whereas like, it was kind of just like fun as we go because no one has ever done a business like this, it's not like a cosmetics brand where you go, okay, naturally, we're gonna do a face wash first and then a cream second and then an eye cream third. Like we've, we're like rewriting the playbook so we can't use another model, like another baking brand because we're, we want to be different, we don't want to sell the same products. We don't want things to be the same. So we're essentially writing our own guidebooks. So in my case, I don't think it's possible that I would have been able to do anything different, really. We kind of moved through the funding piece of the puzzle in the beginning, you kind of mentioned that you had one investor, what's been your kind of like, learnings going down that funding pathway and what was your kind of like initial thoughts about getting that capital? So for me we had, we generated a lot of revenue in the first year, I had plenty of capital. I just didn't know what to do with it. That was my main issue.
00:30:08Edit So when I got funding, it wasn't necessarily for the capital, it was more for the expertise and the um, guidance and partnership of someone who was very experienced in this arena and had a whole team who was very experienced in this arena that I would then get access to. Do, you know what I mean? So one of my main flaws is that I'm terrible at hiring? Like I don't know how to hire people, I don't know who I should hire next, I don't know what to look, you know what I mean? Like this is my first venture like of this degree and so, and it's in the direct to consumer space and so like all these crazy roles, like head of growth ahead of retention, like I don't even know what you do? I'm sorry, but like, I just don't know, like I need someone who knows to hire. And so for me it was like, why would I, what am I gonna do with all this money we made And so I really needed someone to come in and like tell me, so that's why I partnered, a lot of people can give you money, but like, what else are you getting?
00:31:10Edit So for me, that's why I partnered with my partner because I knew what I was going to get other than just money. And so I would think that that's one of the biggest pieces, like I know what you say, if you're gonna get funding, know what you want to do with the money, like specifically or at least partner with someone who's gonna tell you what to do with the money if you just have no clue? Did that make it an easy decision for you to put the Ceo in place and be kind of like, oh, I'm not going to be the Ceo, I'm going to be the face of the company. I'm going to be the creative like soul and you know, life of the company, but put someone else in to kind of operate that part of the business. Yeah, I mean I had no business being a Ceo from my own self. Like I've never wanted to be a Ceo, I didn't even graduate college. Like people think, oh, a Ceo is just like the person who makes the final decisions. I'm like, no, you're responsible for so much like finance allocating funds. Like every facet of the business is your responsibility at the end of the day and that is not the same thing as being a founder or a board member. It's totally different.
00:32:13Edit So people were like, why would you want to give up your role as Ceo? And I'm like, cause I have no ego like what do I like? Oh I'm Ceo it's like okay, no one's really buying that for me. Like I don't, I don't need to say that I'm a Ceo to feel like I'm like doing something in the business. And so I was because I knew what was going to be expected of me from board and from the private equity firm we were working for. I was like I don't want it to be my responsibility. So that was like literally one of the first things that I did was like begged them. Like can we please start looking for a real Ceo because I am not a real Ceo, I don't know what to do with this money. I'm a creative, I can do business things, I love running business. I'm great at talking to people getting deals done and all these other things and I understand numbers, like I understand everything to a degree but to be the one at the top making all the decisions about like finances and stuff like that. Not my thing. I don't want to do it. So we started a Ceo serge and I had to be in charge for like another like 9 10 months before we got a Ceo and like we've cycled through a couple of C.
00:33:17Edit E. O. S. But um right now we currently have a Ceo who is also a board member and this has been kind of like my favorite chapter of the business so far? I really admire that. And it's like what you said it's like it really takes no ego to be able to be like yeah I don't need to be in that role. Like I can still feel the way that I feel about the brand and be the founder of this company without having to be the Ceo kind of thing. I think that's um. Yeah really impressive. Yeah. I mean the thing is it's like CEOS jobs are not fun in my opinion. Like you have to put together like four decks and like all these things like it's it's really crazy and like unless you or trained in that it's just I wanted what was best for the business and I knew that me actually like running all those areas of the business was not what was best for the business. Like I was needed in other areas. Yeah I think it's important to audit yourself and to be really clear on what you do want to do and what you don't want to do and like your strengths and weaknesses so that you know if you're building a business it can succeed and shine really bright.
00:34:27Edit Yeah exactly like do what you want to be doing that's actually enjoyable. Like don't choose to do jobs that are not enjoyable because you like the title or the money like that's not really how, that's not really in my experience. What keeps you happy? 100%. What is your top piece of advice for entrepreneurs in 2022? Oh my gosh, that is such a tough one because of the pandemic, I would say a lot before that. But right now, top piece of advice for entrepreneurs, we're talking, people have already started a business never stop evolving. Once you get comfortable doing something, it's going to change because that's the way that the world is working right now with Tiktok, it's, it's been really difficult. And so I would say like really pay attention to what's going on in Tiktok on marketing, uh, pay attention to what's going on in the world because it's just constantly changing. And if you get too laser focused into your business and you're not watching what's going around you, like competitors, things that are happening, um like new trends and things that are coming out, you can actually be blindsided by something that comes out that might just like brush you, You know what I mean?
00:35:49Edit Especially if you're, if you're in like a business where you have a lot of competitors, um, you always want to stay one step ahead of them. Like don't ever let your guard down because when you do that, it's, I mean we're lucky that we don't have a ton of competitors in this space yet, but I can't even imagine being in like the beauty space. It's just so oversaturated. Like, I don't know how they do it. That would drive me nuts. What's your kind of like mindset? Obviously you're focusing on Tiktok. I've, I've seen your content. What's your thoughts on this whole situation? And how does it feel to be like frick? We've got a huge following here. We've got to build it again somewhere else. My point is like be adaptable. Like don't just keep doing the same thing because you're used to editing a video some way. Like I'm talking to people who are early on in their business, like really small, you know, keep up with the trends if you find a sound that you really like save it and like make a video with it, you know, like utilize all those tools that instagram and Tiktok are giving you.
00:36:53Edit Um, and I, yeah, I guess if you're early on in your business, it's, it's, it's really important to like keep up with the trends, especially like there's so much now for small businesses on like Tiktok and instagram, like there's so many like different video trends that people are doing. Um, I would say just like keep up with those and if you don't have time, like that would be the first higher I would make if I had a really, really small business. Um, I would literally hire someone to just turn out content, like viral type of content because to me that's better. That's the best marketing dollars you're gonna spend if you're a newer business with not a lot of funds rather than allocating so much money to paid instagram and facebook ads allocate a smaller amount and allocate more to organic Tiktok and instagram, yep, that is a key piece of tactical advice for anyone listening before you go down the route of hiring an agency and spending thousands of dollars on a retainer. Higher creator hire a really cool creator.
00:37:56Edit That's what I think is really important. People think that they need to like jump to the next level. Like I need to redesign my site, I need to like spend a lot of money on an agency to make instagram and facebook ads and you know the agency is just gonna present stuff to you and they're gonna go this is working, this isn't working that well. We need you to spend some more money on making these ads and like it's really working well because they want you to stay with them. So you have to be able to understand the data yourself and really look at it and saying is this working like what's my R. O. I. On this? You know like my R. O. I. Is like a. One like I essentially was like that was a wash you know, but they're gonna be like, it worked like you made your money back doesn't really work that way. And so because once you get that customer, what are you doing with that customer? How are you retaining that customer? Uh So I just think, yeah, a key piece of advice is like do as much organic marketing as you can before you're spending any money giving it to an agency. Amen. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode.
00:39:01Edit 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. 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? Um I'm doing what I'm doing because I want to make the baking and decorating world more accessible to people who think that they have no ability to make or decorate. I want to remove that barrier to entry and get people in the kitchen decorating things, putting glitter in their drinks and you know, making things like cake sickles and realizing like it's not that hard, like this is an activity that I can actually do.
00:01:17Edit Like, I don't have to be a professional baker, so really just like demystifying that whole process and making it pretty and fun at the same time, you are speaking my language, you're my kind of woman question to what has been your number one or favorite marketing moments so far? Probably when I did the Today show, like a month ago, I was featured on this segment called um, she made it cool. I think it's called, she made it and it was about like female entrepreneurs and we were not prepared. We were just like not prepared because I don't watch like tv in the morning. Like I'm busy getting my kids ready. But I guess like a lot of people watch like morning shows. Everyone saw it. It was like nuts. Like we've never had that many people on our site before. We like, it was like our highest revenue day on record within like the span of like three hours. It was like nuts. Like they broke our site and so that was crazy because that was kind of the Aha moment for me.
00:02:19Edit Like I need to be out there like talking about this brand because when people know about it, they want it and they're interested in it. So that's, you know, that's kind of where I'm spending my time now doing things like that. Oh my God, that is so cool. How exciting. What a thrill. It was so exciting. It was so fun. Question number three is, what's your go to business resource in terms of book podcast or newsletter Youtube. I learned everything on youtube. I learned how to decorate cakes on Youtube. I learned how to put on makeup on youtube. If I'm like, huh? Just like google it and like I watch youtube videos. Like it's so educational, you can literally get so many different perspectives on there. But also like if I want to get smarter, I talked to other people who are smarter than me for sure. Like I have mentors so having a mentor is really important. How do you find a mental side question? There are different like groups that you can get involved in. There's like, you know, maybe start on facebook, there's probably like entrepreneur groups and then you can meet people through there. There's like all kinds of like entrepreneurial online and in person clubs.
00:03:26Edit Um, and then someone always knows like a friend of a friend, like I met my mentor through my business partner. So just get out there and like talk, don't be afraid to like talk to people who are smarter than you. I mean I meet people at parties sometimes where I'm just like, oh you do this great. Like we should get together and have coffee. Like I want to pick your brain about this, like you just really have to be proactive, even if you're an introvert about absorbing information, like a sponge, 100% question number four, how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and productive? Wine night, iced coffee in the morning. Um you know, it's like I keep trying to work out like for my mental health or whatever and it's like I just cannot stick with it. It's so hard for me, but something I've learned is that like, once you stop instead of like feeling bad, like I haven't worked out in three weeks like it's okay, you can just go back, you know what I mean? And so just kind of giving yourself that grace. I love treating myself to like really yummy food, like pasta and pizza and like desserts.
00:04:34Edit Like I'm not crazy about that type of stuff. Like I'll just, if I want it, I'll eat it right? So like life is too short. I think it's just like those simple moments between like working your butt off and then enjoying the fruits of your labor, whatever that looks like for you for some people, it's being really active, like going to play tennis or doing whatever for me. It's like if I've been working like crazy, I want to eat a pizza in bed and watch them to watch something on netflix and drink wine, Like that's my happy place, right? So I think for me also like spending time with my kids, you know, like if I finished everything on my to do list for the day for work and then I get to make dinner for my kids at night and then after they go to bed, like have a glass of wine and watch something that's like the biggest win for me. Like what more could you want than that. Yeah, I feel like we have a lot of similarities. I don't have Children, but all the, all the other stuff, I'm like, yes, that is me, your, you're describing me just keep it simple. Amen question number five is what's the worst money mistake you've made in the business?
00:05:39Edit And how much did it cost you? I'll go with hiring a service that we were not ready for. That is one of the main things like do not buy or invest in something that you do not understand. Um, there was a platforms slash service that caters to, you know, optimizing ads and optimizing, blah, blah, blah and it was really expensive and it came really highly recommended. But at the time we didn't have anyone on staff to oversee and manage that relationship. And I signed up when I was the Ceo, I signed off on it and I didn't understand it. Someone tried to explain it to me and I was like, I don't get why we need this, but because everybody else wanted it, I signed off on it anyway, and that was a mistake because we were not ready for it. It was like trying to drive a Ferrari when you don't even know how to drive, you know, a stick. It was just, it was, we weren't ready for it.
00:06:45Edit And so it ended up being a big waste of money because you know, it's like one of those things where they start like testing like does the blue or red button work better on your site, like when you're at the level where those tiny little increments matter like we weren't even near there. You know what I mean? Like we had the money, we need to spend way other places. But again, like do not invest in things that you are not ready for. How much are we talking? What's the kind of cost on doing something like that? I mean Several $1,000 a month at least. Yeah. You know, and we had it for six months so like probably like Close to like 30 or 40 grand probably. Oh yeah, that's a lot that stings that could have been spent on your content marketing creators. Yeah, just could have been spent on anything at the time. Like, you know, I could think of 100 other things that could have been spent on. But again, like you, unless you make these mistakes, you don't learn. Like that was a huge learning experience for me because I was just like, yeah, wow.
00:07:49Edit Like we probably didn't need to go with something, something like so insane. That's like something that you know, a brand like Williams Sonoma would do because they're so huge. Like they can afford to play around with all these little tiny baby tests and it probably makes a big difference for a huge brand. It does because they're making so much money even like 1.01% makes a big difference when you're making you know, several $100 million a year. It's it makes a huge difference. So yeah, for us like we were not ready for that. I hear you question number six, last question, what is just a crazy story? Good, bad or ugly that you can share from the business. This is not that crazy, but it kind of speaks to me as a person. Um Several years ago I had a image created by one of our content creators of our, it was an ad for our glittery sugar and I told her to put it on a mirror and make it look like drugs. I was like, it's like that's gonna be the tagline is like like sugar high or like you know addicted to sugar or something like that.
00:08:58Edit So she made this like it was like a mirror tray and it was like this glittery sugar like in a pile. Then she had like a MetroCard and a straw. Okay, like our brand. Like we've always been edgy. I'm not really one of those people who's like, like I can take a joke and I understand art right? Like I'm not saying to do drugs. I'm literally comparing the fact that it's like, I don't know, it was like tongue in cheek. It was like provocative. I thought it was cool and we posted the image, we got like a ton of really good feedback on it. People are like, oh this is sick but someone wrote into the better business bureau that like we were promoting drug use and like this is not funny and like someone like literally took the time to like right in and like they wrote me this whole letter and they were like, we won't take any action because like obviously this is stupid but like just so you know, and we like have the letter framed in our office because we thought it was so funny. And then like every year on the anniversary of when she wrote it, we post the picture on social media like, you know, the second year anniversary when like so and so or we don't say their name, but since we got a letter from the Better Business Bureau but our drug sugar picture, so I don't know if you saw, I don't know if you saw valentine's Day collection pictures but they are like, I was uncomfortable when I was giving the like brief to like all of our employees.
00:10:23Edit I'm like standing there and I'm like talking about like whips and chains and handcuffs, dildos and all this stuff because the theme was like baby you make me melt. And it was like based off of like sex and like different types of sex and like if you look at the photos, like there's actually a picture, like a steamy shower picture and it's supposed to be like from the show sex life, like the shower scene and so like we have like a dildo that's like pixelated and blurred out in the back and like lube, It's like there's like ripped open like condom wrappers and I'm like, we're selling baking stuff. But that's kind of how I fused my personality into the brand is like, we've never been scared to, you know, go subversive or provocative because it's just like, come on. It's like 20, Like, people need to have like a little bit of fun. Like not everything needs to be so like you know, straight laced and cut. See it's just like, we're just like, we're just having fun and like if you don't like it, then you're probably not our customer anyway. You know, 100 percent. 100%. Oh my gosh, That is so funny.
00:11:24Edit I'm going to check it out afterwards. I love that for you also didn't know that there was a business, the better business bureau and that, that was the thing. This is the first time I've heard of that. I don't think it holds as much weight as it did like in the 1980s. Oh my God, I just said in 1980s instead of 80s. I was born in the 80s. Now you have to like clarify as if we as if we've like crossed the 2000 and eighty's. Um But I yeah, I guess like people used to write in because there wasn't like trust pilot, which is like the platform that everyone uses now for like verified reviews and stuff, but like Better Business Bureau would like police businesses and if you had a great better Business Bureau rating than you were great. But I don't think it's that great because I only want to hear from customers who have purchased from us, which is why like Trust Pilot is great because it only lets people review who have actually purchased better business bureau. Anybody could write in and say something bad about your business. Like I have no business who's like excellent business and people because they don't like them because they're controversial like constantly right into the Better Business Bureau.
00:12:31Edit So they've got like a one ranking on Better Business Bureau yet they're like a public company because they're so successful. So to me, like not that important. 100%. I hear you. They don't have any like power, You know what I mean? Like they're, they're not like the police, They're just sending you a letter up like just so you know, someone complained about shaming me. Oh gosh, that's crazy. Crazy lisa thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show and share all the things about fancy sprinkles. I love what you're doing. Sounds like such a fun cool company to work for. Thank you so much. Thank you. It's great. Thank you so much for having me. It was really nice to talk to you.