Her Tiktok video went viral & sold out 4K units! so she sold her house, Love & Pebble’s Lynda Truong
I am SO excited about this episode, Lynda was a longtime listener of the show and we got to cross paths having her share her story behind Love & Pebble, the beauty pops that have been taking Tiktok by storm.
In this episode we’re once again talking about the power of Tiktok - and I hope you’re hearing these and immediately jumping to create content and giving yourself these opportunities to go viral!
The best and worst advice she’s received and an insight to what happened when she didn’t get a deal on shark-tank.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Lynda, hi, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Me too. I'm excited to have you on here. Tell us about Love & Pebble and the ethos behind the brand. Sure. Yes. So we are a Ice facial masks that melts into a skin loving face masks.
00:03:32Edit So it's made with all natural superfoods and it's like all food grade. So what sets us different is that it's a food grade product that you mix with water and you freeze and apply it to your face as like an icy facial. That is so cool. I've never seen anything like it and I was watching videos of like your mom using it and it just looks so interesting. How on earth did you come up with this idea and when like take us back to this time in your life where you were deciding to actually start this and turn it into a beauty business? Yeah, so I actually struggled with acne growing up and um I would get this really bad like cystic acne, like on my chin where it's like not ready to pop, but it was just like deep into my skin. So what I would do is I would take like ice cubes and I would, where I would freeze like aloe vera and then just like rub it on my skin. And I noticed that that was like really working for me and so I continue to do this like, you know, even as an adult, I would apply like frozen bananas or I'd mix up this concoction and like I blend it and then I'd freeze it and apply it to my skin.
00:04:46Edit And so one day I was like with my boyfriend who is my husband now, we were like on the couch and I was like applying it on my face, he's like what the heck are you doing? And I was like oh my God you have to try this, this is so amazing, like it's really good. So he tried it and he was instantly hooked like he was like oh my gosh, like this feels so good and it just gave him like this instant glow. And so he was like you know like how can we share this with everyone? Like how can we create this as a product? So I was like, so we were just like, you know it's like how do we how do we send like fresh fruits to consumers? You know, you know after two years of R and D. We figured out how to do that. And so we wanted to make sure that we maintain like natural ingredients so you know our formulas food grade but still keeping it like fresh and not require chemicals or preservatives. So we kept it in powder and so it's kind of like a little make sure that you mix with water and we were able to do that without having chemicals in there.
00:05:49Edit And so here we are, here you are. And what year are we talking when you started that when you had that conversation on the couch? Okay so that was in 2018, right? And when we first launched, like when we first started our company, we didn't start with our beauty pops? We started with facial tools. Having the beauty pops in mind. So you know, we were, I was really worried about like I was scared about launching it like, you know, what do people think it's stupid, what if people don't like this? You know? But thankfully it's been a success and like, you know, after two years, so 2021 which is uh last year's when we officially launched our Beauty pops. Okay, right, got it. I love a bit of a timeline. So I can kind of keep in mind when everything is. So going back to that two years of development, are you kind of like have you invested a lot of savings in that. How much money did you need to actually get it to the point where it was able to be put out into the world? So when we first started our company, we started with about $20,000 and then we reinvested everything.
00:06:55Edit And then we got to a certain point where like when we launched the beauty pops, it required new molds or new more inventory and just like new formula. So we, I sold my house. Actually no way, wow. Yeah. So I sold my house and we were like, you know, what are we all in? We're all in. So let's do this. So I love how you are also like not going straight to like raising money. You're like, hmm, what money can I pull out of myself right now? Where where is the asset that I can sell? Yes. So because we were going back and forth a lot like my boyfriend and I, we were, it would be like your house or my house and it just made no sense. So we're just like, okay, I'll just move in with him, sell my house. And you know, we were really serious about this, this business. So I sold my house and then I put another $100,000 into the company after we launched the beauty pops. And you know when you were saying just a moment ago, you know, you weren't sure what the feedback was going to be when you put it out there into the world, what was your personal community of people around you saying like your friends and your family or you know, old colleagues, that kind of thing.
00:08:05Edit So a lot of people were unsure because it's something they've never seen before. So they're just like, I don't know, you know, like it seems interesting but there's nothing to compare it to because there's nothing like it. So, you know, actually like when we first launched, we did a little, we call it the beauty pop ups. So we were at like a local salon and this lady, you know, we were talking about a product and she came up to us and just laughed at us. She was like that's silly. Like these are pops to eat, not for your face. You know we were like no it's it's for your skin and my husband's a pharmacist. Um he's been a pharmacist for over 15 years. And so he helped me formulate it. And he was like, you know, the ingredients in here are you know there's there's research behind this like there's two mark is great for its anti inflammatory alvarez antibacterial. So these ingredients are actually good for your skin. There's a there's a reason why these we chose these ingredients. So it's not. I mean it's there is a cute and fun aspect to our product.
00:09:08Edit But they really work. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And so when you launch in 2021 obviously, I'm assuming you had a bit of a customer base from the previous year selling the beauty tools, are you able to paint kind of a picture like how big was the business before you launch the beauty pops. So we were we weren't really big actually. We were you know, we we started off like with some tools on amazon and I didn't have much of a community at that time. And what really changed was when we reinvented ourselves and did the beauty pops And I was really surprised because I started really we started small. I only ordered like 4000 units of the beauty pops. I didn't, I was expecting, we called it a soft launch. It was kind of like getting your MvP product out and I was expecting, you know, just to sell it, not sell it but just like give it away, get some feedback and just kind of see how like the market reacts to this, right? But we actually went viral like two weeks after launching it because they are an influencer.
00:10:14Edit Well she wasn't really an influencer but she was just like, I think she only had like 2000 followers and she posted our product on Tiktok and overnight she had a million views. So we and so completely sold out our inventory. So I sold out the 4000 units like within two weeks and we were like whoa, like this is crazy like and we've got an at that time we got so much good feedback. People were like, oh my gosh, this is so cool, this like this really worked for my skin. So we had to like get, you know, we had to do another order. And then after that the other order, it took us about like two months to get back in stock. We went viral again. And it was my mom's video video. Like seriously when my mom did the video it was like unintentional. It was just like okay, I'm just gonna throw this video of my mom because it was her first time trying my new concoction. So she, she applies it and then the before and after, it was like amazing and people fell in love with it.
00:11:15Edit They were like, you know, we sold out again within two weeks. Within those two weeks we made over $100,000 in sales. Like we sold out like all of our inventory. Like thanks mom. Yeah. Seriously? It was just, thank you very much. Yeah, it's, it's been wild and you know, it's like really reassuring to know that what we created like people love it and, and it's just like, now it's just like, we can't stay in stock, which is a good thing, but it's really stressful. It's really hard. It's a bittersweet problem to have because of course you want to be in stock. But yeah, of course, having that demand is interesting. I have a few questions. Just going back to the first influencer post that went viral. The 2000 followers influencer. Was she someone that just posted off the bat? Like you didn't know she was posting or was it like a paid opportunity? Not at all. We did not pay her anything. We just gave her, she, you know, she was like, I think she only had like 2000 followers on her instagram and like barely any on her Tiktok and we're just like, you know, why not?
00:12:21Edit Like, let's just give it away to as many people as possible. So we just gave it away and then all of a sudden like her video was pretty, it was good, but we didn't think much of it. And so when she posted on Tiktok, we just started seeing sales coming and we're like, what in the world's going on. And then she dM me and she was like, do you see my post? I have like 700,000 views right now. And we were like, Holy moly. It's just mind blowing to me. Like how many times I'm speaking to people now? And they're like, yeah, we just had a video go viral for no good reason and it's just changed the game. Like the power of these platforms now is like next. Well, I haven't seen it as much on instagram or heard of that happening on instagram to be honest. It's Tiktok really, but not leveraging that and harnessing that power is like such a missed opportunity right now in today's landscape. Absolutely. I mean we have gone viral five times at this point and it's like my husband's like, what do you do? Like, how do you do it?
00:13:22Edit I'm like, I don't know, it's just, I'm not doing anything fancy. It's just, there's no, I mean, there's no like equipment. Like I'm not, I don't have like a full like production team behind me, like doing things, it's seriously like in my kitchen or like in my, in my room, you know, doing the pops or like clipping videos together and honestly, I think it's, it's telling a story. I think that's what Tiktok likes to see. It's, it's organic, authentic and just being able to tell like your story 100%. What is your like posting schedule? Like how much time do you create? Like how much time do you spend creating videos and how much are you posting on these platforms on a daily basis? So we started doing Tiktok april of 2021 I didn't take it seriously until like june and I was doing it every day for about four months, like once a day or yes, every day. Just one post today. Yes, one post today.
00:14:24Edit He was like, get on Tiktok. So I was like, okay. So I did, I was, I was doing it every once a day every day for about four months. And then when we got reached out by shark tank, it just kind of, everything went out the window because I got really busy. Um, I had to like do a lot of prep work. And um, so then I was doing it like three times a week and then after airing on shark tank, I got pregnant. So I didn't have any time. I, I got pregnant. I got really, I was really sick in my first trimester. So for like two months, I was just, I was not posting as frequently as I'd like to, but I'm still like, it's, you know, I think that people find their way to us and we have like 80,000 followers right now, which is pretty cool. We're pretty proud about that. Yeah, I mean that's amazing. Let's backtrack a little bit. So we were still pretty shark tank. You've got the Tiktok going on. Is there any other initiatives or any other marketing efforts that you're doing or you're just focusing on getting that like daily video up on Tiktok.
00:15:28Edit So we dabbled with some paid ads instagram and like facebook and stuff, but it was never our main focus. You know, it's like everything for us has really been organic and um, we find that we get better results that way. You know, it's something that I still think it's important to have, but we haven't really mastered that yet. It's just, it's like Tiktok has been the best thing for us and then obviously, you know, being on shark tank and a lot of press, but that happened all organically. So yeah, I'm not against paid ads, but it's just something that we haven't mastered yet. Unpredictability is part of what makes starting and growing a business both exciting and terrifying from the next loan payment to your next big sale or your next acquisition finding predictability and business is about as likely as finding a last minute valentine's day dinner reservation, unlikely hubspot Crm platform is here to help grow and scale with you through uncertainty. So you can spend your time getting to that dinner reservation, hub, sports reporting dashboard is like your crystal ball giving you a bird's eye view on your marketing, your sales and customer service performance so you can get ahead of any issues before they happen, lead rotation and automation takes on operational sales tasks.
00:16:47Edit So your team can focus on customer needs and shared inboxes, make incoming chats and emails easy to manage and scale for the whole team, learn more about how a hubspot crm platform can help your business grow better at hubspot dot com. Okay, let's talk about the shark tank experience. Someone reaches out to you, when are we talking about like what's the timeline for this? We got reached out in april and so did they see you on Tiktok, is that kind of like did they see one of your viral videos do you think? Yeah, okay. They see you that way. They did and they reached out to us and we got an email and we're like is this fake? You know like this really does shark tank reach out to people. I thought you apply. So I had someone say the exact same thing on the show yesterday, it's the founder of bora. And she was like you know we had someone claiming that they were like the producers or like the casting team and we were like writer, this is a scam like yeah, you know what's crazy?
00:17:51Edit Is that two days before being reached out by shark tank. My husband and I walked into Kendra scott store and you know Kendra scott is actually one of the um she was one of the guest sharks on there and my husband's like we're gonna be on shark tank and I was like later you know like we're not ready for shark tank like let's let's maybe next year you know? And he was like well you know like he's like I think we're gonna be on there, you know I think our product is pretty cool and I was like okay cool. You know I wasn't thinking much. It's so weird. It's yeah so manifestation I I believe wholeheartedly in that. But anyway like they reached out to us and we didn't think it was real but we went in, we went on some interviews and yeah, surely it was it was legit, it was real. So we were like jumping up and down. But they do have like um it wasn't, it was a process like there are several interview processes and like you have to kind of do like they have to do like your due diligence just to make sure everything looks, you know good and it's accurate and so it was it was a really cool experience, tell us about the experience what happens when you go on the show.
00:18:58Edit So like we were you know there's a lot of prepping. We were really nervous but honestly it was probably the most exciting experience I've ever been like it was like the adrenaline we had, it was, we're really nervous and just seeing the sharks in real life was so surreal. They didn't feel real to me because they were just like perfect looking like they looked like like the wax. Yeah, like they were just so perfect looking their hair and everything wardrobe. They were just beautiful and it just happened so fast. Like everything was just, it went by really fast and you know, we, we got a lot of love and support. Like they were really nice and really good feedback and ultimately like we didn't get a deal but we learned a lot and I took a lot of their feedback, you know, back to our business and really applied that and I think um what they said was that we were too early and you know, we grew so fast, like, you know, within a couple of weeks of launching, we went viral.
00:20:04Edit And so they weren't sure if we were gonna, you know, that was like sustainable or if it was like a one hit wonder thing. But you know, it's been, it's been like eight months since then and you know, we're still going strong so we're working really hard with the feedback. Like what did they say rather? Like what they would have needed to see to be interested. Like were they interested in like obviously, yes, you've been viral, but what would they have needed to be interested. So they were really interested in the product. They really liked our numbers but I think they just needed more time and more of like a track record because when we when we pitched it was only like three months in three months in of after launching the beauty pop. So it was just like you know they were just like I'm not sure like you're where you're you're really early on and you know you went viral a few times. Is that something that is like you know going virus kind of unpredictable?
00:21:07Edit Like you can't really you can't plan for that, you can't plan for that. So that was their concern. But also like I think it was just really new for them. I think that was the main feedback that we got the episode aired though right? Yes, it aired in november of last year and how was it like the impact after the episode aired? But we got so much support and love I think just like you know we were like really humbled and grateful for all the support that we got. Like a lot of people reached out to us and was like you know I really feel like you should have gotten a deal but you know it's yeah it's I think the love and support that we got from the show was even more it was like actually better for us. I think us not getting a deal was a blessing in disguise because on the show you'll see like at the end, like I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but we were really emotional and I was really bummed that we didn't get a deal, but like it was a blessing in disguise.
00:22:08Edit And like now looking back, I learned so much and I realized that we weren't ready. Like we can't even stay in stock. Like we just got back and stop a week ago and like, you know, we're, we're still working on supply chain and all of that. So it's like, you know, I think that it's best to go slow and you know, we're just like listening to our customers trying to collect feedback, trying to see how we can improve. We've been in some interviews with some retailers and um, that's been great. So you know, it's just, I think it's better this way that we go slow so that we're not like getting ahead of ourselves. And I also feel like you probably reaped the benefits of being on shark tank and you know, still got what you needed to get out of it out of that experience. Obviously mass exposure. I'm sure you had sales through the roof, all that kind of good stuff and lots of love from your community. So you know, that's amazing.
00:23:10Edit Yeah, it was really, I mean sales were through the roof. Are you able to share? Um, yeah, I mean I could share some, I could like, so we did sell out, We sold out in like two weeks of airing and I think we had like, I can't remember because this was my first trimester and I was like really nauseous. I was sick. It was really good. We we sold a lot and we had, we set up a preorder list and we had like over 2000 pre orders and yeah, it was just, it was wild. But what, what was really crazy was that? It was right before black friday. So yeah, like you know during black friday sales are like sales are really crazy. So when we air it it was like the weekend before that and people were are, you know, people were buying a lot for like gifts and stuff so it was just, it was crazy just completely nuts. My gosh! And so where is the business today coming into 2022? And what are the kind of, what's the future roadmap looking like for you?
00:24:12Edit Yeah, so a lot of people have been asking for more flavors and that is what we're gonna do. We have three more flavors coming this year. We're hoping that we can get it out. I've been working on this, the new formulas since last year but I'm not like, I have to make sure that it's perfect before we launched so we're hoping to have it launched by second quarter, so new flavors and then we're actually in the talks with some retailers. So we'll see retail expansion. It's exciting. Yeah, we're really excited. How do you approach like funding now and what are your thoughts on, you know, getting investors and things like that? So we haven't paid ourselves and that's actually not the best way to go honestly because we sometimes feel burnt out. I don't recommend that, but that's what we did. We kept reinvesting our money, our profits and friends and family. We got some loans from family and that's helped and gotten some credit card.
00:25:16Edit You know, we increased our credit card limit and some bank loans were trying to hold out as long as possible. Yeah. So it also sounds like probably really the right decision to not take a deal on shark tank until you're in a much better kind of like position for more leverage. Yeah. Yeah. It's just, we've been bootstrapping everything and um, you know, we don't, we don't have the fanciest, you know, marketing, but it's, you know, for us what's really worked. It's just organic and I think people appreciate that nowadays. It's like, we don't, we don't have the fanciest like, like pictures on instagram, but you know, we show like we tell our story, we show a lot of like the behind the scenes and it's worked for us. Yeah, absolutely. I think it's also like people now want that breath of fresh air with just like what's real, what's actually happening? Who is this? You know, what's the more authentic side of this brand versus like everything being polished and you know, everyone having just huge marketing budgets to spray all over the internet.
00:26:20Edit Absolutely. What is the best and worst advice that you've received in your entrepreneurial journey, let's say. See, the best advice would be to honestly was what we got from shark tank, which was gross slow. And I didn't understand that until we started running into a lot of issues and like, you know, with with staying in stock like supply chain that was, you know, we grew so fast, we couldn't fulfill our orders in time and a lot of things fell through the crack and now I really understand why they said grow slow and then the worst advice would probably be. I think someone, you know, the lady laughing at us, she, you know, she didn't, I felt really bummed when she did that and I felt discouraged and if I had let that get to me then I probably wouldn't have launched the baby pops. So now looking back, it's just like, you know, like go for it, believe in your product and believe in yourself because it's like we wouldn't be where we were at if we were, if we let you know that one person put us down 100% I think blocking out the noise and choosing what advice you take on and what you kind of leave behind.
00:27:43Edit It's like it's a skill. I think it's pretty hard like to develop the, you know, the thick skin attitude where you're like, oh yeah, I just brush that off because you know, those things really can get into your psyche and your like mental state. But it's so important to try and just leave that stuff behind and keep forging forward. So there was actually this one Tiktok of a really famous, She was like a really famous Tiktoker and she made fun of our product. She like, she kind of used a clip of my viral video and it was just kind of like laughing at it. Like these are pops that you should eat. And I was really bummed out about that too. And it took me some time to get over it because so many people were commenting like that's crazy. Like, you know, why are you like, why are you rubbing popsicles on your face? And but then I realized that, you know, like not everybody has the same like mythology. You know, like there are some people that, you know, believe in like using like doctors.
00:28:49Edit And I guess I'd say like Germ Atallah gist would, you know, sometimes for acne they would recommend using acne treatments were like and stuff. Yeah, like raw Accutane or taking like drugs. Whereas for us, it's all it's natural and going the holistic way. Mm hmm. Yeah. Everyone has a different opinion and a different approach for life themselves. But yeah, I mean that sounds stuff I get like a, you know, snide comment on Tiktok and I'm like, oh, like what the heck it's tough. Yeah. So I can't even imagine that kind of feeling like must be, you know, a difficult one to rattle with battle with battle with. That's what I was going to say. Not rattle with. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode. We are testing out something new here for the next while and we're splitting up each episode into two parts, the main interview part and then the six quick questions part to make them easier to listen to. So that's part one.
Welcome back. Here are the six quick questions question number one is what's your why, why are you doing what you're doing? Like growing up? You know, I was really self conscious about my skin and I want to help others feel confident in their skin and you know, we don't promise flawless skin, but it's just feeling good in your own skin, and you know, there's just something very therapeutic about self care and self love and that's what our products really bring out.
00:01:12Edit It's that it's just taking time for yourself. And you know, I got an email like a couple of months ago about this lady who has she, you know, she suffered from anxiety and depression and she was really excited about using our beauty pops every night for for like nighttime routine and you know, it just really helped calm her and soothe it was like really soothing for her, and that's that's why we do this. That's that is my why Yeah, that's that's impactful. That's powerful to receive something like that. I yeah, I can see that question number two and I guess we've already covered this, but maybe maybe we'll see if there's something else that can come through what's been the number one marketing moment or maybe the second or third, so that we don't go for the viral Tiktok video. Yeah, just, you know, I'd say for us, it was like shark tank really put us on the map, being able to share our story and then yeah, like Tiktok doing, you know, just showing like sharing our story and like being authentic and genuine.
00:02:19Edit Mhm I love it. Question number three is what's your go to business resource when it comes to book podcast or newsletter? So I love listening to your podcast. I have it. Yeah, I just hear, love hearing other people's story and just kind of knowing that I'm not, you know, like that we're not doing this alone. Like, you know, other people are going through the same things that we are. Um it just gives me a lot of like insight on like what everybody else is doing. And then I do love reading books and just talking to other friends that are entrepreneurs to, we're also like in this, in the same industry. 100%. How did you find us by the way? Um so I found your instagram. Oh wow, that's so cool. Oh my God. Yeah, I was like, yeah, I found your instagram and then I found, and then I started looking you up on Spotify and I started listening to you, so loved that for me and for you. Yes, question number four is how do you win the day?
00:03:24Edit What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and productive? Um so trying to wake up early and really seizing the day, like we get up and I have my morning Macha and um I listened to like some relaxing music just to kind of get into the zone and then get started with work. I think the morning ritual is really important. Yeah, if I'm like in a bad morning routine phase, it's pretty tough and I mean like kind of a bad one at the moment where it's just a bit all over the shop. You know, sometimes if you drop a habit it kind of just throws you and then you kind of dropped multiple habits and you're like, I'm in a bit of one of those like bad routine phases. I really need to get back into like the non checking of the phone. That's my biggest one. I'm really bad with checking my phone at the moment. Same here. And like, you know, for me it's just starting kind of slow because it's like, I, I would, I used to wake up check emails and I would just be so overwhelmed and you know it?
00:04:32Edit And then I would start off not happy or just feeling like I had like a long list of two DUIs. But now I just kind of ease into it. I listened to some music meditate and I feel that's helped me a lot. Mm hmm. Yeah. I need back into that kind of rhythm. I get that like feeling of it's not the word isn't necessarily anxiety. Like it's a form of anxiety, but it's like this just like bubbling feeling of like, I don't know. I don't know. But I hate it. I need to get rid of that. Anyway. Next question question number five, What is the worst money you've ever spent in the business today paying for influencers? I and I know that I think that influence, it's really important to have influencers. But not I we don't, I don't recommend paying a lot. Because it's I mean, I think that you should pay what they're, you know, like there, what they require or what they're worth. I do believe like, you know, there are some influencers that do align with our brand, but for us, um, we just didn't know how to find influencers that understood our brand or understood our products.
00:05:44Edit So, you know, we hired some influencers, We paid them a lot of money and I don't think that they were really, they really understood our products. So that was just a really bad experience for us. How much did you spend? What's the most expensive campaign you did? Yeah, we did like one that was like $5,000 and they did a video and it was just not, you know, it didn't get much engagement and I don't think that she really understood our product and we were just really kind of disappointed because if I think that doing it organically is better, like people that reach out to you and you know, want to try your product works are excited about your product. I think going the other way where you're like looking for influencers, it's like sometimes they're not really passionate about it and so it kind of shows through when they're in there, you know, content. Yeah, and that's a key, a key learning 100%. You really need to tap into people who are already excited about your product, who really are going to authentically authentically speak to their community and their audience with with love.
00:06:52Edit It makes so much sense. Yes. And I'm all for paying influencers, like as long as I know that they're really passionate about our product, like we, you know, we're we're all for it, but I think that um it's just if you're like going out there and just looking for influencers and not really knowing if they like your product or not. I don't, I don't recommend that because it does get really expensive. Mhm Yeah, 100%. And last question question # six, What is a major fail or mistake that you can share and how did you deal with it? I guess we partnered with a three pl company and that was a really bad experience because they were small and they, you know, they, which like we wanted to support them, but it's just, I don't think that they could have, they could handle are like the capacity they couldn't handle the number of orders that we had. So I think that you really want to think like for the future, like plan for the future and not just go with someone that's like small or affordable, think big and know that if you know if you do go viral, if or if something does happen like are they capable of growing with you because that can really mess up a lot of things.
00:08:10Edit Yes, that's also a key piece of learning. They're like 100% you want to partner with people that have the ability to scale, that have the ability to move with you while you do and kind of like have the systems and processes that are just, you know, tried and True and tested from like huge other brands. Yes, That's a real good one linda. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show today and share your journey with love and Pebble, this has been so lovely to meet you.