By June Ramli
This time last year on Jan 3 to be exact, I got a call from a childhood friend of mine Priya Shanmugathan to wish me the best for the new year.
We had a rather long chat and in that conversation she had expressed interest in wanting to be an investor for a skincare line utilising my mother’s homemade recipes.
I initially wanted to do a skincare line the year before after reading about how this former beauty writer and Australian entrepreneur Zoe Foster Blake had made a success of her very own skincare line- Go-To Skincare.
Mind you, she was just a journalist like me with no pharmaceutical experience but she gave her idea a good go and see where it had got her.
Months after that read, I sat in on one of those virtual ASX briefings where companies of various CEOs would brief potential investors on how their company was fairing and hold and behold Blake’s skincare line was mentioned in there.
Her line was purchased by this public listed company BWX Limited for a record $89 million.
Everything was metals and petroleum before her brief mention of her Go-To Skincare line in that ASX briefing so it was rather refreshing and somewhat inspirational to hear about her success.
She was like me, a writer, although she specialised in all things beauty and not business and I am of Asian descent.
I was trying to follow in her footsteps by trying to ace a job as a beauty editor since but alas no luck yet.
Fast forward to now, I decided to put my fears aside and worked on producing a bespoke skincare line of my own by creating a line for the lazy bums of the world – someone like me who hates to do skin routines due to its complicatedness.
I initially wanted to do a single product but in the end I had to do two because I didn’t know how to get everything down into one product.
If I would have been able to interview Blake, I would have had, as I have many questions to ask her now as a skincare entrepreneur but I haven’t been able to.
I was instead put in touch with another skincare founder by the universe – Shoshana Eisner of QED Skincare.
It was a PR proposed interview which meant that the publicist approaches you with a story idea or a pitch and you have the liberty to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and I said ‘yes’ because I honestly thought the interview proposal was god sent.
Shoshana was very nice although I did not tell her about my intentions of having a skincare line during the interview as I was still 50:50 about the matter.
By then my friend Priya had decided to pull out as an investor and I was left with the crucial decision on whether to shoulder on or tank the idea once and for all – which is why I kept my mouth shut.
In the end, I decided to do it, after speaking to another entrepreneur in New Zealand, The Block Show former judge – Lizzi Whaley of Spaceworks.
She said something in the lines like, so, what if you failed?
Yes, so what? And I moved ahead with the idea.
Now comes the hard part, selling and marketing which makes me come to my next point- the good and bad side of being famous.
When you are famous, it comes with an insurmountable amount of support, like you have ready-made followers who are willing to do anything for you or buy anything with your name plastered on it.
Like what author Tim Ferris in his book Tools of Titans said, to make anything work, you would need to have a minimum of 1000 followers- and by that what he is trying to say is that you would need to have a minimum number of 1000 followers if you want to sell anything.
Now, back to why being famous is a superpower.
I think that being famous is one of the most important things that is required by entrepreneurs because it makes the journey of selling so much easier for you.
I was browsing through Instagram the other day and saw that Indian actress Priyanka Chopra now has her own haircare line – even with all the monies in the world as an actress why does she need to create her own hair care line and become a competitor for many stand alone struggling entrepreneurs trying to make it big in this cut throat business? But she did just that.
And as a famous actress, she is already making waves with her brand which I have not heard off until I stumbled upon her Instagram plug today.
The best part about her brand is that it is already gaining traction and is getting into stores like Walmart and soon Target.
See, that is how being famous can help you greatly in your entrepreneurial journey.
Do you even know how hard it is for someone relatively unknown to get a meeting with the higher ups at Walmart or Target let alone onboard their products there- case in point – my very own journey of trying to get a meeting with the good folks at Iconic.
If you ask me, make it big first as in go all out to be as popular as Kim Kardashian and then go into the world of business because in that way everything would be a breeze for you.
But for entrepreneurs who are trying to make it big without a huge following, I would like to commend you for your act of bravery.
As it is not an easy feat. You are working hand and tooth on your ‘baby’ while unsure if the product would sell or not. You have my utmost respect. You are a rockstar.
I am still working on the price point of my skincare line cause not only would it need to cover the cost of me in bringing the product to life but it must also bring some profits to me as well.
I also need to be mindful to price it not too high as it would deter potential customers off whilst not pricing it too low that could resort in a loss for me.
After that another beast that I would need to tackle would be to think of ways of marketing the product without breaking the bank.
I have since done a product catalogue and worked on a YouTube ad for the brand which I shot myself at Bondi Beach yesterday and hope to share with you next week.
Till the next update. Be good.