Beauty Store Business

AUG 2018

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84 August 2018 | beautystorebusiness.com Executive Q&A the internet. I definitely cut my teeth on the internet. That's where I spent a big part of my career, and I have a soft spot for it. However, I was trying to really simplify my life in a lot of ways, get back to what's really important and shed the excess. That's how Humble came about. I was just trying to lead a more humble life. There's a fellow you may have heard of, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. One of his quotes, which I love–and I'm probably not going to say it correctly–is, "You know you've developed the right product when you can't take anything else away from it." So many manufacturers try to add so many ingre- dients to whatever they are developing. I wanted to try to create a company where we add as few ingredients as possible, but still have our products work just as well, if not better, than products with numerous ingredients. I feel that is also giving a nod to the whole idea of being humble: creating a product or products with as few ingredients as possible. Is your packaging eco-friendly? Right now, our packaging is plastic. And it's recyclable. We have been exploring a couple of different options. We are exploring using ocean-bound plastic– capturing discarded plastic before it gets to the ocean. What is your social strategy for Humble Brands? We are increasing our social media presence mostly using Facebook and Instagram. We are launching a couple programs that will be announced soon. The first allows our customers a way to post an image on Instagram of themselves using Humble products or referencing Humble products–and when they do it, we make a donation. It's a way to get the word out, have fun and direct some of our profits back into a number of charitable causes. We also have a part- nership with musician and ex-pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter. In a number of collaborative campaigns, we will have contests on Instagram where people can win prizes–and a big grand prize. So, it provides a way for us to create fun and increase brand awareness to a community that cares about nature and health. Tell us more about Humble Brands' collaboration with musician Donavon Frankenreiter. How did that come about? We've only done a soft launch with Donavon– we haven't done a big push yet. What I can tell you though is people love, love, love the signature scent we created with him. It's a combination of Palo Santo, frankincense and vanilla. And it has skyrocketed up there next to one of our best-selling scents. He's currently touring and working on projects. There will be more upcoming. It's a deep partnership– not just a one-time or two-time thing. I spend part of the year on the North Shore of Kauai. Donavon lives pretty close by. We've just gotten to know each other and we've become friends. And in our friendship, we've talked about different causes out there and realized we share many of the same concerns. For example, we are both concerned about sea plastics and doing what we can do to eliminate them. Also, we like the Surfrider Foundation and working with them to detoxify the coral reefs. So we thought there could be a fun way for us to work together, promote the brand and help generate support for meaningful causes. What do you want beauty retailers to know about your brand? Several things. I want retailers to know we use only organic, non-GMO ingredients–and that the majority of what your customers put on their skin is going to be absorbed into their bodies. Also, we try to ensure that our ingredients are as healthy as possible for the consumer. Most natural deodorants still have a list of 10 or 12 ingredients, and consumers may not easily recognize what they are. Our deodorants have four to five simple ingredients that most any consumer will recognize. It's stuff you likely have in your kitchen and probably cook with! We are trying to be as transparent as possible with the ingredi- ents we use in our products. Second, we have come up with something that really works well from an efficacy perspective. How has your experience as the cofounder of online beauty retailer gloss.com helped you with Humble? Well, it was a different era. Gloss was late '90s/early 2000s. Surprisingly, when we started gloss.com roughly 18 years ago, it was hard for women to find a place online to buy makeup. The landscape was very dif- ferent. We had a product that was small and easy to ship, needed regular replenishing and had a fairly high price point. I've applied the same concept to Humble; we have a product that needs to be replenished fre- quently and is small and easy to ship. How did earning a degree in meteorology and business and your experience at Google shape your business philosophy? From a meteorology perspective, I used heavy math and analytics. Google is a company heavily driven by analytics. I think it's important to tap into that– looking at analytics, figuring out what it is telling you and what you should do next. But at the same time, I also know the importance of trusting your gut. There are times when the analysis is telling you one thing, but your gut is telling you something slightly different. I listen to it. Depending on the situation, sometimes the gut may win out or sometimes the analytics win out. I try to balance both of those when making decisions. You were an extreme weather chaser. What did chasing tornadoes teach you about business? It taught me to always look at my backside, and not to just look ahead. When you chase storms you tend to get fixated on an area of the storm called the bear cage. That's where all the action happens–the tornado, intense rain and hail. When you chase, you look forward at the bear cage. There have been times when I've been too focused on it, not realizing that there's a small tornado spinning up behind me. So I'd say, it taught me to focus on the goal, but to always still keep an eye on the sides and behind. You don't know what's going to happen from a competitive perspective. And you don't know what's going to hap- pen from an industry trends perspective. I learned to keep my peripheral vision going as much as I can and not get too myopic in my direction. What kind of culture are you aiming to create at Humble Brands? I try to get people on board who are definitely tapped into the concept of using natural ingredients and incorporating them into their lives. The other is creating a company of self-starters–people who can make informed decisions and make them well. The team I managed at Google was pretty large and anyone who is a manager there knows it can be hard if everyone you manage comes to you for a decision. When will you feel like Humble has succeeded? I don't know. Come to me in a year and maybe I'll tell you [laughs]. I keep moving the goal out further! … We as a company do our part to raise awareness so that people can make healthier personal care changes in their lives. I don't know how to track it, but I feel like success will be when that message reaches significantly more people. ■ GET CONNECTED! @humblebrands @humblebrands humblebrands.com @humblebrands "Google is a company heavily driven by analytics. I think it's important to tap into that ... But at the same time, I also know the importance of trusting your gut."

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