I am launching an exciting, weekly new post called How Did She Do That? Over the past couple years I have met so many inspiring women business owners. They have overcome crazy obstacles and built businesses that are really amazing. I set out to interview a different business owner each week and ask how she accomplished some “big wow” moment in her business. Whether it’s getting a major piece of press, expanding into a major store, publishing a book, or doubling her revenue, I want to know, How Did She Do That?
My first interviewee is Sheryl Gibbs Hutton, aesthetician, author, animal advocate and founder of Sevani Botanica Skincare. I met Sheryl a few years ago and am so impressed by everything she’s done in just the short time I’ve known her.
An aesthetician for 25 years, Sheryl began mixing custom essential oil blends for her clients to treat their specific skin concerns. Clients were so taken with the concoctions they wanted to take home treatments for themselves and soon Sevani Botanica was born. Inspired by her Italian grandmother who introduced her to the wonders of home- grown aloe, Sheryl began a skin care odyssey that recently culminated with the release of her book, No Bull Beauty, and a brand new No Bull skin care line.
Sevani Botanica is sold at Whole Foods and has been featured in InStyle Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Organic Spa, VegNews, Daily Candy, Vegetarian Times and Town and Country Wedding. No Bull skin care has been featured in Daily Candy and Spirituality and Health magazine. Sheryl’s had so many big wows that we discussed a number of her accomplishments.
How Did She Do That: Your press coverage is impressive. Your Sevani cleanser had an editorial feature in InStyle Magazine. How did you do that?
Sheryl Gibbs: I was fortunate enough to meet with the beauty editor while in New York thanks to an introduction from a colleague. She tried my Ageless Radiance Cleanser and loved the dual-purpose action. It had to be sent to a dermatologist for testing and I was really nervous, but she loved it. It wasn’t a typical little product blurb, it was a full review. I was very lucky.
HDSDT: It’s so difficult to get major press like that. What do you think contributed to your getting in some big publications?
SG: Magazine editors like products that are innovative. Whether it’s the concept or packaging, they’re always on the lookout for something new. The Sevani cleanser was different because of the creamy texture, it doubled as a masque, and was all natural. Also, in many cases, it really comes down to who you know.
HDSDT: Do you have any tips for other product business owners on how to get major press?
SG: Press does not always guarantee results in the way of revenue, and may be short lived so I recommend a complete strategy focusing on establishing a loyal customer base, both wholesale and retail along with marketing. Whether you seek wholesale customers or press to grow your business, you have to make a commitment and investment in sampling. You will want to submit full size samples of your product to stores, bloggers and/or editors. Many bloggers and magazine editors are very busy and are inundated with product, so keep it simple – include a postcard or letter with key information about the product, key ingredients, price, point of difference, and contact information. It takes a ton of tenacity and perseverance. You can’t take it personally if they don’t feature your brand, they receive so so much. Of course, you can also hire a publicist but this does not fit in most startups budgets and can be very costly with no guarantees.
HDSDT: After you’ve been in some big publications, how do you stay motivated to do the next BIG WOW?
SG: Business ebbs and flows so you have to seek new customers, create new things, even try a new marketing angle. Surround yourself with others to stay inspired and bounce ideas off of.
HDSDT: Are there any morning rituals or mindset work you do that you’d like to share?
SG: My morning ritual is to avoid the computer, all the email can evoke strong emotions. I make my green smoothie, sit in a window to observe nature, meditate with my cats. It makes me more prepared to deal with any negativity and makes me feel more optimistic. I exercise every other day, and practice deep breathing when I feel stressed.
HDSDT: What general advice would you give to another female business owner or someone who wants to start a business?
SG: Make sure you have your business set up properly at the beginning with appropriate licensing, business entity, insurance, etc. Estimate your start up expenses and create a plan of action. Of course, make sure you are extremely passionate about what you do, as this passion will keep you inspired through the tough times. Know things will ebb and flow, but keep your eye on the prize!
HDSDT: Where can people currently find you or your products?
SG: My book, No Bull Beauty can be found on the No Bull website and No Bull products can be found on our website. Sevani Beauty can be ordered from the website and in select spas and Whole Foods (NY and NJ). We donate a portion of the proceeds to animal welfare. Thanks for your support.
Thanks so much to Sheryl for providing so much great information! We can’t wait to see what’s next!
*full disclosure: I sell the No Bull Beauty book and skin care product line at my shop, Petit Gourmand
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.