I just returned from a trip to Chicago, my former home. I was back to attend the International Housewares Show and check out the most recent kitchen and housewares for my shop.
I've exhibited at a number of trade shows, including NYNOW and Atlanta International Gift and love the energy at a good show. Believe it or not, many booths are staffed by the founders/owners of the exhibiting company and there's a real excitement in being around people who love their business and want to show it off to the world.
If you're feeling in a slump with your business, it's time to see who's in your hive. If you're not surrounding yourself with other dynamic, exciting entrepreneurs, you're doing yourself and your business a disservice. Surround yourself with people that are excited about what they do, take action and reach for the stars. It's easy to pick up on other people's energy and let it affect your own mood. You need to either choose not to let it affect you or surround yourself with those that will have a more positive effect. It's an easy way to get back on track to have an inspiring business.
If you own a business, you are probably familiar with the never-ending battle of self doubt. Sometimes it's a real struggle to stay positive and keep negativity at bay, particularly in the middle of winter.
One thing I've noticed about successful people is that they don't give in to those negative voices or the self doubt. They just keep plowing through, keep their goals in sight, and do what it takes. This may seem so basic, but more people fall victim to the self doubt and keep themselves and their business small than those that break free and become wildly successful.
I have a very hard time staying positive toward the end of winter. I don't know what it is: the grey skies, lack of fresh air, whatever, I just long for spring and find myself feeling blue. When you own a business or two, or several, you can't really afford to be blue because you have to serve your clients, customers and keep your business going and stay passionate. I was doing some reading last night and came across a great quote that I think is helpful for anyone feeling a bit blue right now.
"To be ambitious for wealth, and yet always expecting to be poor; to be always doubting your ability to get what you long for, is like trying to reach east by traveling west. There is no philosophy which will help man to succeed when he is always doubting his ability to do so, and thus attracting failure. No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible."
French psychoanalyst Charles Baudoin
I think this is a great quote to keep self doubt at bay. If your mind is preoccupied with negativity and failure, that is the direction in which you will go. You can follow all kinds of programs or systems, but if you don't actually expect to succeed, you will not. Your mind should be filled with images of success, realization of goals and you will move in that direction.
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
If you've met me in person, you know that I am passionate about small business owners. I love hearing the stories, talking about what's working, not working and brainstorming to come up with new ideas. When I've needed help with one of my businesses, I usually go to a fellow female business owner to get advice. I've received so much good advice over the past few years, I'd like to start sharing it with other business owners.
This week will be the debut of my column, How Did She Do That? Each week I'll feature a new female business owner who's had a BIG WOW moment. Think big piece of press, major retail distribution, exploding revenue, or writing a book. I know that when I meet someone who's had a BIG WOW, I want to know, "How Did She Do That?"
Our first feature will be Sheryl Gibbs Hutton, esthetician and founder of Sevani Skin Care, author of No Bull Beauty and founder of the No Bull product line. Sheryl's had a number of BIG WOW moments in just the few short years I've known her, and I'm so pleased to share her story, stay tuned!
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. When you're looking for a business lawyer in Philadelphia, the Main Line or New Jersey, we can help.