If you've missed Part 1, catch up here.
For me, 2014 was all about solidifying our brand, product formulations and mission.
We deepened our connections with clients and our retail shop became a plant-based “Clinique counter.” This was the year that plant-based beauty was finally part of the mainstream conversation, and we were fortunate to be one step ahead of this curve.
As I moved really slowly into 2015, I gave birth to my one and only baby in February. The concept of owning and operating a business while being a mother became a pivotal time for the foundation of the brand. I was back to work 4 days after giving birth and back to manufacturing 8 days later. This was not a time in my life that I reflect upon with happiness or good feelings.
I had no option but to pull myself up and hire two associates, one for retail and one for manufacturing. These two individuals were my lifeline and allowed me to see how I could build a better foundation.
At the end of 2015 after achieving our best, most balanced holiday season yet I received news that our building was sold and that my lease would not be renewed.
When 2016 rolled around I found myself holding my breath for the uncertainty that could lie ahead. I focused on shifting our packaging, rebuilding our website, and building the deeper framework of this brand alongside my retail associate Cristina.
Toward the middle of 2016 I was able to sign a micro-lease which allowed me to plan in 4-month increments. I decided that the best thing for me to do was stabilize the manufacturing process by looking for a lab. We were already pushing capacity and this move would give me the ability to keep the brand going even if we lost our retail shop.
In February of 2017 I hired Liz and by April we had a lease to our independent lab in West Asheville. This move is what allowed us to expand our manufacturing operations and allowed me to finally take a deep breath.
In July we found out our retail building was sold again and in August, Cristina and I went to NYC to take part as an exhibitor in the Indie Beauty Expo. This was an opportunity to showcase the brand and determine if we really wanted to sell our products to large wholesale partners like Saks, Neiman Marcus or Detox Market.
We met so many incredible and inspiring people, but I decided to return to our direct-to-consumer roots as we made our next move towards stability.
Follow along with Part 3 here.