Indie Beauty Brand Founders Reveal What They’d Do With A Large Capital Infusion

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 17 brand founders and executives: What’s the first thing you would do with a big cash infusion?

Dora Lacey Founder, Arôms Natur Skincare

One of the first things we would do with a cash infusion is invest in a public relations program with a PR agency. We have seen success with paid advertorials and believe that a series of independent editorials in key wellness and beauty channels could help us build and amplify our brand with our audience and generate credibility with key retailers.

Our team handles e-commerce, sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, social media, development. None of our founders have key contacts in the world of beauty editors. We have developed press releases internally and have sent them to multiple outlets, but have seen no results from any of those efforts. 

Securing the funds for the execution of a sound PR strategy would allow us to leverage the expertise of a professional firm to fine-tune our message and communications. We also believe in our products and think that if we put our oils in the hands of beauty editors, they will cover them favorably, helping us connect with more customers.

Antti Rintanen Co-Founder, Nomad Cosmetics

A big cash infusion would go to support the brand in every way possible that delivers a good ROI. The risk with a lot of cash right away is you can spend it in ways that aren’t super effective. So, once you get the cash, determine objectives, strategies and goals/measures. 

For us, we are self-funded, so we have a longer-term view on growth and believe that, over time with commitment, dedication, a strong brand and product portfolio, you will continue to grow. Cash will accelerate it, but it has to be where it doesn’t dilute the brand.

Sophie Allouche Founder, KOS Paris

My dream is to have my own fields for growing fruit, nuts and plants. While many of the plants we work with are not indigenous to France, I would love to have them all at my fingertips. I would love to watch their growth and test new rare plants for their healing and healthy benefits in my backyard.

I would also love to help the farmers that we buy our material and active ingredients from. As you know, there are many women who work in the field, and I would love to be able to help with development and pay more to the employees.

Marlene Weber Founder, PureCeuticals

With a big cash infusion, I would invest heavily in improving brand awareness by increasing my social media presence. When it comes to branding, the power of social media is evident. As a small company, it can be hard to make your mark on the social media landscape since your attention is being pulled in so many different directions. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about generating new business, and social media is a means to get new eyes onto your products and to turn that into sales.

I would also participate in more independent and natural skincare trade shows. Trade shows are helpful in building industry contacts, generating business leads, conducting market research, seeing what’s working for you and what isn’t, and strengthening your brand overall. The audience is out there, it’s just about getting their attention.

MATTHEW STILLMAN Founder, Primal Derma

Pay off debt. Primal Derma is still a young company, and we are lucky to have sales and grateful for the people that want to get on board with us. We got off the ground by playing credit card roulette. It is an incredible privilege to be able to have a few credit cards and the ability to keep whacking the balances down, and it would be great to whack it all down. All the things you heard about paying off debt is true, get out of it if you can! We are getting there inch by inch, but a big cash infusion that dropped from the sky, it would go there.

Joshua Neumann Founder, Kind Lips

Believe it or not, I’d donate a percentage of it to our nonprofit partners. The purpose of our company is to make and leave an impact and create kindness and, by donating the first fruits, it reminds us to continue to have a heart to serve and give. After that, we’d use the cash to advertise.

Suzannah Raff Founder and CEO, Cleo & Coco Natural Body Care

If we received a large cash infusion, we would allocate the capital to grow our brand in two ways. First, we would spend on marketing, and hire a marketing and PR agency to help raise awareness of our products. Once customers use our deodorants, they fall in love, but getting our brand in front of customers requires a serious marketing effort today, so a large cash infusion would help speed up our brand growth and help us compete with the brands that have larger backers. Its not easy to compete with brands like Schmidt's without their resources when they have the backing of giants like Unilever.

The second area would be to develop more versions, scents and products. Each new product/scent requires a cash investment in formulation, testing, packaging and launch, so we take it very slowly. We introduced our Blue Tansy Sensitive Deodorant last year and are launching our CBD-infused deodorant in a few months. We would add more scents and versions faster if we had more cash. We have no doubt about the efficacy and quality of our products and until we get those investors we are comfortable with growing slower because the way to build a lasting brand is through authenticity and a very loyal customer base one satisfied customer at a time.

Holly Harding Founder, O'o Hawaii

If I received a large cash infusion, I would probably not spend it. I've become so accustomed to pinching every penny that I would most likely just use it for reserves for production. At the moment, I feel pretty good about the rate of growth, PR and marketing that we're doing. So, [it would be] mostly just for manufacturing expense.

TESS TAYLOR Founder, Taylor + Tess

A happy dance, followed by FaceTiming my team so I can virtually high five each one of them. We would use a significant portion of this cash infusion to increase our marketing budget and reach a broader audience on digital and social media platforms as well as execute experiential marketing campaigns.

CBD companies face many stipulations surrounding what they can and cannot advertise on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, we must creatively stay within the confines of these rules and diversify our marketing strategy.

We would expand our product line to include at least two more products focused on protecting skin from environmental stressors as well. We would further improve our customized packaging solutions to be more innovative and sustainable, specifically experimenting with hemp and corn starch as alternatives to plastic. We currently use more traditional and readily available materials like metal, wood, glass, and paper. Hemp can be, and has been for thousands of years, turned into pretty much anything. Look up hempcrete and the Spanish Armada and hemp to have your mind blown.

My marketing team and I would also develop an interactive, educational platform on to help destigmatize and normalize cannabis and hemp. I would have funds available to strategically attend more expos and trade shows like IBE to network and learn more about the beauty and hemp industries alongside my team versus attending alone due to budget constraints. I would donate cash versus in-kind donations to philanthropic agencies dedicated to human rights.

Dee Morales Owner, Sweet Mary Jane

I entered into the CBD luxury skincare line with a great deal of enthusiasm with my ex-husband, Sam. We were married 38 years and remained close friends, the divorced family that ate dinners together every Sunday and shared the parenting of our adult children with love. To our dismay, he died last November just as our first shipment of CBD products were rolling out of a local family manufacturer.

He was a family physician and a proponent of the value of CBD. He used it on his patients successfully and was extremely happy when medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma, making CBD more mainstream. When we started the business together, he formulated the products and carefully selected the ingredients.

I am now sadly going at this on my own, with the help of my millennial daughter Mallory and the accounting advice of a CPA son. We get by, but I would love to have continued being a 50% owner instead of taking on the whole deal by myself.

If we got a big cash inflow, I would get the help to organize better and see the big picture. I would like to be able to afford a COO and find the best business plan for our company now and in the future. I get anxiety thinking about what we could be. I like that we are small and indie and we are passionate about our products.

I would also develop a giving-back program and contribute to learning how to tell the story about CBD through my television background. I would love to develop new products that would be helpful. I would like to seamlessly blend our Sweet Mary Jane line and our men’s Beard Buzz line into one.

When Sam passed away, I had to decide whether to go forward. I said yes and plunged in head first, making a lot of mistakes but passionately committed to my brand. It’s been a labor of love every step of the way, and I know Dr. Sam would have been proud as we head to New York.

DANUTA DUDEK Founder, Cotarde

I’d try to stay calm and, depending on the current needs of the company, I would spend it addressing the most important challenges from growth perspective, whether it may be sales, promotion or organization-related.

Sebastien Tardif CEO, Veil Cosmetics

Hire more digital specialists that can help us stay one step ahead of the ever changing online world.

Shayan Sadrolashrafi Co-Founder, Wakse

We would love to open up our first brick-and-mortar retail store where we would also offer waxing services.

Richard Mears Founder, Cult 51

Advertising. We are a small brand, so increasing our market awareness showing consumers what our products do and that they actually deliver, and push our direct sales to end consumers.

Eugene He Founder, Ceramiracle

Ramp up our inventory! We are currently sitting on a good problem where we are selling faster than we make, so I really want to be able to keep more inventory.

PETER SCHAFRICK Founder, Schaf Skincare

I would invest much of it into PR, and hire one to two people to develop and execute a retailer support program, consisting of regular training of retail sales staff that work directly on the floor with consumers.

Peter Lee CEO, Saranghae

We would use the cash to fuel growth. We would grow the team with the right talent, launch new products faster, look at various distribution strategies including controlled retail and look at market expansion.

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