Roberta Perry founded Scrubz Body Scrub in 2006 in Plainview, New York.
(article continues below)
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
At Scrubz Body Scrub we manufacture and distribute natural skin care products. There are 3 products in our line, Scrubz, Butterz by Scrubz, and Oilz by Scrubz.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I was buying products similar for years, and then my favorite was discontinued and another I liked I could never find again so I decided to make some just for personal use.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was a freelance graphic designer for 20 years, as well as the marketing director of a start-up adult education company in Dallas for the 2 years prior.
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers …? Would you suggest others do the same?
My husband is a CPA, so he does my books. My background in design allowed me to do all my promotional material myself, as well as the packaging design and website layout and revisions. I now have an office manager who works part time, as well as a production manager who also works part time. I fill in the other dozens of little tasks, too.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you select a partner?
My sister helped me in the beginning, because she was my "guinea pig", however medical issues took her away from it for the better part of 2 years, so I did about 95% as a solo until spring of 2009.
So you have a "family" business?"
My family is involved with my business. It started with my sister, and then my mom and dad pitched in. My dad goes on the sugar runs for 250 lbs + and my mom helps out at networking events and demos. Benefits are the time you get to spend together, however the challenges are that you have to remove emotions from business conversations and hope they know how to work hard.
What outside resources were helpful for you? Business incubators, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, ….
I am big into social networking, and I have attended seminars, expos and events. I have sponsored a few, too. We set up a demo table, and always come home with new friends.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Yes, and still do. We constructed a factory out of our former garage and I have an office for all the paper work. Benefits are that it is here all the time. That is a challenge too. Also, the kitchen being too darn near!
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Having passion and persistence in your chosen field. Using a calm resolve and thoughtful ways to make your voice heard. Just when you think you can't go on, something fantastic happens and refreshes your thoughts and drives you to the next place.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
Yes, very much so. I created our line of products for me. I was not about to add artificial color, nor preservatives, nor alcohol to anything I was making for myself. I passed that same aspect on to my customers. There really is no need for so many artificial ingredients, and there is nothing like natural based plant oils to moisturize your skin. We wrap our products in recyclable jars and use reusable organza bags and scoops.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
"Measure twice, cut once" An old carpenter saying, but holds true. I am so much more careful with expenditures than I was when I first started. I use social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blog) to spread the word and market at no additional cost. I donate product to fund-raisers and hold one ourselves, to not only raise awareness for breast cancer, but to raise brand recognition for us, as a giving company.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes, very much so. It has gotten us articles, orders and new retailers, let alone gives me the chance to "meet" fantastic people and learn so much, all for free.
Temporary labor can be a great asset to an entrepreneur. Have you ever hired temps or contractors?
Yes, we have used interns that we got through a program called Compass. It places young adults with mild Aspergers (autism) in job skill situations. I would definitely suggest this to other entrepreneurs.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I have delivered on our promise to the best of our ability, each and every time. I have accepted mistakes and done my best to learn from them. I have made many new friends in the field and not burned any bridges.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I live and breathe it daily. It has become not just my business, but my passion to teach others about natural skin care.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had my business plan in place before I started. I wish I had found a partner to work as many hours as myself.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Be passionate. There are so many pieces to the puzzle of a new business and it takes hours of work. If you are passionate and love what you are doing, it never gets old, even when it gets difficult.
Thank you Roberta for taking the time to share your business tips with the readers of Gaebler.com!