This month, I'm following the adventures of four American Made finalists in the Beauty category, and getting up close and personal to see what we can learn from their business-building experiences.
What is American Made? American Made is an annual competition hosted by Martha Stewart Living that spotlights the American maker, and celebrates the handmade movement. Each year, thousands of makers attempt to become an American Made finalist to compete for awesome prizes, including $10,000 to boost their biz.
Our fourth featured American Made finalist is Teri of Infusion Breast Care Botanicals, from Missouri. Teri found herself creating a company based on her personal needs, just like many of us, but Teri's problems were unique and she couldn't find a single brand already serving women like her.
Thanks to Teri, women who are recovering from breast cancer treatments and breast surgeries can experience luxury skincare products specifically formulated for their needs.
American Made Finalist: Teri of Infusion Breast Care Botanicals
MS: What inspired you to start Infusion Breast Care Botanicals?
Teri: I guess you could say in the beginning, I was a reluctant entrepreneur. In 2011, I was recovering from a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. I was looking for natural, vegan breast skin care products to help with scars, thinning breast skin and the numbness and tingling that come with breast surgeries. I couldn’t find a single company that specialized in breast skin care products.
I decided to created products that supported each phase of my healing process. Using heirloom recipes and meticulously sourced natural ingredients, I created what was to become the Infusion Breast Care Botanicals product line.
MS: What is the biggest change you've made to your brand from inception to where it stands today?
Teri: I spent a lot of time on the front end researching and developing my product line; including my packaging, brand colors, logo, labels, as well as my recipes and ingredients. Since my launch, I haven’t changed a thing and I still love everything about my product line.
Infusion Breast Care Botanicals' Calendula Rescue Ointment
MS: What was the most challenging thing you have faced as a small business owner?
Teri: My biggest challenges are that I am a solopreneur and I work full time at another job. I love my day job and don’t plan on quitting anytime soon. So, I’ve had to become very organized and proficient with how my run my business.
I try to avoid comparing myself to other small businesses and to pace myself. My situation may be different, but I’m not in any hurry, so I have let my business unfold naturally. I also don’t want to go into debt, so I can only go as fast as my funds allow.
MS: What is your biggest motivator to continue to drive Infusion Breast Care Botanicals to success?
Teri: My biggest motivator is the women I serve. If I get the least bit discouraged all I have to do is read an email, letter or card from a woman who has been soothed by using my product line. That’s all it takes to get me back on track.
MS: If you could offer one piece of advice to a soapmaker struggling with their own business, what would it be?
Teri: My advice is to decide what success looks like to you and then go for it. I think I spent too much time early on trying to manage the expectations of others. Even the most well-meaning people will have advice on how you should be managing your business.
It wasn’t until I got really clear on what success looked like to me, that I was able to help others see my vision. The bottom line is you get to decide what success looks like for you. Infusion Breast Care Botanicals, Full Set of Skincare
MS: What would winning an American Made award mean to you and your business?
Teri: First, it would be a huge honor and affirmation that what I am doing is hitting a chord with others. The second thing is it would give me more resources to help get my products in front of the women who are looking for them.
Voting for American Made finalists ends on ends on October 19, 2015 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. American Made winners will be announced October 23, 2015. There is also a voting sweepstakes, where you snag entries just by voting in the competition.
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