It’s that time of year again!
Fall… pumpkin spice everything, the impending doom of the busy holiday season, and of course, the Martha Stewart’s American Made competition!
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.
As always, I’ve been popping in the Beauty category to check out this year’s finalists, and pass around my vote to support the industry. This year, I decided to get up close and personal with four featured American Made Finalist beauty brands, and get the lowdown about running a beauty business.
Our first featured American Made finalist is Julia of Thesis Beauty, from Somerville, Massachusetts. Thesis Beauty provides truly pure, vegan, chemical-free skincare handcrafted to perfection from raw, organic ingredients & no water. Thesis Beauty products are coined as affordable everyday luxuries.
MS: What is the story behind Thesis Beauty’s beginnings?
Julia: Our origins began in the middle of the latest recession when shrinking incomes made organic goods out of reach for health and eco-conscious folks like ourselves. We were longing for pure, preservative-free, organic skincare we could afford to buy and couldn’t find. So one day I started making my own, drawing on my family’s traditions of healthy living rooted in the knowledge of the plants that was passed onto me early on. After all the R&D attempts, the formulas turned out so nice that we thought maybe other folks disappointed with the search for pure, affordable skincare could also benefit.
MS: What is the biggest change to the Thesis Brand from inception to where it stands today?
Julia: Label design has changed about 3-4 times since we first started. When you start on a shoestring, it’s the biggest saving you make when you create your own, simplistic packaging. As you grow as a brand, things have to change to ensure continued success.
MS: What has been the most challenging aspect of being a small business owner?
Julia: Lack of time to do it all. I was putting in 70-80 hrs/week, no weekends, holidays or vacations, and was still drowning in projects. That’s why at some point you have to hire a team of like-minded individuals that will help your business grow and get your sanity back.
MS: What is the biggest motivator that drives you in the captain’s chair of Thesis?
Julia: Seeing the awesome results that come out of a well-executed effort is the main motivator to keep pushing. Customer feedback is also incredibly invigorating. Positive feedback recharges my batteries like nothing else while critique makes it easier to identify bottlenecks and work on them, I am grateful for both.
MS: If you could offer one piece of advice to a soapmaker struggling with their own business, what would it be?
Julia: The struggle is part of being a business owner. You have to accept it and learn from it and how to be more creative with the resources you have.
MS: What would winning an American Made award mean to you and your business?
Julia: A big part of our philosophy is educating people about truly healthy choices in skincare and why it is so important for your overall well-being. Having the publicity from the win would help spread the word about what Thesis stands for – truly organic, vegan and eco-friendly products, the very definition of purity. Of course, the dollar prize would go a long way as we are a small business.
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. 😉