An African Adventure that Launches a Brand

This is a big hello to everyone who has ever had a mad idea. I hope my story will be of interest to some of you out there.

Have you ever, at any time, thought to yourself as you’ve traveled to different countries….

“There is something here, an idea, a product, that I know that they’d love back home? I should just import them or use them in some way, I’m sure I could make it work! It would help everyone out here and I’d love to have a go at starting a company, launching a brand…..”

Well, look no further, this is the blog for you!!

I am going to invite you to share in my journey that sees a nostalgia trip to East Africa ending with a decision to launch a range of soaps, body butters, hand creams and lip balms in the UK.

Learn by our mistakes, be inspired or be enlightened – you decide!

And here’s the website http://www.mywild.co.uk/

Cruelty Free and Wild

This is just a little post to let Wild friends know that we have now got our first ‘certification’. Acquiring any certification is a lengthy process that requires a certain doggedness but it is worth it in the end. There are so many companies both small and big that make spurious claims that it is a good thing that organisations like http://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org  are so thorough in checking and checking, that standards are met on a regular basis.

So here is the logo that we have added to our site

Print

and so we are now up there with Body Shop in agreeing the there should be no animal testing if not in sales figures  ….. that’s for next year. (what, no exclamation mark?)

And while we are on the path of blowing our own trumpet it was very pleasing to hear from a customer, who discovered us in her local shop, ( yes we are spreading slowly across,  the UK!) who is a marine biologist and surfer, who suffers from eczema, that our Avocado Body Butter with Aloe for Sensitive skin was soothing her cracked skin within an hour of her using it.

sensitive-dispenser

Now that’s worth shouting about too don’t you think?

Thames Festival goes a bit Wild

There were a few characters wondering around the Thames Festival this Sunday who could have done with a bit of Wild Body Butter …. soft and moisturised they were not.

20130909-112017.jpg
The organisers had put on a great show and there were a lot of fantastic costumes and great music that provided a wonderful backdrop to the traders stalls. So when we wanted a little break from informing interested potential customers on the benefits of Baobab oil we wondered over to see various huge animals jumping around to the music.

20130909-113104.jpg

20130909-113202.jpg
And in the evening we had a wonderful show of Samba music and dancers.

20130909-113544.jpg
So despite the cold, wind and occasional rain we were able to stay positive and make good sales which made us even happier!
It was also great to have a customer from the Pop Up store in Victoria recognise us and tell us how much she had liked the Cape Chestnut hand cream she had bought and of course that she then bought again.
There really is nothing like getting out and meeting your customers especially with this view to look out on.

20130909-114816.jpg

Beauty Marketing …. which Wild shopper are you?

September’s approaching and it is time for us to gird our loins and make a big push for Christmas. Despite the remaining sun, retail buyers are now looking out for new ideas and beautiful gifts and Wild is here to provide both of course!

To get noticed is always the trick and that word ‘Marketing’ raises its head yet again. Of course there is always some expert willing to do this for you and relieve you of some cash but its amazing what advice you can get for free on the Internet if you trail around it long enough.The amount of research that has been done on our buying habits is quite staggering and there are some interesting little factoids that I am going to share with you, dear reader.

Did you know for example, that 87% of the British public visit multiple shops before parting with their cash, and 39% ( mostly women) ‘hop’ to 3 different shops to compare prices?

It seems however that men are not natural ‘high street hoppers’ – 12% actually do no shopping at all and 22% actually ‘hate being frugal’, refusing to haggle or compare prices – I love that!

What really got me hooked though was a nifty little table that sectioned out the beauty buyer in particular.

Apparently us ladies come in six different types. There is The Minimalist who says “I don’t have the time or the will to work on my appearance. If I look nice then good for me but if I don’t then too bad!” M-mmmm girl you need to work on that attitude…

20130819-164142.jpg

Then there is the The Just Smart woman who says “I don’t care as much about my appearance. I do the minimum to be presentable”. Maybe not quite such a lost cause…
There is also The Naturalist, “I like to use beauty products but want to appear as natural as possible”. Getting warmer…
Sensual woman says ” I like my skin to be soft, my hair to be silky, my perfume to smell good. I like to feel good”. Now she hot…
We also have Young Woman who says “it’s important for me to be attractive, it shows that I’m young” …sigh
And last but certainly not least we have ………

20130819-171715.jpg
BEAUTY WOMAN, who apparently thinks “you can’t be a woman if you’re not on top of your beauty”. Make of that what you will…

Now which one are you???

Answers please on a postcard.

Wild about Local Markets and Country Fairs

20130717-105607.jpg

Hot, hot, hot – who needs the Costa del Sol? Not us Wild girls … we’re going native!

Kerri and I have decided to take advantage of this glorious English summer and do a little exploring around the country. There is a whole world out there of local markets and country fairs that provides opportunities for meeting our customers and increasing our fan base and so we thought, lets get out of London!

I know, scary…

So to that end we have been working on our presentation and guess what! Those crates (see Allergy & Free From post) have come in handy. Not only do they look great but you can carry the produce in them. Total win, win! And every fair we do we get admiring enquiries about them.. Should probably be getting some commission from the crate company by now.

The handmade soaps though we’ve stacked in one of the wooden moulds they are made in and I think that works well too – see pic above.

So how have these little forays been going? Well apart from the heat making some of the soap sweat 😓😟,pretty darn good actually. It is really helping us get a better idea of who are customers are and just when you think you’ve cracked it, in terms of knowing who’s a buyer and who’s a browser, you get surprised.

If only people were easier to categorise, things would be so much simpler for us hardworking marketeers!

Allergy and Free From Show Olympia

It has been a very long time since I last posted, mainly because of some major distractions. Those closer to the Wild camp may be aware of some good and some not so good things that have cropped up on this journey of ours that have kept me away from WordPress for a while.

Anyway, anyway let me tell you about our most recent outing at Olympia at the Allergy and Free From Show.

We felt it was a show worth doing again as we have had such good responses over the last year from people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. particularly to our ‘Sensitive Body Butter with Shea and Avocado’. This year we didn’t have the neighbours from hell but a generally nice bunch, particularly a jolly chap selling super duper vacuum cleaners for people with allergies!

Also this year we were much more together in our presentation and point of sale with some fantastically rustic crate shelves and a great pop up banner designed by ‘only son’ (xxx)

Here is Kerri rocking it to the ladies of West Ken.

20130626-130626.jpg

And what about our crates? I know …. it’s a bit strange to get so excited about crates but indulge me

20130626-131353.jpg

It was a very busy couple of days but its always good to get out amongst our customers and hear what they have to say plus of course to make a few shekels!! That always helps.💰😃

Oils from Namibia – Heathrow Cargo revisited

Another shipment of Marula and Kalahari Watermelon oil has been sent over from Namibia by Salmi who setup the women’s cooperative Oontanga oil.
So once again we had to drive our little car round the M25 to pick up the huge jerry cans full of oil.
Well actually I had to do it twice. The first time I was able to pick up the paperwork from our ‘handlers’, technical term there, but I forgot that I needed my passport to actually pick up the goods- not happy :(
So anyway back again the next day this time with big K ready to do the heavy lifting.
I forgot how overwhelming the lorry park at Heathrow cargo is. You get some idea from this photo but it doesn’t quite capture it.

20130426-091057.jpg
Here he is looking like a proper trucker – minus truck

20130426-091255.jpg
And here I am ‘truckers moll’

20130426-091438.jpg

Back to Baobabs

Nature can make you feel a bit insignificant at times!
20130404-090254.jpg

Its amazing how fear can set in after a few negative press reports. Having begun the journey slightly apprehensive I am glad to report that getting off the plane in Mombasa felt fine despite the recent news of several murders of local police by an extreme separatist group . The traffic as usual felt fairly chaotic but I did not feel unsafe. Kenyans are by nature friendly and peaceful and the violence of previous elections had shocked the local population as much as anyone. The British press seemed unwilling to acknowledge that these elections across Kenya were actually incredibly peaceful despite long frustrating waits for voters at the polling stations.

So K and I were, as it turned out, happy to be back in the heat heading up the coast to Kilifi to reconnect with http://www.wildliving.com/page/ and the mighty Baobab. Business was on our minds but it has to be admitted there were a few plans for walking on the beach, sleeping by the pool and visiting the Turtle Rescue Centre in Watamu (thanks Gladys for letting us help out on a turtle release!)

Anthony, Moses and Sammy at Wild Living were fantastic in helping us to meet up with their top Baobab harvester Changawa. Once we’d worked out how to transport his Baobab catching pole in the car we were away. A lesson in how the oil from the Baobab finds its way into Wild Sensual Body Butter was to follow.

We just had to carry it outside the car in the end!

Photo 26-03-2013 07 03 27

Changawa catches hold of the Baobabs and they come crashing down to the ground.

Photo 26-03-2013 07 17 39

Then they are chopped and pulled apart and the seeds are embedded in the dry powdery ‘flesh’ of the fruit.

20130404-084158.jpg

And here are the seeds all collected ready to be sent to the processor
20130404-085005.jpg

A final photo of Changawa – a natural showman!

20130404-084647.jpg

<

Momentum, good luck and superstition

pop up shop 3So we came to the end of our stint at the Victoria Pop Up Shop which I hate to admit I wasn’t too sorry about!  Although I think our products and the rest of the shop looked lovely it was a somewhat uncomfortable experience. Wild was at the entrance and we kept the door open to encourage visitors  so I spent most of my time there stamping my feet, swaddled in my huge scarf . The shop was also at the bottom of a a huge office block at the back of a wind tunnel that made up the shopping area in Victoria. Prime location it was not!

Pop Up Shop general

All of us tried valiantly though! Alexandra from @TeaStainedLil had us handing out leaflets and goodies to encourage people to at least walk over the threshold! Which at times actually seemed to work!

What was encouraging though, was that pretty much everyone that tried Wild products bought and were generally very enthusiastic about them – so we have hopefully collected some more converts!

Another reason that I am glad we did Pop Up Britain is that there is something about the nature of activity  - any activity – that seems to make other things happen. Momentum is a strange thing.

We have had a bit of good luck but I am feeling a bit wary about putting this in print just yet!

Call it Superstition, but just in case, I am not divulging until it is Signed, Sealed and almost Delivered. Stevie Wonder thank you :)

In the meantime I am off to Kenya for a short trip when I hope to take lots more photos and bring lots of lovely things back. Here’s hoping the Kenyan elections don’t make it a difficult trip

Pop Up Britain Victoria – Eland House

pop up shop 1

Well a bit more news to report – and its EXCITING!!!

From 19th Feb, next Tuesday, to the 3rd March we have been awarded space for Wild Skincare in Pop Up Britain’s Victoria shop in Eland House in Bressenden Place.

Along with the 4 other start up businesses we are sharing the shop with, we are tasked with getting as many people as possible to COME ON DOWN !!

Now you might think that there can’t be much need to to promote the shop being situated in the beautiful new Victoria shopping area surrounded by office workers

BUT YOU’D BE WRONG !!!!!

It is actually pretty difficult to find, tucked away to the side of M & S, and not looking especially ‘shop like’. See Pic:-

pop up shop 2

So I am asking politely if you would spread the word anyway you can – Copy the link to this post and share on Face Book, Twitter, email etc, etc

Actually forget about the polite bit.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND COME DOWN TO SEE US !

(sorry about all the shouting)  :)

The Beauty Press and How to get their Attention.

woman with magaphone v lge 5Ha ha ha if only I knew!

Without having recourse to tens of thousands to either open up a concession in Selfridges or pay a PR company that has all the contacts and personal relationships I would say that getting attention from the press for a  small beauty brand is harder than… getting a place on Branson’s moon rocket, doing a perfect back dive with 2 1/2 somersaults and 1 1/2 twists in a pike position , than getting everything you wanted for Christmas,  than … you get the idea

Here is how it goes….

  • Find out their email address – oh my goodness how hard is this! some of these, guarded fiercely by the receptionists, must harder to get hold of than for members of the government
  • Send them press releases – witty titles in the header or else you are heading straight for the recycle bin before the email is even opened along with the hundreds of others they get every hour.
  • Send them a product – this’ll get them!
  • Send them  more products – oh my god how many products must they all be sitting on? I bet there are boxes in the corners of the office full of products that have been loved and tortured over by people like me!
  • Hound them on twitter – too easy to ignore
  • Dress up like a giraffe ( lion/rhino/Masai warrior) and take up camp outside their offices – a bit desperate? what do you think?
  • Let them come to us,who needs em anyway-  hmmmmm

Well our next venture into PR territory is placing our products with Birch Box in the taxis of the editors et al who are driving from show to show at London Fashion Week.  It will be interesting to see if this works in any way. Its a drip drip drip effect I’ve been told!

  • Older Posts

  • Latest Post

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 224 other followers