Sitting through any conference, you get to a point where all you can think about is food. Across the room, a mini-fridge display filled with little smoothie bottles caught our eye. After further investigation it turns out they weren’t food, but smoothies for your face.
We may have first discovered Smoothie Beauty at FounderMade because our stomachs were growling, but after hearing the founder’s story, we decided to take a deeper look at what the brand is all about. Below we get the scoop from founder Stephanie Peterson on everything from why we should be putting food on our face to how to distribute a product that only has a 30-day shelf life, and why a hands-on product experience is so important for customers.
Inspiration for Smoothie Beauty came from watching your Korean grandmother make fresh skincare out of ingredients in the kitchen. How did this lead you to start a beauty brand of your own? Where does Smoothie Beauty fit within the landscape of K-Beauty?
For me, it was the combination of being in the beauty/modeling industry, my interest in natural beauty, striving towards healthier living, my blog, and finally the motivation of filling a need in the market in hopes of creating awareness that we have effective ingredients all around us that the earth naturally provides. Everything just came together at the same time and my grandmother was living proof that I was on the right track. Besides being half-Korean, I believe that Smoothie Beauty fits right in within the landscape of K-Beauty because K-Beauty focuses on simple yet effective ingredients.
Once you had your brand concept established, how did you bring the brand to life? How did you fund the business? How did you go about looking for investors?
From speaking to people within the health/beauty industry, I got a lot of interest in the concept very early on. I funded the initial phase myself and once we had some traction we were able to get angels on board that are very excited about the concept and strongly believe in my vision. So this part was not as stressful as expected, purely because the trends in beauty are moving in our direction and investors can see a lot of potential in the natural beauty space.
What made you decide to exhibit at FounderMade, and what were you hoping to get out of it (investments, press, networking etc.)?
All of the above. It is important for a new brand to gain exposure and FounderMade is definitely a good place to showcase a new concept or product.
Before starting Smoothie Beauty, you had a well-established beauty blog called The Global Beauty. Are you building The Global Beauty and Smoothie Beauty as separate businesses, or has the blog been a marketing vehicle for the business?
My blog is where it all began and it strengthened my desire for knowledge in the natural beauty space. I definitely use my blog as a marketing vehicle, but running a blog and a business at the same time can be very time consuming – luckily they blend together beautifully so that my research for the blog can turn into new product ideas for Smoothie Beauty.
Aside from being an entrepreneur, you are also a model. Do you feel that having a public persona as a model has helped in getting the word out about your products? Do you have any advice on how to create/leverage this presence for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
The marketing/advertising space is constantly getting more complex due to the variety of platforms and it’s also changing at speeds that we have never experienced before. But to answer your question, yes modeling has helped me get the word out to a certain extent, but I believe just having a public presence is not enough to achieve great things. Knowing how to leverage your own network is far more important and that can be any network for that matter.
Smoothie Beauty products are 100% food grade, made without preservatives, and are delivered on ice. What are the challenges in launching products that require refrigeration and must be used within 30 days?
We face the same challenges as any fresh food-based business and we have to have a well-organized supply chain management. The expiry date is merely a tribute to our products so that people understand exactly how fresh they really are and that’s why our customers love them! Consumers have become increasingly aware of what they use in their daily routine. If a product has a long shelf life, you have to ask yourself why that is. For us, the challenge of refrigeration is our biggest opportunity and our differentiator in a very saturated market where everyone fights for attention.
Taking into consideration the product’s short shelf life, what is your distribution strategy and how do you plan on expanding and scaling your business in a sustainable manner? Is a long-term distribution strategy possible with such a short shelf life?
We offer 1-2 days shipping through our online store www.smoothiebeauty.com to guarantee our products arrive cold. All of this needs to be factored into our processes. Also, it is possible to scale in a sustainable manner. We plan to operate using strategic warehouses nationwide to cut down on the delivery routes. Rather than individuals traveling/driving to shopping malls, we will distribute more strategically with our delivery partners to cut down on emissions to reduce our carbon footprint. Finally, efficient long-term distribution is indeed possible due to the factors mentioned above and they go hand in hand with the trend of people ordering online rather than physically shopping in stores. We are also actively looking for partners to further strengthen our mission of sustainability in order to give back to Mother Earth. Since this past Earth Day we have started to plant one tree for each “Earth” face mask purchased and we will continue to look for partnerships that share our vision.
What has been the most effective marketing tactic for you? What role does social media play in your marketing strategy?
I think it is too early to say what the most effective marketing tactic has been for us, but we do see that people like to try the product in person before committing to ordering online—therefore, we are increasing our exposure on the ground before we invest too much into online promotions. It is a new concept and people need to understand and experience our products first.
Who have you identified as your target market? How do you successfully reach and engage them?
Our target market is 18-38. But to be honest, I am my target market! A woman that is in her late 20s to early 30s that is thinking about starting a family and the well-being of herself as well as her future family. As well as, wanting to live a healthy, clean, and conscious lifestyle.
You currently have a space at the Canal Street Market. How has this been a successful retail space for Smoothie Beauty? Do you feel that your customers crave that in-person experience?
Canal Street Market has been a successful space for us because it is located in a high-traffic area and it has given me to the opportunity to engage with people from all over the US and the world on a daily basis. Nearly everyone I speak to personally is taken by the product/concept and has been very excited about it. Being at Canal Street Market has helped me educate the consumer and has laid the foundation of our long-term marketing strategy.