For Jordana Woodland, mom of three and CEO of Naked Princess, taking a few extra moments to get ready makes all the difference to a woman's day, and helped inspire a business that she hopes to build into an empire.
“Ever since I was a young girl I would look at my mom and watch how she got ready," says Woodland. “Women don't do that anymore. We're always on the go, and with me being a mom it seems impossible. But it's so important to take a few minutes to take care of yourself. I admire that."
Woodland, who has collected centuries-old perfume bottles and vintage lingerie from all around the world since she was a teenager, says that she has always been intrigued by the “concept of the boudoir," and wanted to create a line made especially for women that made them feel sophisticated and comfortable there. Her brand, Naked Princess, is meant to offer small but significant luxuries for a woman's life.
The Naked Princess fashion line is comprised of clothes that can be worn on a lazy day inside or a fashion-forward afternoon out. “It's meant to be fun and easy, you can wear around the house, or you can go on a lunch date," says the former model, who actively creates the clothes with the ease and comfort of the consumer in mind, “A lot have built-in bras. I am always looking to make things that aren't too fussy, maybe buttons but no zippers. Our pajama sets are best sellers."
With hundreds of SKUs and distribution through nearly 200 spas, boutiques and specialty stores around the world, Woodland says a focus on timeless styles, fabrics that feel and look nice like velvet, silk, and organic cotton and an array of colors from neutrals to bolds are paramount to the longevity of the brand.
Woodland first introduced her brand to the public via its stand-alone retail store on the Melrose Place Shopping District of Los Angeles in 2014. After gaining a steady local following, the Naked Princess founder says she began dressing celebrities, arming stylists with wardrobes for their high-profile clients, and adapting lingerie looks into red carpet worthy head-turners. The love from Hollywood elites like Lady Gaga and Cindy Crawford, helped with Naked Princess's recognition, “People noticed us getting on covers of magazines," says Woodland.
“When you walk into a beautiful store it was a great way for people to connect with the brand immediately. We had different collections, scents, lotions, and fabrics to touch. Our store put us on the map," says Woodland.
Later, she added beauty to the lineup to fill the void she saw in the industry-simple, fuss free products. “When I started the beauty line I wanted to make sure it was easy," says Woodland. "I know the whole trend of makeup, foundation, and contouring. That wasn't in at the time." According to Woodland, Naked Princess's beauty brand is based on essentials to make every girl feel beautiful. “The line is quick, on the go," she says. "Something you would have on your vanity; a collection of lip glosses, or really fantastic massage candles that you can light up for 20 minutes, blow out and use the soy wax to massage yourself."
Photo Courtesy of John Russo
The Naked Princess CEO says ultimately it was a “combination of things" that lead her to launch a lifestyle brand, which she did in 2011 when she was only 29 years old. “Starting when you're young is one of the most difficult things," says the entrepreneur. “I know what I want. I have a vision. You then either hire somebody to put your creativity on paper or you do everything yourself."
Woodland says that because of her clear vision for the brand, she likes to be involved in every stage of the entire creation process. To wit, even though she hired a creative company to create her logo, she quickly decided “'I can do this myself," and then she did. "When you're building a brand, you have to understand who your customer is and that's difficult in a world today when people's likes and dislikes are constantly changing," says Woodland. "From branding to voice messaging, I'm extremely hands-on with it."
Born in the Philippines, the CEO started modeling when she was 19 and says she was always around makeup artists, which instilled in her a love of cosmetics. “I was really involved in modeling, but I have always been interested in being in front and behind the camera.," says Woodland.
Although it may seem like she chose a high-flying and stressful career, Woodland, who is based in LA and Montana, says balance is the secret to her success. “I'm in Montana because of a previous relationship, but I love it for [my kids], and for me," says the mom of three. “It's gotten me to get into the hobbies I have now, here we have a ranch and horses. We snowboard and ski every weekend. I really appreciate nature out here, the quality of air and the quality of time. In California, everyone is so focused on getting from one place to the next. It's a great contrast which I love."
In order to build more buzz for her brand, the CEO says she is currently focused on trunk shows and pop-ups as a way to introduce new consumers to her product assortment. “People don't always trust a new brand," she says. “To go out and meet people and have fact time. Show how to wear. When people know something is available for the specific window, they want to take advantage of it."
Photo Courtesy of John Russo
“When you're building a brand, you have to understand who your customer is and that's difficult in a world today when people's likes and dislikes are constantly changing."
As far as sales go Naked Princess isn't lacking. “The line has been selling really well with women; because you really understand the quality of it when you purchase it," she says, adding that by inspiring women's loungewear, there is a ripple effect to bigger trends. "A lot of women are wearing silk at home and transitioning them to the red carpet."
Ava Tie Tank. Photo Courtesy of Naked Princess
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!