Lifestyle 05 August 2017
By Ryann Casey
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 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.
This article first appeared in BeautyMatter.
6 Min Read
I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigger" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.
African Americans have a long history of having to fight for our humanity in America. We have had to fight for freedom, we have had to fight for equality, and we have had to fight for our lives. The fight continues to go on. I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight." When I say this to my white counterparts it can sometimes be uncomfortable because it's clear that they just don't get it. They view it as melodramatic. But it's not. It's part of the black experience, and it is the part of the black experience that black people don't want.
I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight."
While I was out yesterday, passing out PPE and talking to people, a woman asked me, "What is it going to take for this to change?" I told her that I think peaceful protesting is a good start. But it's just the start. We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.
This injustice, inequality, and inequity will not spontaneously disappear. It will take bold, outspoken, and fearless leadership to eradicate the systemic racism in our country. We must address the violence at the hands of a police force paid to serve and protect us. We must address the recurring experience of black people being passed over for a promotion and then being asked to train the white person who was hired. We must address the inequities in contract opportunities available to black businesses who are repeatedly deemed to lack the capacity. We must address the disparity in the quality of education provided to black students. We must address the right to a living wage, health care, and sick pay.
While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system. One that works for all of us. I am running to become the mayor of New York City because I can't assume there's another person who has the courage to do the work that needs to be done to create a fair and just city.
We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.
There are some things we may not be able to change in people, but at this moment I think that whether you are black, white, purple, or yellow we all should be looking internally to see what is one thing that you can do to change this dynamic. Here's where we can start:
If we want change, we need a total reform of police departments throughout this country. That is going to require taking a hard look at our requirements to become a police officer, our disciplinary procedures when civilian complaints are filed, and a review of what and how we police. No one deserves to lose their life based upon the accusation of carrying counterfeit cash. We also need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. While it is their duty to protect and serve they should not be above the law. Even at this very moment, police officers are overstepping their boundaries.
If we want change, we have to build a sense of camaraderie between the police and community. A sense of working together and creating positive experiences. We have to be honest about the fact that we haven't allowed that to happen because we have utilized our police department as a revenue-generating entity. We are more concerned with cops writing tickets than protecting and serving. Even during these moments of protest we are witness to the differences made when the police supported the protesters and stood hand in hand with them or took a knee. It resulted in less violence and more peaceful protest. People felt heard; people felt respected; people felt like they mattered.
While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system.
If we want change, we have to be willing to clean house. And that means that some of you are going to have to step up to the plate and take roles of leadership. In my city alone, there are 35 city council seats that are term-limited in 2021. There are some that aren't termed but maybe their term should be up. Step up to the plate and run. If nothing else it will let our elected officials see that they need to stop being comfortable and do more. We don't need you out in the street taking selfies or reporting the problems to us. We need solutions. We need you in a room implementing policies that will ensure that these things don't continue to happen.
If we want change, we need to support grassroots candidates that are not in corporate pockets, who are not taking PAC money, and who really want to make a difference to their community. We need candidates that know first-hand and can relate to the experiences that many of us are going through.
We are at a pivotal moment. It is inspiring to see people from all races and backgrounds in the streets protesting, standing up for justice, and wanting to see change. We must seize this moment, but we must also be mindful that change requires more.
People often ask me why I decided to run for office? I am running for me. I am running for the little girl that was called nigger on Liberty Avenue. For the woman who has been pulled over for no reason. For my nephew who was consistently stopped during the era of stop and frisk. I am running for your son, your brother, and your nephew. I am running so that the next generation will never have to say, "All my life I had to fight." Because although we won't stop until we see justice and changes that address inequality and inequity effectively, this fight is exhausting.