Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Venus Thomas, Founder of 365 Body Love, located in Dallas, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
365 Body Love is a handcrafted skin, body, and home fragrance brand. Our customers would typically be individuals who are interested in skincare and personal care products for themselves or their families, including their children. They include individuals of various ages, genders, and skin types who are looking for solutions to specific skincare needs or concerns. Many of our customers are also parents with children who may require skincare products that are gentle, safe, and suitable for their little ones.
Tell us about yourself
Each year as the seasons changed, my children seemed to have challenges with their skin. Like most parents, the first thing I did was make an appointment to see their pediatrician. The grunting feeling of "Did they eat something," "Were they allergic to something," "Perhaps I need to change their detergent," "What soap are they using" and the list goes on. Nope, It was the big "E"! Eczema for both my middle daughter and youngest son. I mean, it was bad, bleeding, patchy skin bad. I had seen this play out before in previous years, and It all ended with taking this prescription to have It filled. I followed suit, and the common prescription was a topical steroid cream used to help alleviate their eczema flare-ups. I did what many moms such as myself would do. I filled the prescription to later see how harmful the topical cream was. It was drying the flare-up, but It was also leaving behind patches from where we were using the medicine. I knew then I needed to find an alternative to helping my kid's skin transition between the Georgia seasons. I grabbed one of their notebooks, pen, and my laptop and began my endless research journey on plant-based oils and remedies for helping deal with Eczema. I began to take lots of notes, and I do mean lots, before the massive ordering of ingredients had started. I knew I wanted something that was moisturizing because those who suffer from Eczema often complain of dry, itching skin – sometimes bleeding spots, such as my children experienced. Immediately, I knew I wanted the base for my test product to be Shea Butter because, remember, we are in the research stage, and Shea Butter is only one of the many amazing skin butter used to help with skin conditions. Shea Butter was the KEY ingredient, but I knew that It would not be that simple. Clearly, I have numerous times lathered their face and body with shea butter that I had purchased at a market or store. That never helped – something was missing, and during my trial and error, did I say LOTS of trials and errors? I created what remains today, my Relief Butter (I make no medical claims). Shea Butter at the base with the addition of skin-nourishing plant-based oils because I needed to lock in moisture for their skin. So now that I had created my first trial product, what was I going to call It? Wait, I didn't even have a business name. I told myself I would just use It for my family and friends, and then we would see what the feedback was. I had many friends and even some adults who suffered from Eczema, and I gave them little 1oz mason jars of my new trial butter. I will be honest; I was nervous – had I researched enough? Had I taken enough notes? Did I read enough material and books? What if someone had a reaction to It? Well, thankfully, no one died or was harmed during the process, and my 1oz little mason jars were a total success in my mind. I mean, I was using It on my children morning and night and noticed while they were well moisturized, the next season was upon us, and I had not seen a flare-up. Talk about excitement and nervousness! I knew I wanted to share this joy with other like-minded moms, so my sister-in-love and I were strategizing on a business name. I wanted something that was reflective of every day, hence 365, but what else? My intent was for my children to love their skin despite having Eczema, and so there It was right in front of me…It was personal, and from my heart was born 365 Body Love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is truly working through "my why." I am a mom of 3 amazing kids (2 girls and one boy). When I started 365 Body Love, I knew I wanted us to be a family brand because that's how I started with my children in mind. Married for 20+ years, I wanted 365 Body Love to be about our family embracing body changes, whether skin, hair, or simply mental wellness. At the core, I knew my desire was never to replace what our pediatrician recommended, but I needed an alternative to skin care. I wanted to know how products I was using on my children's skin were created, what the ingredients were, and how did It impact them mentally. I began to create an activated charcoal facial soap then because only my oldest teen at the time got acne, right? She felt ashamed of her teen acne, as if she was the only one who suffered from It. I wanted to be able to connect personally to each product I made, and as a result, other skin products were created, shared, and for many embraced over and over. That's where our tagline of "Try, Love, Repeat" came from. I hope that you will try our products and love them so that you purchase them again.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Starting a business is definitely not cheap when you are learning and trying to do things the right way. It is more than just a business card but more about structure, finances, paying taxes, and finding ways to pivot along the way. Many days and nights are spent strategizing, learning, and asking yourself if you are doing enough. Although I work full-time in Corporate America, that doesn't mean I am still not finding ways to grow my business. Initially, any extra money that I had from my day job I would use to help build 365 Body Love. Each time I made a profit, I made sure to reinvest that money back into the business. Sometimes when you first begin, you don't know what you don't know until you go through It. I would just encourage anyone interested in starting a business to write everything down. Learn how to price your products and research vendors, It will be tough when you are funding your business solely, but It will be worth It in the end. Habakkuk 2:2 is my favorite scripture for my business!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I always say many people will and are doing what I do, but I focus on 365 Body Love and how I can grow and retain my village of supporters. There will always be someone else making body butters, candles, soaps, etc., but not everyone is YOU, and that's what makes you different. People will find that small thing about you as a creative owner, curator, or even brand, and It will resonate with them that keep them coming back. Personally, I share and try to connect with people as a wife, mom, but most importantly, an individual seeking to move the dial in the natural skincare world. Also, I try to always be transparent about my products. I think that is so important in any market, and always sticking to your "WHY." I try to stay focused on my why as I create products. I want to always be intentional and sincere at the core and treat every customer with an experience as if it's their 1st.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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