Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Monica Ha, Co-Founder & CEO of Baude, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Baude is an independent fragrance brand that makes body care products like body wash, body lotion, body oils, and more that have complex and high-end scent profiles with functional ingredients designed to make you feel a certain type of way. We are dedicated to the youth, fueled by youth culture, and our customers are looking to live more creative lives, just like us. We release a new collection every season, just like a fashion brand, because we know our customers don't have new scent experiences on a daily and every sense needs practice. We consider Baude a sensual health brand that helps protect your smell sense by exposing it to complexity and variety.
Tell us about yourself
I started Baude because I loved working in a creative field, which was fashion at the time, but I became disenchanted because there were very few companies that truly cared about the people they employed and served. I saw a complete lack of responsibility and accountability for their actions, and that's just not okay anymore. I wanted to start a business where I could live and work in line with my values of equity, collaboration, and fun. So I said, – if it doesn't exist – I'll have to create it. My co-founders, Charlotta and Heather, have been my best friends since way before we started Baude together. We'd rant and rave to each other about everything and send skincare product recs back and forth all day. So when we finally made the leap, it was because we were all so tired of hardcore corporate culture and wanted our lives to feel more fun-filled and creative. And what's better than working with your friends?
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We are where we are today! Each day we get farther, and it makes me so proud of the three of us that we have come as far as we have and still have so much farther to go. You know, we're three working-class girlies with art school degrees that have a lot to prove. Every day we move forward, we prove people wrong.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The emotional journey of starting a biz is filled with high highs and low lows, and it takes real power and resilience to not give meaning to a high or to a low and just keep pushing forward. I've realized there is no such thing as "getting there"–– it's all about keeping it moving, making small strides forward every day, and not tying your self-worth to what you do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
It's a uniquely tough time for founders right now. With less capital available all around and much less patience for the far-flung plans, I would focus on the following:
- Minimizing risk and maximizing your dollars.
- Building an organic audience through authenticity.
- Building long-term relationships with potential investors and other founders. It has been other female founders cheering us on, saying, "it's going to be alright; you will get there" at the moment when you feel you won't. It's incredibly important to have a support network rooting for you, and we hope to return that favor to the unconventional founders of the future.
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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