Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole DeLeone, Co-Founder of Indie Beauty Brokers, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
In 2018, I officially formed Indie Beauty Brokers (IBB) with my business partner Stefani Lawin. Stefani had a corporate background, and I had created my own haircare brand and knew the ins and outs of selling to retailers. Together, we realized we had a lot of knowledge/expertise we could share with small CPG brands trying to break into the US market.
Today, IBB places small, independently-owned beauty brands in national US retailers. We work with specialty, mass, department stores, drug, and grocery accounts. We have active business with retailers like Target, CVS, Whole Foods, etc. Our book of brands is lean but successful, and we are constantly searching for the next great fit or trend to keep consumers coming back.
Tell us about yourself
In 2012, I created my hair care brand and product line with $100 in my kitchen! I quickly went from product development to retail shelves in a short 6-months! My brand went viral and was acquired within 12-months after I launched. After selling my brand, I consulted for a few CPG brands on a project basis. In the summer of 2017, I met my business partner, Stefani, at a professional beauty convention in Las Vegas. We immediately clicked, and we both knew we needed to merge our talents, knowledge, and passion for products. From that, Indie Beauty Brokers was born in the spring of 2018.
I love having a front-row seat in watching our brands evolve! This industry is fast-moving, and I get to work with some brilliant people throughout a brand's journey. I learn something new daily, and I stay curious!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting a startup is easy, executing it is hard, and growing it is harder. 2021 was a very successful year for Indie Beauty Brokers! All of our brands survived and thrived during the pandemic, and Indie Beauty Brokers was able to expand our reach. Another 2021 highlight is Indie Beauty Brokers obtained our WBENC Certification! This rigorous Certification validates that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman (or women). As a woman and co-founder of Indie Beauty Brokers, I am really proud of this success!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It won't get done if Stefani and I don't show up. People tell us no. Challenges come up daily. It's a micro-struggle daily. And that's OK! It's just the nature of things.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Surround yourself with the right people.
- Find a problem to solve.
- Have grit and determination!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Actively build relationships - entrepreneurs will have difficulty building and growing a business without solid relationships!
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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