Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nadia Porter, Founder of Koope, located in Alpharetta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Koope is a purpose-led brand I founded on a mission to make skincare simple and accessible while giving back to efforts to end human trafficking. Experts in cleansers and moisturizers, Koope gives customers premium skincare 'basics' without the lux price tag. Whether you're a 7-step skincare guru or a 2-stepper who wants their cleanser and moisturizer to do the heavy lifting, Koope's supercharged formulas is the start and end to all routines. For every product sold, $1 is donated to anti-human trafficking charities.
Our customers are anyone with a face! But mostly, people who want ultra-effective 'core' basics to their skincare routine, premium products without the premium price tag. Our products are suitable for everyone, including sensitive skin users.
Tell us about yourself
I started Koope for two reasons, the need for premium skincare basics at an affordable price and to create a brand that makes a difference in people's lives and communities. Shopping for skincare has become so confusing, and it's hard to navigate the shelves with so much noise. At the end of the day though, everyone washes and moisturizes their skin...so I thought...why aren't there brands specializing in these two core products? And the idea was born.
It was also incredibly important to develop products that are not only incredibly effective but ultra-clean and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. All of our formulas are developed to European standards (the gold standard of clean beauty), excluding 1400 toxic ingredients that aren't banned in the USA (gross, right?). What really sparks me in the morning, though, is knowing that for every product we sell, we're $1 closer to ending human trafficking. As a child trafficking survivor myself, I am incredibly passionate about raising awareness in hopes of ending this horrible endemic and also supporting other survivors to rebuild their lives. We're so lucky to be able to use our brand and voices to support such a worthy cause.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Developing a product is hard, hard work. I had never done it before, and the learning experience was intense! It took me 2 years of market research and product development before I had a product that I was happy to put into the marketplace. We didn't cut corners, and we had a very strict brief that excluded a lot of common ingredients that we knew were harmful, and we stuck to our guns despite how difficult it was to formulate. Having that first product come off the line was such a memorable accomplishment for both me and our team of amazing people who brought it to life.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Starting a business is HARD, period. It takes time and dedication. There's no 9–5, and I don't just mean at your desk; I mean emotionally as well. You will live and breathe your brand. It's the first thing you think about when you wake up and last before bed. Burnout is real, and as a business owner, it's very hard to balance work and mental health. Founders need breathing room to process, create and plan. Personally, I try to front-load my week to get all time-sensitive things done, so Fridays, I can stop at 6, go to the gym, and allow myself to process the week. I work more efficiently and clearly when I take this time, more so than if I plowed through weeks on end with no break.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Listen, listen, listen - As a new business, your first priority is to listen. Listen to the market, customers, competitors, and advisors. Remember that your product isn't for you; it's for the people you're selling it to. We all have an intuition, of course, and listening to our gut plays a big part in planting the seed for a product. But you are building something for other people, so it needs to be designed for them. You also need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Who's in the market? What works? What doesn't? How can I fill a white space? These are some of the questions that, if answered, will give you a recipe for success.
- Be prepared to take risks — You'll probably need to make some uncomfortable lifestyle decisions and take some risks. But risk is not the same as haste. The best way to mitigate this is by doing thorough research and diligence. This can help make the decision more comfortable. I did 3 months of diligence, such as competitor and market research, before starting Koope, which made the uncomfortable 'risky' decisions easier to swallow.
- Think long game - Building a successful and sustainable business doesn't happen overnight. Be prepared for it to likely take years before you get any traction, and make sure you're prepared to identify opportunities when they arise.
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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