Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sonali Chaturvedi, Co-Founder of ShikSona Beauty, located in Northern Virginia, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
ShikSona Beauty provides luxurious, convenient, and simplified beauty products to the busy superwoman. Our customer is the Busy Badass woman who is working hard and long hours, busy multitasking, is not a beauty expert, and doesn’t have time to go to the store or online and try to figure out which lipstick/lipglosses shades to choose with the best ingredients.
We wanted to simplify beauty products for busy women on the go who don’t have the time to research ingredients, choose between hundreds of different brands, or go to the store to figure out what shade goes well with their complexion. So, we decided to remove the choice overload for our customers by creating a new line of lip products, which includes five highly pigmented, long-lasting matte lipsticks and five ultra-smooth, high-shine lip glosses in vibrant and timeless shades that are made with clean ingredients and look great on any skin tone and can be used for any occasion.
Tell us about yourself
My sister and I recently decided to deviate from our career paths to start a new beauty venture - helping a person find beauty amid the fast pace and often grueling environment that is present in so many of our lives these days. Interestingly, we have been quite career-oriented since both of us graduated from the University of Virginia, with our focus on the US energy industry through different avenues (public and private).
We found ourselves becoming overwhelmed and exhausted each day from work, leaving little time to care for ourselves. We also realized that as busy women on the go, beauty routines could be complex in a world where choices of things are almost limitless. It can be extremely intimidating to sit in a beauty store and find the right shade or figure out which brand has the best ingredients, and we wanted to help solve this problem by removing some of that anxiety with “choice overload” by creating our product line, and our beauty brand, ShikSona Beauty.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We believe, deep down, that every woman deserves to feel beautiful no matter how packed her day might be. Feeling beautiful is about feeling your best, having confidence, feeling strong, and being happy. On the surface, getting yourself to look the part is an important piece to feeling the part. We feel our biggest accomplishment is creating simplified and clean beauty products that provide modern-day super-women a boost of confidence to take on the world!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Patience is one of the hardest things to have when you have an idea you want to execute. It is important to create a realistic business plan, and there should be a lot of time spent on research and development (if you are launching a product). Also, initiate your market research early in the process of building a company—to make sure you have a good target market for your business. Our process took two years from idea to execution, and we are still miles from where we want to see ourselves as a company.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure your brand is different than other brands. There are so many different beauty brands, and it’s important for the customer to see why your brand is unique.
- Identify your customer and sell only to that customer. It’s important that you focus and stay true to marketing and selling to your core customer only and not try to sell to other customers. For example, it may not make sense to sell our beauty brand to women who love doing their own hair and makeup and who are makeup and hair experts/enthusiasts that enjoy trying different beauty products and choice overload.
- Slow and Steady Growth is key for a brand. It’s really important that you roll out a limited amount of beauty products at a time and not take the Big Bang approach to ensure you can handle capacity and provide the best service and best quality products to customers. Also, we recommend doing a soft launch for friends and family 2-4 months prior to really test the entire process and fix any unexpected kinks prior to the official launch.
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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