Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with JJ Richardson, Founder of SWIFF, located in Tampa Bay, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We make antimicrobial coatings that can go on anything. Our first product is for odor protection and can go on clothes, undies, shoes, gear, pet beds, and pretty much anything else. So our customers can be anyone and everyone, and our numbers agree. We have customers in over 45 countries across every demographic, and we strive to offer them all the best products we can. Put another way; we have golfing grannies, college athletes, nervous teenagers, doting pet owners, backpackers, extreme hikers, and nearly everyone in between as customers.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a Ph.D. scientist, and I research how nanomaterials interact with living things on different levels, so I never expected to have a consumer product on the market. Thankfully, after a research breakthrough, my wife and co-founder, Susanna, helped me distill my science into a consumer-facing product. The biggest motivator for us is to make people's lives a bit fresher and take away some stress from our customers. Of course, we want to grow and become a household name, but hearing positive customer feedback is what gets us up in the morning.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment so far is launching a new product during COVID. We were living in Japan, and managing the supply chains and logistics was a nightmare, but we made it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There are a lot of challenges, but possibly the hardest is staying on top of and across the various digital platforms now required to run a modern business. Sifting through all the people asking us to use their service, hire them, etc., can take a long time because we want to be respectful to those that contact us, but our spam folder also fills up almost every day!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- The biggest tip is that someone has to do it, so it might as well be you! We can always find excuses why not doing something, so try thinking of why you should do it.
- Another tip is to pace yourself. It's easy at first to go all in full speed, but burnout and fatigue can sideline you. So think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.
- Finally, try to have fun. Most start-ups and business ventures fail. So at least have fun and learn some things along the way.
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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