Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christopher Templeton, Owner of Templeton Tonics, located in Lynnwood, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Templeton Tonics offers a lineup of grooming products handcrafted in small batches with high-quality ingredients and unique fragrances. Each product is formulated with a focus on nourishing the hair and scalp without sacrificing the performance needed for everyday use. My customers are those who are wild at heart and have a thirst for adventure!
Tell us about yourself
After graduating high school, I worked at a sandwich shop while attending community college. My coworker introduced me to a community of homebrewed hair product enthusiasts, and I quickly became obsessed. In 2016, I’d amassed an absurdly large collection of pomades, clays, and other styling products. I began paying attention to which ingredients made my hair feel the best, and one day I decided to formulate a hair tonic with the finest oils I could find. It’s been over 6 years, and the most important thing that drives me each day is remembering not to forget my beginner’s spirit. The passion that first got me obsessed with what I do is like a flame that needs to be tended so it doesn’t go out. I look for ways to continue creating and improving since those parts are what I love most about running Templeton Tonics.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I was only 22 years old when I started Templeton Tonics. As the business gradually grew, it required more and more growth on my part as well. At times it was incredibly overwhelming and discouraging, but overcoming those difficulties and realizing my own personal growth has been incredibly fulfilling. In 2018 I made the scary decision to quit my office job and work on Templeton Tonics full-time. It gave me the desperation I needed to work through some serious consistency issues a few of my top-selling products were experiencing, but there were days when I wasn’t sure if I was capable of carrying on. It took a couple of hard years of work to finally fix my formulas, which meant sending a lot of refunds and replacements to my customers, but the sense of pride I have in all of my products now is priceless. I’m so grateful to my customers for supporting and believing in me throughout that process!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As the sole operator of Templeton Tonics, I have to handle every aspect of my business. I look forward to the tasks that pull directly from my passions and skill set but often struggle for the motivation to do the other things. I love working with my hands and creating things that people will love, so most days it takes extra dedication to respond to emails and keep up with social media posts and messages. There isn’t anyone else to shoulder the responsibility, so if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. It really helps me to remember to take a breath and space out the tasks I don’t love with things that I do!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- This is crucial. Find a community of people who do whatever it is you want to do, and get involved. No one is an island, and people rarely go from amateur to professional at something without advice and help from many others. Because of this, many business owners and creators (myself included) are happy to give back to the community if you ask. I stand humbly on the shoulders of all the incredible pomade brewers who answered my questions when I was starting Templeton Tonics. We’re also busy, so be patient and give us some time to reply!
- Exercise the freedom that being a business owner gives you. A structured schedule is helpful for getting things done, but don’t forget that you’re the one who writes it. Give yourself the option to take long trips to give yourself a breather. I’m an avid hiker, and every summer I try to take at least a week off from the business to backpack a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. In 2020 I took a whole month off to thru-hike the Oregon section. When I returned to catch up on Templeton Tonics, I had a refreshed perspective on things and felt the new wind in my sails.
- Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. You will not be able to give your 100% every day. Expecting that from yourself sets a false precedent and only leads to perfectionism followed by discouragement. All you need to do is show up and keep trying to get better. Do that consistently, and keep your head down. Years later, you’ll look up and realize how much you’ve grown, but even then, you’ll still have things to improve upon. That’s what keeps you going, so take a deep breath and enjoy the process.
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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