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Lovely to meet you all....

LelaBLelaB subscriber Posts: 2
edited May 2008 in New Member Welcome
My name is Lela and I run a naturally-focused bath and body company.  We hand-create an original line of artisanal, luxury products for face, feet and everything in between. I began the business with zero experience and even less funding in late 2003. Heading into 2008, I employ a full-time staff of 10 and turn sales of $1M+ with distribution to more than 400 spas in the US and 100+ accounts in Europe and Arabia.  It`s been a loooong, bumpy road, but I am thrilled to be doing what I love and have enjoyed the white-knuckle ride of entrepreneurship.
The more my company grows, the more aware I become that I don`t know all I should with regards to running a business.  I have an intuitive knack for marketing and product development, but struggle continually with the administrative and HR side of things. There`s a steep learning curve, to be sure. I appreciate the tenative perusing I`ve been doing at StartUp Nation and look forward to gleaming and- hopefully- sharing a bit of wisdom with you all.


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    besthealthbesthealth subscriber Posts: 4
    Congratulations and welcome to SuN! Would love to hear more about your business and have your input here on the boards.
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    LelaBLelaB subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks for the warm welcome and the referral...I`ll take peek there this morning.
    I am based in the US and do have a website; see it here. I was fortunate in that I was able to plow all profits back into the business for the first year and that really helped fuel our growth.  Whille we have not grown through traditional channels (i.e. I have no sales reps, have not done trade shows to date, have no PR firm), I have slugged away in a few key areas:
    1. Putting together a professional website from the beginning. Nice photographs, user-friendly navigation, adding lots of "about us" information as clients in my industry appreciate those things.
    2. Relentlessly working on the SEO of that site- the internet has made my business and I spent 3 hours per day that first year on nothing but online networking, getting published in directories, learning how to maximize my organic search engine lisings, etc.
    3. Thinking big from day one. Really focusig on my product line and how manageable it will be as I grow. Going after key accounts that likely would not have considered us if they had realized our small size.  Always thinking very big picture.
    4. Identifying how to distinguish myself from competitors in the same industry.  I`ve tried hard to be innovative, to introduce new ingredents that aren`t as common to this market, to offer superior marketing support and education to make us stand out from the competition and engaging in a few key partnerships.
    I hope that helps. I can`t identify a single strategy or decision that has made all the difference...I think it`s just an overall passion for what I do combined with a dash of luck (a.k.a. identifying good opportunities and being willing to pursue them).  This year we will debut at trade shows and I am excited to see what that brings. There have been some poor decisions and stumbling blocks along the way, but I am still slugging away at it! Thankfully, it seems to be working. 
    LelaB5/7/2008 8:01 AM
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    BizHeatBizHeat subscriber Posts: 1
    Lela that`s a very inspiring success story. Welcome to SuN by the way. I am also new here. Just joined today actually. I started a website recently with my husband and we are in the process of getting the word out about our site. Sometimes it can be frustrating but I guess being relentless is the key. Thanks for the tips and the inspiration
    BizHeat5/7/2008 1:09 PM
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    piteracreativeservicespiteracreativeservices subscriber Posts: 1
    Congratulations on your success! Your website and products are beautiful!
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