GIVING BIRTH - to my skincare brand

During the months and years of developing your (skincare) business it is easy to find yourself in a weird 'bubble'.  It's a place where you are industriously pursuing the creation of the business and that feels very real (working every day like you used to; just not getting paid).  Until that is, after weeks of counting down, you are suddenly on the precipice of the true reality; D Day being right on your doorstep! And it feels like when you are up a tall building looking over the side and you think you are going to fall and simultaneously feel like you are going to jump.  Talk about swings....exhilaration to terror...smooth sailing to crisis......calm to crazy.....confident to insecure.  This is the run up to giving birth to MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare. 

The pressure is immense, especially as you rely on others you have retained, to do their jobs and to provide what you have asked for in the time frame that they have committed to.  All of them take home their salaries each month regardless of your outcome and while many may be emotionally invested in your success, none feel the pain of things going awry, against a backdrop of the personal, meaningful and unrecoverable, tens of thousands of pounds being put into the 'dream'.   In this week before I launch to the press, these are some of the trials, tribulations and triumphs I have experienced

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The tube supplier had made the tubes but was not able to label them in time for filling, which was supposed to be in time to give product to the journalists.  The filler and tube supplier had a different'recollection of the' reservation of production time' conversation, had between them. Calm, calm....  time for blame later; find the solution now.  The Filler found a labelling facility that could schedule labelling in time for the launch - well done them.  This of course incurs additional costs and transportation costs as well as using a new, personally untested supplier, on the basis of references of other customers

With regards the press launch; when you send out the invitations to your event, you feel a bit like the girl who is having a party and not sure that all her friends are going to show up and make it the party you visualised.  A week before the press launches are due to start, we have had an incredible response however, despite the RSVP by date, there is always so much chasing to get commitments yay or nay, from the unconfirmed attendees.  This is incredibly time-consuming for the PR company and I and makes it so challenging to organise, room set up, refreshments, video, audio-visual needs, printing of press books, provision of press product etc.  With everything else going on, I am afraid I over-reacted when someone I am working with turned up to the meeting without the information I'd requested and instead had brought other information that they'd spent time on but which was not what I needed, to compare apples with apples progress.  Whoopsie daisy; sorry about that. 

One of the products  manufacturing protocol was slightly out from the standard given and as a result, has to be dumped and the whole vat reproduced, micro tested etc. all over again. The supplier for the Manual Cleansing Brush has sent a third sample that is a different colour from the globally recognised Pantone references I supplied - not drastically wrong, from the wrong colour I had already had to agree but, give me strength......wouldn't you expect an apology? Some humility? That they would compensate on the price? Pay for the air shipping?  Not a bit of it; lots of  NJ attitude and a defensiveness that is astonishing...I mean really gobsmackingly shocking and from the land hallowed for their customer service.  I want to report them to #Mary Portas! The videos we filmed for the website need to be done again because I forgot to put the branding behind me in the shots. The website is still being worked on; well tweaked really; well a bit more than tweaked.  Anyone want to do a purchase test, to make sure it works? I recommend the Tease Me Please Me™ Taster Set.  Kidding? No I am not, try from 15 October. The warehousing and distribution centre that I have committed to using, only sent their 13 page contract last night and want it signed today with only two working days before we are supposed to deliver. Hello....I feel another legal bill heading my way. Let's finish on the high notes. The first is that I really like pretty much all the people working on the brand and I am grateful for every ounce of effort you are putting in, especially those that have gone above and beyond. Thank you.  This week, husby and I went to the manufacturing facility to see the first ever MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare, coming off the line.  Oh what a joy! As I stood there in my 5 inch red suede boots, my five coats of mascara, my freshly blow-dried hair crammed into my 'Dinner Ladies' style net cap, I could have wept.  Joy..... relief..... joy.....happiness..... and knocking against that, along comes fear trying to muscle in on my thoughts.....what if they hate it?  Get out, get out!  Let me have my one moment of pure, unadulterated, joyous pleasure!  The team on the line headed by Mark were superb.  Letting me join in, answering my questions, not laughing at my totally inappropriate get up, allowing me to film and generally joining in with my pleasure. Thank you! They gave me two of the first ever products for keepsakes and one day, when I am in my rocking chair, I hope to look at them and the video footage of this momentous event and think, 'that's where it all began'.  Like 'Uncle Albert' most of my sentences will probably begin....'when I was starting out......', let's hope so anyway.


Request: If you are going to comment on this post (which  I would love you to do please) would you do in in the wordpress comments section which is below the facebook comment please.  If you are on faecbook it would be great if you can 'like' the MERUMAYA page.  Thank you.

Lesson: Put everything in writing in terms of your agreements, bookings etc and ask your suppliers liaising with each other to do the same.

Lesson: RSVP when you get an invitation in the time frame requested or let them know when you will be able to reply by.

Lesson:  In a crisis, find the solution first and be decisive about the rectifying action to be taken. Sort out who is responsible and hold them accountable later, unless there is going to be dispute about who pays for the rectifying action. In the latter case, get it sorted out quickly.

Lesson: If you are the supplier, accept responsiblity if you have failed to deliver against specification and present a solution.  Remembering that reputations of businesses take years to build but can be destroyed in minutes - Customer Care not just Service.

Lesson: Don't forget to stop and enjoy the pivotal moments in your businesses history.

18 Comments

  • Hey Mel
    What a lovely surprise. Thanks for your lovely message. Think you should stop watching and jump into politics yourself proper. x

    Maleka
  • Dear Malekka – apologies for not having been in touch earlier – I have been tied up working for LOCOG since June for the Olympic and Paralympic Games which was just amazing. I was Deputy Venue Transport Manager at the Main Media Centre on the Olympic Park. I have been following your blogs. It seems that you are in the middle of a really amazing journey and you deserve great success. Wishing you the very best of luck with the launch of your new products. Your blog is very inspiring. I am off to the US next week for 2 monthsto obseve the Presidential elections and will call you when I get back in late November. Love and luck for next week. Melanie xxx

    Melanie Leathers
  • Thanks Amanda. I can’t wait for you to try it either! If all goes to plan, the ecommerce site should be up and running on 15 October. Tell all your friends please!
    bye for now x

    Maleka
  • WOW – it’s SO exciting. Packaging looks fabulous – can’t wait to try it out. Tons and tons of luck with your launch. Amanda x

    Amanda Powell
  • Dear Maleka,
    congratulations – nearly there… looks amazing. Wanted to wish you every success for the press launch – know will be fantastic..

    speak on phone over weekend,
    hx

    Helen Jones
  • Really great to see product in tubes and labelled! Very exciting – no surprise to see the big smile in the factory. Have an amazing launch. YKP x

    YKP
  • This is an incredible achievement Maleka, congratulations! You should be very proud of everything you’ve accomplished in a relatively short space of time. I can’t wait to be one of (or perhaps your first) on-line customer. Wishing you every success for the press launch, sorry I’ll miss it.

    Meg Gilford
  • Hey Lucy
    You must give me a call and let me know what your story is there. NO longer in recruitment? Will be good to catch up. Doing all the press launches this week. Seeing aboaut 150 press. At IPC tomorrow and Hearst on FRiday. Give me a call soon. Mx

    Maleka
  • Hi Maleka, what an amazing achievement! I know how hard setting up your own business can be, I can totally empathise with all your frustrations and pure happiness. I’m working with a distribution company at the moment, I know they are looking for fabulous brands… call me if you’re interested… and GOOD LUCK with the launch! Lucy xx

    Lucy James
  • I love that you plan to be first and hope others will feel the same way. Thanks for all your support and for being a great reviewer of the products. Let me know what you think of the website next week. x

    Maleka
  • thanks YKP. You have been a diligent follower and cheer leader. I appreciate that. x

    Maleka
  • Hi Helen
    Thanks so much. Means a lot to me that you, who has bags of style like how it looks. Fingers crossed the editors and journalists feel the same. mx

    Maleka
  • Great article, thank you. Starting a skin care business can be a complex journey. We have worked with skin care brands and entrepreneurs for over 15 years, helping them get started and grow. I can appreciate this article. Congratulations.

    Illumination Consulting
  • hello there

    Your comments came just at a time when I was contemplating how to deal with a challenging situation with a retail partner…..and it lifted my spirits and made me stronger. Thank you so much and I am delighted you love Melting Cleansing Balm and want more. Let me recommend the heart beat of the brand, Iconic Youth Serum and there is a special offer this month only using code MARCH on the check out page of merumaya.com which gives you £10 reduction on the Look on the Bright Side, set. It includes Iconic Youth Serum and Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel. Thanks for supporting our small British brand. Maleka

    Maleka
  • I am drawn to your product having been given a tube of cleansing balm it sat on my shelf for months, I wasn’t quite sure how to use it. I had my very first facial in 58 years whilst visiting my daughter in Australia where I was treated by Camille Barton , I came home hungry for more and took your tube off the shelf, the result has been astounding , I now look forward to my daily routine of face care, your balm leaves me feeling ‘treated’, my skin soft and full and the luxurious and restful scent is all pervading. Thank you, I want more!!

    Vivienne Bazille - Corbin
  • Thank you for taking the trouble to let me know. M

    Maleka
  • Loved your article in Woman & Home.

    M Duncan
  • Thank you for taking the time to comment. regards Maleka

    Maleka

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