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
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.