Innovation Ignition Series – Monique Welch Creator of FirmSkin

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A Blog Series putting the spotlight on Women who have taken an idea from concept to creation

 

The goal of this series is to showcase innovative kickass women who have created their own product range. It puts the spotlight on the daring, bold women behind the brand.

If you’re interested in sharing your story, email Sparkle@MoniqueAlamedine.com with the subject line ‘Innovation Ignition Series’.

Name:
Monique Welch

Website:
www.firmskincare.com

When did you start your business?
Its been an idea for a long time, and will officially launch May 1st, 2014.

Tell us about your Business/Product:
I created and sell the Firm skin care system. A total body treatment to tighten and tone your skin after you have lost weight.

What problem does your product solve?
Weight loss (more than 20lbs) can cause significant changes in the skin’s elasticity. Even after you’ve slimmed down, depending on how fast you’ve done it, your skin can look saggy and feel loose. The firm system keeps the skin hydrated and plum, it feels smoother, looks younger and even reduces imperfections like cellulite and age marks.

What does a typical day look like for you?
As a new company, there are no typical days. Right now my focus is getting the word out as far and wide as I possibly can to make sure people know about the system and how great it works. My day starts with meditation and light exercise like tennis or yoga, then an energy boosting breakfast. I check email and connect with my online community via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I wrap things up around 1pm and use the afternoon for learning and research. Around 9pm I check back into work, tie up any loose ends and plan for the day ahead.

What/who inspired the idea?
Last summer (2013) I lost 20 lbs in one month using a rather extreme, medically supervised diet and my skin felt really loose and flabby. Even though I was slimmer, my skin was a reminder that I wasn’t always that way. I felt very uncomfortable because of it. Because I’ve always been into skincare and made my own products for over 5 years, other people who had gone through the program began reaching out for a solution too. That’s when I knew I had to do it.

What challenges did you face when you started, compared to now?
When I first started, I had no business sense. My products weren’t priced based on my costs, they were based on what I thought I should sell them for so of course I wasn’t making any money. On top of that all my raw materials were imported and my costs just kept going up. Equally frustrating is that I didn’t have a solid marketing plan and I’d only have one or two customers for an entire month, so I’d have to make very small batches and have lots of inventory on hand. Fast forward a few years and I learned the value of testing the market before launch. I also found a manufacturing partner who could purchase raw materials in bulk and help me keep my costs down.

What’s your top 3 low cost/free product marketing tips?
My first tip is to be consistent at what ever social channels you choose. Don’t try to be on every single thing, go where your customers hang out and engage them there, so if they are on Facebook and Instagram, use those exclusively.
2. Join groups and forums, don’t just try to engage through your profile or fan page. If you’re selling to women who love to pole dance, join a group on Facebook and genuinely connect with them. I’m not talking about spamming your product, but offer useful information that’s relevant and if your product is relevant, cool and if it isn’t at the moment, that’s cool too.
3. Do a promotion. I love Wishpond and Gleam as social promotional tools. Gleam is free and allows you to encourage your community to talk about you and gather a list at the same time, a total win-win.

Best time management tips?
For me, meditation. Starting with a clear head gets me super focused on my tasks for the day. After I mediate, I make a list of things that I need to accomplish, a very short, meaningful list and I systematically work through the list.

What ecommerce software do you use?
For launch, I’m using Celery (pre-orders) but will eventually switch over to Shopify

Favourite drink?
At the moment, a coconut margarita.

What advice would you give to budding innovators?
Think it through, test it and try it. Don’t wait too long because other people already have the same idea so start as early as possible and perfect it during the process.

Biz tools you just couldn’t manage without?
Google Apps, UpTo Calendar (a new fave), Evernote and bit.ly

What’s your typical work fashion style?
I love to dress confidently – bright colours, simple styles but comfortable shoes.

3 things that would surprise us to know about you?
I love ice cream so much that I opened my own store! I am a trained floral designer and a certified scuba diver.

What song gets you pumping?
Happy by Pharell Williams

What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Don’t try to be like any one else, don’t worry about what the others are doing be your own competition.

What’s your Brand Vibe?
Elegant and Confident but down to earth

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Monique Alamedine is a product creation expert, who specializes in turning million dollar ideas into tangible products. She helps innovative product creators and online retailers to create an authentic brand, and build a raving fan base. Mum, Blingstreses & Entrepeneur, she launched the revolutionary Snugbods Bodysuits, which have been featured in such media as The Today Show, The Catch Up Show, ABC Matters. Woman's Day, Who and Dolly Magazine. She also introduced eco-stylish Glass Drinking Straws - all with no previous product experience. Sign up for your FREE Product Strategy Session.