Jill Munson: Co-Founder of Wildling

Episode 445

In this outstanding episode, Jill Munson, Co-Founder of Wildling, sits down with Kara Goldin to discuss her journey building this fabulous beauty brand. Wildling is the leading gua sha brand that makes expert-level techniques easy for anyone. We get into what that means as well as what makes people swear by this brand. Their story is unique and we hear what it’s like to be at the forefront of disrupting the beauty industry as they are doing. This is an interesting and informative episode in entrepreneurship that you don’t want to miss. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am super thrilled to have my next guest, we have Jill Munson, who is the co founder of Wildling. And if you have not heard of, or tried Wildling, definitely, definitely listen to this podcast. And you’re gonna want to get online immediately and go and check out all of their amazing content on Instagram. But more importantly, actually purchase the product. So Wildling is the leading wash shop brand. And if you’re not familiar with that, to the co founder, Jill is here to share all about this. And also what guasha is overall, and the expert level techniques that are easy for anyone to try and why you need to try them as well. Hopefully, we’ll get more into what it means to the beauty industry overall, because I really believe that they are disrupting the industry and doing really, really great things that people are looking for. And it’s like I said, it’s really unique. The story behind it is super original and authentic. And overall, Jill is just an amazing, amazing founder. So welcome. Jill

Jill Munson 1:59
thank you so much. I’m so grateful to be on the show. Thanks for having me.

Kara Goldin 2:03
Yeah, absolutely. So tell us what is Wildling to you. When you think about the brand, and you’re explaining it to somebody who has never tried it? How do you explain it to them?

Jill Munson 2:15
You know, it depends on the person. But in general Wildling to me is it’s really just this offering that we’ve brought out to people that’s really this invitation for self care and for self love and for techniques and products that work and really do transform your skin but also your whole whole being it’s really something that works on deeper levels, then just the skin and works on mental health, emotional health and physical health, as well. So it’s really this offering to just you know, create space for yourself, love yourself self care, and then really treat the skin and the whole body with with our offerings.

Kara Goldin 2:58
I love that and what were you doing before I actually know what you were doing before but I’d love for you to share what you were doing before.

Jill Munson 3:07
I have been working in beauty for over 20 years. So I have been working for many different beauty brands making products. Product Development is my background in the beauty and beauty industry. And so I’ve worked I worked at L’Oreal for for a long time I worked at Procter and Gamble, I worked at smaller companies, Josie Marin, and Orly. And, and then I also am an herbalist. So I also study herbalism. And I do do that, as well. So it’s a combination of my love and background in herbalism. And as well as in beauty and product development that kind of like inspired Wildling too. So it goes into Wildling every day.

Kara Goldin 3:54
So you started the company with two other co founders, what inspired you to do this? Was this your first brand that you had actually co founded?

Jill Munson 4:04
Yeah, I mean, it’s, I when I got pregnant with my first child, who is now 11 Crazy enough, I really wanted to take a break from working and just have time to be a mom. And so that and that’s when I really dived into herbalism and so I started studying herbalism I took a break from working really focused on you know, being a mom and being there. And then as I as I kind of journey through that path of deciding where I wanted to go next, I just opened myself up, you know, to the universe essentially, like I’m open to wherever my path like the next thing for me to go is and it just turned out I was in a workshop actually in LA and my co founder Britta was out here. She was living in New York at the time, and my other co founder Gianna and we were at this workshop and it just, it was Britta teaching The Washington technique and it was before, most people in the US had really ever known about Washa. Really, and it’s used for the face and for beauty. And so, so this was years ago. And when she taught it, I was like, This is so amazing and so profound. And just such a, I love the tradition behind it, that it comes, you know, from, from China, for Chinese practices and traditional Chinese medicine and, and just how long it’s been practiced and how powerful it was. And she was so passionate about it, and how well it had worked. She’s a holistic esthetician, my co founder, Britta, and she had been practicing the guasha on her her in her treatment room. And she was finding profound effects like it was working more than any other technique or tools that she had been using. So, so she was really passionate about teaching it, because it’s also something that you want to do for yourself at home to keep consistency with it. And so that was when I really was like, wow, this is awesome. And when you teach the technique it has to be, you need to use well not just teach when you do it, you need to use oil on your face and different products for it to be properly used. So my product development mind after class was like, Have you considered because she was just using a basic standard stock tool with whatever oil and I was like, Have you considered like creating your own custom like tool that’s just fabulous, and exactly what you would want and, you know, an oil that specifically maximizes the results for guasha and works specifically for this technique. And she’s like, Yeah, that sounds amazing. But I don’t know how to do that. And I was like, Well, I do. So it just kind of started and then Gianna being an acupuncturist and her background in Chinese medicine having practiced quassia in her practice for so many years and such a believer. So this, the guasha technique became this just inspiration almost like this serendipitous moment at this workshop where we were like let’s, let’s do something let’s collab like let’s try to put something out there. So it started as this little seed that blossomed into what now is wild laying into a much bigger brand and really wanting to offer not just the guasha technique which because we’ve expanded past the guasha it’s really just this offering of what I said in the beginning this this like techniques and products and rituals that really create the space for yourself for to self love self care and, and stuff that really absolutely works. It really works. It’s time tested but it also is something that goes deeper on the deeper level Washa works on the entire body. It’s you contain all the points on your face that relate back to all the organs of the body. So when you’re doing all of this technique on the face, you’re not just lifting plumping and toning the skin, but you’re also balancing the entire beam. So it’s it’s a really it’s a really amazing technique and so when we also have now created launch skincare products, we want to make sure that those products are very holistic as well in the way that they treat the skin.

Kara Goldin 8:03
So what year did you actually come out with the guasha tool with ours? We

Jill Munson 8:07
launched in 2018 Okay, yeah 2018 And we it went gangbusters it was you know, I it was quite a launch like we launched right and holiday so the end of 2018 and it was we could barely keep up.

Kara Goldin 8:24
It was great and initially just online. Yes, we

Jill Munson 8:27
launched online on wildling.com and and then we started selling that credo very soon after in all their stores and then soon after that we started selling blue mercury as well. But but aren’t online is still like our baby you know it’s like our our bread and butter there. So we really do a lot on the website.

Kara Goldin 8:50
Amazing. So for the first How long were you just the tool and oil right those were the two

Jill Munson 8:57
Yeah, we launched we launched with the full collection which was the tool and an oil and a mist. So when you use that you you moisten the skin first without plant water combination and then with the the oil and then you do the tool. So we had for the first year almost we focused on just that Empress collection. And then we came out with a body collection for the body because quassia is traditionally used on the body. So we came out with the full collection for the body. And then after that we launched with a facial cupping collection which people love and then we’ve just recently launched a we had a scalp tool that we launched as well because it works so amazing on the scalp as well. And then and then we just recently launched cleanser and moisturizer products in the skincare capacity. So that’s

Kara Goldin 9:50
that’s incredible. So exciting. So you’re based in Los Angeles, do you have locations that people can actually come and get it done or As you’re right,

Jill Munson 10:02
we are based in LA, our my co founder Britta is based in Austin. And she has a studio that she just recently opened, that you can get a wildling facial and do the full treatment. And we do have our tool sell with some, some spas and estheticians have full Wildling facial, it would have to be at Brittas studio in Austin. But there are some spots like den mother on Abbot Kinney in Venice, that does a facial with our our Emperor stone. And there’s there’s quite a bit of different spots around the country that do as well. But we’re working on getting some more offerings out there for full Wildling facial, and then Gianna my co founders based in LA and she does facial cosmetic acupuncture, and works in the wash as well with that. So it’s a little different, but you still get some Wildling in there.

Kara Goldin 10:52
So cool. What do you think is the toughest thing that you’ve learned since launching your own company as compared to developing products? You’re an expert at this, you’ve got a name brand, that of people who know you, especially in the industry, but How different is it to actually go and launch your own company,

Jill Munson 11:15
it’s pretty different. I would say it’s just all on, you know, it’s all on you, you know. So it’s just like the one of the things I would say for us is we are bootstrapped, we never raised a dime. So we’ve totally self funded the entire time based off of sales. So that makes it very, you know, it’s it’s, you know, you have, it’s hard, I think it makes it hard to not have an investment. So that I would say is one thing that it’s constantly, you know, something that that makes it much harder, because when you’re working with other brands, you’re very inspired to create products that are going to move the needle for them, and that are powerful products, but you’re not as much focused on like, you know, the bottom line when it comes to the whole company, and all of that. So and making sure that, you know, things are growing and all of that. So I’m wearing so many hats as, as a founder, and I do a lot of the you know, ops and financial and all different kinds of stuff that when I was you know, working for brands, I was more focused on just the product development side of things. So yeah, it’s it’s very different. But it’s fun. Yeah, I like it. Down yours.

Kara Goldin 12:29
Definitely. And I think when you you’re stretching your brain in ways, I’m sure that you didn’t even know that you had capabilities. So it’s it’s exciting. But it’s like you said the buck stops with you. Right? When Yeah.

Jill Munson 12:45
I think also having your own brand is so it’s like you evolve, it evolves you as a person so much too. I mean, life does that to you. But like, I feel like it’s just like a fast forward evolution as an individual too. And so yeah,

Kara Goldin 13:01
what have you learned, maybe even a story that that you could share that is, you know, kind of in launching a product that you thought was going to do amazing. And you were just shocked, right? Or maybe there’s a you know, a product that you’re developing that that didn’t turn out the way that you really thought something along the lines that you can kind of share what you go through on a day to day basis that is just like, oh my god, how am I gonna get over this hump today?

Jill Munson 13:34
I mean, I would say our products have, for the most part, the forecasts of how they were expect to do has performed I think the initial when we initially launched, we had no idea and that was like, really like on the positive side, it did really well. But I would say like in general, when it comes to product development, the time, like, for example, we created we launched an emperor or Empress platinum tool, which is our, our, our be on stone tool in the in a platinum in a stainless steel material. And then it has this special little lip on it that helps with the energizing of the chi and the blood circulation. And that was almost three years it took to we had to keep pushing out the launch. So I would say the expectation was that this would be not too hard, we would create it, we’d launch it. And unfortunately, we had to keep pushing out the launch because we just were we’re total perfectionist like we want the product to be amazing. And so we had to keep pushing that out. And that’s disappointing and it’s also you know, like it you have the projection that you’re going to be selling this tool at this by this time for the year and you’re not so that can be you know, challenging but we ended up you know, launching it and we did great with it and it’s it’s an awesome product but I would say that’s an example of one that was just like, Is this ever gonna launch Should we just not launch it, you know, is one of those things where are. And when I’ve worked for other companies to I mean, we’ve gone through where we develop a product, and we put a year plus into the development and we just don’t launch it and never gets to launch because of, you know, and that doesn’t happen a lot. But it has happened to me before where it’s just that, that we at the time, it’s just, this isn’t going to, it’s not going to sell what we need it to. And we just don’t want to, you know, risk that we end up like canceling the launch. And that’s always a bummer, because you put a year of your life into something that never gets to go out there. That’s happened to me before, too. But yeah, not at Wildling. But at some other brands that’s happened. You’ve built

Kara Goldin 15:36
an incredible, strong and loyal community. And as I mentioned early on, in the podcast, the education, there’s so much fun, you could spend a lot of time I’m sure the Instagram, folks just love you. Because people are sitting on there and running videos, and that are really, really good. I mean, they’re interesting, for sure. So how, how else are you getting the word out about what you’re doing? Because there’s a lot of education, right? That is really quality stuff, but how do you get consumers attention to sit and and, you know, learn so that they can actually enjoy your products better?

Jill Munson 16:22
Right. I mean, education has been a big part of our, you know, success at Wildling, we launched just knowing that people initially did not know how to do wash at all. So it was very much focused on teaching people how to do it. And then now that more people know, it’s, you know, evolving that education. So education has been very important to us. And yes, social media has been a huge driver. For us, Instagram has been our number one source for reaching our customers. And you know, with those tutorials and the different ways that we we reach them via Instagram, and then we have the other we’re on pretty much every social channel. So we do a lot of stuff on all the social channels, we we do classes and workshops for people that people love, those do really well. So we do zoom, personal, like virtual ones, we do them in person. And then we also do them on Instagram on social so we do classes like that, we have our our email list, we do a lot of education through our email and reaching cus our current or existing customers through our email, and SMS. And then we do events, we’re out there with events and then we’re in the different retailers that were with that we also do events with activation. So it’s all you know, it’s there is an endless need of having to get yourself out there. But we, you know, we get we get out there and we there’s more that we could be doing too. But it’s all like balancing that like cost benefit for everything so and then we also work with we do work with affiliate influencer type people as well, to help us get out there a lot of its organic, most, most of our influencers that we work with just started promoting us without us even talking to them at all, they just personally bought it and started using it and promoting it for us. So that’s been a really great blessing that we’ve had this just really organic community that’s been so supportive,

Kara Goldin 18:26
that that’s great. Plus, the products are amazing. I tried your eye cream, and it was unbelievable. So it just felt awesome. So so nice. And and obviously the the tool, the quassia tool is just so unique. So it’s it’s really really great. Like I said, there’s so much content that I’m going to dig in a little for a little longer because it’s it’s really really fascinating and interesting. How do you view like the beauty industry overall, there’s so many trends I came from, like originally came from tech but have been working in the beverage and the food industry. There’s lots of trends there too but in the beauty industry there seems to always be these new trends How do you focus and not be so focused on what other people are doing? I guess and and really make sure that you know you’re doing what’s right for for your brand and for your consumer

Jill Munson 19:34
I know the trend thing is crazy and just the saturation of people and brands in the space. So and then the then the moving to market quickly with different trends and how long their trends going to last and that sort of thing. So I mean for my philosophy with trends in general is I try not to pay too much attention to the the minutiae uptrends I think the overall kind of movements I really care about, like the movement into clean beauty, the movement into, you know, really finding things that are like deeper than skin deep. Like there’s different types of things that I think people and as you mentioned, food and beverage beauty often follows food and beverage trends, you know, it’s it’s very much food is usually first and then beauty follows a lot of those trends, like the probiotic or the key active ingredients that are popular, and food become popular and beauty, and there’s a lot of stuff that you can stay on top of. So, for me, I mean, I shop at Erawan, I feel like you know, going there and like, okay, like I get overwhelmed by the drink aisle. But in general, it’s just like the way that I live. So I’m inspired by things that are kind of on the edge, in general in the space that I’m in. So that always influences me, but I try not to play too much into the trends because I, I think that that can lead you astray if you get too much into it and just stay true to who what what I feel so strongly about bringing out into the world, you know, and stay true to that. And hopefully some of that aligns with where the industry is going, which it seems to a lot of times, but I think that it’s important to just stay true to who what you believe in and not just jump on a trend just to like make an extra buck. Though I think there is certain products that you could always like, you know, you might have and you can always do like little tick tock about them if you already have it in your in your offering. And you can be like it can be used for this like this lugging trend or whatever, you know, like that’s totally just marketing and fun to do. But totally diverting your business model and like the way products that you’re going to be developing because of a trend. I don’t necessarily follow as much, but we’re very much like in the wellness space as a brand. And that’s been a big movement in in beauty too. So for us, we’re just kind of already flowing in that direction. So it makes sense. Definitely.

Kara Goldin 22:04
So when I think about everything that you’re doing, and all of the great tutorials and great stories that I’m sure consumers have shared, is there. One story that is really hit you hard that you feel like a consumer really made your day I always talk about how founders, you know, the highs and the lows, the spikes can be a lot, right for for people, and especially when you hear that a product isn’t coming out on time, and then that creates a domino effect for the rest of your company. I totally get all of that. But then when you start talking to consumers and hearing consumers say how a product or service has, has really helped them in some way. That’s the light, right? And I think that you must hear from so many consumers, what’s kind of the best one that you’ve ever heard that you think about still.

Jill Munson 23:08
I mean, I those are so that’s so true. And it to me, it’s like we do get those pretty frequently. And you’re like, so grateful for that positive feedback. It really does, like keep you going. You’re like great. I know, they’re thinking that this is, you know, doing what I was hoping for people. And just I think in general, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback on just like how it’s really completely changed their lives, like really transformed, how they think about themselves, how, you know, how they they look and feel and the types of products that they use. I mean, I was on. I was flying back from vacation, and I was wearing my Wildling sweat outfits, wetsuit outfit, and the stewardess walked up to me, and she’s like, Oh, I love that brand so much. And I was like, Really, I was like, I’m, it’s my brand. I’m like a co founder, but she’s like, really, and she was like, so excited to talk to me. And she was telling me how it has completely changed her life. She flat she flies you know, she’s she’s a flight attendant, she’s in the air a lot. And it’s incredibly taxing on her skin and her physical health and she has three kids and she was like, I do your Washa ritual like at takeoff and landing like every single flight. She’s like, I used to use all these different products that weren’t as clean and as I really dove into your brand, I stopped I started just focusing on the oils and really like treating my skin this way. I’ve sold it to like every flight attendant if there’s anyone that that works in the in the aviation space, it’s probably because I’ve sold them on it. She’s like, I’ve been such a it’s completely transformed how I feel and so that that was like and she’s like, it’s just made me feel better in my body and all that stuff. And that was just, you know, a few weeks ago and I was just like, it’s so grateful to hear that, that feed back. And then I was just that I just got a facial last week. And the esthetician was like, oh, Wildling is your brand. She’s like, I use the Washington stone every single morning, it’s helped my hyperpigmentation so much like, I’m so grateful that I found you and blah, blah, blah. And so there’s just, it’s just that little stuff. And it’s so amazing to hear. Yeah, it’s, those are a couple of stories, but there’s been a lot and they’re there. They sometimes make me cry, because I’m just like, so grateful. Now, so as if you’re listening, always share positive feedback with if you have it.

Kara Goldin 25:32
Definitely. And I think it makes you know that you’re on to something, you know, pretty great. Yeah. When consumers are taking the time out of their day to actually write to you and comment on how this changed their life. I mean, it’s such a powerful thing when you think about it. And if you didn’t decide to create this company, you know, where would these people be and it sounds crazy to say that, but it’s true people are really, really believe. And I think that they want to see brands, they want to understand that there’s people like you behind it, too. And there’s a lot of thought behind it, too. So I think that’s a really powerful position to be in. So when you look at kind of the hero product, if somebody has never tried Wildling, what would you say they should start with the guasha stone, for sure. And the oil but is there anything else that is just like kind of the runaway hero product

Jill Munson 26:32
that you have? Well, R Mo is collection, which is what we launched with is still our number one selling SKU. So that includes the mist, the oil and the guasha tool. And so I would say anyone that wants to go down the path of of learning the guasha, and really diving in with that, that Empress collection is the best place to start. And then we also recently launched the cleanser and moisturizer. And the moisturizer has been our number one seller of all the products since we launched those products. So the moisturizer has, it’s our moonbounce it’s called the moonbounce bio retinol moisturizer. It has a natural retinol alternative in it at a very high level of 2%. So it’s a really amazing moisturizer, especially for people that want the benefits of retinol but do not have there’s no skin irritation associated with it, no sun sensitivity, it’s totally natural. So it’s a really great alternative to retinol in it. It’s just a beautiful bouncy moisturizer, so So that’s that products doing really well as well. And then my personal like the star nectar that we just launched, which is a Jelly Cleanser is so delicious. Like the last we were I was on a podcast last week. And he’s like, I just want to spread it on toast and eat it. Because it looks like it looks like honey. We’re totally vegan lime. So it’s not honey, but it looks like honey and it feels like honey except for it’s not sticky. And it’s just delicious. When you put it on, you just feel so treated. So that’s that’s my it’s been I’ve loved that product. So much.

Kara Goldin 28:07
So yeah, I went through it super fast. So you and I were originally or your your team and I were talking a few months ago. And it’s it really is so so great. But everything I’m wearing your moisturizer that you just talked about right now and also the AI. So it’s it’s really great. And just in terms of the amount of time just to give people with the grindstone. It’s not that much time to actually not only learn it, but also on a daily ritual. What do you suggest to people? How long should it take,

Jill Munson 28:43
we say 10 minutes, 10 minutes, I mean, you can do as long as you like, or just a quick couple minutes to so I would say 10 minutes to do the full ritual. But you can go longer and really get into the areas that you feel, you know, just naturally feel like maybe need a little bit more attention. I do it at night. Like we also encourage people to get out of the bathroom and get on the sofa or you know, relax in bed and make it more of like a relaxing thing that doesn’t have to be so focused in the bathroom. So I like to do it when I’m watching the show at night. I just like do the whole ritual because I know how to do it without watching the tutorial. And I just do that while I’m watching the show. So you can fit it in that way to where you can have like a beautiful self care moment and like light the candle and do it in the bath or whatever. So one thing that’s great is you can really do it like in any time of your day in any space and kind of incorporate it there. So yeah, I would say 10 minutes to just a quick two minute lift before you’re going out and a little glow or like a full 30 minutes of relaxation before bed or something like that. So

Kara Goldin 29:53
now it’s it’s so great. So what advice would you give to any entrepreneur out there? That’s thinking If I, you know, I really want to go launch my own company, what do you know, today that, that, you know, maybe you didn’t know, when you were first getting started. That is that is really, really critical.

Jill Munson 30:16
I would encourage anyone that feels driven to launch their own company to do it. It’s just an incredible journey. And it’s like I said in the beginning, just so it’s like, evolves your own personal character as well. I would say, you know, I kind of the things that you the things you learn along the way are hard to be, it’s almost like you have to learn them along the way. But I would say just being really careful with how you know, with how you allocate your, your resources, and making sure that they’re put in the best possible, especially depending on the resources that you have. But like I would say, just really being very close on how you allocate those resources and making sure that you’re putting them in the best possible place. And being conservative in that way to really sustain the longevity of the brand. And just be scrappy, you know, be scrappy, like, don’t, don’t think that you have to have, you know, all of this and that just do it, you know, that kind of thing, do it before you’re even ready, just get it out there and learn along the way. And there are so many tools now that you can just kind of go and do it. You don’t have to have support by any third party at this point. You can just have a social media page and a website and get out there, you know, so I would say, you know, just go and try to see what comes up. And, you know, do it as scrappy as you can

Kara Goldin 31:42
build the plane as you’re flying it as if

Jill Munson 31:45
we were not ready when we launched it was like doing the launch, but then we’re gonna miss holiday and all that and we’re like, let’s just do it. Not ready, but we dealt with it.

Kara Goldin 31:56
I love it. Well, such an incredible story and products for sure. It’s called Wildling. And Jill Munson, again is the co founder of Wildlings. So definitely everybody will have all the info in the show notes too. But definitely everybody needs to get on to her Instagram onto her website, and definitely give this a try. So thank you so much, Jill, for coming on and sharing a lot more about Wildling with us.

Jill Munson 32:24
Thank you so much for having me. It was super fun to chat.

Kara Goldin 32:27
Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen. Or pick up a copy of my book on daunted which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book.com and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening