Marcia Kilgore – Founder of Beauty Pie, FitFlop, Bliss Spa, and Soap & Glory
There’s so much learning and inspiration on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow with Marcia Kilgore! Marcia is the amazing founder behind the well-known brands Bliss Spa, FitFlop, Soap & Glory, and most recently, Beauty Pie. In this episode, she shares her awe-inspiring story of how she accidentally discovered what she was good at and went on to build the iconic Bliss Spa in New York City. Then, Soap & Glory and FitFlop. This serial entrepreneur has so many valuable things to say that we can all learn from. And how today she is disrupting the beauty industry with her latest company, Beauty Pie (so good!). Kickback, listen, learn and order some Beauty Pie too!
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More links from Marcia Kilgore
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Marcia Kilgore 0:00
Your existence is something that’s very unique to you. And it’s really an opportunity for you to go out there in the world and create something that nobody else can.
Kara Goldin 0:09
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 make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders will 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. Its Kara golden from the Kara golden show. And I am super excited about my next guest. I’m such a fan. Huge Fan Fan Fan of this founder this great woman, just iconic brand builder on so many fronts. So Marcy Kilgore is here with me. And we’re going to talk about her latest. It’s a couple years old, a few years old. We’ll talk more about that. But it’s called beauty pie. And I was just sharing with her that it’s the her products are awesome. We were on a panel a few years ago. And she was talking about it, and I got online and order them. And they’re so so amazing. And I was already a fan of her and her products. I think I was an early adopter to the spa in Soho that she started called bliss. And she gave amazing facials and how to all kinds of great products to and successfully sold that company and then fitflop. And we’re going to talk about all of that in just a couple of minutes and some of her other ventures as well. But she is a true disrupter and has built direct to consumer luxury beauty product brands and really, really excited to have you here. So thank you for coming on Marsha. Oh, thank you so much for having me. And thank you for being a customer. Yes, absolutely. Way back. Yeah, absolutely. I’m very, very excited. So talk to me a little bit about who you are. Where what’s your background? Who was little Mercia?
Marcia Kilgore 2:35
Well, I’m a Canadian. I grew up mostly in Saskatchewan. And Alberta. Saskatchewan is like the prairies, you know, there’s sort of nothing there except for farm houses in a couple of small cities. And I was the third of three girls. My father died when I was 11. So leaving my mom and as to kind of fend for ourselves, which is, I think, where I probably got a little bit of my entrepreneurial and sort of survival instinct. And I moved to New York when I was about 17, maybe 18 I lose track of time, you know, there’s just been so much that’s gone on I’m, I’m kind of terrible with the time. Yeah, and I, I just, you know, took part time jobs to kind of survive and pay my rent while I when I was first there, and ended up falling into the skincare business because my skin was quite terrible. And then parlayed that into quite quite a lot of businesses learning so much about cosmetic ingredients and skincare ingredients, you know, over over the years. And so I have been a personal trainer. In my life, I have been a waitress, I have been a copywriter, I have been a facialist I have been a CEO. Yeah, I have been a founder of many businesses. So it’s interesting, I think what all of the experiences that I’ve had have turned into, if you know, I always say to people that your unique experiences and how you pull them together are actually your unique opportunities. And so even if something really difficult happens in your life, eventually if you can overcome that and sort of put it in your pocket or put it up as one of the dots in your connect the dot diagram, when all those dots linked together, you know, your existence is something that’s very unique to you. And it’s really an opportunity for you to go out there in the world and create something that nobody else can.
Kara Goldin 4:31
Oh my gosh, I absolutely love that. And so you I read somewhere you You said I found by accident what I’m good at, and I’m glad I did. Now I’m guessing that is the skincare side of the business. I mean, you’re very talented. You’ve done lots of different things. So talk to me a little bit about that. And is that what is that how bliss spa came to be?
Marcia Kilgore 4:54
Yeah, you know, it’s a it’s a quite a long story because it was many years of learning how to do skincare and then Learning, you know, learning facials and learning how to run a small business and learning how to hire people, learning how to train people, and then how to market and all of those kinds of things. And it did start with learning how to get facials because I had taken a crash course in facials because my skin was so bad. I just tried everything and just wanted to learn, you know how to fix it myself. And so I did start by giving facials in my studio apartment on Avenue B and H Street to a lot of model Booker’s with from what was then elite, elite models, and my sister happened to be a model. And so she was connected. And she sent all of these women who were in the booking offices to me for facials. And then they sent, they sent models to me for facials, and they would send their friends to me for facials. And so I realized quite quickly that I was pretty good at at giving facials. And when I opened my first spa, or it wasn’t really a spa, it was three rooms in a in a building on prints and Broadway, I quickly learned that I had a little bit of a flair for marketing, because in order to reach customers and remind them that they needed to come in for their facial, you know, there was, there was no internet back then. So you would mail them something. So a friend of mine was a graphic designer, she worked at what I think it was electro Records, which I don’t know if it even exists anymore. And she designed me a little newsletter and I wrote a newsletter about what was going on and what products we had what new treatments, and people would come in with this newsletter, you know, I got your newsletter, and I want to try this. And so you thought what this actually is quite straightforward. And it works as long as whatever you’re doing is exciting. And you can communicate it.
Kara Goldin 6:37
And this is before email marketing was realized.
Marcia Kilgore 6:41
Right? So everything. Yeah, I mean, there was not even email then right? People would call and leave a message on your answering machine to book an appointment. So way back then. And then that kind of snowballed. That little place was called Let’s face it, and it snowballed. We had so many customers, we just had to expand because people would call and they’d want to come in for a facial but we really and we work six days, 12 hours a day. So it wasn’t like oh, you know, we’re open a small number of hours, every room was full for 18 months. So an opportunity to expand in the same building came up because an art gallery was closing. So we took the larger space and then started to build that larger spot. And that was when bliss was born, which was in 1996. Wow, at which point, we had an article in vogue about a particular cream that we used to sell and the phone was ringing off the hook. And people would call order this cream. We literally would work all night packing up creams into boxes and mailing them, right because I didn’t know about mailing houses.
Kara Goldin 7:42
Marcia Kilgore 7:43
you’re really learning on the fly. And then people would say, Well, you know, I’m 24 or something at the time. 25. And they would say well, what else do you sell? This is a really great cream. What else do you have? So we decided to do a mail order catalog. Again, this is way before there were websites. So we published sort of in the vein of remember JP Roman.
Kara Goldin 8:02
Mm hmm. Yeah. No, I remember I wish so much I would have kept these original catalogs, right. I mean, I remember all of this. It’s It’s amazing.
Marcia Kilgore 8:13
Yes, we I loved the JP to make catalog. And I thought well, wouldn’t it be fun? We could do a j Peterman kind of catalog but for beauty products, right? And so I got one of my clients who was a still life photographer, when he was an illustrator. I hired somebody to do you know, the sort of catalog production and everything like that. And I thought, well, I can write I mean, I don’t need to hire a copywriter because I can write copy. I mean, not that I knew how to write copy, but I didn’t think it was that complicated. I you know, remember getting a very good grade in English when I was in high school. So I was the copywriter. And this is one of those moments that I think one of your classes, you know, the aha moment was one of my clients happen to be a marketing executive at Calvin Klein. And we sent out our very first catalog literally we licked stamps, which created this catalog with you know, a couple of my clients who had skills and I wrote the copy and we we picked out our favorite mascara or a favorite this or favorite that we’ve kind of put in a 24 items into a catalog. And my client came in for a facial and I think she had just received her catalog the day before had an emergency call from Calvin himself who had received our catalog as well called an emergency meeting about our catalog. And everybody had to go in at 1130 at night to discuss this catalog and how could they do something right versus Of course it was our very first shot at doing a catalog but because we didn’t know what we were doing. It was fresh.
Kara Goldin 9:50
Oh my gosh, it was the I remember it. It was the you know the iconic blue. That turquoise is the blue. I remember Exactly what the catalogue look like. So,
Marcia Kilgore 10:02
yeah, and yeah, it was such a, it was so flattering, but you know, then I thought, Oh, I guess I’m kind of good at this, you know, the beauty products thing, but maybe, you know, being able to, to communicate it out, make people excited about, about, you know, their beauty products and buying things from a catalogue. And maybe this is a skill that I’ve gotten it kind of then grew and grew and grew. So, you know, that has been super fun just learning along the way and trying stuff and, and iterating and evolving. I think that’s so important.
Kara Goldin 10:35
So when did you know that you became a brand? Right, that you were really I mean, I think there’s always this turning point when you’re in any small birth business, whether it’s a service or, or it’s a product where you’re like, Okay, I mean, you know, you always have one foot off a cliff, I think, to some extent, and you’re on the other foot back, and you’re trying to continue growing. But when did you know that it had really kind of made it in some way?
Marcia Kilgore 11:04
Well, probably there were two points, but I’m sure there were 1001 was when I think it was Samantha on Sex in the City. I was, was watching an episode of Sex in the City. And Samantha said, I have to go to Vegas for a facial. And it was written into the script, as if everybody would know what bliss was. And then you thought, well, right, that’s kind of crazy that it gets real. Yeah, it’s like someone, you know, when there’s that kind of recognition, then you know, that you’ve kind of made it. Another point, I think was we decided, because there were so many people calling all the time to try and get appointments. We moved our booking office system, Brooklyn, because we just couldn’t, we didn’t want the phone’s ringing in the sky. It’s not very relaxing. And of course, we had to have, you know, probably 20 people sitting at the desks answering the phones all the time. And that took up a lot of space. So we were one of the pioneers moving into Dumbo. And we had this, you know, call center in Dumbo, which was also where we fulfilled the catalog orders from which is pretty crazy. If you think about it right now, like who who would have their catalog, but we left over there. So we thought why not, this is very cheap space that we can kind of control it all and make sure that the quality is high. And I remember walking into the call center, all the phones were ringing, but you know, we had flashing lights instead. So it didn’t drive everyone crazy. And I remember sitting down because I could see that people were on hold. So I just slotted myself in and sat down and started to book appointments. And I remember someone you know, said Hi, welcome to plus, blah, blah, blah. And they said, Hi, I would like to book a triple oxygen facial or hi Herbie. And uh, I can’t remember what the other you know what the other name of but the fact that this person knew they were rattling off the names, right? Uh, hi Herbie and a triple oxygen and, uh, I think it was a pedicab. But they knew them all, by our names, right. Kind of like
Kara Goldin 13:07
it might hear me on the phone on the phone. So I remember the oxygen facial you were I mean, that was the thing. And I lived in San Francisco. And I’m so I used to fly back. Just to I had meetings, I was there finish online and get my facial with my ox. Double oxygen, triple oxygen. Yeah, it was just amazing. I absolutely loved it. And then you were acquired. At some point, you sold the company. So
Marcia Kilgore 13:35
in 1999, yeah. Well, you know, for my, my whole existence, you know, pretty much since when we were never as you know, my family, we were never wealthy in any way, shape, or form. So pretty much my entire existence, especially when I lived in New York was you like, tenuous, from a, from a financial perspective, let’s just put it that way. So I had always reinvested everything that I made back into, you know, into, let’s face it, when I had, let’s face it, and then back into plus, and so you’re always living kind of hand to mouth, right, trying to, you know, pay the contractors or pay for the, you know, pay the rent or pay the taxes or whatever it was, it was coming due, and we desperately needed to expand in, in the new bliss location, because we had, I think, 12 treatment rooms, but again, you know, we’ve moved from a smaller place into bless with four times as many treatment rooms, but we were still booked for a year and a half in advance, and people were starting to get really upset. So they would book their appointments, you know, a month apart for 18 months, but then if anybody knew called, they just couldn’t get in. And so we realized there was a space above us, we realize, oh, wouldn’t it be great if we could take that space? We could get another 12 treatment rooms in but unfortunately, you know if we would have them built that out that tax liability was so high because it was capital improvements that it was just going to put me back into a whole bunch of debt. And I had just been in debt for so long. So, at that time, I guess because we were kind of hot, we were in all the magazines, and you know, Oprah had us on. And, you know, we were everywhere. And we have this waiting list, we started to be courted by quite a lot of large cosmetic conglomerates, because of course, they’re always looking for the next hot thing. And they want you know, they want a piece of it. So we had a few different businesses and you know, large corporates swirling around. And LVMH was probably the best at the sort of, you know, the dance and invited me to Paris, we got to fly over on the Concorde, which was still flying man and, you know, took me to the Dior shop and the shop, you know, I’m 29 I’ve never had anything like this, I’m living in Brooklyn, you know, at night out for me is going to the Thai place that you know, and having like Thai food and a beer. Yeah, cuz like you couldn’t afford anything else. Amazing. Yeah, it was it was a very fairy tale, like story. And they were an amazing partner, because they really understood what we were trying to build. And they had a, you know, a lab in early on in France, where we could go and formulate products with all these great cameras. And so it was irresistible, when they said that they wanted to buy part of the company, because I thought, Oh, thank God, it won’t just be me, always, you know, the one holding the bag, because that is quite, it’s quite intense, when you’re, you know, the only one sort of on the line for a business of that size. And coming from where I came from, I just wasn’t used to it.
Kara Goldin 16:43
So you stayed involved, then after it was sold,
Marcia Kilgore 16:46
I stayed involved for about five years. So I wanted to make sure that they knew how to how to, you know, run the business to keep it going and, and that they had the people in place that would be able to, you know, grow it in the way that we had grown it when it was, you know, a small concern, and that we wouldn’t lose the quality. And the, you know, this staff was taken care of, and everybody’s still had the same kind of passion. So I finished in about 2004, I think was my last year.
Unknown Speaker 17:20
And then the next venture, was it the next venture flip flop,
Marcia Kilgore 17:25
as well, I had actually started sort of a mass niche brand called Soap and Glory at but I was living in England at the time. And so and so I had, you know, done that, first launching at Harvey Nichols. And then we rolled it out into boots, which is sort of, you know, England’s big retailer, and then came back across a window into Sephora. So long story there. But fitflop was something I had been working on at the same time. And it just took a little bit longer to engineer. And it was really based on trying to get the ultimate ergonomics into a shoe so that when you walk you were doing something really good for your body, realigning your body, making sure that the ground reaction for us and it’s quite technical, but that I had this idea to create, like the ultimate shoe so that you could kind of do a yoga class as you walk your child to school or as you were walking to work, or whatever you were doing. And I couldn’t find it anywhere. And so I was doing a lot of research about footwear. And it was really interesting, because I would, I would give nondisclosure agreements to footwear designers who I had found on the internet by then I was searching the internet trying to find somebody to help me. And everybody that I will interview with, say, I say, look, I want to, I want to design a shoe that does X, Y, and Z that you know, because that was a personal trainer. So I knew a lot about how to get the body feeling really energetic. And every single person that I would interview would say, Well, I don’t know how to do that. I just draw shoes. And I realized, oh my god, no one thinks about how the body actually interacts with the shoe and how that makes. I mean, it’s so crazy. I mean, when I read your story just about, you know, water versus diet soda, and how is so important, right? In terms of what you drink, including what you eat. And you look at cosmetics, if you’re creating shower gels, something as simple as a shower gel, you have to test it on 60 people for 60 days to make sure that it’s safe, right, this is the thing you rub on it rents off, but you can create a shoe and just put it out there. It can ruin cemetery back. Yeah, and no, there is nothing stopping you from putting something out there that can be really detrimental to someone’s posture or you know, their, their spinal system or anything. So I did think it was really crazy. And so I searched around to try and create the ultimate shoe. And I started with a flip flop because it would be affordable for everyone. I wanted something that everybody could try and if you go into an enclosed shoe. You know, not everybody can afford a high tech enclosed shoe. So I thought, well, let me start with flip flops because there’ll be less expensive to produce.
Kara Goldin 20:09
I love that. And I love that you went from the beauty industry fearless founder over here going into, you know, the shoe industry. I mean, why not? Right. And that’s I absolutely love it. How do you think those two industries were different? I mean, what were sort of the glaring kind of differences between?
Marcia Kilgore 20:30
Well, you know, there’s a lot of similarity. And then, of course, a lot of different, you know, differentiation shoes, obviously, most of them now are made in China. So if actually, really good shoes are made in China or Vietnam, right. Whereas really good cosmetics come from Italy, Switzerland, now South Korea, Japan, right where you wouldn’t normally at the moment, source, luxury cosmetics from China, there just weren’t, you know, they’re there. As far as I know, they just aren’t suppliers who have the same level of quality because the Italians have been doing it for so long. The Swiss have been doing it for so long. So it was an entirely new sourcing kind of learning curve, because I had never had never sourced anything from China before. And they were by so far the best at creating prototypes and creating patterns and knives. And they actually have imported a lot of the the experienced Italian artisan shoe makers to work in Dongguan and Jen Zan and and these manufacturing areas, because they knew they needed the expertise, but they had the ability to do the kind of volume. And I think very, very quickly became the engineering experts of footwear. As it turned out, and for me, yeah, I actually found the person who was my first CEO for fitflop, through because it was a partner, he was the managing director of a partner business who happened to make lip gloss for me for one of my other businesses. And when they had done an introduction, we had an introductory meeting, and they said, Oh, we have this partner business called blah, blah, blah, and we make footwear and bla bla bla bla bla. And so when I came up with the idea for fitflop, I thought, Wait, wait, wait. First I thought, Oh, how am I going to make this? I don’t know anybody who does footwear. And then I thought, well, maybe I could go and partner with, you know, Nike or Adidas or something like that. Then I thought now, they’ll steal my idea, right? And then it’s like David versus Goliath. And now I can’t do this. So then I was racking my brains think, how am I going to commercialize this because I had a prototype, I’d worked with the University on a prototype. And then somewhere in the middle of my brain, I linked back together to when I was sitting in that introductory meeting with this cosmetics lab. And they said, Oh, we also have a business’s sources, footwear. And it was like, Oh, my God. Sorry. Yeah, yeah. And just said, Do you have anybody who can help me source this and then we did a deal where they sourced it and they charged me they get you know, $2 per pair of shoes or something like that. It was not bad at all. I love it.
Kara Goldin 23:13
I love how your curiosity just led you into these. I mean, you knew nothing about it, but you didn’t let it stop you. I mean, if if nothing else, it was just a point in your journey. Right? It wasn’t he? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I love that. It’s
Marcia Kilgore 23:28
just so fun to be able to improve something right?
Kara Goldin 23:32
Yeah, no, that’s exactly what I’m as I’m listening to you. That’s what I’m seeing. So the CIO flip flop. What? Where did fitflop go? Oh, well, now
Marcia Kilgore 23:41
we’re in about, gosh, 65 countries. That’s amazing. Yeah, still still have pretty much all the ownership of it. Obviously, there’s some people who work on the teams who we’ve given some percentages to because they’ve been incredible partners along the way. And yeah, we we do tremendous business and it’s growing. Really, I mean, grew really well over lockdown. Weirdly, women buy shoes and lipstick to cheer themselves up. Since you’re global. What is the size of the typical shoe? world? Like worldwide? is there is there some you know, variable Asia, different in Asia Of course, Asia, generally people will have wider feet but smaller so a wider fit will be more comfortable for someone in Asia not you know, it’s not everyone Of course, you’ll have some people who are very slim fit but generally a wider fit and maybe a I guess you probably call it a UK No, sorry, an American have going through those charts. Probably Americans five will be about typical. In America. Of course you’ve got you know, probably size nine will be right average or eight and a half nine. Yeah, pretty typical. Because people are growing right and people are getting taller. And their feet are getting bigger. I’d say in the UK, it’s probably a UK 6.5, which would probably be like an American, eight, eight and a half. It really varies some of the stuff that you learn just I know companies, I love it.
Kara Goldin 25:15
So your most recent venture is beauty pie, the one I talked about the products are amazing. You’ve said that you want to be the Netflix of beauty I read, what do you mean by that?
Marcia Kilgore 25:28
Well, okay, it’s a it’s a complicated but not, you know, with the advent of the Internet, and so many people with subscriptions. And so many people used to ordering online, what I realized, after I had sold Soap and Glory, which was my last cosmetics business was that the distribution channels for the luxury cosmetic industry are very outdated, and that customers pay almost sometimes 90% of what they’re paying for is because of those distribution channels, when they aren’t necessarily relevant, nor do they add any value to the customers experience with the product, or to the benefits that the product actually deliver. And I thought, you know, this is it’s so old school, how the luxury beauty industry works, there are so many middlemen, there’s so much markup. And, rarely, if you’re a typical beauty company, do you have the headspace to even think about what’s best for the customer, because you’re so busy trying to slice and dice your marketing dollars and your margin into to be able to feed the beast. And even at this point, some retailers will, will take 7060 to 70% of the retail price of a cosmetic right as their margin. So, you know, luxury anti aging cream they’re selling for $100, the retailer will take 70 of that, right? On top of that, if you’re a business that wants to do good business and be competitive, you then also have to supply hundreds of 1000s of free samples, you have to do marketing X, Y and Z, you have to give freebies to all the employees in the store so that they can, you know, try the product to make by the time you work out and work through all of those costs, what’s left to actually make the product is very, very little. So the beauty industry, you start to work backwards, here’s what we can sell it for, how much can we afford to put in it, which is not the way that it should be? what you should be doing is saying, hey, let’s make some incredible cream that will just make her face? radiant, what can we put in it? Right?
Kara Goldin 27:55
What else can
Marcia Kilgore 27:56
we put in it? Is there anything else new that we can add that has really great clinicals that you can see a you know, incredible difference in fine lines or luminosity or pigmentation? You know, what? What’s that? That looks like stuffing? And I’ve just wanted to do that. And I realized, okay, this is probably one of the last businesses I’ll create. And what would really give me joy is being able to go to all these labs I’ve met before, right? I’ve been doing this now for 25 years, maybe a little longer. I know who all the good and who all the good ones are. So I’ve worked with the best with labs, the best Japanese labs, the best Italian cosmetic manufacturers, I know, I know, their addresses and their phone numbers. And I thought great would this be if I could make a club where women could join, right? Everybody contributes to the overhead. And then we all shop, like straight out of the back door of all of these incredible factories or labs, right? And all we shop for are the highest quality products and we know what they cost to make. And so I kind of you know, like when you have a really good idea normally the hair on your body stands on end and you just think
Kara Goldin 29:10
oh, and no one was doing this. Yeah, no. I mean, the model was just totally so just explained. So people you go on and people are buying a membership.
Marcia Kilgore 29:20
Yeah, so you go on, you can just shop if you want to pay normal prices like regular retail, which a lot of people do, weirdly. But it’s fine. Because you know, there’s some people just don’t want a membership, which, you know, they might feel like and a lot of people at the beginning thought, Oh, this is too good to be true, right? There’s no way that a really great cream costs 12 $15 it can’t possibly be good. I have to pay 150 for it. But what you do is you you go on you can shop add things to your basket and then choose a membership or you just go to the membership page and you think well, I probably spend about this much a month this much and you put a membership in your basket and then it shows you You how much those products actually cost to make it into the warehouse, ship pack, all that kind of stuff. And you pay that. And and then you, you check out and at the moment, there’s a limit to how much you can buy each month because when we started, of course, we couldn’t just be totally unlimited because we had no idea how much people would buy, and we didn’t want to run out. And if you’re, if you’re going to give people memberships, you have to make sure you have stock, we’re now at the critical mass, where we’re going to be testing unlimited memberships, where we actually build a tiny bit of the membership cost into each product. So people can pay a small fee at the beginning of the year, and then just buy whatever they want, whenever they want. And it’s, it’s amazing, because it is kind of like virtually being able to go into say, the world’s best French candlemaker, the world’s best lipstick factory, the best way is to actually have the two best Swiss skincare labs, or best lab in Japan for skincare also, and just shop, right but out of the back door. So here’s the manufacturing line and stuff is coming off the manufacturing line. It’s all in beautiful packaging, very eco friendly, we always made sure that that we chose according to you know what was going to be as clean as possible for the earth. And you’re just shopping off the line before it gets to a middleman before it gets shipped to a retailer before it gets marked up by the retailer. And so you get probably five times as much for your money.
Kara Goldin 31:30
Yeah, it’s such a terrific product. And did you go global in terms of selling the product immediately, I mean, that actually was really unique as well.
Marcia Kilgore 31:39
While we were in the UK, in the US, we haven’t gone totally global yet. Because again, you know, with cosmetics, you have to buy 10,000 of any individual item to get a good price, right. And so of course, our goal is always to get the best price for our members. So the bigger we get, the lower the prices should get. Which is really kind of extraordinary. Also, because it’s really a business model where everybody wins, you send your friend, great. You know, if we double in size, we should have more bargaining power with our suppliers. And so we started just in the US and UK because we want to make sure that we can really deliver and service even the US by itself is, you know, such a huge market, just shipping from New Jersey to LA can take too long. So we have to consider Oh, do we have to open another warehouse somewhere on the West Coast or in the middle, so it doesn’t take so long. And that means you have to have 400 products at a sufficient level of SK use in a warehouse somewhere in the middle. You know, it’s complicated. And very complicated. It’s very complicated. And it’s also you know, you need a lot of capital. So we have to be very careful of balancing it out since since we launched because it is so disruptive. And no one has done something like this before. But it’s so great for the customer that, you know, I always say it has to win, you know, whatever’s better for the customer will win. So it’s exciting.
Kara Goldin 33:05
How do you or what do you see the key differences are between people who are buying in Europe versus people who are buying and in the US? Is there are there things that people are more concerned about in terms of beauty, that you’ve been able to see the data and the trends?
Marcia Kilgore 33:22
Sure. I mean, Americans love their sunscreen. And that is really good. At obviously it’s sunnier over there. Most of the year that you know, you have what we call the smile belt, right? There are areas in the US where it’s just sunny all the time. And I think people have been very well trained by beauty magazines and their dermatologists but sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. So sunscreen is very, very big in the US. retinol is huge for us. People love their their retinols we sell a tremendous amount of that. I’m trying to think I think the Americans who are beauty pie members, we call them American Pie. There, I’d say less inhibited with their spending, like you will see these giant boxes of product that people post on Instagram, you think oh my god, how much stuff did you buy? So more people are on the higher tiers and buying kind of everything from us from from their candles to their haircare to their body care to their like they just buy everything. Whereas you see people being a little bit more reserved, I
Kara Goldin 34:26
think in England. Interesting. So obviously coming out of the pandemic here, hopefully Fingers crossed, what are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve seen and beauty and just in the industry as a whole.
Marcia Kilgore 34:41
While supply chain has been really difficult, we were quite lucky in that we had kind of bulked up our supply at the beginning or I mean even before the beginning because we were going we were seeing a lot of growth. But we couldn’t have possibly planned for the amount of growth we then had sort of In the first half of the pandemic, obviously, everybody was at home and people needed to feel good. And also people were really watching their budgets, because there was so much uncertainty. So the idea of being able to ship a box of luxury skincare and cosmetics to your house for a really great price, right, where you didn’t actually have to feel guilty, because yeah, it was kind of made for pandemic. And so we saw a tremendous uptick in new members joining us during that first half, but then we had to actually stop any of our advertising or outreach because we had to watch inventory levels, because, of course, and I’m sure it’s similar with you, although maybe it’s a little bit later on supply chain, because you pretty much use the same bottles, except for the juice boxes, right? We have boxes, but I think like the key thing for us that, you know, that we didn’t have to deal with this, and while other beverage companies did is that we we don’t source anything outside of the US. And so I add all of our supply chain was here. But if you, for example, produced your product in cans, all cans are made in China, and Asia. And and so that is where people and frankly, still catching up.
Kara Goldin 36:19
I mean, I think it’s it’s a huge, you know, it’s a huge problem everywhere that I think everybody’s saying I was just reading an article on the automobile industry that it’s, you know, tiny little components that go in appeals, people want to buy cars, but these factories and all parts of the world were shut down on different times. So they couldn’t get those things. And in order to actually build the full car. So I think we’re going to be feeling this trickle and so many different industries, and I’m sure for you, you know, it’s you’ve got your suppliers all over the world. You’ve got, you know, packaging supplies all in Asia. Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s been a struggle. Yeah, we’re even I think our biggest challenge. Today, as crazy as it sounds is pallets. I mean, it’s not even about our product, it’s actually, you know, to be able to palletize things. And, you know, it’s how many pallets? Where are they? They haven’t come back. I mean, pallets is like a major problem all over the place. And they haven’t come back. And I don’t know, it’s like, it is not. So that is in the last week. That has been a huge, huge issue. Yeah. And now it was, I was saying to our manufacturer, I said, Can we talk to, you know, Home Depot, or any of these? Nope, they’re all gone. I mean, everyone’s dealing with the same issue. And so, yeah, so it’s, we’ll see, I mean, hopefully it gets worked out. But it’s, it’s, you know, and really, really, it what I see is that it’s, you know, the challenges, I think, from the pandemic are not necessarily predictable. Right? They’re, they’re challenges that you just have to figure out, how are we going to what can we do now, as I always say, and I’m sure you’re seeing that as well.
Marcia Kilgore 38:07
I had an email today, I think it was on LinkedIn, someone who is tracking stuff from China, to Europe. They call it like silk road transport. I was like, okay, maybe on some of these smaller items. Yeah. Obviously, you can’t do like a big box of boots or something, because you’re not going to get enough on a truck. But if you’ve got, you know, 30,000 of these, it might be worth actually driving them from China through Europe. Crazy, you would never think about this. But you can’t get boats right now, right? There’s no space on containers. So even with my footwear business, we’ve had quite a lot of difficulty, because we’re supposed to be relaunching our original shoe, which was the walk star, which was like a flip flop. Yeah. And so we thought, you know what, let’s relaunch it. That was the best shoe It was so incredibly comfortable. And so we were supposed to launch them in May, while they’re not here.
Kara Goldin 39:00
So now we’re launching in June, but, you
Marcia Kilgore 39:03
know, you have to kind of move everything back. It’s a moving target. You got to be flexible and creative. Well,
Kara Goldin 39:09
I think flexible, creative. And I what I always tell people is that the more challenges you have, the more resilient you become. And you seem quite zen, to me, right? I mean, there’s only so much you can do. And you have to accept that there are things that you’re not going to be able to do anything about. But the biggest thing that I see in you and why I admire you so much is that you don’t stay complacent. Right, you just keep moving. You try and figure out what can we do along the way, which I think is really the key to successful entrepreneurs.
Marcia Kilgore 39:41
Yeah, there’s always something you have to wind your way around, isn’t there? And I think there’s a great Tony Robbins speech. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an Al Gore’s in the audience, right. And he talks about being resourceful and just saying that you know what, the way that you win is you’re resourceful and you just keep trying Figure it out, you may come up with 99 ideas, but it’s the 101 that actually works that nobody else has tried that hard to think of, because everyone else gave up. That’s kind of how you have to live, especially in times like this. We’ll find those pallets. Kara,
Kara Goldin 40:14
we’ve got to find the pallets. Exactly. So what’s the last question for you? What is the thing that you, you know, you wish you knew, before you went into starting your business? I mean, I mean, you’ve learned so much along the way. You’ve been in different industries, you’ve and what it what is that thing?
Marcia Kilgore 40:38
That one thing, that one thing, I think, I wish I would have read more, I wish I read more when I was younger, and starting out and just taking maybe an hour a day, just to read anything. Because the more random things that you know, the easier it is for you to connect dots and solve those problems, sir. Yeah, and and I haven’t, you know, even Intel, I think the Internet has helped so much, right? Because you’re always reading and it’s like, you don’t have anything to do, you pick up your phone, you start to read and then you start to connect dots and you go, Wait, I saw something here or there. But I have found that just, you know, I’ll scan newsletters, I listen to podcasts, on topics that I actually don’t care about on purpose. So that because there might be something in there that it’s going to open up a new channel for me, and, you know, 20 years ago, or 25, or 30, there weren’t all these readily available sources of information, you had to kind of buy a magazine or, and and you you wouldn’t, because you wouldn’t necessarily see the value in going and reading something that might be a little bit off your beaten path of expertise. So I would say, you know, Warren Buffett reads write five or six hours a day. And once I started to read and understand so many different industries, it did help me to have a broader perspective on pretty much everything. So that’s what I would encourage people to do.
Kara Goldin 42:11
I 1,000% agree with you. It’s like, Yeah, actually, looking at other industries, definitely helps me to come up with new ideas and new ways to tackle things.
Marcia Kilgore 42:24
Yeah, like you were talking about car parts. Right. So you know about car parts? And yeah, and it could be it could be fashion, or it could be beverages. I mean, well, you know all about beverages. But I don’t know about beverages. But there might be something about beverage bottling, right? Or about I mean, automotive or shipping, or just having that broad, general perspective and a little bit of knowledge about everything, at least you know where to go when you’re looking for an answer, because you know, it exists. So I would say that,
Kara Goldin 42:57
I totally agree. So I as listeners know, I just wrote a book that came out and last October undaunted, overcoming doubts and doubters. And it’s certainly if you are a beverage executive or want to be founder of a beverage company, it’s a great book, but the number of people that I’ve heard from that, never want to launch a beverage company, but are getting a lot out of it, I think are also it just plays right into what you’re talking about. It really is just go satisfy your curiosity. I think to some extent, you know, being a founder, too, can be lonely at times really challenging. You’re trying to find answers and being able to read about other challenges that founders have had in their industry. I think it’s just you feel like you know them right after you’re reading those stories. And there’s so many great ones that are out there. You talked about the shoe industry. I mean, Phil Knight’s book, shoe dog is amazing, right on so many levels. It just anyway, it’s definitely I think reading and listening to podcasts is super terrific. Yeah, I
Marcia Kilgore 44:08
think then don’t feel like you’re alone, right? They always say like a problem shared is, is not as happy. As long as and when you read about other people who are going through the same kind of struggles that you are, then it’s almost like sharing your problem. You know, if you don’t have anybody right there, right? You know, right then to discuss something when reading about someone else who’s gone through it makes it is less lonely. It gives you that connection somehow. So it’s a real service to people that you wrote that book, because it’s really it’s like a public service announcement book. For all entrepreneurs,
Kara Goldin 44:45
it’s so true. So this is so terrific. So where can people find you? Obviously, beauty pie, and just learn more about what you’re up to?
Marcia Kilgore 44:55
Well, I’m on Instagram. That’s kind of you know, when I’m not working, I’m Marcy Don’t kill guard and beauty pie is that beauty pie calm but also across all social channels as this fitflop went through anywhere that you that you need to, to look.
Kara Goldin 45:10
That is so terrific. Well, everyone, thank you so much. It was so great to be able to talk to you Mercia and I really enjoyed learning about all the different companies and the different aspects of running these and starting these and how you thought about things. And I mean honestly, you are just such an inspiration. And so you know great at disrupting industries and starting things that you really care about and things that you’re passionate about. And I highly encourage everyone to check out beauty pie. Like I said, the products are awesome. This is one woman who absolutely knows where to source these products and and they’re really really, really terrific for sure. And you also she’s offering an amazing offer here where you get your first month for free by using Kara golden show all one word. We’ll put that into the script as well. Right before you check out so you’ll get the first month free. And thanks everyone for listening to this episode of The Kara golden show. If you liked this episode, please subscribe and give it five star rating on Apple podcasts and Spotify or your favorite platform. And you can also follow me on all social channels at Kara golden with an eye. And thank you everyone have a terrific week. Thank you again Mercia.
Marcia Kilgore 46:31
Thanks for having me.
Kara Goldin 46:33
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 buy 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 calm 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 golden 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 golden thanks for listening
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