By Jim Magats, SVP, Payments and SMB Solutions
Lindsey Martin, founder and CEO of Kiramoon
Photo credit: Paige Newton Photography.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of adults have realized the importance of self-care. In fact, one survey found that over 75 percent of consumers in the U.S. feel that focusing on wellness is more important than ever, and half said they were planning on spending more time and money on self-care through things like increased exercise, sleep, meditation and beauty and wellness treatments.
Prior to founding Austin-based beauty brand Kiramoon, Lindsey Martin worked as a sales executive in the tech world. While she was excelling in her career, she had little time for herself, wasn’t able to prioritize her own wellness, and her only real form of self-care was her nightly skin care and beauty routine, which she looked forward to daily. Last year, Lindsey decided to follow her passion for skin care and beauty and launch her own beauty brand.
I recently caught up with Lindsey to find out what inspired her to start Kiramoon, her tips for other entrepreneurs looking to leverage social media to engage with customers, how she is managing through the supply chain issues, and how she is giving back. I’m inspired by Lindsey’s passion, and I hope you appreciate her story as much as I did.
Lindsey Martin: I had a long career working as a sales executive at a software company. I was excelling and enjoyed my work, but was always thinking about what was next. When I realized I didn’t want to be the CEO of a software company, I had to take a hard look at what I wanted my career, and life, to look like. Thinking about what I wanted really sparked my entrepreneurial side. This was all happening at a time when I was working really long hours and the only time I had for myself was my nightly skin care and beauty routine, which I really cherished. Beauty and skin care quickly became a hobby for me, and I became obsessed with skin care ingredients and formulation. So, these two things – thinking about what I wanted my career and life to look like and my love of skincare and self-care – led me to found Kiramoon.
LM: Today’s consumers are really savvy and smart; they truly understand ingredients and which formulas are effective for specific issues. So, we knew that creating products with the best and most effective ingredients was just the baseline. Our strict brand standards ensure all our products are cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free and we formulate with only the highest quality ingredients and natural botanicals. But aside from that, our brand is really focused on self-love, joy and mental health. We wanted to take these incredible formulas and instead of presenting them in clinical and serious packaging, layer in some joy, hope and magic, while also inspiring people to take that time for themselves, for self-care.
LM: A portion of every sale supports Bring Change to Mind, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health, and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy. We knew early on that we wanted to have this mental health give back because it’s something I’ve experienced personally, but also because of the connection between skin care and self-care. What really drew us to Bring Change to Mind is their focus on reducing the stigma around mental health. They’re starting to go into schools to help educate people so that people don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. We like to work with partners, like Bring Change to Mind, that are really aligned with our values and our mission.
LM: We use PayPal in three ways. First, and most importantly, PayPal is one of our payment options. When we turned on PayPal Checkout, we saw a significant conversion boost on our website because it’s secure and it gives consumers confidence. Today, 34% of all our website transactions are via PayPal. Second, I'm the only full-time employee of the company, so I leverage agencies and contractors to help with various parts of the business. PayPal has been a really trusted and easy way to pay these agencies and contractors for their services. And since pretty much everyone has an account with PayPal, it’s just been a really easy way to pay individuals on a project or hourly basis. Finally, PayPal Payouts has been tremendously helpful. We’re building out our affiliate program and we can send our referrers money with a simple click of a button; the experience has really been seamless.
Photo credit: Paige Newton Photography.
LM: I think one of the reasons we’ve seen such success on social is because we’ve removed the “fourth wall.” People who follow Kiramoon on our social channels know who I am and what our business stands for because we’re open, transparent and human on these platforms. So, one piece of advice I have for other brands looking to leverage social effectively, is to be really open and authentic on your social channels. The other piece of advice I would share, that I really live by, is that your social channels should offer value to the community other than just educating about your products. If you think of magazines as an example, they’re 80% editorial and 20% advertisements. Across our social channels, we really work to educate our followers about skin care – it’s not just about promoting our products – and that’s key to attracting new customers and prospects. That’s where most of our brand discovery and customer acquisition happens. Our presence is mostly on Instagram and TikTok, but eventually we’ll expand to other social channels.
LM: Like many other businesses, we have experienced supply chain issues. Last year, we had a large purchase order from Nordstrom that we weren’t able to fulfill, and it was a big revenue loss for us. As a small business, when a large retailer gives your brand a chance, you really need to show them the value you bring and that you can deliver, so it was a painful but learning experience for us. As a result, we’ve started ordering ahead of time and over forecasting just to make sure we have the products we need. This can create a short-term cash issue, but in the long-term it is worth it to keep your business moving forward.
LM: My advice is to always look at any problems as opportunities. I used to be very hard on myself and assumed I should have all the answers, and when I didn’t, I questioned whether I was smart enough or capable enough to run my own business. But then I realized that my job as a founder of a business is problem solving – that's the entire job. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all of the answers – you can’t possibly know everything. Embrace the mistakes and focus on problem solving and you’ll be on your way to success.
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