Our first WBMB guest who has a college degree in scent, Erika Shumate acknowledges that she was probably destined to become a perfumer. As a child she was always fascinated by and sensitive to smells and science, reminiscing that “I was the kid in 7th and 8th grade to go to the state science fair and try to get the blue ribbon. I was always doing experiments in my basement.” Loving how perfumery combines science and art, she started her fragrance brand to embrace both. She combined these passions with her business acumen, first putting in a few years working for a startup to learn about growing a business, watching the company go from 10 employees to 50 and seeing all the related challenges. How she used that experience to start Pinrose is a delightful and helpful story for any business, whether it’s starting, growing or humming along. Listen to the full episode.
|Announcer||Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty™, hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.|
|Jodi Katz||Hey everybody. It's Jodi Katz, your host of Where Brains Meet Beauty Podcast™. This week's episode features Erika Shumate. She is the Founder of Pinrose Perfume. And if you missed last week's episode, it featured Julian and Cody Levine. They are the Founders of Twice.
Hey, it's Jodi again. Before we launch into this week's episode, I want to tell you about an organization called Helpsy. I first came across Helpsy thanks to our Base Beauty Team Member Julie Chen's Instagram, and she was with her friend walking into Bloomingdale's to see Helpsy containers. I didn't know what that was, and I did a little research. I really believe in their mission, so we wanted to partner with them for the month of July. It's hard to believe, but over 85% of clothes wind up in the trash. Helpsy makes reusing and recycling your clothes and shoes more convenient and easier than ever, with over 1800 collection containers and growing. You can find your closest collection container and learn more at Helpsy.co. I hope you check it out. Thanks so much. Enjoy the show.
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I am sitting with Erika Shumate. She is the Founder of Pinrose Perfume. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty™.
|Erika Shumate||Thank you for having me.|
|Jodi Katz||I'm so excited to talk with you, and I want to apologize on air for missing our first intake call, because if I'm not glued to the calendar or somebody knocking me on my shoulder, I just sort of-|
|Erika Shumate||You're in the zone.|
|Jodi Katz||... zone out.|
|Jodi Katz||And the day that we were supposed to talk, I actually had this feeling of lightness in my calendar. I'm like, "Oh my God, this is so amazing. I can just sit here and relax and go through Instagram." Needless to say, I was missing our call.|
|Erika Shumate||Well, I don't want you to feel guilty. One of my tenets of all of my friendships is never, I never ... Guilt is the worst thing to feel in a friendship, so if we see each other, it's beautiful. If we don't, we miss each other, it's fine. And I didn't feel any ... Don't worry about it, and I hope you don't feel any of that.|
|Jodi Katz||I felt actually incredibly light and wonderful at the time, but I do like to stick to the schedule.|
|Erika Shumate||Oh yes.|
|Jodi Katz||Everybody works really hard to make these meetings happen. Thank you so much for being here. I know you're visiting from out of town. Where are you based?|
|Erika Shumate||In San Francisco, and our office is in the Mission District, in this old building that has forever been an animator's studio. It's cool history. The area, the Mission, has always been used for that, so it's a creative space.|
|Jodi Katz||And what is the purpose of your visit in New York City this week?|
|Erika Shumate||Oh, a bunch of things. We come out to New York probably every other month. We do a lot of our physical production of our products in New Jersey and in New York. And then we had a team meeting. We're visiting retailers, doing press, so a whole host of things.|
|Jodi Katz||Well, thank you for spending time with us today.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, thanks.|
|Jodi Katz||What is the rest of your day going to hold for you?|
|Erika Shumate||Actually, only one more meeting, and I'm flying back tonight. But earlier this morning was having breakfast with one of our key suppliers, who takes all of our components and actually makes the product, so a really important relationship, and one that we value a lot. He's actually an advisor to our company too. Always working on the supply chain side of things, and making sure that we're making high quality product, but also doing it in a way that ... As a scaling business, it's very easy to run out of cash if you're going too fast, and so keeping an eye on production and making sure that that cash flow is rolling in the proper way is extremely important, and so that's where we're at right now, keeping an eye on that and working with him to make sure that the supply chain is dialed in a way where we don't kill the business by going too quickly.|
|Jodi Katz||Right. I just read an article ... Well, I should say I skimmed an article about a fragrance company that just abruptly went out of business, and my guess is it's for something very similar to what you're talking about.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, it's tough. There's a, especially when you do omni-channel, you're meeting demands of a bunch of different channels and retailers, and everyone has different needs. It's a beautiful thing, but also when some of these bigger retailers have a lot of demands for better or worse, and you're, they say jump and you say, "How high," it's trying to make that relationship work, and you just have to be really careful to not overextend yourself, and it's tough. It's really ... Yeah.|
|Jodi Katz||You used to have a co-founder, and now you run the business on your own, so all of this stuff falls on your shoulders.|
|Jodi Katz||Tell me about the transition between having a partner and then running the business solo.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, of course. I actually still, I'm very good friends with my co-founder. I was with her on Monday. She is still on the board of the company. I think we're very lucky in both our friendship, but our founding experience too. It definitely helped a lot to have a co-founder in the beginning, where we were feeling viscerally the highs and lows together. And honestly, she left now a year ago from the day-to-day of the business, and it was a mourning period. I miss her. I still miss her, and we really tried to make time and space for us to go through that transition knowing it was going to be tough and not knowing how each of us were going to feel.
She felt sad. I felt sad. But also now really trying to step into the roll on my own, and being able to figure out new needs of the business and hopefully restructure things. Take the opportunity to really look at the company with an eagle eye and just be like, "All right, given the state of the company, the age of the company, how do we structure this? And who do we need to bring in?" It was an opportunity for growth, and just really looked at it that way a year ago and still am now. I think bringing in people who are experts and really trying to, when I was shouldering a lot of that work, really trying to be like, "You're the owner of this domain, best go for it." And that's a challenge, when you've been the one doing it all the time to say, "Okay, I'm going to step back and not mess up your work," because ultimately, that's what I would do if I messed with their stuff.
|Jodi Katz||When I go through these moments where I need to learn, teach myself how to delegate again, I literally sit on ... I put my hands under my butt and I sit, and I'm just like, "I don't have to be the one to respond to the email now. The person on the team will get to it. It doesn't have to be this second. It could be five minutes from now. It could be five hours from now. It'll be fine." And I literally sit on my hands to keep them away from the email.|
|Erika Shumate||I'm going to do that. That's a great idea.|
|Jodi Katz||I imagine though when she parted ways with the day-to-day, your gut instinct was to text her about a thousand different things, right?|
|Erika Shumate||Mm-hmm (affirmative).|
|Jodi Katz||Almost like a break-up, like, "Oh, this is not the person I turn to to talk about this right now." How many weeks of having to stop yourself was there to transition that?|
|Erika Shumate||We knew that she was going to be departing for about three months, so we actually had time to craft the transition. We had goals of what we wanted her to be able to hand off once she physically left the office, and then there were a set two weeks where she would be available for certain hours for another person we had brought in, who was taking on some of her work. And then after that, it was cold turkey and be like, "We'll figure it out." And every now and then, we'll reach out to her and be like, "Hey, do you remember why we made this decision? Is that ..." But every now and then, she's happy to do that. But it was definitely helpful to have a phased approach, but then also have a date where it's like, "All right, you're done. You're free."|
|Jodi Katz||What a wonderful story to tell though, that you had an amicable transition, right?|
|Jodi Katz||I really don't hear that story a lot. I hear, "We weren't getting along. It wasn't a good fit. We weren't on the same page." I hear that often, so how incredible to be able to be growing this business and know that a partner has moved on, and yet there's still so much good will and good feelings. It's good vibes.|
|Erika Shumate||I hope so, yeah. And I think there was a few things we did. Number one is, when we first started working together, we set out our values and we made a short list. We actually called it the nest, and it was this fragile thing that our relationship was in the nest. Just like a baby bird, you would handle the nest with care, so whenever we had any disagreements, confrontation ... Disagreements are great in a business, by the way, so it's not like that's a bad thing.
But any time we were worried that someone might be stepping on each other's foot or something, we'd go back to the nest and be like, "Okay, what are our values? What's our North Star?" And a lot of times, ultimately, especially with her departure, the negative feelings come from fear. "Oh, I'm scared to do this without you," or, "I'm scared you have too much equity," or, "I'm scared you're going to be running the business in this way, and not worry about this."
I think we really tried our best to articulate those fears and not let them take over, because I think that's really easy, where all of a sudden, you're like, especially in an ownership perspective. We were able to go back to the brand values, which were our values as well as a partnership. We could be like, "All right, are we acting in a way where this is adhering to those values," and also putting our friendship paramount and making sure that this relationship stays on, because this company was born from us and it needs both of us, whether or not she's working day-to-day on the business. And it's still evolving. Her role is changing. My role is changing, so it's this constant, "Okay, how do we best position the company and make sure that we're good stewards in our appropriate roles, and make sure that we're still aligned?"
|Jodi Katz||Thank you for sharing that. Let's go back in time. What led you on this path to be the founder of a fragrance brand? Let's talk first job out of college.|
|Erika Shumate||Oh yeah, for sure. Well, in college, I actually studied smell, so I was a history of science major and focused on olfaction. I've always been very deep into how smell works in the brain, and obsessed with fragrance my whole life and why memories and smell are so tightly linked, all that. I came out of college and I was like, "I don't know what to do with this besides become a perfumer." And that sounds awesome and all well and good, but I am very extroverted and like to work with a lot of people, and so I was like, "That job, I just have a feeling, is not going to be quite right for me."
Long story short, I knew I wanted to start something eventually. I didn't know it was going to be a fragrance brand, but I thought, "Let me go work with a young startup type company, learn what that feels like, what it's like, see if it's for me, and go from there. I joined a company based in San Francisco that financed large scale solar installations, and so for three years was doing work with that company. Everything from fundraising, grants from the government, tax credits to fund the projects, to creating opportunities for at-risk youth to help maintain solar panels in certain parts of the Bay Area.
It was a whole host of things, and I really got to see a company go from 10 people to 50 people and work on a lot of different parts of the business. Ultimately loved it, but didn't feel as creative as I could be, or as confident and creative as I could be. I was like, "I got to go, I feel like I got to go to business school, so I know what levers I can pull, because right now, I'm grasping at things and I feel like I could be more clever about this."
Applied to business school, when to business school where I met my co-founder. I had always helped friends find fragrances, and it was no different with Christine. We were chatting about beauty routines, getting ready together or something like that, and you know you're like, "Ooh, what blush do you use," or this or that. I was like, "Oh, what fragrance are you wearing out tonight?" She was like, "Oh, I just wear whatever my mom gave me for my birthday." I was like, "What? You have all this purchasing power in every category."
And this was the same story I'd heard again and again. It's like, "It's overwhelming, I have to find a signature scent. I don't know if it's a signature ..." I'm like, "Okay, you know that's not real. It's not based in science. Let's go to the store and help you find a fragrance." And so out of that experience, it was like, "Wait, there's a great opportunity here. This is a big industry that's really celebrity and designer-driven.
We could leverage the science that I learned and infuse it into the actual brand, and not only make products that service the customer where she's at, which is she doesn't care about being a celebrity or designer. She wants to be her own star of her own show. She's taking selfies. Let's make her the face of the brand. And then also make the buying experience a lot easier, and so that's how Pinrose was born.
|Jodi Katz||And what does Pinrose mean?|
|Erika Shumate||Pinrose is a combination of two patterns that are inspired, that have fractal-like geometry to them. Fractals are these beautiful mathematical equations that create these amazing visuals. The visuals are the closest tie to nature that we've seen in mathematics. Christine and I had bonded over these, and when we were working on the brand, we were like, "Well, fragrance is this beautiful mix between science and art," And perfumers are organic chemists who spend years crafting from a chemistry perspective, and yet, they're incredibly creative, so what if we use this to symbolize our fragrance company. And so we picked our two favorite, the pinwheel tiling and the penrose tiling. And we merged them together and created Pinrose, so yeah, that's how it was born.|
|Jodi Katz||I can see the shapes in the packaging and your marketing, the fractals represented. It's pretty cool.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, there's lots of triangles in both of those patterns, and so you'll see it on the bottle. We have a fragrance called Pinrose, and the design on the packaging is a good mix of those two, pinwheel and penrose tilings.|
|Jodi Katz||Can we just go back to high school? Because I have never met anyone who said they studied the science of scent. How did you even get on that path?|
|Erika Shumate||I was always ... I always did science experiments. I was the kid in 7th and 8th grade to go to the state science fair and try to get the blue ribbon and do it. Had my basement set up with bacteria and trying to figure out, doing experiments, so I always loved science and thought maybe, "Oh, maybe I'll become a doctor of the nose or something." I don't know. I had aspirations of helping people, and-|
|Jodi Katz||But why the nose?|
|Erika Shumate||Honestly, I think it dates back to when I was five or six, and I was asking one of those stupid questions to your parents when you're annoying and small, like, "If you could lose one sense, what would it be?" And my parents were like, "Where did you come up with this question?" And then like, "I don't know. What's your answer?" And I was like, "Well smell, because taste is important for this and that and the other." And my dad just looks at me and goes, "Are you sure about that?" And then ever since that day, I think I was just highly attuned to the power of smell. Once I learned that everything you taste is actually smell, I'm like, "Oh okay, maybe I change my answer."|
|Jodi Katz||Wait, is that why I take one bite of dessert and it's amazing, and then after the other bites, I don't really taste it anymore?|
|Erika Shumate||You can become anosmic. Yeah, that means your receptors are becoming filled, and you don't get the same vibrations. But honestly, it's like when you have a cold and you can't taste food. That's because your nose is stuffed and you can't smell what you're eating. You get the salty and the sweet, the taste buds, but you don't get the actual, what they call, retronasal olfaction, when you swallow and the smell goes up into your olfactory bulb.|
|Jodi Katz||This is taking us on a tangent to my eating habits, but when I do have a cold, food is less entertainment for me. It's totally nourishment. I'm hungry, I fill my belly, and then it's over. Whereas when I am healthy, it becomes entertainment, and that's when I go too far with the sugar or whatever, because of my powers of smell. That's really the entertainment aspect of it. I almost feel like my body, when it needs me to take a break from eating unhealthy, it actually gives me a cold, because I know that-|
|Erika Shumate||It gives you a little ...|
|Jodi Katz||Yeah to like, "Slow down, Jodi." To stop. I feel, I don't know. I mean, I believe in universal forces, and I believe my body's really smart, so I feel like it's telling me something.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah. And it's like, listen to what you actually need and ... Yeah.|
|Jodi Katz||And then, the having a cold, losing maybe that sense a little bit, helps me slow down and wake up. It's so cool.|
|Erika Shumate||There's so much ... Part of the reason I was so fascinated once I did start studying it in college was because there's a lot unknown about the sense of smell too, because it's very elusive to study, even for scientists. There's a lack of vocabulary around how to even measure smells, because when you try to describe it, you're like, "Well, intensity on a scale of one to 10." Or, "It smells like this." There's not this scale or tool that we can refer to, and so it's really elusive.
It's cool to start to really look at what are the impacts of the nose. We have found that women, on average, are better at smelling than men. And they've done some studies that show that, in a hetero couple that's looking to procreate, women will choose men that smell good to them based off of the difference in their DNA, so they create the most healthy offspring. So there's-
|Jodi Katz||That's something that can be studied?|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah. They did this t-shirt test, is probably the most famous test that they've done, where they had men wear t-shirts for a period of time, and then they gave the t-shirts to a group of women to smell, and each of them ranked the t-shirts on how good they smelled to them. And then they looked at the DNA from each, and found that women were choosing men with the most compatible DNA for the most healthy offspring. I always tell my friends, listen to that. When you're kissing someone or whatever, kissing is actually smelling that person, and men have a lot of ... They secrete smells through the mustache area, so you're literally smelling them before you decide if you want to go any further.|
|Jodi Katz||This is amazing and definitely a new dynamic in dating.|
|Erika Shumate||Exactly, and so ... Anyway, there's all sorts of things like that, where I'm like, "Smell is pretty ..." It's something that we don't talk about that much, because I don't know, people think of it as the most base of the scenes. You can't see it, so it's like it feels less important, yet it really drives a lot of what we do. And especially from a psychological perspective, it can be really impactful, which we talk about.|
|Jodi Katz||Does your dad remember this conversation with you?|
|Erika Shumate||I asked him recently and he said no, but I have it seared in my brain.|
|Jodi Katz||Right, so this is a great transition to talking about parenthood, because my kids are 11 and eight, so they ask a lot of things. Sometimes I'm pretty zoned out. I'm thinking about, "Let's get going to school. Put your shoes on. Put your shoes on." And they're asking, and I'm just going, "Uh-huh, whatever." But these moments for the kids, every moment is important, right? Every moment could be a big thing. Like this story with your dad is such a reminder of that.|
|Erika Shumate||And it's also terrifying as a new parent, you're like, "Oh, maybe I'll have this really meaningful conversation for them," and it just goes away. But the one thing you say off the cuff some other time really sticks, but I really like that he reframed the question or just put the question back on me, and just by doing that, made my head start to ... and really pay attention to it.|
|Jodi Katz||Yeah, it's incredible. Let's talk, you're a new mom. Your baby is six months old.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, she's six and a half months old. Her name is Sienna.|
|Jodi Katz||Aw. I'll ask for pictures after our recording. And so we had a conversation which I thought was really interesting about, now that you're a parent, you look at parents coming back into the workplace in a completely different way than you ever thought of before. Can you walk us through what you've been thinking about?|
|Erika Shumate||Definitely. There's a couple things. One is, ever since I started working, I think I noticed the need for ... This nine to five that we've created, or nine to seven, whatever it is, has worked for a period of time under a certain system. And I think obviously times have changed. There's a lot more women in the workforce, and the biological imperative of a female to have a child is necessary for our species to continue to exist, and it's also a beautiful thing for people to have families and all of that, so how do you make sure that you're structuring business such as that they can not only partake but thrive, and build a career and all that.
I definitely have a newfound appreciation for what it takes to actually onboard and come back to business if the amount of time you want to spend at the office your first day back doesn't make sense to do an eight hour day, or do you want to do three, four hours days and a five hour day, and do that for a couple weeks. And just build up your confidence in your balancing. Have an on ramp back into the workforce.
The other thing that I've been looking at a lot too is just, we have a new employee who's phenomenal, and took some time to really be a mom. She was looking for a career path back into the workforce, but not having to start exactly nine to five. It's like, "You're badass. You're going to get your stuff done. I trust you. Structure your time and your hours however is best for you and your family."
I think that's really important. I see a lot of opportunities. The other thing that I also see is for people that don't have their person yet, if they do want a partner and want a family, they also need time to be able to find that. And so not expecting people who don't have that to work all these hours or bear this crazy burden or have to have the face time. I think it's really trusting people no matter what they ... If they're taking care of a parent, it's just creating a working environment such that people can have their outside goals mean something to them.
And so I'm actively trying to think about that and also look at, some people need more structure or want more structure, and I like going to an office. Personally I know I need that too, so just checking in with everyone to make sure we can structure the company so that people can work in a way that works for them and is most efficient, and therefore makes their lives, their time alive worth something and meaningful.
|Jodi Katz||It's such an important topic for me, because I started my agency for that reason. I had a full time job. I left that full time job, and I'm like, "How do I make a career for myself where I can work a way that's going to allow me to eventually be the mom I want to be?" And I didn't see it around me, and honestly, it didn't even occur to me that maybe it exists somewhere else. I just assumed it didn't exist, and it probably didn't, quite frankly. This is 12 years ago.
And so I just knew that, whatever I do from this day forward, it's going to be so that I can live the type of life I want. And then as my company went from just me to me and other people, it was about, "How do we all work this way?" This isn't just about Jodi working this way. It's about everybody working in a way that supports their life. When I talk about life/work balance, I always put life first, because a lot of people put work like that.
|Erika Shumate||Work/life, totally.|
|Jodi Katz||But that's contrary to what I'm actually looking to achieve. When you work with talented people who are smart and ambitious and want to support your goals, they're going to get stuff done. They're going to get it done quickly, and they're going to be able to then move on and do other things in their day. And not just parents, I agree with you. We have members of our team who are dancers or singers or have pets they love. My focus, and I'm able to see this, I guess, torture tested as we grow and bring on more people, is that you're working the way that works for you.
There's people that come to me and say, "I want a full time job." Okay. There's people that come to me and say, "I don't want a full time job." Okay. As long as the Department of Labor is happy, I'm happy. We understand those rules and those limitations and find roles for people. And I'm equally proud of that as I am of the work, so it can be done. I've been practicing this for 12 years, and I invite you and any other listeners, if they want advice on this, reach out at any moment, because it's important. It's our future.
|Erika Shumate||That's so awesome. Thank you, and I think you're right on, yes.|
|Jodi Katz||Let's talk about what the future of Pinrose, where do you see this going? You talked about having all these different constituents to support, retailers, your online customers, growth of the brand. What do you see coming at you for the next few years?|
|Erika Shumate||Right now, we're really focused on a couple of things. Number one is our community of Pinrose customers that we currently have, and making sure that we're not ignoring them just for the sake of growth, but also just making sure that we're delivering on new product ideas that they've helped with and all that. We are also looking to expand our own dot com. We are in a few different retailers, which has been great. Our team has been focused on really setting those up for success.
And we're at a point now where I feel like those are in a good place, and we can spend more time and resources on our own dot com and really create some cool experiences for people there. It allows us to be more experiential with the band, and also, I think, bring in ... We can merchandise things in our own way, whereas when you're at different retailers, there's different merchandising restrictions, which totally makes sense, and that's the experience they're creating. It's really fun to play in those different sandboxes and think about how your brand can fit within their merchandising realm, and how they speak to their customer.
And then, what I'm also excited to do is get to do that on our own site and think about what that experience is like for her, and really create this experience where she can go to Sephora, she can go to Anthropologie, and she can come to our site and have her create this set playlist for her life in her own way that she wants to.
|Jodi Katz||And if you were going to think back to yourself when you were working at a solar panel company, what would you have hoped would happen versus what is actually happening for you?|
|Erika Shumate||That's so ... I think I would be really happy, because at that point in time, I was in my early 20s. I was just figuring out what the world was actually like. I had had jobs through since high school. When you're not full time, there's not the same sense of really seeing things, for me at least. And so, I was like, "How do I want to spend my time on Earth, really?" There were pieces of what I was doing that I liked, but it didn't feel fully me, and so when I was ... There's this song by the Dirty Projectors. It's called Stillness Is The Move, and I would just think in my head at that time, "Stillness is the move, keep your head down and keep working, because you're learning a lot, and you'll know when it's time to make a move, but it's not now."
And it was so frustrating, because you're like, "I want to run. I want to sprint. I want to do all the things." And I think now, my former self would be really excited to be like, "Oh, I'm glad you stayed focused and learned and took the time to, what I call, "Chop wood, carry water." Just do the things, because I'm still doing that now, but I think in a company that A, I get to be more creative in, which is fantastic for me, and then be for my personal fulfillment. And then B, get to work with people that I adore in a structure and an environment where I hope that they feel not only safe, but really empowered. Yeah, thanks for asking that. It makes me feel gratitude for what we've built so far.
|Jodi Katz||Yeah, I love looking back and identifying progress. It helps me get out any of the noise in my head.|
|Erika Shumate||Yeah, the inner critic who's so mean.|
|Jodi Katz||Yes. In my son's school, they had the kids write a letter to their future self, so it was like you write it in September, and they just opened it, and I just think that's the coolest idea. I feel like we should all do that.|
|Erika Shumate||That would be, I'm going to go do that. I love time capsules. That's really sweet.|
|Jodi Katz||My last question to you, because I know a lot of our listeners who are entrepreneurs are super excited to hear your story, when you started the company, was this self-funded or did you get funding from outside resources? How did you approach that?|
|Erika Shumate||We did raise a little bit of capital from outside resources. It was through actually classmates of ours from business school who were investors, and any money we took, we made sure to make very clear that A, this is an investment and it might go away, so there's that. And then we took that little bit of cash to work on vetting the industry and the idea, and making sure we were going to be good work wives. Just making sure all of that was happening.
And within a few months decided, "Okay, we're going to raise a bigger amount of money." And we raised a convertible note, which is a form of debt that converts to equity at a subsequent financing. We raised that money with an idea, and we had a point and time picked out. We want to launch by holiday, and that just gave us the time pressure to go out and raise something. That's the nice thing about having a time goal is, not only are you convincing yourself that you have to get it done by then, but you can then go and convince other people that you need the cash by a certain point in time to make it happen.
We really used that, and then since then have raised a little bit more money, and have used that to grow the business, but at this point and time, we're in a pretty good place, where we're making it. We're getting very close to break even, so we're just really managing the cash at this point and growing in a way that's very sustainable, and not just using equity to bring on new customers, but really do it in a thoughtful and sustainable way, because it's really enticing to just go get a bunch of money to use for customer acquisition, but ultimately, if the bones of the business aren't there, that can be a really risky move that can really come back to bite you in the future. It works for some people and it doesn't for others.
|Jodi Katz||Yeah, I think those speed to growth strategies, we're going to see a lot of brands disappearing, because they're not going to be sustainable. It's like exciting for a minute, and then there's nothing else there and they have nothing left, no resources.|
|Erika Shumate||And CPG's different from software, and I think it's, especially being in Silicon Valley, the different business models, it does matter. There are opportunities for CPG to really take off on, and that's a beautiful thing. It's just you have to do it in a way where you know that the ... I think that the platform, that the bones of the business is strong, to support that, and not just light money on fire.|
|Jodi Katz||Well, I'm thrilled to hear your story and to get to know you. I really enjoyed talking with you and learning about you. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today.|
|Erika Shumate||Same here. Thank you so much for having me, and it's been a joy to get to know you, and inspiring to hear your story, so thanks.|
|Jodi Katz||Aw, thank you. And for our listeners, I hope you enjoy this interview with Erika. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show, follow us on Instagram @WhereBrainsMeetBeautyPodcast.|
|Announcer||Thanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty™ with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.|