Episode 18

 

Meet Angela Kim. Founder of Savor Beauty. Listen as she explains how the Korean beauty rituals she grew up with inspired her work ethic and business growth.

 

Announcer

Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.

Jodi Katz

Hello, everybody. I am so excited to say that we are joined today by Angela Kim. She’s the founder of Savor Beauty. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty.

Angela Kim

Hi, how are you, Jodi?

Jodi Katz

I am good. I’m so glad that you’re here with us today. This is so cool.

Angela Kim

I’m really excited to talk to you about all things beauty and all things business.

Jodi Katz

Well, we probably only have time to dig in a little bit as I’m sure this is a 24/7 business for you as it is for me. But we can give our listeners a little bit, a little taste of what it’s really like behind the scenes. Right?

Angela Kim

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Jodi Katz

Well, what I’d love to start off with is if you could just tell us a little bit about what Savor Beauty is and what it’s all about.

Angela Kim

Okay. Savor Beauty is an organic skincare line that’s locally produced in the Hudson Valley. It’s based and inspired by Korean beauty rituals, which is obviously something I grew up with. Ever since I was a young child, just seeing my mom and my aunts really following a very strict, disciplined skincare regimen. We have three locations for spas. One in the West Village. One in the Upper West Side. These are in New York City. Then one in the Hudson Valley in Saugerties, New York.

Jodi Katz

Why beauty for you?

Angela Kim

Well, I think because I grew up with the Korean beauty rituals and watching my mom and my aunts really take such amazing care of their skin, it was just a non-negotiable in my household where my mom would really talk to us about taking care of your skin. She would always make that a priority in everything that we were doing. I think that one of the most important aspects of this though that really hits home for me is this permission for supreme self-care.

I feel like with everything that we do with the skincare line, which is ritualized through a five-step process where we really teach women how do you properly clean your face? How do you hydrate your face for maximum moisture and hydration? Even with the spas, taking that time to carve out non-negotiable me-time just for yourself. To take care of yourself is really, I think, a very beautiful act of self-care.

Jodi Katz

Does your mother and aunts have very youthful-looking skin?

Angela Kim

Oh my God. My mom, now, I think she’s late 60s or maybe even early 70s. She won’t tell me anymore. But people think she’s 45 or 50. It’s crazy. They look gorgeous. That’s the thing I think that K-Beauty is a huge industry. But people forget that it’s really part of the culture just to take care of your skin, and they work at it. We’re just trying to get the Western woman to take a look at their skincare a little bit differently and to really work at it. You, too, can have clear, gorgeous skin.

Jodi Katz

Would you say that your skin looks youthful like the rest of your family?

Angela Kim

I don’t know. People think I’m younger than I am, so I would say so. I’m a very typical New Yorker where I don’t really have that much time to devote to this. I feel what I’ve done with Savor Beauty, which is different from a lot of beauty lines, is taken that concept of both beauty worlds, the Korean world, the Western world, the American world and blended both philosophies of beauty together. Yeah. I take one minute to care for my skin.

Jodi Katz

I ask because I was having a conversation with my team today. We were talking about business development, what it’s like when we’re in these meetings. All the time I’m in the meeting. I lead business development and depending upon the workload of the team or the focus of the meeting, maybe some other team members will join. Just a few, but we don’t do the big dog and pony show. Our team is working. They’re not just stopping for business development meetings.

But we were talking about the fact that I’m curious to know if the fact that I look younger than I am really impacts the way people take me, consider me. I’m almost 42, but I think that I’m not knocking my good genes. I have incredible genes. But people probably think I’m more early 30s than early 40s. We’re wondering if it’s getting in the way of how much beauty expertise you really have because the rest of my team is around my age, too. It’s just so you’re thinking about you’re incredibly established, highly motivated, and ambitious and wondering if your youthful look changes the way people behave or think about you in the business?

Angela Kim

I don’t know. I think it’s so not part of my psyche, that piece of it. I just feel it’s the confidence that comes out from within that matters most. If I feel confident, I just feel you can do anything and people will take you seriously. Because before I was in the beauty business, I was in the piano performance business. In that world if you were younger, people took you more seriously. Isn’t that funny?

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Angela Kim

How young are you? Are you the piano prodigy? The older you were the less hope you had. It’s a very different opposite reaction to youth and beauty and all of that. But the one thing that was very important as a piano performer, as a pianist, was your presence, your confidence. How you exuded that stage presence and how well you could captivate your audience. I think I’ve carried a little bit of that into the beauty world where that matters almost more than how you look. I don’t know if that makes sense?

Jodi Katz

Yeah. I think it makes total sense and funny that the younger you are in the business of being a performer … I think this probably holds true for most performers in the public eye … the younger they are, the more credible they appear. This is just a conversation we had 30 minutes ago. Right?

Angela Kim

Yeah.

Jodi Katz

I might have 10 years of experience more than other people who are leading businesses similar to mine, but no one would know it. We say it, but I feel they’re looking at me thinking that I’m much younger. Which is a funny thing to be saying like, “Wow, I don’t look old enough.” I’m not poo-pooing at all the genes that I have. The genes in my family are incredible. Everyone in my family looks very young.

Angela Kim

That is great.

Jodi Katz

But maybe we need to have the meeting with a bunch of older people so they start to believe it.

Angela Kim

Right. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

Well, anyway, on another note. I know that you do a lot of mentoring and workshops for entrepreneurs in our business. We have a lot of listeners who are either working at brands thinking that they can go start their own or considering starting their own. Or a lot of young founders just starting their businesses and getting to the point where they’re starting to make money, starting to make a way for themselves. Many of these people are bootstrap. Which means that if they don’t have big VC money behind them or corporate money behind them, it’s whatever is in their bank account, whatever they were able to pull together.

You’ve described running the business is not for the faint of heart. I’m curious to know what advice you give to those bootstrap entrepreneurs as they’re making their way through their early parts of their business?

Angela Kim

First of all, I will say that I think when you don’t have literally a million dollars in your pocket, your ability to be creative and to defy all odds is your million dollar ticket. I would say that trumps everything else in business. But, more practically speaking, if you are going to launch a skincare business, and there’s so many people who want to launch a beauty business, color business, a spa. The competition is fierce. It is so fierce. If you don’t launch with what I call a hook in mind, a very buzzy hook in mind, the fight is just gonna be too hard to survive. You have to have that unique point of brand differentiation from the get-go, especially in today’s world.

When I launched, I didn’t necessarily have to. You know what I mean? This was when I was dabbling in the beauty business back nine years ago. I was just doing it for fun as a hobby. Then I opened up a pop-up shop over the holidays in New York City and sold a lot of creams. It just organically happened. But now the world is much more competitive in the organic skincare, beauty world. You better launch with that really amazing hook in mind that separates you from the rest of the people.

Let me give you an example, okay? You say, “What’s a hook?” Well, a hook is something that makes you so different. Savor beauty, we have Korean beauty rituals from my background. I’m sure this is something that you work on all the time, Jodi. Helping these brands really develop new hooks. If you’re gonna be a deodorant line, what’s gonna make you different? Are you based on probiotics? Do you have some sort of manuka honey? Are you New Zealand’s product and you base it on manuka? There’s just got to be something that’s so interesting, so different that makes you memorable.

Jodi Katz

Right. Do you feel this is something that ex-lawyers and doctors and people who were in the industry who decide they’re gonna start their own brand, you think this is something that there’s even an awareness around?

Angela Kim

You mean if you’re a lawyer or you’re a doctor and you’re like, “Ah, I think I want to do something a little easier with my life. I’m gonna launch a beauty brand.” You mean that?

Jodi Katz

Exactly. Yeah. Exactly.

Angela Kim

Well, I will say that if you’re a lawyer, your life will be a lot more interesting versus reading all those contracts all the time and you’re definitely not adverse to hard work. But I think definitely you have to launch with what is that value proposition? Who’s doing your branding? If you don’t know anything about the business, how are you gonna go into it so that you have the end user in mind? You know what I mean? Its got to be super-sticky, super-buzzy, super-interesting and beautiful and gorgeous to really make a difference in the beauty world.

Also, why contribute to the landfill? You know what I mean? Why are you launching a beauty product? You better have that inner passion and that real belief that there’s something there. How are you gonna make a difference with your brand? Don’t just launch another skincare line. Don’t waste your time. But if you have something very important to say through your brand, then that makes sense to me.

Jodi Katz

We get phone calls and meet people all the time. A lot of times we’re meeting people that aren’t at the right stage in their business to work with us. But I love talking to people. I’ll talk to anybody about their business. I meet a lot of people who they didn’t come from a strategic beauty company and started their own. They come from other worlds. They’ve spent all their money, every dollar that they had in some product development. Now they have their product, and they’re expectation is: If I build it, they will come. If I make the product, if I make 10,000 of these, I don’t know, lipsticks let’s say, then somebody will buy them. The business will flourish, and I’ll make more lipsticks. I really call this mentality around if you build it, they will come, it’s very backwards. Right?

Angela Kim

Yep.

Jodi Katz

Because it’s not true.

Angela Kim

Right. [crosstalk 00:12:31]

Jodi Katz

Time and time again, I’ve met people. Right. They’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars building something and with no place for it to live and no knowledge around how to move it forward. I notice that that’s the biggest struggle. It doesn’t seem it’s so hard … I’m sure it’s time-intensive and expensive to do product development … but there’s a lot of partners there. There’s a lot of labs to work with. There’s a lot of ways to get advice. But then what? Right?

Angela Kim

And then what? Yeah.

Jodi Katz

We find that that’s a really … They crushed it. Right? Then what?

Angela Kim

Yeah.

Jodi Katz

What do you tell people after that?

Angela Kim

Well, first of all, the inventory business is a really tough business because the cash outlay is enormous. If you’re gonna put out for 10,000 units, what it the plan to sell through those? Yeah. Be careful with that because the inventory business is a really a very tricky business on how you’re gonna move through it. Are you gonna sell through Sephora? Okay, great. You’re gonna get in Sephora. Let’s say you’ve got all your branding, all of your value proposition, all of your unique spins, all of your value hooks, your PR, all that stuff that’s in place so that got you into Sephora. Okay. Fantastic. Now what?

Well, now it’s gotta move through. Velocity of sales is really important. Getting into Sephora, getting into one, a major retailer, is one-tenth of the value. Now you’ve got to prove that you’re beyond a one-hit-wonder. Do you have enough brand awareness to really help sell through so that the clients are coming in and wanting to buy more and more. How sticky is it? Is it gonna catch on? Are their friends gonna go buy it? It’s just a lot of questions, a lot of things to do.

Jodi Katz

In the past few years, I guess, more of the private equity frenzy I guess started what? Three years ago-ish? Maybe a little bit more. Since then, and since there’s been so much more interest in people who are not in beauty investing in beauty, there’s been this chart. It’s frenetic now. So many brands, so many people, money being thrown around. Expectations and growth goals. What’s happened in the past, I guess, year is there’s smaller brands growing quicker because they have access to more capital, easier access to capital. They’re coming to us with that question that you just stated, which is: Now that we have our PO from Sephora or Ulta or QVC or wherever, what do we do now? Right?

Angela Kim

Yeah.

Jodi Katz

That’s when we say, “Well, now the real work begins. Now this is real.” That’s what we’ve been helping brands with because they’re so focused on product development that they’re completely unprepared for the incredible amount of energy and resources devoted to building awareness, telling stories, getting people pumped and excited in local markets. What’s the grassroots look like versus the bigger national campaigns? That could be on social. It doesn’t have to be paid media. But what does look like and sound like? That’s been a new pocket of work for us, which we weren’t experiencing years ago. Years ago we were supporting brands of retail distribution. Now we’re supporting brands new to retail distribution and don’t know what to do with in.

Angela Kim

Right.

Jodi Katz

Really fascinating.

Angela Kim

Right now we are in the middle of July, and the Tour de France is happening out in France. I say product development is 10%. As soon as it hits the shelves, that’s when the Tour de France for you starts as a brand, where it’s three peaks of just riding a bike through a mountain and it’s tough. It’s tough. Tune in to the Tour de France and you’ll see how tough it is. You’re just like that journey has just begun. Congratulations, you’ve reached that 10% mark. Now the hard work begins, 90% more.

It’s all exciting, and I hate to sound negative. I don’t mean to sound negative. But I want to be a realist that it’s half the battle to get into the store. But then now the brand awareness begins, the stickiness, the social media campaigns, the PR campaigns. It’s lot of money. You know what I mean? A PR firm, a good one, is not chump change. Learning how to do PR, now that’s a whole different thing, Jodi. That’s woof. I could talk for days on PR.

Don’t think that your product is newsworthy. Uh-uh. There’s got to be a story around it. What is your story around it? How are you getting it out there in more than one way? There’s so much around, sure, that we could talk about, but we won’t even open up that can of worms.

Jodi Katz

Well, makes me curious to know, did you know this stuff when you started? Or are these things that you’ve learned along the way that you pass on to others?

Angela Kim

Totally learned along the way. I remember when I first launched, I didn’t even know what marketing was. Because I was a concert pianist, right?

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Angela Kim

I knew how to create an excellent product. I knew how to make a product that people would clamor for and love, but I didn’t know anything about PR. I didn’t know anything about branding, nothing about marketing. Then as we got into it and I got serious about business, I quickly assessed the playing field and was like, “Okay, all right. We’ve just begun. The product has just launched and now there’s a really long endurance road ahead of us. We better learn the game really fast or bow out. Since bowing out is not an option, we got to learn it.”

As long as you’re really having fun along the way, as long as you’re really learning the ropes and learning from experts and learning from your mistakes, I really think that the journey can be a lot of fun and it can be really exciting as well.

Jodi Katz

Did you have any mentors or guides through the process earlier in the business when you were still trying to figure this all out?

Angela Kim

No, and that was a mistake. My biggest guides and mentors were really my customers. Because I opened up my first shop and I just sat in there and I was like, “Oh my gosh, we got to up our game here.” I would just listen to them. My employees, as we searched to build our dream team, I would listen to them as well and read a lot of books. I wish I would have had the gumption to know to hire a coach or hire someone else to help us get there faster. But as you said earlier in this podcast, when you’re bootstrapping, sometimes it takes a little longer.

Jodi Katz

Yeah. You also don’t know what you don’t know until it’s almost too late to know it. It’s like you don’t even know what questions to ask until you’re faced with the question and it’s an emergency situation. It took me years. I’ve been running my business for 10 years. I would say it took me eight years to realize that people do want to help and that I could reach out to some stranger who I admire and introduce myself. They very likely will talk with me. They very likely will throw free advice and best practices at me.

I didn’t know that. I was a loner. I really thought that if I wasn’t born with the relationships or didn’t know them already that that’s it. I was on my own. Slowly I learned that I can just talk to people. I actually LinkedIn, I sent a LinkedIn request to introduce myself to a few people that I admired and many of them, really many of them, responded. I had coffee with people that they’re marketing rock stars and they’re meeting me for coffee and giving me feedback and advice. That really changed everything for me, being able to know that there’s other people to talk to. Right?

Angela Kim

Yes. Absolutely. Now we’re available on NeimanMarcus.com. But even when we decided, okay, we want to partner with Neiman, I spoke with people at Neiman Marcus. I asked them questions. I was like, “What’s success look like to you? How does this work? How does this machine work?” I took like seven pages of notes. I’m a big fan of what you just talked about. I call that finding the Ninja who can help you. Let’s say if you want to sell your company one day and you want to sell it X company, can you talk to somebody in that company that’s in acquisitions and say, “What would it take for you guys to buy me in three to five years?” That would shortcut your trajectory. Right?

Jodi Katz

Yeah.

Angela Kim

If you just know, if that’s your goal, then just find out how to get there faster?

Jodi Katz

Wow, it’s so interesting that you say that because I feel I’ve spent so much time wondering what is the path? Instead of just directly calling or emailing or LinkedIn somebody and saying like, “What does it take to work with you?” Right? “What does it take if we could do this?” Spending so much time in fantasy land in my head around it, whereas if we’re just taking action and asking. That’s mind-blowing to hear you say it so simply. But, it’s so true. Just ask.

Angela Kim

Right. Yeah. Totally. I think that’s why I call it the Ninja. That’s how I’ve landed most of our accounts. That’s how I’ve been able to go a little faster is when I see something I want, I just ask someone who knows that’s an insider, and they’ll just provide that blueprint that you just follow after.

Jodi Katz

That is a genius, simple idea and probably something that people don’t do because they think that they’re not gonna get an answer or a response. Would you say that most the time people are willing to help?

Angela Kim

I think it’s very important how you structure the email. Because I think most people who are very successful get tons of emails that says, “Hi, can I pick your brain?” There’s nothing more annoying than to hear someone say, “Can I pick your brain?” I think it’s really important. I call it give, give, get. When you’re reaching out to someone, it’s very important for you to find out what’s in it for them. I don’t know. If people follow me, they know I love food. If they say to me, “Hey, Angela, I’ll take you out to this amazing restaurant for lunch, and we can talk about whatever,” I would be like, I might say yes. You know what I mean? Or if when I’ve reached out to somebody within the field, I’ll just say, “If there’s anything I can do to support you, help you, I would love to do that. I have a couple of questions. Can you take a little time?” I think it’s really important how you approach people to get them to say yes.

Then it’s also a numbers game. One of our 10 people are gonna say yes. If you need to talk to someone, plant a lot of seeds and someone’s bound to say yes. But I think it’s very important to structure that as a win/win versus, can I just pick your brain? Does that make sense?

Jodi Katz

Yeah.

Angela Kim

Jodi, if somebody who’s young and wants to launch a business like yours just reached out and said, “Hey, Jodi, I was wondering if I could pick your brain?” You’d probably be like, “I don’t really have time for someone to pick my brain.” But if someone reached out and said, “Hey, Jodi, I’ve been following you for a really long time. I love what you’ve built. If there’s anything I can do to help you.” Or, “I’m writing an article about X, Y, and Z, and I’d love to feature you, and I’m wondering if I can take you out to lunch so that I can ask you a couple questions as well.” You’re more likely to say yes to that. Right?

Jodi Katz

Yeah. Absolutely. Right. Because that person’s making an investment into you. Right?

Angela Kim

Right.

Jodi Katz

It’s an exchange like you said. I love how crisp and clear you express these ideas because they’re really simple. It’s very simple the human behavior. I want to give you something. I’m gonna ask for something, too, and just want to put it out there so that it’s even-steven. It’s very natural but in the process of a business owner, during all the self-doubt and insecurity and financial challenges, that stuff doesn’t feel as easy. Right?

Angela Kim

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jodi Katz

But it’s super crystal clear. If you ask enough people, someone’s gonna respond and take the time with you. I guess we should also say, this is I guess a note for people new to any industry that if someone doesn’t respond to your email, it’s not personal.

Angela Kim

It’s not personal. Sometimes it’s-

Jodi Katz

It’s not a slight.

Angela Kim

Right. Okay, let’s say, a PR pitch. Let’s say you’re reaching out to an editor or something, it’s totally not personal, and then it’s about the followup. I think it’s much more about the followup than it is about the initial email. Let’s say you didn’t respond to my offer for coffee. “Hey, Jodi, I know you’re so super busy. I saw on Instagram that you are gonna be coming to,” let’s say you live in Vermont. I’m just making up something right out of my rear end. “I saw that you’re coming to Vermont and I live in Burlington, Vermont. I’d love to take you out and show you around.” Or, “I’d love to take you out to my favorite restaurant to get to know you and see how we can support each other.” Things like that. I think without getting too skeevy and creepy about stalking people, I think it’s just about making it easy. Making it super-easy to meet with that person and then following up is really key.

Jodi Katz

I’ve been reading a lot of business books.

Angela Kim

That’s great. That’s a great way to learn. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

I spend so much time alone in my head, so it’s nice to hear someone else’s thoughts. It was a book about business development and they were writing about follow-up. I guess this big mistake is people will put out a feeler to somebody or have an initial conversation with someone. Then it never goes anywhere. If you don’t follow up on that, whether you’re asking for free advice or whether you’re asking for work or whatever, if you don’t circle back with them in new ways often, what you’ve done is you’ve laid the groundwork for an idea in their head. You’re giving the chance for someone else to slip in and use that idea and that opportunity for that job or whatever you’re looking for.

When I read it, I was like, “Oh, so that’s what I’m doing wrong.” Because it’s I was up first and who sent out the 20 emails. Oh, let’s talk or whatever. Then maybe try again if there was no response and then just forget about it forever. It’s amazing when you’re talking about the importance of follow-up. After reading this in this book, it’s like, “Wow. Every single time I don’t follow up, I’m giving somebody else that work or that opportunity.” Right?

Angela Kim

Right.

Jodi Katz

Or that story. You’re saying it’s the number one thing, and I completely agree with you. It’s a really interesting insight.

Angela Kim

Yeah. Following up is a PIA, pain in the you-know-what, because you have to be very organized. I think there’s got to come a time where you either come up with that whole system of how am I gonna follow up. I think when you’re in business, it’s all about identifying your weakness and coming up with a solution to it.

For example, I’m not good at follow-up. I just am not. I don’t have a system. What I’ve done is every time I know I have to follow up, I put it in my Google Calendar and I say, “Follow up with X, Y, and Z.” Then it’s just part of my Google Calendar. That works for me. It’s very simple. But I think finding what works for you is really key.

Jodi Katz

Yes. I’m laughing inside during this call because I want to adopt you as my business development person or coach or something. It’s like, “Wow.” I just need a little [inaudible 00:28:36] in my ear once every three hours during the course of the business day. Because everything you’re saying makes so much sense. I’m so grateful that our listeners are gonna be able to benefit from this because it’s really rich material.

Angela Kim

Ah, that’s really nice to say. Yeah. Thank you.

Jodi Katz

I want to switch gears a little bit.

Angela Kim

Okay.

Jodi Katz

When we first spoke, you told me about the power of saying no. That saying no to things helped propel you to where you wanted to be and, ultimately, growth. Can you tell our listeners what that means and some examples of how saying no helped you grow?

Angela Kim

Yeah. Okay. Did I use an example with you in our pre-call?

Jodi Katz

I think so.

Angela Kim

Okay. All right. I have so many examples, I just didn’t know if there was one that you were alluding to. Definitely saying no is saying yes to your bigger dreams. When you’re in business, there are gonna be so many things that come your way that are just mere shiny objects or distractions. Someone like me or someone who’s very creative is gonna be very attracted to that new, shiny thing. The best gift you can give to yourself is to have a very strong vision that excites you, juices you up, it gets you so excited. That vision is what you need to keep your eye on. Keep your eye on that ball. Then everything else that comes to you that is not in line with that vision is a distraction.

If you’re saying yes to all these other things, your vision becomes more blurry. But if you keep your eye on that vision and every opportunity that comes your way you say, “Well, does that go toward my vision? Or is that detracting from it?” That’s gonna be your biggest battle as an entrepreneur or as the CEO of your company. I’m gonna give you an example.

Jodi Katz

Can you give us an example?

Angela Kim

Yes. Okay. An example is, my vision is very much about skincare, helping people to learn how to do self-care in a New York minute using Korean beauty rituals. Anything that’s not part of the skincare aspect or the face aspect, we’re just gonna say no to in the future. In the spas, we offer massage. That was something I said yes to early on because I love massage. I’m obsessed with massage. I need a massage almost every week, and I love that we offer it. But it is no longer in our vision to offer it. It’s become harder and harder for us to be able … We have so much request for it.

We have club members that are in the massage club membership. We have a lot of people calling for massage, but it’s not in line with our vision. We’ve decided to not offer it for bridal spa parties anymore, for wedding parties. We’re just offering only skincare facials, makeup, everything that has to do with the face because the massage part was a distraction. It was hard to book the massage therapist, and it was taking us off our main view, our main vision. That’s hard to say no, especially if you’re making money from it. It’s really hard. But to focus on what you ultimately want is gonna get you there faster.

Jodi Katz

Yeah. It must be such a challenging pivot point though to say we’re booking X number of massages a month. That’s X amount of money in our pocket. It’s also time for those therapists to be paid. Right?

Angela Kim

Right.

Jodi Katz

It’s good work for them. I guess to have the confidence that you’re gonna make it up, more than make it up, by focusing on face. But it’s scary.

Angela Kim

Right. It’s so scary. We’re right now in that transition of really making it much more about the face and making that the focal point. You could even say this about hiring. Let’s say you’ve got a vision of your ideal team member. As you’re building your dream team, you cannot scale, you cannot operate at your best unless you’re leaning on really amazing people to be able to develop and live out your plan.

It used be and I’m gonna say this, and I’m half joking. But this was how it was early on where I’d feel so desperate to hire to heal our pain point. It could be like, “Oh my God, we’re short staffed. We need help. We need help.” It used be if you breathe and you fart, you’re hired. It was like that early … Then we had to learn the hard way that you hire the wrong person. It is so expensive. You train and you pour all this energy and resources into the wrong person. It’s a mistake, and it’s an expensive mistake. We’ve really strengthened our whole company culture. Who are we looking for? What it the ideal employee and dream team member? Then we have all these hiring systems along the way where if you don’t pass these markers for success, you’re not hired.

It’s a longer process. You have to say no so many times, but you’re saying yes to that ideal member. You know what I mean?

Jodi Katz

I do. It’s genius, and it makes me think about in my own business knowing I needed a certain type of experience level and specialty, and we couldn’t afford a full-timer that way. Instead of just not having anybody, we’re hiring somebody who’s junior who just doesn’t have what it takes to get that job done. We hired a freelancer, a contractor. Sure, we can’t hire her full-time, but we get what we need from her, which is amazing talent and vision and follow-though. Ultimately, hopefully, at one point she will be able to become a full-timer. But instead of just hiring a junior person because that’s all we could afford, we refocused. We made the expertise the most important factor and found a way around it.

Angela Kim

What you’re-

Jodi Katz

I would say earlier in our business, we’d just probably hired anybody in sight to put that square peg in that round hole. I’d just try to jam it in there, and make that square peg … Shove it in that round hole as hard as I can until a breaking point. Learning from my mistakes.

Angela Kim

What you’re talking about is actually really, really important. I want to pause to dissect what you just said. What you just said is actually quite genius. That’s something that we’ve implemented in my company as well because we can’t afford to bring on a $250,000 sales director per year. What we’ve started to do is hire consultants on contract. Because it’s very expensive to bring them on as employees. We bring them on, people who have proven success records. Proven. You’ve shown that you can do this. But often times, Jodi, those people don’t like to implement. They don’t like to do the grunt work. They like to do the strategy work.

Anyway, so if you brought them on full-time, you’d be throwing your money out the window because if you don’t have time to hire the assistants, the department, and the usual structures that usually help this person to be successful, game over. What we’ve found is that if we bring the on on a strategy level and then we hire an assistant or somebody that they train within the company that’s an employee of ours at $15 to $20 an hour versus paying them $250 an hour, whatever, that’s a very smart way to build business if you’re on a budget. We’ve done that within my company.

Jodi Katz

What I find is a lot of these people are my age, and they don’t want a full-time job anymore. They’re done with the corporate stuff. This happens time and time again. We get so many people coming to us because of our culture. Our culture really supports contractors. We operate virtually. They fit right in, naturally fit right in without trying to struggle. People want flexibility in their life. They want to be able to call the shots. They want to decide when they’re gonna be working and not working. We’re able to take advantage of the great talent and the time they want to work and yet, of course, they have the power to say, “No, thank you,” and they walked. It is the way it is. It’s either that or I work by myself most of the time, which I don’t like. I can’t do this without a team.

We’ve taken advantage of so many incredible insights, Angela, and I feel we could talk once a month and not get to all of them. I just want to say how grateful I am on behalf of our listeners for these incredible insights.

Angela Kim

Oh, thank you.

Jodi Katz

I hope that is an episode that entrepreneurs listen to again and again because there’s so many incredible golden nuggets in here. This is awesome.

Angela Kim

Oh, thank you so much, Jodi, for your time.

Announcer

Thanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

 

 

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