The Newsletter Pro - January 2020

208.297.5700 JAN 2020



Calling All Lost Customers What Our Clients Are Saying


What’s So Important About Original Ideas? Fostering Christmas Nothing Slips Through the Cracks With Slack Meet Lauren Hennrich! Skylar Finds Room for Disruption in the Perfume Industry





What many marketing associates don’t understand is that every prospect who becomes a customer goes through a specific “customer journey.” Many people, including some of my own friends who work in marketing, only focus on the leads and sales, but it’s so much more complex than that. Traffic —> Lead —> Nurture —> Offer —> Sale —> Deliver —> Nurture —> Refer —> Retain —> Upsells The conversion/direct ROI part of this process is rooted in three sections: traffic to lead conversion, offer to sale, and upsells. This makes up 30% of the process, but without the other 70%, you will never have success. This lack of focus on the whole journey is why most businesses don’t scale. They get in this mindset that the only things that matter are the lead and the sale, and they forget about the customer after the sale, which hurts retention and overall ROI.

Sometimes I end up on a call or in person with someone on another company’s marketing team, and I always know exactly what they’re going to ask. I can see it coming at this point, and if you ever witness me talking with these people, you may see me smile knowingly. They typically spring “the question” on me after three or four warmup questions. Let me be clear: This is a fair question. But the problem is that this is the wrong question to be asking, which means these marketing employees don’t even understand the nuances of the media in question, let alone how marketing works today. Most of our customers at The Newsletter Pro aren’t coming to us for lead generation. Frankly, that’s not the best use for a newsletter. When a marketing employee leads with ROI questions — questions geared toward lead generation — it’s clear they aren’t well-versed in marketing. “How do I track new revenue or ROI?”

We all know that if you generate 100 leads, you’ll likely close only a small percentage of them. So, once you have leads, you need to nurture them. Most businesses don’t do a good job with this; they only close the ones who are actively shopping for a solution right at that minute. Newsletters are great for nurturing leads, but you can’t easily track direct ROI on them. You can, however, track an ROI based on an increase in your closed deals percentage. For example, if you’re closing 4 of every 100 leads and simply add a newsletter to nurture and make offers, you can easily track an increase in the percentage of prospects who become clients. The funny thing is that many businesses don’t even think to add prospects to their lists. The volume of money they’re leaving on the table is staggering. Continued on Page 2 ...














But many entrepreneurs run their business this way because it’s how they see other small businesses doing it. When you think about that, that’s crazy town. Most small businesses don’t do very well. Somewhere between 4%–8% of businesses never reach $1 million in sales, so copying models from people who haven’t figured it out yet is a bad idea. If you look at businesses that have had significant success, you’ll see they understand that making the sale is just the beginning. Once the sale is made, the real work begins. AFTER-THE-SALE STEPS TO MAXIMIZE CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE One way to get an amazing ROI on a newsletter is to use it to help you maximize your customers’ lifetime value. When you’re planning nurture campaigns after a sale, it’s important to set expectations. Most businesses either don’t do this at all or do it only once at the start of the sale. Using your newsletter as the primary media in your nurture and relationship-building campaign is going to be the foundation on which you attain higher retention and customer lifetime value. This is one place where you can really track your ROI — that is, if you’re tracking the right numbers. If you’re not tracking your numbers, then the reality is you don’t know what is and isn’t working in your business, let alone whether a newsletter or other piece of marketing is getting you the return you’re looking for. As an added bonus, creating a nurture campaign with your newsletter will increase your customer retention rates and lifetime value, and both of

those numbers will mean an increase in profits, plus a decrease in customer churn. This will really drive your business forward! HOW TO CRUSH YOUR NEWSLETTER NURTURE CAMPAIGN You want to use a nurture campaign to build relationships with your customers. This means you should be willing to open up and get personal to entertain, educate, and upsell. Newsletters are a great avenue for this type of campaign, but if you do it wrong, it can actually hurt your business. For example, if you make the newsletter all about selling your product or service, people will ignore you because they will just see it as spam. Another major mistake is mailing your newsletter inconsistently; if you do that, you’re just telling your customers you’re not organized. Nurturing doesn’t work when you’re hit or miss. It would be like taking a girl out on a few dates and then not calling for two months and expecting her to still like you. She may not even remember who you are when you come calling again. The core of any newsletter is the personal article on the front page. You need to be real in it — you need to get personal. Think about it like this: With so many choices of places to do business, there isn’t a ton to separate your business from the pack except you, your story, your relationships with your customers, your referral partners, and your prospects. Even if you have a USP (unique selling proposition), better service, more features, or more experience in the industry, most customers either don’t care or don’t understand that you’re better than the next

One of the benefits of a newsletter is that you don’t have to make the same offer to the whole list plus your prospects. You can divide the list and send different offers based on who is getting the newsletter and who isn’t. This way, prospects can get a first-time customer offer and clients get a different offer that they will love. At The Newsletter Pro, we do this all the time. If you’re not a client yet, you’ll never see the customer FSIs (free-standing inserts). A newsletter really shines when it comes to the parts of the customer journey that take place after the sale — nurture, refer, retain, and upsells. TURNING AN ROI AFTER THE SALE So many businesses think their goal should be to make sales and that’s it. That couldn’t be more wrong. The goal of your business is to get a customer. You can’t get a customer until you make a sale, true, but it doesn’t stop there. If you don’t work on nurturing and retaining that customer, you’ll end up with a lower customer lifetime value. Think about it like this: Just because you make a sale doesn’t mean the customer will buy from you again. Since most of us lose money on our first sales, making a single sale is not some great accomplishment. Anyone can lose money and make a sale. After the sale, you have to deliver on what you sold, of course, but if you don’t nurture the new customer and build a relationship with them, you run the huge risk that they won’t remember who you are or what you do. When this happens, they treat you as a commodity and simply price-shop every time. That is a low-profit way to run a business.

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Then, our team started to call. We had two goals for these calls: set up an appointment then and there to discuss them resigning with us and to send them to one of our sales reps directly. We had three people in charge of reaching out to these 43 clients. Each of them had a relationship with the client before they decided to cancel. We knew that if we wanted these clients back, having people they knew and had talked with before would increase those odds significantly. A typical reactivation campaign will see about a 2%–12% recovery rate of lost customers, and this venture held true. I remember when I first started, I thought I’d be happy with 2%— overjoyed for anything above 5%. From this campaign, we had three clients join back on, which was a big success! Since this campaign was such a huge success, we’ve decided to release a brand-new campaign to bring back even more lost customers. After taking some time to go through each of the clients who have left, we compiled a list of over 100 we want back. With this goal, we are planning to split-test two different styles with the same offer to see which of them will win. Our previous campaign was a success, so I have high hopes for the new one we’re planning to release soon. I know that our success lies heavy in keeping in contact with all clients, even those who have canceled. Retention is something that will make or break your campaign before it even starts. Sending a package or letter to a client or customer isn’t enough on its own. Following up on the initial package with additional letters and making those calls are essential in ensuring we remain top of mind. Creating a lost customer campaign is simple, but without proper planning and retention, it will fall flat. Put in that effort and time, and you’ll experience the satisfaction that comes when a lost customer comes right back to you.

A customer reactivation campaign not only gives you the tools to react appropriately to canceled or lost customers, but it also coaxes them back to your company. The process of creating and then implementing your very own campaign is far more straightforward than many people might guess. The key is to make it personal. We first started The Newsletter Pro Lost Customer Campaign by choosing who we wanted to win back. This is crucial — sometimes two people just don’t click, and chasing after the people you didn’t work well with is a waste of time and energy. From the list we were considering, my team and I pulled 43 clients who we knew, without a doubt, we wanted to come back. I then focused my efforts on writing a story-based sales letter that centered on new beginnings with the start of a brand-new year. I topped it with the perfect ending: an irresistible offer. In addition to the letter was a copy of the book that I co-authored with Dan Kennedy, “No. B.S. Guide to Maximum Customer Referrals and Retention,” along with a testimonial booklet that we use in some of our marketing. As an added touch, I made sure to autograph and personalize each book, which came with a branded bookmark. Since we only had 43 clients we wanted to reach, our team decided that the best and most efficient method to get these packages to our lost clients’ hands was through FedEx. Each package, including getting all the materials together with FedEx Ground Shipping, cost about $18 each for a total price of $774 — a price worth every penny for the end result. Once these were well on their way, we started to prep for the next couple steps of our Lost Customer Campaign. To follow up on these packages, we sent out two letters — mailed first-class — a few weeks later, which cost an additional $150.

Losing a customer feels like a big blow that threatens to knock all the wind out of you.

I know, I’ve been there.

In business, customer loss is unavoidable. People will always come and go. But, while it’s tempting to shake off those losses, move on, and focus on potential and current customers, banishing customers to a “canceled” list is the last thing you want to do. At least once or twice a year, I set some time aside to sit down and go through these lists, asking myself, “What’s the best way to win these customers back?” The Newsletter Pro is not immune to customer loss, and I know getting these clients back on board with my company is worth the effort.

So, what is the best way to get clients back?

Through a customer reactivation campaign.






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“I think these newsletters are excellent. None of our competitors could possibly put this out.” -Chiro1Source “[I love the] cooperation, collaboration, and punctuality [of The Newsletter Pro team]. We had concerns about the cost and our expectations not being met. [Ultimately, we decided to pull the trigger after] careful research and your customer service!” –Garcia & Ochoa “I called your office [and] spoke to Lauren at the front desk, who was incredibly friendly, and it was quite refreshing. I don’t remember the last time I called in somewhere and talked to someone who was so professional and upbeat. Kudos, sir.” –Andrew Jensen, Drive Payments “I want to express my gratitude for the great work you guys did this month. Sonya just did an absolutely FANTASTIC job at editing the pieces. She continues to get better at handling the lingo of our industry. Wow! I love it!” –Stu Gramajo, Agent Link Marketing corresponded, I started [a] campaign of mailing copies of my book to the prospect, having a call after the books arrived, then sending multiple follow-up emails. I also sent them a ‘sneak peek’ copy of the draft of my next newsletter. That resulted in this company coming on board as a client this week. My current calculation of the lifetime value of a client is around $70,000, so this is a very good result! Thanks for the great work.” “[Shaun, I wanted to give an update on that lead I told you about last month.] After we


‘ZERO TO ONE: NO OR HOW TO BUILD Expert Entrepreneurial Advice Fr

shine through the dregs of repeated ideas and business ventures.

Succeeding in business and building your company takes more than determination and luck. To thrive, a business needs to be unique — it needs to catch the eye of the consumer and, most importantly, avoid competition wherever it can. It’s easy to improve upon an existing idea, but creating your own original idea takes you from zero to one. Having nothing to fall back on and nothing to compare your journey to is what often holds entrepreneurs back, but they don’t realize that this environment is exactly what they need to

In Peter Thiel’s book, “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,” this “zero to one” concept is unraveled and interpreted in terms any businessperson can understand — and it’s no wonder why. Thiel is a veteran investor and entrepreneur; he co-founded PayPal in 1998, then later Palantir in 2003. He was an early investor in Facebook, LinkedIn, SpaceX, and many successful technology startups to date. Through his years of experience, Thiel

–Jeremy Wyatt, Harrison Law Group




Referrals are an excellent number to track in regard to ROI. I talk a ton about referrals in this newsletter and in my book “NO B.S. Guide to Maximum Customer Referrals and Retention.” I’m not going to go in-depth here, but referrals will come easier and faster if you have a campaign designed to keep you top of mind, promote referrals, and build a relationship with your reader. People will not refer you simply because you did a good job. Anyone can do a good job. You need to do more than the bare minimum to earn your customers’ recommendations. We no longer live in a world (and haven’t for 20-plus years) where you can simply toss a call tracking number on your Yellow Pages ad and measure ROI. The journey a prospect takes to becoming a customer is long and winding with many twists and turns. Don’t treat your customers like items barreling down an assembly line, and don’t demand ROI as if you’re the only business in town. That’s a problematic mentality that, if left unchecked, will ensure your business doesn’t scale.


crafting a newsletter using my methods will help convert more prospects into customers.

guy, and some of them just may not believe you are credible. Your customers and prospects have been duped too many times by too many other companies to take you at your word. Think about your own experiences with other companies. How many times has a company promised you the world only to fall short? When you make a connection with a customer, open up and show them you’re real. Show them you care. Show them you have their best interests at heart. Creating that relationship will mean everything for your success. This is why

One thing to always keep in mind regarding prospects is that a customer is ready to buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell to them. So continuing to show up and provide value long after your competitors have disappeared is an amazing way to get maximum ROI from a newsletter. Even sending a newsletter regularly proves your commitment to a prospect and tells them you’re keeping them and their needs top of mind.



Have You Heard the Good News?

Isaiah 40:29–31 — “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 — “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.” The key, Thiel urges, is to start with monopolies. Establishing a monopoly promotes high profits, allowing a business to focus strictly on the future, not the competition. Thiel gives his readers a chance to pause in this otherwise fast-moving world. He wants us to take a second look at the world around us and find the innovation we need to pursue a thriving business.

has come to recognize the value of progress through the original big idea.

In his book, Thiel urges his readers not only to discover unique ideas on their own but also to nurture and develop them. A business can come from any idea, with any amount of planning, in any industry, but without the proper innovation, it will fall far behind. Of the many inspiring concepts Thiel touches on, one of the most profound is that any specific business venture only happens once. He writes, “The next Bill Gates will not build an operating




3 Easy Ways You Can Help the Kids 1. Donate Gifts Reach out to us at or call 208.297.5700 and request a child/several children to shop for. All we ask is that you try to have their gifts back within a week of receiving their info. 2. Send a Donation Donate to Fostering Christmas at and we will do all the shopping for you. 100% of your donations go

Fostering Christmas came about in 2015 when Shaun Buck, entrepreneur in the Boise, Idaho, area discovered this gap in the system. First, he brought the concept to his company The Newsletter Pro. He asked his staff if anyone wanted to help out, but pledged that he would personally ensure every gift got fulfilled — and he fulfilled his pledge! Fast forward to now, and what started with a few kids and a personal promise has blossomed into hundreds of kids over multiple counties and a full-fledged nonprofit. Contact us to get involved!

Fostering Christmas is an Idaho nonprofit that provides last-minute Christmas gifts to children new to the foster care system. There is a gap in our system after Thanksgiving when many of the giving trees no longer take new children’s wish lists because it becomes too difficult to facilitate the last-minute gift coordinating and delivery. Fostering Christmas recognized that gap and the need for our children to be taken care of. This program currently operates in Ada and Canyon Counties. All donations are tax deductible and go directly to purchasing Christmas gifts. There are ZERO overhead or administrative costs.

straight to the children’s gifts. 3. Share the Message

Check out our Facebook page, FosteringChristmas, and share with your friends and family to help us spread the word!


This app is designed so that nothing falls through the cracks. While you can tag others who may be important to a conversation, the app also archives all messages and files so you can access them whenever you want. Not only does this make collaboration incredibly easy and convenient, it also adds a layer of accountability. No one can say, “Oh, I didn’t get that” because it’s all there and it’s all searchable. When you get down to it, Slack simply makes communication and collaboration across the office and across departments an absolute breeze. Because it’s available on desktop and mobile, it’s easy to communicate with others either on a one-on-one basis, with select people or groups, or with literally everyone, from just about anywhere. Slack is highly intuitive and user-friendly — it’s one of those pieces of technology you use and end up asking yourself, “How did we get by without this?” See more at

information. But, for many people, the star of the show is file sharing. You can share files from your computer, Dropbox, Google Docs, you name it! Share PDFs, Word documents, spreadsheet files, images — the list goes on. Slack can integrate with apps you already know and use.

No matter the size of your business, whether it’s a two-person operation or you employ 50 or more, communication is key. Your business has to be set up in a way that fosters communication between team members, work groups, and departments. Some businesses rely on email, which can be clunky for ongoing communication, but many have integrated chat apps into their daily workflow — apps like Slack. anyone in your business. You can organize and track conversations, instantly share files, and even make calls. Many businesses use messaging apps like Google Hangouts, which work when you need basic chat functionality, but Hangouts lacks many productivity features, such as easy file sharing. Slack, well, picks up the slack. Not only can you chat with anyone but you can also tag others in conversations so that no one misses a key piece of Slack works as a messaging system across your whole organization. It allows you to chat with





That’ll Help You Elevate Your Business In 2020!

The holidays are now upon us. It’s a time for many small-business owners and entrepreneurs to take it easy a little bit and allow themselves to be immersed in seasonal festivities. But the last thing you want is to find yourself on Jan. 3 wondering, “How in the HECK am I going to grow my business in 2020?” That’s why I’m going to give you three of my best tips that you can implement right now so you’ll be well positioned when your prospects and customers return to “real life” after the holidays.

You’ll want to speak to these segments in different ways. For example, the business owner who wants to scale would be more interested in information and products that show them how to hire “A-players” to their team. A business owner who is just starting out wants to attract their first critical mass of customers and would be more interested in products or information that helps them get more exposure. A great way to segment your list is to create different lead generators for CDs, white papers, books, webinars, etc. I recommend inserting a free-standing insert (FSI) like this one in a newsletter with a free offer that goes out to your customers and prospects. For example, you could send out an FSI for a free report on how to attract more customers to your list of business owners in the scenario above. People who are in “growth mode” in their business will respond and be perfect candidates for a higher-end offer that helps them attract more customers. You can then run a different FSI the next month targeting business owners who are ready to scale by offering a free report on how to hire top people for their team. They’re already attracting all the customers they can handle, unlike the business owners who are just starting out. Their biggest goal is to put the right people and systems in place so they can keep growing while keeping operating costs down. Using a newsletter bundled with an FSI to segment your list is smart business. By the middle of the year, you’ll have a better understanding of who’s on your list, and you’ll be able to create specific offers for these different segments. All this is bound to boost your profits.


I’ve seen this work over and over again for different industries. All you have to do is create a list of prospects who would be an ideal fit for your business and send out a monthly newsletter. This is a great way to generate new leads and business. You’ll also come across as a “welcome guest” to your target audience because you’re sending out a newsletter that’s chock-full of awesome content. This is more effective than sending out a sales letter, postcard, or other marketing material designed to get your target audience to respond immediately. Now, mind you, the direct approach does work, and you’ll get a small percentage of people who need your product or service now to respond. But mailing a newsletter for a period of, say, 12–24 months to your ideal prospects will keep you top of mind so they’ll think of you when they need your product or service. So, essentially, mailing a newsletter every month to cold prospects is more of a long- game approach to attract more business without coming across as pushy. It allows you to build a relationship with your target audience so they’ll trust and like you. And, after all, people buy from individuals and businesses they know, like, and trust.

1. SEGMENT YOUR LIST It’s amazing how many business owners and entrepreneurs don’t segment their database. The best they’ll do is create a “prospects” and “buyers” list, but you can improve the customer experience and increase their chances of converting. The truth is that the people on your list have different interests and needs. For example, if you’re selling information products to business owners, there will be people who are just starting their business and others who have an existing business and want to grow and scale.


willing to put forth a little effort to win back their business. It’s more personal than just slapping together a simple “We want you back!” email. I realize how easy it is to just focus on getting new customers because that’s all most experts and “gurus” talk about. It’s all you see when you watch product launches online. Everything is focused on boosting traffic, getting exposure, and getting more customers. Reactivating lost customers is something that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s the easiest thing you can do right now to boost your profits. It takes the pressure off having to focus all your energy on getting new customers to replace the ones who aren’t active. So, take a look at your database and determine how many customers have left. You can and will reactivate lost customers who have not bought your product or used your service recently by sending them a monthly newsletter. STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT I know how tempting it is to procrastinate on implementing a new initiative in your

business, such as sending out a monthly newsletter. It’s easy to shelf the idea and tell yourself you’ll get to it “next month” or “when you have time.” But think about this: Your ideal customers will want to start 2020 off with a bang — just like you do. They’ll be looking for products and services that’ll help them fulfill brand-new New Year’s resolutions so they can reach their goals faster. That’s why now’s the time to “show up” for your ideal prospects or customers with a newsletter before February rolls around and their motivation to make new changes for the new year dies down. That’s why it’s critical to go to to set up your complimentary consultation. We can take the burden of sending a monthly newsletter off your shoulders so you can enjoy the increased profits and surge of new customers without having to do the grunt work yourself.

It helps to sit down and figure out your customer lifetime value. Depending on your business, you would only need a handful of customers, clients, or patients you wouldn’t have otherwise attracted to cover the cost of the newsletter mailing. Plus, you’re constantly “showing up” in their mailboxes every month while your competition may send out a postcard now and then (if anything at all).


This is a hidden pot of cash right under your nose you’re probably not tapping into! The most unobtrusive way to reactivate lost customers is to send them a newsletter in the mail. It shows them you care and you’re

What’s the secret to success? Is it hard work? Skill? Luck? Everyone has their own answer, but according to Lauren Hennrich, our Red Team lead, it’s all of the above — plus a healthy dose of competitive spirit. “I’m very competitive,” Lauren willingly admits. “At the office, we have so many numbers to track and goals to hit that it’s easy to stay busy. If I’m not busy, I feel very lazy.” Long before Lauren joined The Newsletter Pro as a project coordinator, she was finding plenty of ways to keep busy on the field or court. Ever since she was a kid, Lauren has loved playing on a team. Lauren’s cousin used to play for the Detroit Lions, and every year, he would put on a sports camp in their tiny Colorado town. The camp offered football for boys and volleyball for girls, but Lauren realized early on that she liked scoring touchdowns KEEP UP With Our NO ‘I’ IN TEAM IN THE SPOTLIGHT Lauren Hennrich and the Power of Competition If you’re looking for more great content — like what you’re reading in this newsletter — to drive your business forward, take a look at these articles on our blog. Uncover Key Strategies For Sustained Success In ‘The Motivation Trap’ strategies/ What No One Else Will Tell You About Referral Campaigns referral-campaigns/ Using Mistakes As Opportunities To Grow Your Business opportunities/ Above And Beyond the Norm: Adobe’s Company Culture culture/ BEST POSTS

like about being a lead [at The Newsletter Pro]. I can help with the workflow, sit down and work through problems, plan morning meetings that are productive and fun, and make sure everyone on my team is able to put their strongest foot forward. When my team has the opportunity to grow and be their best, we all win.” Rallying her team to put their strongest foot forward is what makes Lauren one of the best leads The Newsletter Pro has ever seen. In the last year since Lauren took charge, she has truly transformed Red Team from a group on the verge of collapse to the company’s strongest powerhouse. Now that’s the power of a competitive spirit.

much more than spiking a volleyball over a net. In high school, Lauren played just about every sport available and loved every minute of it. When Lauren moved to Boise, Idaho, she found a new passion: rugby. Playing on a rugby team had never been an option before, and Lauren was thrilled to be part of such an intensely competitive sport. Though Lauren has played a number of solo sports, she’s always had the most fun being part of a team. “For me, being competitive doesn’t mean being the best; it’s about being better than you were yesterday. More importantly, it’s about being better and growing with your whole team. That’s what I




208.297.5700 391 N. Ancestor Pl., Boise, ID 83704 Keep up with our latest office news, blogs, and promos at!




GREAT MARKETING ALONE DOESN’T CUT IT Before her MBA and tenure at The Honest Company, Chen was an MIT undergrad. A self-described nerd who enjoys data and analytics, she’s parlayed her data-driven skills to further tap into who Skylar’s customers are and how they like to communicate. Still, Chen knows even the best data isn’t enough to sustain a business. Chen’s understanding of the people side of Skylar is one of the major factors that allowed it to grow at the speed it has. “As amazing as a great marketing campaign can be, delivering to our customers every day, with the right shipping speed, product quality, shopping experience, and customer support is what actually creates customer loyalty and a sustainable business, from my perspective,” Chen says. EMPOWERING WOMEN AND INSPIRING GIRLS In addition to opting for ingredients that are better for humans and the environment, Skylar donates a portion of its proceeds and time to Step Up, a national nonprofit organization that provides mentorship to girls in underserved communities. Skylar’s contributions go beyond a big check. This year, Chen and the Skylar team attended Step Up’s Career Connections Conference, where they personally mentored high school girls and provided guidance on topics like interest discovery, interview preparation, and confidence-building. Chen knows firsthand what it takes to stick with something you believe in, and she’s sharing that knowledge to empower and inspire other women and girls. In an interview with Forbes, she summed up her thoughts on the tenacity entrepreneurs need to take their idea to the next level: “If you’re passionate about it, if you’re willing to work hard for it, and if you’re not willing to take no for an answer, go for it. Change can be the impetus for great things.”

concoct complementary pairings. Early on, she fulfilled orders out of her garage and made daily trips to the post office. In a time when the words “clean” and “natural” are tossed around like candy on Halloween, Skylar’s products, from perfumes to lotions, fit the bill authentically. As outlined on their comprehensive, user-friendly website, everything is hypoallergenic and free of the “big 6 no-no” ingredients. Even the packing peanuts are made of biodegradable recycled corn starch. From the beginning, Chen saw the need for a better fragrance that adhered to its nontoxic roots. Her personal experience is integral to how Skylar has developed and continues to attract a loyal fan base. Company have helped her key in on how to scale a business, she says, “from learning how to fail fast — working quickly toward execution, learning from our mistakes and pivoting to successful strategies.” Chen frequently turns to the Skylar community to guide product development, sending out samples of new scents to loyal customers for feedback. It’s a lesson she learned in the early stages of Skylar. Starting out, Chen had used her own preferences to guide product development. She had an eye- opening experience during a friend’s visit when she sampled some of the prototypes: Her friend disliked all the fragrances Chen loved and preferred the ones Chen didn’t like. From there, Chen began sampling and gathering consumer input to influence what scents made the cut. Skylar’s attentiveness to its customers has been integral to growing and sustaining business. “By keeping our eyes on what matters most — our customers and our community — we’ve been able to skyrocket,” Chen told Forbes. BUSINESS SCENTS Chen’s previous experiences at The Honest

For experienced businessperson Cat Chen, being part of a successful startup and building a brand wasn’t anything new. Chen holds an MBA from Wharton and had worked at Apple and Activision before joining Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company as the vice president of operations while the company was still in its startup phase. What was new to Chen, though, was going out on her own as an entrepreneur. And what was totally outside Chen’s wheelhouse was the perfume industry, which has been dominated by traditional big-name products found in department stores and malls. It wasn’t until she discovered that her newborn was allergic to the perfumes she wore every day that Chen sensed there was room for disruption in the industry. Prompted by her personal experience, she found an untapped niche and an opportunity to build her own business from the ground up. That journey has blossomed into Skylar, a natural fragrance company that seeks to encourage and empower women through better products and an uplifting community. Last February, the company secured $8 million in funding and has seen 2,000% growth year over year, according to Forbes. Skylar recently began offering a subscription-based model where members have access to new fragrances every month. Amid that success, the company has remained true to its mission to empower women with better products. GOING AU NATUREL When Chen began searching for fragrances that didn’t contain irritating ingredients, she couldn’t find any that were hypoallergenic. Even essential oil-based products caused her daughter’s allergies to flare up. So, Chen set out to make her own, learning about the harmful chemicals found in most perfumes and developing a better alternative.

She began by experimenting with scents, eventually working with a renowned perfumer to




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