Jackie Granchamps turned her hobby of creating bathing salts into her side business and currently funds it with her full time corporate job. Read our interview with the lovely Jackie below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I made an assortment of bathing salts as presents to my family during the holidays using herbs, aromatics and essential oils, and I thought, I could do this for a living. The process of creating my products is so joyful, that alone motivates me to keep doing it. I like to think that the happiness I feel gets infused into every bath and every bather.
Tell us about your business.
Cecile’s Bath & Body is a maker of luxurious bath and body staples – artisan soaps, whipped moisturizers and premium bathing salts – all Made by Hand, with Care™. Our proprietary formulas start with organic nut butters and nourishing oils. We layer that with select fragrances, organic essential oils and unique natural enhancers.
Cecile’s specializes in made-to-order blends and feature our blend bar, Mélanger, where our clients get to create their very own one-of-a-kind blend of Premium Bathing Salts or sumptuous Shea Butter Whips.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first and most important step in creating my business was education – really educating myself about the nuts and bolts of creating products from scratch. I took private lessons, read a lot of books, investigated, experimented and tested what I learned. Whatever your business is, understanding it from the most elemental level is really important.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective way to raise awareness changes depending on the stage of your business. In the beginning, it was really important to do lots of in-person events so that people would associate me with the brand and ask questions about the products. Now that we are a little better known, low levels of facebook advertising works well for awareness when I have specific events to promote. Twitter is great for B2B.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenges are just like other entrepreneurs – money and time. Never enough of either one!
How did you overcome these challenges?
In order not to incur a large amount of debt, I decided to bootstrap my business – meaning I continue to work a corporate job to pay for expenses as they come up. I had to give myself permission to grow more slowly and contain my enthusiasm when it comes to promotion, product introductions and fancy extras. It’s easy to spend money and in the beginning, you are definitely going to be shelling out a lot of cash. Spending wisely is key.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
It’s tough sometimes to keep things going, especially when the rest of my life gets busier. I’m a former athlete and think that the mental training stuck with me, so I just keep moving through the pain, little by little and as much as I can. There is this vision I have, so deep and quiet, that I can feel very distinctly. I will keep working until I get there.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We make an exceptional premium product and having in-person sampling is very important so people experience the difference in Cecile’s quality versus conventional products. Packaging also tends to set us apart, due to our bright signature orange and blue.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Give to others what you want for yourself.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Start slowly and spend very little. Learn how to conduct each piece of your business from the ground up, investigate your sources and their sources, and be able to answer the hard questions about your business. Don’t avoid the things that you aren’t good at – finish those first. The rest will be easy.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I love Lela Barker from Lucky Break Consulting – when I’m stuck on a business problem I can always find useful and informative content to help me along.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
LinkedIn: Jackie Granchamps or Cecile’s Bath and Body
Hashtags #Ceciles #madebyhandwithcare #naturalbeauty
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The one book I read over and over again are the works of Florence Scovel, especially “The Game of Life and How to Play it.” It’s short and written very simply, but helped me establish an unshakeable faith in my vision of the future.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to continue the momentum we have built over the past year into a really great holiday season.