Nicole Humphreys is the Founder & CEO of August Effects, a brand of beach goods handmade by local people in Bali.
Originally from California, Nicole traveled to Bali, Indonesia in November, 2016 on her honeymoon.
On the trip, she and her husband fell in love with the island and decided to pack up their lives in California to move to Bali to start their own companies.
Through partnerships with local Bali non-profits, she is creating positive change by giving back to the community that nurtured and inspired her vision.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Before starting August Effects, I was working as the Director of Operations for a non-profit in California. Despite thinking this was my “dream job”, I was miserable.
During our time in Bali, I gained a whole new perspective, shining light onto the reality of my stress filled 9-5 office job.
I spent many days in Bali shopping at local markets, and was blown away by the beauty of both the products and the artisans creating them.
I had a crazy thought in the midst of one of those bustling markets, “What if I could work with these people to create products that reflected the beach vibes of Bali and California and sell the products online?”.
The wheels started turning.
I envisioned giving back to these communities not only by supporting local artisans but by donating to local non-profits working to make the island an even more beautiful place.
The dream only became stronger as the days went on, and within a few weeks, I found myself creating the foundation of August Effects.
Tell us about your business.
August Effects is a brand of beach inspired goods handmade by local people across the island of Bali. Our products are made for adventurers, beach lovers, and travelers.
Our mission at AE is to make people feel good through products that contribute to the greater good.
We partnered with the Bali Children Foundation (BCF), an amazing non-profit whose mission is to provide an educational pathway for disadvantaged Balinese children.
BCF works in rural, poverty-stricken villages of Bali, bringing education, computer skills, and real-world job training to the children they serve.
BCF is currently in need of new English dictionaries for the children in their programs, so for every August Effects purchase, we donate a dictionary to a BCF child.
We aim to make people feel good knowing that their products are designed with love, handmade in Bali, and contribute to the greater good.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! If you sign up for our email list on AugustEffects.com, you will be offered a 10% off discount code to use on your first order!
We also send our email subscribers bi-weekly emails with updates on August Effects, monthly inspirational tools (books, podcasts, etc.) and a special discount or giveaway each month.
Where is your business based?
This answer is tri-fold;
- Our headquarters are in Marina del Rey, California.
- Our products are made in Bali, Indonesia.
- Our team travels all over the world while August Effects grows and expands.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Step one was creating a business plan!
I have a strange love for the intricacies of planning and organization, so the most logical first step for me was to outline the vision of August Effects. I see a lot of people shying away from creating business plans because they’re scared, intimidated, or feel its above their heads.
I encourage people like this to think of a business plan simply as a way to get all their thousands of ideas down on paper. Once those ideas are in one place, you have a road map for how to start and launch your business.
You can download free business plan templates online which walk you through the process.
It is an incredibly helpful tool for seeing the big picture of your business and preparing for many logistics you may not have had in mind. Once my business plan was completed, I began my search for hardworking artisans in Bali to help bring my products to life.
I then designed my website and moved step by step into the smaller logistical pieces necessary to start a new company.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
So far, Instagram and Pinterest have been my main outlets for marketing and promotion.
I follow people on Instagram who seem like they would be potential customers to introduce them to the brand and send them a direct message telling them about August Effects. I also post twice a day to keep my content fresh and engagement high.
Pinterest has also been an amazing source for finding new customers.
When I started August Effects, I took a course on how to use Pinterest strategically for business (as opposed to just saving yummy recipes and cute outfits like I used to do).
Once I learned the tips and tricks outlined in the course, I was quickly able to drive traffic to August Effects.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My greatest challenge has probably been shipping.
The first time I attempted to get a large order overseas, I was inundated with customs laws, import and export regulations, and the stress of putting all my beautiful products on a ship with nothing but hope that it would arrive in decent shape across the ocean.
I hired exporters in Bali to safely get the products out of Indonesia and then customs brokers in the U.S. to ensure the products would arrive into the states.
Even so, my products were held up at customs for several weeks, forcing me to change all of my plans for the launch of the company.
The other greatest challenge since the launch has been driving new customers to the site. I am continually working on this!
How did you overcome these challenges?
Patience, persistence, and perseverance!
These three P’s are words I have to constantly remind myself of with every challenge that arises.
When something is out of my control, the thing that keeps me going is simply not giving up. I tirelessly work to find solutions and have had to harbor A LOT of patience.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
It is not always easy but my strategy is to constantly think a few steps ahead. I’m always working on new ways to grow and market August Effects.
If things are challenging or slow, I find ways to improve my processes and make things more efficient for the future.
It’s been crucial to remember the big picture, specifically where the company is going rather than getting caught up in the nitty-gritty of day-to-day business.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My hope is that our customers are not only coming to August Effects for our products but also to support the mission and join the August Effects family.
I think what distinguishes us is our mission of giving back and I hope that appeals to certain customers to buy from us and not our competitors.
In addition to giving back to Bali, I hope to support other female entrepreneurs running their own business/dreaming of running their own business.
This is why I write blogs with tips for entrepreneurs/ digital nomads and provide as much business inspiration as possible in my bi-monthly emails.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Before I launched August Effects, a mentor of mine told me, “Never have expectations and never be disappointed.”
Although a bit pessimistic, the idea is to never give up, even when things don’t pan out how you hoped.
Sometimes it feels like a certain order/collaboration/promotion is going to change everything, but if it doesn’t happen, don’t allow yourself to get down or give up.
Instead, persevere, look forward, and keep hustling!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If you are thinking about starting your own company, I would say to tighten your seatbelt and prepare for a crazy ride.
In order to become an entrepreneur, you have to be ready for the endless highs and lows that inevitably accompany the journey.
If you’re up for it, it can be the most rewarding and exciting thing you have ever done. Yet there is a lot you sacrifice, so you have to be 100% committed!
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Both apps are extremely helpful for automating and organizing my social media.
I also use “The Productivity Planner” (an Intelligent Design journal) to map out my days in order to be as productive as possible.
I actually wrote a blog post titled “5 Tools To Help You Stay Organized As An Entrepreneur” where I share these tools and others. Go check it out!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I’m currently reading an interesting book called Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Businesses and Influence and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Marketing! Now that August Effects is up and running, I want to get the word out to as many people as possible.
My main focus right now is marketing and reaching a larger audience. If anyone reading this is a marketing expert – let’s connect!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I’m heading back to Bali in July to work on some exciting projects for August Effects. One of which is adding some beautiful new products to our online store.
We are also creating a video telling the story of August Effects. It will show the process of how our products are made, highlight our artisans and document the dictionary donation in Songan village.
We have 100 dictionaries to donate to the children in the village which is really exciting!
From there, I plan to grow the brand, get August Effects products into stores across the world, and continue to grow our charitable efforts with BCF.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.