The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

When Sustainable Beats the Status Quo with Everist

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The demand for sustainable products has never been greater – and perhaps, never been more necessary. From climate change to the creation of vast trash islands, more and more consumers are realizing that real change is needed to protect and preserve our environment.

For Jayme Jenkins, HBA ’07, and Jessica Stevenson, HBA ’07, real change wasn’t just about making a donation or changing their buying habits. Leaving their established careers, Jenkins and Stevenson are reimagining the beauty industry with Everist, which provides concentrated forms of traditional hair and body care products, reducing the industry’s typical reliance on plastic bottles and packaging.

Since its launch, Everist has been featured by Chatelaine, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Men’s Health, and was voted by Vogue and Time magazine as one of the best innovative products of 2021.

Jenkins and Stevenson join Eric Janssen to discuss their passion for problem-solving, being the change they want to see, and how their careers in sales and marketing helped lay the runway to launch their own brand.

...we really believe that for Echo tobecome mainstream, which is our mission right? We want to make eco foreverybody, it should be, it has to be at this point, Echo needs to be betterthan the status quo and that's really our goal of Everest is deliveringproducts that are delightfully better than what you're currently used tousing, which just happened to be, you know, as close to zero waste aspossible. Yeah, yeah. You're listening to the entrepreneurpodcast from the western Morrison Institute for entrepreneurship, poweredby ivy in this series, every entrepreneur and every faculty membereric Jansen will anchor the session. This is the perfect Cinderella story oftwo entrepreneurs working in corporate jobs, identifying a massive problem tobe solved in a huge market and leaving their stable, well paying jobs to solveit. Jamie Jenkins and Jessica Stevenson started Everest just a year ago and arepoised to change the beauty industry entirely. A completely new blue skyinnovation. Everest, waterless shampoo and body wash formulas aren't justbetter for the planet, they're actually a better product. The company hasalready been featured in Forbes and been called one of time's bestinventions of 2021. They've been featured in Shadow Lane, cosmopolitan,Elle and Men's health In this episode, we talk about their journey andfounding a direct consumer company, what to focus on in the early stages,the value of sales and the importance of starting with the problem and givingyourself time to come to the right solution. Finally, we talked aboutstarting a business and raising a family at the same time what tradeoffsto expect and how to make it all work. I started using this product just a fewweeks ago and I'm already hooked. This is the next big name in beauty and I'mexcited to share a sneak peek into their growth story, enjoy myconversation with Jamie and Jessica from Everest. Alright I'm here with Jamie, Jenkinsand Jessica Stevenson from Everest Ladies. Thanks for coming on thepodcast. Nice to be here. Yeah good to have you. I'm excited to talk aboutyour journey. It's uh actually fairly typical one for a lot of ivyentrepreneurs which is sort of the corporate wrote turn entrepreneur afteraccumulating a few a few good years or a decade potentially good workexperience and I want to get to that story. I want to start though with yourbackground in corporate. I know Jamie you specifically actually started and Ithink sales at P. And G. Can you talk about what is why did you choose salesas an early career option and why was that a good launching off point for you? That's a great question. Eric I thinkeverybody should do sales at some point in their career and I feel likestarting with sales is like an excellent place to begin. So I took thesales job because I wanted to work for Procter and gamble. I thought it was anincredible place to kind of learn the ropes of marketing and that's the rolethey were hiring for. So I did a summer internship with PNG between my 3rd and4th year ivy and then they hired me on for full time after I graduated. And uhI did about a year and a half of pharmaceutical sales, so visitingdoctors offices talking to their staff. Um It was a tough gig but I feel likeyou learn so much about you know, confidence and resilience and so manyskills that are applicable later in your career that I think it was a greatexperience. So a lot of students maybe don't see the path, but you started andyou started in a few different sales roles, built that thick skin, learnedhow to pitch a value prop and then where did you go from your first salesroles? So I was in the field for a while, I had some good kind of tractionthere. So they actually moved me into the office at PNG to be a trainer, asales trainer and that was actually a really interesting world. I don't talkabout it a lot because we tend to focus more on our beauty experience. Um Butit's really interesting because we did a lot of kind of deep dives in how topersuade and influence people, how people think how people make decisionsabout what products to choose. Um And I...

...got kind of all of the basics of thePNG kind of sales and marketing training, which you know, they'rereally exceptional at, so that was a really fun role training PNG Salesforce,um and then eventually I moved to more of a marketing role with Procter andGamble and Jessica, you don't think you started in sales, you were more on themarketing side, but also in beauty correct? Actually, I started my careerin food, so before making the switch over to beauty, So after I v I startedat General Mills and I first started actually on snacks division, so I waslaunching new granola bars and my first launches was actually the originalfiber one bars. Um and it's just a really great experience moving frominnovation to working on a major valley and then later cheerios and Pillsburydoing traditional brand building, it was just a really great tradingenvironment, I think in an environment like that to you really are the generalmanager of your brand, you own everything. And I think from a, from anentrepreneurship perspective, you really get to kind of oversee andmanage that whole kind of hub and spoke model, So it's a really greatexperience to kind of lead into this world without. So typically a lot ofstudents learning entrepreneurship will come to me and talk about wanting toidentify the right opportunity or come up with the right idea and we push themto really to think about the problem like what's really the problem thatyou're solving and from my understanding of your story that isexactly how you came to the solution ultimately that you arrived at. So I'dlove you to spend maybe just a few minutes talking about what is theproblem that you recognized in your previous role and how how did you thinkabout the solution? The most Jarring Stat? I think thatkind of jumped out at us as the beauty industry produces 77 billion units ofplastic packaging every year. And I think Jess and I really wanted toexplore if there was a way to do beauty without single use plastic. That waskind of the starting point in terms of what the problem was. Um, and I think,you know, another that's kind of the world problem. One thing that we comeback to sometimes is there is a world problem and there's also a personalproblem as well. What's the problem for the customer? And I think the problemfor the customer that we had identified in our own lives is, you know, therewasn't any echo options that we felt were high enough performance orconvenient enough to help us make that switch to more sustainable products. Um,and we felt there was a need for something that would be, you know,close to what people were used to and their expectations for high performancebeauty product, which is what led us to create Everest. You didn't jump immediately towaterless hair care products. It was like, okay, there's this, this problemof the way that the entire industry operates today, let's start with, howdo we solve that? And your solution ultimately, from my understanding ofthe product is um, there's so much water built into the products todaythat they're requires bigger packaging and you're actually paying to shiparound larger plastic packages. So if we could just concentrate it down, makea better product and concentrated down package it up in an eco friendly way,Ultimately the solution that you arrived on for the problem. Yes,exactly, but we did explore many different alternatives before we gotthe problem and I think because we expose different turn, it allowed us tobe much more open minded, um, to then really narrow in on the idea we end uphaving, and I think if we didn't start with that problem, um, we may neverhave got the same solution because there really was a lot of trials, a lotof pivots along the way and I think just being open minded allowed us tokeep pivoting until we found something that we thought met our criteria, whichwas that performance, convenience, environmental credentials andscalability. So, um, that was all important. This is the interestingtransition from doing, having a full...

...time corporate job and jumping intoentrepreneurship sort of over time, is that I think you actually get to spendmore time sitting with the problem. There's not like, you know, um, if it's,for example, if someone just graduated and it's like there's no income, therunways running out, they don't have a support network or a partner orwhomever that they can lean on a little bit, it's like I need to have an income,this is the solution, we're sprinting. Yeah, I think it's great for thatreason of having, you know, some time to explore. I think there's otherchallenges in the sense of like you are used to having this team and you know,kind of what good looks like and then to start on your own, you know, tryingto do it all and knowing, I think when we look at some of our earlier versionsof the product and sharing them with our close network and knowing, you know,this isn't where we're going to end, but this is kind of our first startingpoint, I think that peace can be challenging, but it's all in evolutionand I think just, you know, starting from the beginning can be tricky butknowing that I think you'll get there in time was helpful because Idefinitely, I think having that corporate crew first, it definitelygave us, you know, the frameworks and the experience, I think we're able totackle the problem differently just with, you know, just very analyticalmindset, just being able to really understand the beauty industry, knowinghow it works was really helpful. Um and so I think having that experience firstbefore jumping ship was just very useful, so you're a decade plus intoyour careers hitting your stride and then decided to jump off of that pathand do something maybe crazy, may be crazy, but it seems to be working outso far. So can you talk about that decision point of like when did youdecide that this was the right opportunity for you to jump intototally? Well after P and G. I did about a decade at Loreal, so I reallylearned kind of the ropes of the beauty industry um and just can speak to herexperience at revlon and nude by nature as well. But we eventually made our wayinto beauty and I think we love that industry, you know, worked a lot ondifferent global brands for them and you know, overall had such a greatexperience and learned so much about marketing and product development, butI think, you know, a couple of years ago jess and I, you know who arelongtime friends, we're talking just about the changes that we were seeingin the industry and specifically a change and kind of the consumerawareness and demand for you know, more sustainable solutions, particularly interms of an awareness of The plastic waste crisis. I think it all startedaround 2,018 China stopped taking a lot of North America's garbage. There wasall of a sudden a lot of awareness around plastic waste and I think wereally recognized that the beauty industry was a really big contributorto this, and there was a really big problem there that needed some creativesolutions. Um and we really started with, you know, that question, which is,you know, how how could you even do a beauty company without single useplastic, what would that even look like? Because, you know, the whole model isbuilt, you know, a certain way, and I think we did try to make some changeswithin the companies we were at, and you know, it's harder for these bigcompanies to change quickly because they have kind of their establishedmodels, but we really did start to see this come back over and over again andrealized it was not necessarily a trend, but I think the way that the beautyindustry and the consumer product industry in general needed to go in thefuture, and we really wanted to be part of that solution. And so how you said you started sort ofworking on it internally, what sounded like maybe that they just weren't gonna,this change will potentially eventually happen, but just wasn't gonna happen inthe short term. And that was your frustration with it. Like why did whydid you leave ultimately, I guess is my question, the change, I think wasn'thappening fast enough for us. So I think, you know, there's a lot of greatinitiatives that these companies are doing since we've left, I think they'verolled out some wonderful ones um and...

...you know everybody's moving in theright direction. But I think you know just and I really recognize that as a,as a consumer population we need to be moving faster and we need to be makingmore dramatic changes. Yeah. And I think there's just the luxury of beingable to start on your own. We actually could build it from the ground up andallowed us to make some choices that I think are a little more difficult tomake once you're an established organization. So I said we commendpeople for obviously large organizations making small changes thatcan really add up. But I think we really just wanted to do something moretransformational um and also hopefully inspire some bigger change that we loveto see in the industry. So let's get into the details of how toquit because I've talked to some guests craig fuller who I think is a friend ofyours about how he de risked, he was at a big consulting firm and how he derisked the decision to leave. Um I think the perception is that sometimespeople, the idea strikes them in the middle of the night and they're at workthe next morning and they quit and two weeks later you know there funding thiscompany with millions of dollars and off to the races. The reality isusually much different. I'd love to know your process of like you know fromthe time that you recognized, oh this is seems to be an interestingopportunity or problem that we want to try to solve to actually leaving yourfull time job and getting the company going fill in the blanks there. For methat was a really long period of time. Like I would say probably like 18months from the problem being maybe a year from the problem being recognizedto feeling like we had something that you know, it was worth leaving ourcorporate jobs for executive rules for him walking away from salaries to buildall of that stuff. So I think, you know, we started again with this question ofhow do you do beauty without single use plastic? But we spent a long time doingexplorations of what that could look like. So we looked at a whole bunch ofdifferent business models and you know, crunched a lot of numbers on what theycould look like. Um talk to, you know friends and family for their feedback.We looked at things like retail. Hillary stores, we looked at milkmantype of models. Jamie, sorry, when did you do that? You had a full time job?So was this like evenings, weekends? Like you have to come together andbrainstorm. When did when did it happen? It was, it was always on evenings andweekends. I think it was, it was more of like a passion project at that point.I think that's you know when you need to be, you know, doing this stuff inaddition to your very demanding corporate career. And I think we reallyboth really loved our jobs and respected them and we're fullycommitted to them as well. Um so I think it has to be something that isalso an interest because you will be spending your free time exploring itand that's really, you know how it worked out for us and we, you know,we're just really curious and like how do we, you know, how do we solve thisproblem? We were hearing more and more information, not just about plasticwaste but also, you know, the health impacts of microplastics in our watersystems and you know, thinking more about, you know, the real change thatneeded to happen. So lots of exploration, lots of the ideas that weexplored and dismissed actually have come to market now, which is reallycool. I think it just shows like there's so much, there's so muchinterest in making change in these consumer industries, which is wonderful.But it took us a while before we felt like we had an idea that was really,really had legs, which is this concept of waterless, which we saw first in thehome cleaning industry. You know, there's always cool brands that werepopping up ones like Blue land and um supernatural that were built on theinside that cleaning products for your home are mostly water there in singleuse plastic bottles. So we're paying to ship plastic bottles of water aroundthe world basically. And we thought, huh, that's really interesting. We'repretty much doing the same thing in beauty as well. There has to be anapplication here. So I think once we kind of drilled into that one, wereally knew we had something different and you know, it hadn't been donebefore with this waterless Pace concept...

...and we thought we had an opportunity tobe the first, How did you know the other ones were not, I mean, I guessthey ultimately were successful for other companies, but how did you know,you work through a bunch of different potential solutions to the problem?What was your criteria or how did you know that that was not the right onefor you? Yeah, I think that's a great question and I think for a fewdifferent reasons as Jamie was saying, I think we definitely crunched somenumbers and I think on some of them, um, they were not profitable in the waythat we had modeled it now. I think there are some interesting solutionsone than being a milkman model. Um, however, you know, terrorist cyclesloop is actually doing something super cool. Um, but they've also partnered upwith some very big organizations, I think to make that, you know, modelwork and it's amazing. Um, there's been some other ones that we dismiss maybein, you know, retail in terms of scalability. Um, it also turns out withthe pandemic, that was probably a good decision and we're lucky that we'reable to kind of continue on this on pregnant journey during a pandemic. AndI think the other big one is just performance, I think, you know, comingfrom beauty, um I think we really know that as much as we want to see changewhen it comes from an environmental standpoint and a clean ingredientsstandpoint in the end, beauty is about performance, it needs to work. Um andso some of the things we tried in terms of, you know, mixing at home with water,just not having the consistency, not having the senatorial experience thatmaybe would come to expect from the product. We're also just asking peopleto do these extra steps that aren't as convenient. I think those are justreally important factors to make sure that you can have that adoption. We'relooking at. I think for us, we really were trying to find a product that yes,it was transformational and yes, there is some learning curve, but really howdo we get it as close as possible to what people are already used to. Soit's that minimal change almost like once you get used to you actually seewhat we call an echo upgrade and actually add value to your routine andsomething that's easier to adopt and become a habit. Um they're reallytrying to, you know, take them to this other place And, you know, we see oftensay that Everest is for people who want to love shampoo bars, but just can'tjust can't get on board. Um, and so this is sort of that intermediate spacethat can really, you know, you can love, you can have great hair. Um, but youalso can be doing something great for the environment. Yeah, it's interestingyou're starting to see that tipping point across a lot of these moresustainable businesses, right? Where like the early electric cars were like,well they're not, they're not actually that great looking, but I know thatit's good for the environment. So there's these early adopters who aregoing to jump on board with them. And now as there's more and more companiesthat are companies that are becoming well known to consumers, it's likeactually these cars both are good for the environment and our, I think betterproducts, it has a similar thing is happening absolutely has to be better.That was our kind of benchmark. And I think it's helpful. It's helpfulsometimes, you know, you can do it without this being the case. But for us,it's helpful when you are the customer and you're looking, you reallyunderstand the product that you're looking for and you know, we wanted theperformance, we wanted the convenience like those were, you can compromise onthose. And I think we really believe that for Echo to become mainstream,which is our mission, right? We want to make eco for everybody. It should be,it has to be at this point, Echo needs to be better than the status quo. Andthat's really our goal of Everest is delivering products that aredelightfully better than what you're currently used to using, which justhappened to be, you know, as close to zero waste as possible in what orderdid you get these things going? So there's obviously uh this is a directto consumer brand. I think there's a few things that you probably needed toreally nail to get this right? Well, we started with product and kind of backto that theme of it being an evolution and a journey. Um it took a long timebefore we got the product, right? So as just had mentioned once, we knewwaterless is what we wanted to do. We had explored a whole bunch of differentways to do it. So things like Jamie, Sorry, let's explain like, well what isthe product today? We we mentioned...

...waterless a few times. Like what isEverest. Everest is a brand new beauty company for eco optimists. And we'vejust launched with our very first patent pending products, We've launchedthe first waterless concentrated shampoo conditioner and body wash. So,traditional shampoos, body washes, Um, conditioners are like 70, 80, 90% water.So we've taken out the water, concentrated them down into 100 milaluminum tubes. So you pretty much take a tiny strip of this paste on your handin the shower, you activate it with the water in your shower that you'realready used to using and you get a beautiful sense Auriol, clean shampooconditioner or body wash experience. This is going to be different for mewhen I try it for the first time, I just placed my order because I'mprobably like most people used to like filling my whole palm with shampoo. Soif this is a concentrate you're saying, I actually use far less of the product.Yes, exactly. Use about a third of what you would normally use for shampoo, butyou get the performance in terms of lather in terms of scent as far exceeds,we would say the traditional shampoo experience. And that was actually verydifficult to achieve. To just to kind of go with a little more in thesenatorial experience. So the product is called. It's hard to clean beauty.So um it's sulfate free. So usually it's very hard to get that ladderexperience. Um you know, with a cell free food products are also plant basedvegan etcetera. Very very clean formulas and of course, uh syntheticfragrance free. So to get that scent, we use a blend of essential oils. Soagain, just really trying to be clean when we think of, you know,environmental impact, we really have three pillars that we look at. So one,you know, sometimes people think about is packaging and we can go through thatbut packaging definitely is a part in making sure we think of circularity andet cetera and having single use plastic free. But we also think aboutingredients and what goes down the drain and into our water systems. Um sowe said making sure those are plant based very clean and then we also thinkabout our business practices overall. So in terms of being a 1% for theplanet member, being climate neutral, not just in shipping but our wholesupply chain. Um so really trying to think about it from a 3 60 perspectiveand then the end really try and do the heavy lifting on RN um so that thecustomer can just enjoy, you know having great hair and just feeling goodabout that purchase. We just want to make eco easier. Yeah, that's great. Solet's, I want to come back to how did you like early testing, is this like inyour home, in your bath? Like where are you putting together these earlyconcoctions? So we knew we needed a chemist. So that was kind of the firstpartner that we needed to bring on board. So we did a lot of meetings andeventually landed on the right fit in terms of a contract manufacturer, whichis how pretty much all beauty products are made more or less um with thechemistry team in house. So we worked with them for months on differentformulas and it evolved from, you know mix at home to exploring powders, toexploring a bunch of different options to the paste concept. Um And then whenwe got the pace concept we spent many more months refining it to get theright texture to be soft enough to work with the aluminum tubes that we'reusing because we're single use plastic free to get the performance, thestability, they do all of that work in house. So um yeah that was kind of thejourney. The product piece came first to answer your question before you know,the branding came second. Um But I think really getting the product to aplace that we felt we would be happy with, which took hundreds of versions.It was very very complicated and you know first time it's been done sothere's lots of research involved. Um And then once we had that then we kindof set up the rest of the business and for those early tests um you were selffunding it or did you raise any money? Like how did you get this initial thingoff the ground? Yeah, so at that point in time we wereself funded. Um So that was, we're...

...really just more on the R. And D. Sideand the development side. Um We were lucky um in terms of, you know, we wantto talk a little bit about funding. Um We did network actually in the fall of2019. Um and this is kind of early on in our discoveries that we're workingon product development, um did not have a formal business plan at this point intime, but definitely had lots of ideas. And we actually found um some greatearly investors through york Angels group that we sort of fell into reallyclicked at sort of a christmas party and we actually pulled together ourbusiness plan to talk to them in january of 2020 and they just reallyloved where we were headed and really just believe we were onto something andhelped us raise a small seed round that you can think about the timing here.It's quite interesting because we're talking january february away Marchpandemic. So obviously that was pretty surprising. So, you know, we were luckythat we're able to keep those initial investors, we did kind of extend theround into august of 2020 just to close, but we actually oversubscribed around.So again, small round but definitely gave us some funds to be able to kindof continue on our development journey, but also to your other question aroundbrand building, really, to start developing out that brand. And thatreally was important to us. I mean, back to the thing about making Echo forthe mainstream, having a brand that's cool and inviting and just really anupgrade that was super important. So we went on a whole brand journey for bothour backgrounds are in brand building. So uh we yeah, we went through and hada great agency partner that helped us build that out. And uh yeah and for usto think the other part of the Brandon what's important as actually beinggender neutral. So we really spent a lot of time trying to make sure that itwas, you know, bright and cheerful. We called the brand for equal optimist. Wedidn't want to have the traditional kind of granola and you know the greensand the beiges and whites medicinal bloom. We really wanted to have thatoptimism comes through in the brand but do it in this gender neutral way thatreally brought everyone, you know into the fold. Um, and so that was, it was afun journey to get there. But we think we've we're proactive for now obviouslythink there's more work we can continue to do and I think now just talking toour community and learning from them is very helpful. Yeah. Such a criticalpiece in these dtC brands, right? Like the, you can't, we talk about minimumviable product which of course is important. But I think when you'relaunching, do you see The brand needs to be good? Like you need to havethought through that brand and probably made that investment in the brand fromday one. Um, so just order of operations here, recognize the problem through yourcorporate jobs, realized that the solution wasn't pending at least not inthe short term from these big companies have decided to go off and do it onyour own, experimented on your free time with different potential solutions.Love that you actually talked about or thought through the maybe not thebusiness plan, but business model early on, just like let me run some numbersdo this solution won't work even if it's the right solution and it doesn'tmake sense commercially. So that helped you cut out some of the options, um,funded it yourself for the product development and then once you had aproduct that you were comfortable with, that's when you raise the moneyactually, we had some early samples, but it wasn't our final product. So Ithink, you know, having the idea of having something to show for it even ifit's not the actual final one. Um, in our case, you know, finding those thatright fit of investor who really saw, you know, just behind the current oflike this is, this is something big here. They really believed, I think inus to and in the long term, so we actually, with that very minimal viableproduct because it wasn't even the final format. Um, they invested, Helpus bring that to life because as you said, there was quite a bit of stepsthat need to be done after that to get...

...us to market, which we actuallylaunched in February of 20, So this year. Yeah, awesome. So then then youcan, with the money that you raised in those early days then you can thinkabout scaling out the product and building out investing in building upthe brand properly, Is that right? Yeah, it helps fund like our branddevelopment, our initial inventory. Um there's a lot of, you know, doingthings um I don't think ethically unsustainably cost a lot of money. Soyou know, everything is produced locally in Canada. Our tubes aresourced from Ontario and they're aluminum tubes, so the minimum andtheir direct printed, so like minimums for those are really high and so lotsof things. Lots of reasons that we needed a little bit of initial capitalto you get started there. Yeah, makes sense. Let's talk about launch for asecond. Um you've got a ton of press from most recently uh time, one oftime's best innovations or inventions in 2021 you've been covered in vogueshadowing, Cosmo, L Men's health. How how did you get that coverage? A pr agency pr partner people alwaysask how are you doing it? And I think you know, it's a matter of knowingwhere you want to focus in the beginning. So we are, you know, I thinkthere's ways to do it on your own and just and I have that background and Ithink because the product is so innovative we could have made some goodwaves ourselves. However it was really important for us when we launched um tomake sure that, you know, we got the word out of the product as being kindof our innovation first to market, we wanted to make a big splash. So Pr wasreally our big marketing investment for launch and we still are kind of inscrappy entrepreneurial mode. We have partners that we work with that are,you know, ex colleagues from Loreal that are kind of freelance and had thenstarted their own agency. They're wonderful partners. And um there's a U.S. Partner as well. So there's actually two freelancers that we worked withthat have really kind of lead the charge on that one, but it was a big,you know, it was still an investment for us and it was a big focus for uswith our launch to make sure we, you know, created the news that Everest washere and it was the first to market concept. Yeah. And it's not there'sactually substance, it is a differentiated and better products. Sothe story, it's not a story of a Me Too product or a different same product,different packaging. I think it's a story that has legs because it actuallyyou put the time into developing something that truly is different thanwhat else is out there. You can hire the best pr agency, but if your productis boring, it won't matter. I think you really need to have a story to tell andthat was really important to us when creating the product. Yeah. So can youtalk through the some of the things that, again, that's your experiencehere and direct to consumer companies? What are the things that you did inhouse? Uh and thought, you know, we we want to own this, we want control overit. This is what we're going to spend most of our time on versus things thatyou lean on partners for not gonna say outsource because you're still involved.But things that you lean on partners for more than doing yourself. Mm hmm.Yeah, I think, you know, I would say our our model has been sort of likestart small with some like freelance partners and scale. I would say thatwe've been pretty heavily involved in each of those pieces. So like say webrought on agency to help with the brand building. We were very muchinvolved the whole way and made sure we found partners that we're good withthat and let us, you know, be part of it. Um you know, staying with, you know,there's pr friends is developing our website. Of course, we needed adeveloper to help us with the website. But myself, you know, I dug in andlearned a lot of things of how to set up a Shopify site and j needed a lot ofthe branding and make sure all it. So, I think every word of copy on everyword of copy. So I would say, like definitely, I would say is that blendedbetween being scrappy and being in everything. I also really think there'ssomething to understanding everything yourself from at least a baselineperspective before you kind of...

...outsources. So I think from us being inour corporate jobs and, you know, being marketing directors and generalmanagers, I think, you know, we got at a higher level, we had teams that weredoing thing, and the thing is taking a step back and actually rolling up yoursleeves and doing things and getting in there, it was really, really helpful,especially getting and then of course, as we scale, you can't do everything,and so finding where, you know, our strengths are, um and then findingpeople who really compliment us and I think, you know, we really lean into,you know, the gig economy and amazing freelancers who support in differentareas of the business, and then of course we're trying to grow the team aswell, so we're currently a team of five, um and we would love to continue to belike that team. Mhm. So what would you say? Uh looking back now, how far inare you working on this full time? I guess there's working on it full time,and then actually product launch. So product launched in February of 20 one,so less than a year old, but there's a bunch of homework before that, so maybeyou've been on this full time for how long now So far? 28 or 29, 2 years now,two years. So your tears in looking back on your journey now after a fewyears, what can you say are the things that maybe we're you were intimidatedby or scared of that actually ended up being not so bad. And then the thingsthat maybe you overlooked that are harder than you thought they were goingto be. I would say the biggest like this is inyour question. But the biggest surprise was Covid I think we we didn't see thatcoming and that delayed our like time to market um a lot. But I do think andit also has made everything much more complicated from a supply chain pointof view. Um you know everything in terms of getting the product and lotsof details there. But I do think there's always we try to always findsilver linings and everything. One thing that has helped us um inlaunching during the pandemic is we've had a lot of access to through P. R. Toa lot of editors and you know writers through zoom meetings that we wouldn'tnormally have been able to reach. Normally you'd have to go and do like acircuit and new york and L. A. And meet them all face to face that they hadtime to see you. But I think the fact that everybody could be reached on zoomactually worked out in our favor to get more face time with and tell our storyto more of these beauty journalist. So it's been you know there's been lots ofchallenges because of Covid and the pandemic but there's also been you knowthings that have been helpful. Um but I definitely think we'll hopefully be inthat class of like forged by fire entrepreneurs who launched mid Covidand brought a product to market. Yeah. Okay so Covid surprise made thingsharder on the supply chain side. Brand sounds like maybe reaching out orgetting in touch with some of these big press outlets with the help of a. P. R.Firm is a little bit not easier because I'm sure there's still work involvedbut that's turned out well for you, what about you, Jessica, what's what'sbeen easier than you thought or harder than you thought? I don't go easier.But I think, you know, maybe just really possibly surprising I think wasyou know, when we're going through the pandemic, you know, the question aroundsustainability being a focus focus versus you know, price sensitivitiesetcetera, you know, was not going to be here to stay and I think something thatwe saw throughout the pandemic and really strengthening after like asyou're coming coming out, we're not done but we're coming out is that youknow, people are even taking a step back and they really you know thoughtabout, you know their lifestyle changes the impact they're having on the planet,um, the climate crisis and different things are happening around the world.And I think people are actually more aware. And I think two, because duringthe pandemic habits had to change. And so I think as people change thosehabits, they're a little more open minded to try something new. So, um, Ithink obviously there's lots of challenges during that time, but justagain, seeing it as an opportunity and just seeing what people are. Yeah,they're awareness is very helpful. So you launched this Jamie in the middleof a pandemic with a few young Children...

...at home. Um, I've read recently andthere's been some commentary on, uh, some fairly well known investors in thevalley saying that they wouldn't invest in someone who was taking eitherpaternity leave or maternity leave, which I think is a challenging messageto send because that the signal is that you can't have a family and start abusiness, which, in my own experience is not true, doesn't mean that therearen't trade off so that it's not hard. But um, I think that it's, it's nottrue. I think that there is a way to make both happen. You made both happenand I just love maybe your perspective on what it was really like and maybemessage to other people who might be in that same boat. Yeah, hearing, hearingthat message that you're showing is so frustrating because I think it keeps alot of people out of this space where I think there's a need for more, you know,female founders more parents, more people to take the leap intoentrepreneurship. So I think it's really important to, you know, sharestudies and case studies of how, you know, it can be done, there's somegreat examples out there now, you know, Joanna Griffiths is one of ourinvestors, whatever, she just did a big raise right before she had twins. And Ithink having these stories out there and sharing them really helps show thatthere is, you know, so much opportunity and I won't lie, it's been verychallenging, but I think, you know, the reason that it's, it's been able towork is because of the people around us, I couldn't have done it without jeffsand I think having a wonderful team, whether you have a co founder or youhave a strong support system around you is absolutely critical to being able totackle both, because it's very challenging, but also, you know, it'sincredibly rewarding to be able to have that fulfillment on both sides of yourlife. And I think people shouldn't be discouraged from being difficult. Ithink starting a business is hard, but being a parent is also very hard, Ithink they're equally hard in their own ways and I think just making sure thatyou have that right support system in place and the right people around youis is what makes all the difference. Yeah and to the extent that you'rewilling to share what's the what's the trade off between you and your you andyour partner. I mean what's starting a business is pretty full on. Um it'shard to imagine that you know, both of you are at least in my own experienceit was hard for us both to be going full on the same time and so when wewere looking at each other with foot on the pedal, someone had to let up um Ilet up a bit uh and I'm now teaching but it's also the job that I truly feellike I wanted to do. So it wasn't really don't feel like I wassacrificing, I got to come teach and that gave me a bunch more flexibilityso I wasn't traveling as much and trying to run a company if you'rewilling to share what's behind this. Well, you know it's funny neither ofboth of us a bit have our foot on the gas, but I have a wonderful husband,he's a partner at KPMG has a very demanding job as well. Also when you'redoing when you're in the startup world, you're not really taking much of thesalary. So we really do rely on his income so he can't really stop workingor take a big step back. So that's been a hard challenge because we both haveour foot on the gas, But I'm so fortunate that you know, we reallytruly have, even though he's making the money and I'm not making the money, youknow, we have an equal partnership and he is you know incredibly involved inall of the parenting, you know, details and yeah, I'm really am really gratefulfor that. And I think you know, other things have had to, something alwayshas to give the other things you have to slip. You know, our house is a messand there's laundry everywhere and we've scaled back on, you know, a lotof free time stuff and we work on the weekends and we do shift work when thekids are at home. It's not easy. But I think we both love our jobs and arecommitted to our jobs. So you know, something always has to give somewhere.And I think just finding those places that you're willing to make acompromise for the short term in terms of doing something you love. Yeah,maybe we can, if we spend a second...

...there, let's talk about that for just areality of what it's what it's really like. I think I appreciate hearing andI think people appreciate hearing that. Yeah, you might give up your housemight not be spotless anymore. You know, you might Are from spot you might likefor doing 14 loads of laundry and grocery shopping because we don't havetime to do that during the week. So it's really, you know, it's chaotic andI think trying to carve out a little bit of time, for you know. wellness andself care to keep yourself saying is really important and so we both try tobuild, you know that in as our little bit of luxury, but um it's definitelyfull on right now, so having an awareness of kind of what you'resigning up for is important. But if you're the kind of person who getsbored easily loves to be challenged, like lots of stimulation, then I wouldthink it's a great option Jessica. What do you do to stay sane, What do I do? Imean, I think, you know, obviously during the pandemic it was a little bitdifferent, but I think just trying to get outdoors was great, you know,making sure you fit in some fitness, whether myself is biking. I justactually got a pelton so I can do that through the winter, so I'm very excited.Um I'm also, you know, I have a great partner to my husband is extremelysupportive. Um and so you know, trying to see friends do things like that andyou know, find that balance. I think it's balance is a funny word, I thinkwe're always trying to seek balance and careers and I think it's it's almostlike you're striving for perfection and it's just not always possible. I thinkI think more about like work life integration and really trying tounderstand, you know, if you love it um and really just becomes part of yourlife and having a little bit of flexibility is amazing, and then if youwork evening, so you work weekends, as Jamie was saying, that's totally fine,if you're passionate about it, but you have that flexibility, other parts ofyour life um and for me that's made a huge difference um and I'm very, it'sfulfilling, so it's great, yeah, we don't talk enough of, I think about thebehind the scenes support network that needs to be in place in order forbusinesses to happen, you know, I think having a good relationship with apartner who understands what you're signing up for and the trade offs andgrandparents, I need to give a shout out to grandparents for, you know, wemade the choice to live in the burbs close to our family and I think havinggrandparents close by, you know, we're so fortunate to have that when the kidswere in and out of school the past year, like that's been incredible, I thinkwill be forever grateful for that. So really that support network, you know,is what makes it possible to the supporting cast, Thanks to thesupporting cast of all the people who don't get the shout outs behind thescenes, supporting cast. Um last thing um what can we do to help you, you're,you've launched just this year, you've got your first uh you know, maybe fullyear of operation coming up. We've got a group of passionate people who areeither entrepreneurs or I want to be entrepreneurs one day. How can thecommunity help you? Yeah, great question. Well obviously for us rightnow, you know, we're getting the word out about Everest, so anything likethis is great and we just want to continue to spread that. I think we'realso always looking for partnerships and and like minded, um you know,people, brands etcetera to collaborate with. Um we view everybody in thisspace is, you know, partners making a difference. So um we're very open um tothat type of collaboration on Jamie, if you have anything else on that. No, ifyou are looking for a new shampoo or conditioner body wash to try theproduct, you think? I love it. It's really share your feedback. I think wewe really are working on building out our eco optimist community as we callthem, or a group of Everest. And you know, definitely try the product, giveus feedback. It's really, really helpful because what other products younext, what other eco upgrades we call it, what else are you struggling to goecho? And we're looking to find...

...innovative solutions to be able to makethose changes easier. So the feedback is extremely helpful. Awesome. Well,this is such a unique time to capture your journey. I have no doubt thatyou're on the right path and I think you're gonna have a great season hereand I'm excited to see what's to come for the company. So thanks for comingin and allowing us to capture this short little snapshot of this point inyour journey and we'll have you back on when you have your next major milestone,which I'm sure is just on the short term horizon. Awesome. Thank you somuch. Eric it's been great, thank you. Thank you. Mhm The entrepreneur podcast is sponsoredby quantum shift 2000 and eight alum, Connie clarity and closing the gaphealthcare group to ensure you never miss an episode. Subscribe to the showon your favorite podcast player or visit entrepreneurship dot u w o dot ca slash podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (43)