Maternity leave helped the economist Marina Kazarina start her own business - the production of medical products for skin care.
A small turnover of 1.2 million rubles a year is brought to her by a regular customer base.
Field of activity
27 000 rubles
Aromarina cosmetics creator
How it all began
If someone once told me that I would become a beautician and open a cosmetic studio, I would not believe it. There were no prerequisites for starting your own business.
Eight years ago, I worked as an economist at an emulsion plant. When I went on maternity leave, I realized that I want to devote more time to the child and I won’t go to work anymore. But it was necessary to earn, and simply did not want to become a housewife. During pregnancy, I became interested in aromatherapy and started producing home cosmetics. And I was not interested in the production of soap or bath salt - I was drawn to more complex recipes. In cosmetics, the most difficult thing is face products. To smear something on the ass is not such a big responsibility as to smear on the face.
Launch of the project
My first clients were girls with whom I worked at my previous work, and mothers with whom I walked in the park. At first I tried to expand the circle of customers with the help of advertising: I printed out catalogs and began to distribute to friends. This did not lead to anything: people did not trust me. Then I decided that there was no need to chase the client - he should come by himself. I started a blog in LJ, began to write articles about how we are fooled by marketing, told practical things, for example, how moisturizing differs from nutrition, and supplemented the articles with descriptions of my products. I was sure that clients would immediately come to me. Naturally, no one ran anywhere - I had to move myself.
Starting a business can be considered launching your site. It was impossible to place orders on the blog - they just wrote me letters of wishes and there was a lot of red tape. My husband helped me choose a platform and make an online store based on it. I found a designer and programmer, both of them were beginners. The engine cost 7,000 rubles, corporate identity development cost 3,000 rubles, store design - 2,000 rubles. The first major purchase of ingredients was approximately 15,000 rubles.
Two years later, I began to conduct master classes in cremation: I rented a room where I was doing yoga for 500 rubles per hour. Moreover, I often cheated: I agreed on an hour, but "was delayed" for two, or even three hours, until they made a remark to me. There were few people then, about 15-20 people, I took 500 rubles from each lesson.
Now I conduct seminars at home. I can’t take more than four people and therefore take more: at first the fee was 2,500 rubles, but then I compared my master classes with competitors and increased it to 3,000 rubles.
From minus to zero, I swam for three years. Then another year floundered between zero and a small plus. If it weren’t for my fanaticism, I would have left everything long ago. As a result, I managed to get a small plus after 4.5 years.
Now, with an average check of 2,100 rubles, my annual turnover is 1.2 million rubles, my profit is 65% (10% of which I give to charity). Another 10% of total revenue is income from workshops. Now I want to develop in this direction and do seminars for everyone who uses cosmetics, and not just for those who do it.
The first few years my family helped me a lot: couriers and assistants processed literally everything, including my mother-in-law and mother. Over time, I found an organic chemist, a marketer, my assistant, those who help me with the site - these are all my clients who can be paid for with cosmetics, not money, so it comes out very budget. I pay money only to the courier.
My regular customers are 650 people. These are people with problem skin who do not care about beautiful packaging, the result is important to them. For those who have skin without any problems, it is important to bring a beautiful jar to the office and show that it is Dior or Estée Lauder.
Such clients did not appear immediately: from the time I sold cosmetics through LJ, there were only a few customers left. At first there were problems with the recipe: most often I was mistaken with combination skin. She made too oily creams - customers did not like the fact that they are poorly absorbed. There were failures with preservatives - customers had allergic reactions. I returned the money, redid creams.
I am always very worried what customers will spend
too much money, I want them to buy
not a bunch of funds, but one is universal. It turned out that wrong an approach
For a long time I made custom creams to order, but recently decided that I would not accept such orders from new customers. Before, it seemed to me that everyone's skin is unique. Need your own fat content, your cream flavor and your functionality. After I learned to be a cosmetologist, I realized that I was wrong. I am always very worried that customers will spend too much money on me. I want them not to buy a bunch of money, but one universal. It turned out that this is the wrong approach. Now I have laid out my products in a line. The function of creating individual creams I left only for old customers who used it regularly, but decently raised the price to separate them from serial creams.
My clients relax in the summer. When I understood this, I decided that I would also rest: if there are no buyers, no promotions and discounts will raise sales by more than 30%. Therefore, I close for the summer, pre-packaging customers with cosmetics at a discount. Sales rise in September, peak is New Year. But March 8 is not such a holiday for me, because one of the drawbacks of my business is the specificity of cosmetics. Unlike bath bombs, you cannot buy it as a gift.
Suppliers and Production
My first supplier was Olya Andreeva. Having worked for me for a year as an assistant, she opened her own ingredients store. At first, I helped her with the business, picked up products in exchange for a discount.
I found many suppliers when I was engaged in joint purchases. All that I miss, I buy abroad. I import all essential oils from France. This is a very specific product - about 98-99% of our market are fakes. And I want to be sure that my clients will not receive any side effects. From the USA I bring different biofermented things: biofermented lemon, biofermented kelp, which is also used by La Mer. In Russia, no one wants to work in the cosmetic business with small enterprises - they want to sell containers of 10,000 pieces, which is completely unrealistic for my volumes.
With liquid assets, the same thing: they sell lots of 5 kg, which is too much. Therefore, in search of suppliers we have to google, somewhere to look for one-time purchases. For example, sometimes equipment is written off to a warehouse - you can buy cheap containers there. The last time in this way I bought glass jars for cream.
I started an additional blog in order to sell my remaining components. For example, I buy 2 kg of oils, leave myself 200-500 ml, the rest I sell. I can’t call it part of the business, as I am doing an extra charge just to pay for gas and courier services.
Text: Polina Korshunova
Photo: Alexander Karnyukhin