Diana, founder and CEO of MilkMade Ice Cream
Jessica, founder and CEO of Modern Citizen
Kerry, founder of Skin & Tonics
I’m a user experience researcher and designer by trade. I also happen to really love skin care, and built a hobby around it in the form of Skin & Tonics, a skin care blog that has grown into a fulfilling part-time business endeavor and allowed me to connect with other ingredient-obsessed science lovers around the world.
I’m also currently juggling a full time job and working with a partner to launch a new business venture. I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I am constantly looking for new ways to use my skills to help people.
Tell me about how Skin & Tonics got started!
I used to text my lifelong friend, Erin, every time I read about or tried some new skin care product. Erin suggested I start a blog about all my finds – so I did exactly that. I started out just writing it for her and a couple of other friends – I never dreamed it would take off the way it did!
You constantly share your wisdom in skincare, but do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Know your core mission
When I start any new endeavor, I’ve found that it’s much easier to grow organically and stay on track if I have a solid understanding of what I’m truly trying to achieve at the outset.
When Skin & Tonics first began, I mistakenly thought my core mission was to write a beauty blog. The flaw in that thinking is that maintaning a blog isn’t mission – it’s an activity. My mission, as it turns out, was to get other people excited about skin care and the science behind it, empower them to make educated purchases, and inspire people to do their own research. Once I had a clear understanding of my mission, my readership grew exponentially.
The same is true for all of my projects – when I understand my mission, success follows, and I’m able to avoid distractions that would cause me to stray from my primary objectives.
Don’t force anything that doesn’t feel right
Trying to force an idea, partnership, or project that doesn’t quite fit with what you’re doing is an easy mistake to make, and if you’re not careful, it can lead you astray from your core mission.
In blogging, I often see this manifesting as a partner or sponsorship that isn’t the right fit. It can be hard to say no to a sponsorship opportunity – this is especially true for new bloggers because it can feel legitimizing when a brand wants to work with you. The acknowledgement can make it difficult to approach these offers objectively.
I learned very early on that working with a brand, product, or strategy that didn’t quite match up with my core mission not only made blogging more difficult – it also took the joy out of it. I’m now very selective about whom I will work with, and how I will work with them. I look for creative ways to join forces with brands - I specifically seek out avenues that aren’t focused on selling products, but instead truly provide educational value for my readers.
Be brave enough to step outside of your comfort zone
We never grow if we don’t take chances. If there’s something you want to do but it seems bigger than you, don’t let that intimidation get the best of you. If it fits with your core mission and it’s something you really want, you will grow into it, and eventually, you will even grow past it. Suddenly you’re achieving things you had no idea you were capable of. No one has ever obtained success by chickening out.
What would you say is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has always been time. There’s not enough of it. There is so much I want to do, and not enough hours in the day. I’m constantly reprioritizing my goals, learning better approaches to manage what time I do have, and looking for ways to spend less time meeting obligations and more time doing what I truly care about. It’s a continuing struggle.
It's really impressive that despite coming from corporate backgrounds, you were able to design your own lingerie! Do you have any advice for those aspiring entrepreneurs that want to change careers?