Women In Wellness: “Stick with what you know” with Roberta Perry and Chaya Weiner
Stick with what you know! Just when I think I understand how social media works it goes and changes. Algorithm changes and FB changes and so much more. When I first started, I was trying to be active on all social platforms, figuring that if it existed, I should be seen there. As time and frustration went on, I realized that being active on just the social media places my customers were using was enough. I also hired a professional for my Instagram account.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Roberta Perry of ScrubzBody Skin Care Products. It was 2005. Roberta’s skin was dry, itchy and irritated. She was so busy working and being mom that she forgot to care for herself and her skin. She discovered scrub products but nothing totally satisfied her, so she made her own. Roberta’s late sister, Michelle, joined in and ScrubzBody Skin Care Products was started in June of 2006. ScrubzBody sells skincare, made by hand with natural ingredients, but what they really offer customers is permission to pamper themselves. They host Make Your Own Scrub parties for kids and adults. They sell retail, private label and wholesale. ScrubzBody was the highlight business on the Season One finale of Sell it Like Serhant on Bravo TV and Roberta has been a segment guest twice on the Dr. Oz Show. Needing exposure for her business, but on a really tight budget, Roberta turned to Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and started pitching to writers and reporters. Since 2010 she and ScrubzBody have been published and quoted in over 120 skin care and business articles as well as blogs and beauty outlets, which prompted her to write, “The Power of Free Publicity, Using HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to Build Relationships and Get Press Without a PR Firm.” which was published in August 2016.
Thank you for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
My background in the skin care business was as a consumer. My skin was horribly irritated and dry. I discovered products that exfoliate but I was not happy with what I was finding in the stores. I created a scrub out of my own needs, based on what I was purchasing, and it was my late sister, Michelle Tucker, who suggested I start selling it. I had no intention of starting a business, but I decided to at least sell a few jars to humor her and see how it went. Because I had originally just made it for myself, I had just mixed certain oils I had heard about together and I liked the way it made my skin feel. However, when I decided to sell the scrub, I knew I needed to learn what was in there and why. I did hours and hours of research on botanical oils and the benefits they have. Afterwards I was humbled at the fact that my scrub contained a really well balanced blending of the right nutrients and essential fatty acids that are so incredible for skin.
Can you share an interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I had a previous business with 2 partners that failed miserably, but that business gave me a chance to understand better what not to do as much as what to do when I started ScrubzBody. One of those things was charitable giving. I believe that giving back should be part of the original business model.
With that in mind, we created a donation scent of our scrub that gave back to breast cancer research. The story of the scrub and the charity was then picked up by a local newspaper. That led to a phone call from the buyer of a chain of stores on Long Island, NY, because she had read about us in that article. After months of selling to that chain, the manager of one of the stores, who used to work at Whole Foods, suggested I call his friend there and he would vouch for me. At our peak of wholesale (we have since changed to a retail model) I was selling to those original 4 stores as well as 24 Whole Foods in the North East Region of the US. It all started with our “Breast of Everything” scent of scrub and giving back.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake was not so funny at the time, but looking back I realize how naïve I was and how badly I just wanted to get going with sales of our scrub. I have a background in graphic design and spent many years designing book jackets, logos, brochures, newsletters and things like that. When I decided to sell the scrub we needed a name and my late sister called one day announcing that it had to be called Scrubz cause that’s what it did! I sat down at my computer and within an hour had designed a label and sent it to the printer. I barely showed the design to my sister or got anyone else’s opinion for that matter. I was literally my own worst client! When the box of labels arrived I was so excited that I ripped it right open. What I saw was a label design that was so over done and busy I almost cried. Plus, because of budget, we had only printed the one type of label but printed thousands of them to get a deep discount. We were going to handwrite the scent directly on the jar. Homey right? Ugh. Because I had spent so much money on the labels, I used them, cringing the whole time and chastising my graphic designer self. I rebranded as soon as possible and love our clean look.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
We recently launched our Scrubblez Soapy Scrub, the first new product in a few years, so I am highlighting that often. It’s for when you need a soap, but want a scrub! We are thrilled at how it’s taking off. We have our Buy One Get One Sale every November, which is the Friday before Thanksgiving, so we ramp up production in September and keep going.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My late sister was the catalyst for our parties and for all the creative retail items we ever made. As a business, however, Wendy Rubin, my best friend since 1977 and my production manager, has been there since the beginning and filled in the pieces after Michelle passed. She keeps things moving product wise, as well as store wise when I am not there. She is my ear when I need to vent or share ideas. She is my voice when I can’t be in the store. I would not have half of the business that has been grown without her. She even set up my new store with our contractors, after the permits were issued, while I was vacationing in Australia! That is love and dedication!
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
- I became a juicer in August of 2016 and find that the nutrition I get from 1–2 juices a day gives me energy and focus.
- I started exercising in my late 30’s and only wish I had started earlier. I’m far from an athlete, but I love how exercise makes me feel about myself, let alone the impact it has on my health, so I do something at least 3–4x a week.
- Travel. It has given me perspective and worldly insight. It has awed, inspired and humbled me, let alone it has challenged me to do things I never would have done and this translates into all areas of my life.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
I have so many books that I love it’s hard to pick one, but for business I lean toward The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John D. Mann. It is a story about the power of giving. I love the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success included within the story as well.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Well, I talk about exfoliation all the time, so it would start with that, but the underlying conversation really is about permission to pamper. So that would be my movement. I would shout from the rooftops that people should not only enjoy taking care of themselves for pampering sake, but for mental and physical wellness sake, as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe I make people feel good about themselves. I always look for the positive and find a compliment. This brings joy and smiles to all my customers. We donate regularly to 6 local charities, throough our Scents that Donate program. We give back 50% of the net retail price with every sale of those 6 scents.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1) I wish I had figured out my perfect customer before I start selling — I was selling to everyone, not one specific person. This was my mistake. I had never really figured out the “one” customer I needed to speak to and market to. The one avatar who would make me hone my niche and really speak to the right audience. As soon as I did this, my sales went up, not down!
2) Take advice wherever it comes from, even teenage nephews! Aka… incorporate my logo in all my additional products — My 16 year old nephew was visiting one day and was wanting to see our new shop. We had expanded our line of products and I was excited to show it off. Andrew was taking a marketing class at the time and so he was very observant and very curious. After looking at our “Handz” and “Facez” and other product labels, he looks me straight in the eye and says, “Why isn’t your company logo on every label? He said it looked like I was carrying a variety of brands, not a variety of products by one brand. I was floored, embarrassed and ready to make a change. As soon as my labels went back to print, they had a new look and a logo on every label. Thank you Andrew!
3) Stick with what you know! Just when I think I understand how social media works it goes and changes. Algorithm changes and FB changes and so much more. When I first started, I was trying to be active on all social platforms, figuring that if it existed, I should be seen there. As time and frustration went on, I realized that being active on just the social media places my customers were using was enough. I also hired a professional for my Instagram account.
4) Don’t buy too much of a particular scent until we are sure it’s a best seller. — Jade Fragrance stares at me from the top shelf of the production room, years after I used it for one scent I was creating. I had purchased a small bottle and made a few jars for sale, touting it as something totally different than we ever had before. It sold out. I got so excited, that before I had even used up the original bottle I had, I ordered a jug of it. Needless to say the initial buzz died down for the scent and the sales were not worth bringing the scent in full time. We killed it. So because of that, I am stuck years later with the remnants of that bad decision.
5) Sometimes the customer is wrong. What I did about it. — We love being involved in the community so we host classes and lectures, etc. One day, as we were hosting a class, a participant and her entire family came in an hour early. I told her that we would not be starting anytime soon and she said, no worries, we will just sit here. She then made phone calls and was in the way when a customers walked in. I was floored and wanted to say something, however my manager made me decide not to, remembering that being nice was a choice, even if customers were not doing the same. Well, the following week when the next class was given, the same family came in. This time, they were right on schedule, super polite and super nice. We realized that the week before something out of the ordinary must have been going on and we were happy that we offered up the best of customer service while they were stepping over the line the week before.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
Life is not about what you get but how you make others feel. Or in simpler terms… Be a nice person. Compliment others and make sure they leave you feeling better about themselves then when they started.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to meet Marie Forleo. Her business and life advice amaze and astound me and I love how she delivers her message.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
We are /scrubzbody on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. We are @scrubzbody on Twitter.
Thank you for all of these great insights!