MEET Jennifer Bueschel: This dynamic entrepreneur is the founder of JBHomemade (https://www.etsy.com/shop/JBOrganicHairRemoval), maker and seller of organic products, namely organic sugar hair removal and sugar scrubs. When Jennifer says “organic,” she means it! Consider this. JBHomemade (http://www.pinterest.com/JBHomemade) is the only store in the Mid-Tennessee and South Kentucky areas that sells 100% organic sugar wax and sugaring hair removal. Ingredients used in JBHomemade products are grown on Jennifer’s own property or purchased from local Amish. Not only does Jennifer make and sell organic products, she is committed to living a holistic lifestyle. Read this interview to find out what inspired the launch of JBHomemade, how Jennifer markets organic products and what Jennifer did to overcome early business challenges.
WMI: What were you doing before you launched JBHomemade?
JB: I was (and am still) a returns specialist at Macy’s Logistics. I have not gotten to the point where I can quit my full-time job. Before Macy’s, I was an office manager for 14 years. I live on a homestead in Tennessee and we live as simply and naturally as possible. We only eat veggies we grow and the meat my significant other provides on his hunts. We process our own meat, use flowers and herbs for both our health and meals, believe in holistic, natural healing and we do not waste.
WMI: Please tell us about the genesis of JBHomemade. What inspired you to start the business?
JB: In this lifestyle, I learned about the ancient Egyptian method of natural hair removal by happenstance. I was sick and tired of not just shaving, but shaving and then getting out of the shower and getting the goose bumps! Men may possibly have a hard time relating, but the results of the goose bumps makes a lady’s legs feel like we didn’t shave at all. We don’t enjoy feeling stubbly right after we just shaved! (Now don’t get me wrong here. You may not be able to relate to the goose bumps, but you can use sugaring just like us ladies can. In fact, I sugar my better half’s back and his neck regularly.) Naturally, if this happens often enough, you get tired of it. Not just the act of shaving every day, but it’s really like an endless chore that no one really enjoys…much like the laundry!
I did some research, spoke to a few professional estheticians and learned through careful study about sugaring for hair removal (which gently and naturally exfoliates your skin while removing the hairs by the follicle as gently as removing a “Band-Aid™). But I also learned that sugaring is most widely used exclusively in salons and the “big” sugaring manufacturer Alexandria Professional exclusively sells only to professional estheticians. Well, let me tell you, I have some thoughts on this. Where’s the faith in the general public? Why only pros? I’m just a regular person living in a rural town and the METHOD of Egyptian sugaring for hair removal was learned the same way as you would learn, say…a new hairstyle or new exercise routine. Practice makes perfect.
WMI: Looking back, what would you have done differently to create a smoother transition into self-employment?
JB: Day by day, my business is growing, reaching more and more people both from the United States and overseas. Day by day, I share and learn more about advertising (I create all of my advertising using Adobe Photoshop…a skill I learned when I was an office manager) and growing my business.
WMI: Where in the world did you get the idea to use sugar to create hair removal and scrubs?
JB: Like I said, I was sick and tired of shaving and then getting the goose bumps! I did a lot of research (natural hair removal, organic hair removal, etc. type searches) and spoke to many estheticians, tried different brands of sugaring and was not happy with the consistency, though the results were so-so satisfactory. I decided to learn the cooking method and perfected the recipes and application through trial and error and 48 pounds of different sugar types. I purchase my sugar from the Amish in Scottsville, Kentucky in bulk. I chose, after experimentation, raw organic sugar for the sugaring paste and organic cane sugar for the sugaring gel. The results were awesome! I tweaked the recipes to the perfect consistency (using less water and more lemon juice which was suggested to me by a friend with Arabian decent who remembers her grandmother, mother and aunts using sugaring in her homeland).
WMI: What are the benefits of using organic products like sugar scrubs?
JB: There are many benefits of using sugar scrubs for exfoliation. Not just having smooth skin, but each and every ingredient I use (all organic/natural ingredients are used including the chosen sugars, carrier oils, essential oils and herbs including Lavender, Coconut, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pumpkin, Peppermint, Dry Mint, Lemon, Dried Chamomile, Dried Lavender, Dried Rosemary just to name a few) have individual benefits to your skin and health. One benefit is smooth skin; obviously, the other benefits include improvement in skin tone, acne, spots, and skin texture.
WMI: Are the sugar hair removal organic products designed for men or women? How does the product work?
JB: Anyone can use Organic Sugaring for Hair removal, including teens. Since sugaring leads to permanency of hair removal over time, teens are encouraged to start faithful sugaring as soon as they are at the point in the puberty to be concerned about hair removal. The products work by removing the hairs by the follicle naturally and with much less pain than traditional salon resin waxes. The results are petal smooth skin lasting at least two weeks depending on how fast your body regrows hair. Hair also grows back thinner, finer and less noticeable. When you remove the hairs in the same direction of hair growth, ingrown hairs and irritation are virtually eliminated. Sugaring is also eco-friendly, earth-friendly, skin friendly and easily cleaned up with warm water. All of which…are unlike resin waxes. Over time, the hair follicle will collapse, resulting in permanency.
WMI: I love your product packaging. Did you purposely decide to keep the packaging simple or was that an accidental design?
JB: Thank you! I purposely chose simple, easy to read labels. Using the mason jars worked out perfectly to hold eight ounces and the fact that you can see the dark amber color of the sugaring paste and the honey like color of the sugaring gel was an added bonus.
WMI: Who is your target audience?
JB: Since anyone can use organic sugaring, my target audience is just that! Anyone!
WMI: How has placing JBHomemade on Etsy helped you to attract new customers?
JB: Oh my gosh, I can’t even tell you how exciting it was for me the day I opened my Etsy shop! Though I do not get much traffic directly from Etsy, Pinterest has been amazing. Knowing that Etsy was created for handmade and homemade products, it was the perfect fit for my products.
WMI: Social media networks, press releases, interviews, etc. provide a myriad of marketing opportunities. Share three to four specific marketing strategies/action steps that small business owners can take to get more exposure for their products.
JB: I firmly believe in personal conversations. Not just share share share. I use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, my blog and Google+ for business to get the word out about sugaring. But let me tell you! Hair removal is not a subject most people are comfortable talking about publicly. This is why I make it easy for my potential customers to contact me in any form they choose to be able to ask questions.
WMI: To keep your business going, you have to generate cash inflow. Tell us about two to three effective cash inflow generating strategies you’ve found to be effective.
JB: Pinterest has proven to be my best friend, as is my blog. As soon as I post on my blog, I share with Google+, Pinterest and Twitter. People from the UK, Norway, Denmark, etc. and the United States have found me and I have created friendships and a customer base with salons and women/men!
WMI: What’s next for Jennifer Bueschel? Where do you see yourself and your organic products company, JBHomemade, three to five years from now?
JB: Three to five years from now, I would love to see myself in a store front, having a customer base and self employed. I have many plans and hopes. The biggest? Getting the word out about sugaring to the masses! There is no reason why sugaring has been primarily taught and sold only to salons. Regular people like you and I are more than capable of learning a new (though ancient) method of hair removal that is more beneficial to our skin and environment.