photos by Melissa Goodwin
Today’s Biz Ladies Profile comes to us from Dominique Caron of Caru Skincare Co. After working endless hours at a job she wasn’t passionate about, Dominique finally decided to follow her skincare obsession into a business reality. Today she is focused on producing her small-batch, organic products full-time and living the lifestyle she so desired. Thank you, Dominique, for sharing a bit about your career journey with us today! —Stephanie
Read the full interview after the jump…
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I decided to start my own business because I didn’t like the lifestyle that my present job allowed me to have. I worked in film and television as a lighting technician. The hours were very long and the work was mindless and unsatisfying. My job also made it really difficulty to be healthy. Although I really loved my coworkers and some days my job, I wanted to create something that I could be proud of and would be stimulating. I was also looking for more freedom and flexibilty to lead a healthy lifestyle.
When you first decided to start your own business, how did you define what your business would be?
I decided to create a skincare line because at that point in my life I was obsessed with creating new products. I literally came home every night and spent the precious few hours I had off making soap and working with herbs and essential oils to create new products. I spent weekends studying and taking classes. Sharing my creations really made me happy and I got wonderful feedback, so I thought I would try and make a living sharing my skincare products.
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
Some of the best practical advise I have gotten has been from friends with accounting experience. Understanding how to organize the business properly is imperative. But the most precious advice has been people simply encouraging me to keep going when I felt the business was not going to succeed. Many times I went weeks without sales and felt like I should just give up. Friends and family kept encouraging me because they believed in what I was doing and that helped to keep me going.
What was the most difficult part of starting your business?
The most difficult part of starting my business was the vast amount of new skills I had to learn. This was also the most fun! Between legal and accounting skills, learning how to import and store raw materials, to designing the eco-friendly packaging, everything has been a learning curve. I couldn’t have achieved what I have without help from so many people, especially Laura Shim my graphic designer. She has been really inspirational and has helped me create the labels which have been so vital to my brand. I also have to thank my photographer Melissa Goodwin and my fiance. Without their help it would have been impossible to start my business.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
Just do it. You will make mistakes, but you will learn so much more from making them then sitting around thinking about what you could be doing. Having said this, don’t be reckless! Try to plan as well as you can, but accept that you will probably make mistakes. Don’t be held back by what you don’t know. Go out and learn what you need to know or find partners that will compliment your skill set.
Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences?
Coordinating the importing of raw materials from around the world has been challenging. I try to source as much as I can from the USA, but many ingredients simply don’t grow on US soil. Because my ingredients are 100% natural, they all have a relatively short shelf life. I once ordered an ingredient at the wrong time of year not realizing it was out of season. The product I received had already been on the shelf for a while and was unsusable to me. I learned a valuable (and expensive) leason. Now I’m much more familiar with my ingredient’s growing seasons and I will never make that mistake again!
Can you name your greatest success in your business experiences?
Success is subjective, but I consider my greatest success to be when customers email me or post online about how much they love my skincare products. It makes me really happy to hear their stories.
What business books/resources (if any) would you recommend to someone starting a creative business of their own?
This book is more about soul searching than technical, but “How to Find Fulfilling Work” by Roman Krznaric helped me decide what kind of business I wanted to run. “Creative Inc.” was also inspirational and gave me a sense of what working for myself could be like. For more technical and useful information, I can recommend “Start your own Business” by Entrepreneur Media Inc. It’s a good first book that will give you an overview of all the different aspects you will need to consider before starting your business. It has basic information about everything from chosing a business structure to online marketing. I also recommend taking business classes at your local college or university. They are extremely helpful when you are just starting out!
In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?
First, make sure you really want to start a business. I can see how it might seem romantic to own your own business making something you love, but it can be stressful and hard work. Try to envision what your ideal lifestyle would be like and then try to see if your business plan would help you achieve that.
Second, figure out if it is a business that you can start part-time while still working your day job or if you will need to quit your day job immediately. Either way, make sure you have enough savings/capital to invest in the business and support yourself for one year.
Third, (this applies mainly to crafters) remember that whatever you do for work will become work. Are you really willing to turn your favorite hobby into a job?