As many of you know, our handmade olive oil soaps are super popular. Over the years, many stores and customers have fallen in love with our soaps. One piece of feedback we received from a small minority of customers is that they would like for our soaps to be fully wrapped, instead of just in a sleeve. Well, we took that feedback to heart. But sometimes, making changes for a small number of people, can require a significant investment of time, research and money, especially when you’re, like us, and trying to grow your hair care business.
Well recently, one of my team members felt strongly that if we wanted to grow the business and get to the next level, we would need to come up with a better and more durable way to wrap our soaps, while still keeping our cost in line with where they needed to be.
Note, this is not something I supported initially. One of my greatest strengths as a CEO is my focus. One of my greatest weaknesses as a CEO is my focus. Yes, our shea butter and soaps are great, but when my team wants to invest time and money into making them even better, I often try to redirect them back to our hair care line. Somedays, I feel like I don’t want to be one of those KFC Taco Bells so I generally focus on just 3-4 things, and obsess over them to no end. As a result, we at tgin tend to pour all of our energy into making our hair care line great, which sometimes does not leave a lot of time and money for product development and packaging improvements for other aspects of the business. Slowly that’s changing, but it also requires me to be less of a control freak and to delegate more, because I can’t focus on every single process improvement and detail the way I did when the company first started.
This whole soap box situation showed me exactly that. Sometimes, as a CEO, I don’t move forward with really good ideas that come from my team, which can bring significant improvements, because I often end up being the one to execute on them. But, I’m starting to realize that my team is more than capable, and that if I just get out of there way, and give them a little bit of rope to try new things, we would all be better off for it. Well, this soap packaging experience showed me they were right, and that sometimes as a business owner, you have to let your team go left even when you feel like going right.
So this was a test. As a team, we spent countless hours researching boxes, papers, weights and designs, and we settled on a box. In the process, we fell in love with a lot of different designs, but each had their challenges, which we met and discussed. In the end, we decided to go with a box. It’s clean. It’s ready to go. It’s durable.
After settling on a vendor, we had to focus on actually designing the box and going back and forth with our printer to create a sample. As part of the process, you literally have to measure everything and make sure it’s perfect. It also has to be cost effective, which means you have to order like 5,000 boxes. But we did it. Now, they are here, and they are gorgeous. We still need to make some minor tweaks structurally, but the credit for this idea goes to my team,
All I can do is sit back on this one and say great idea. My Assistant Operations manager has also informed me that we will be rolling the boxes out over the entire soap line by January 15, 2014, and to that, all I can say is Yes, Maam! I’m excited for 2015. I feel like it’s going to be an awesome year. We’ve got some super talented hardworking people on deck, who look at the big companies who have been doing this for years, and say, we can do this. It’s crazy because we’re learning everything along the way as we go! It just requires a ton of research and hustle, but each of us has it in us.
So what do you think of our new design?
Chris-Tia Donaldson is the owner of Thank God It’s Natural and the author of the best-selling book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair. You can follow her on Instagram @tginatural or on Facebook @thankgodimnatural. Tune in every Monday for the Target update until we launch nationwide in stores on March X, 2014.