I started Geisha Ink 11 years ago and when I did, we did not have to advertise. It was completely through word of mouth. The first store that carried my product ‘The Geisha Liner’, was BeautyMark in Yaletown. The owner Marc and his team were in love with the liner and one thing lead to another. They shared my “baby” with top editors across Canada. We were getting featured in leading publications such as Flare, Fashion, Elle, and more.
Prior to starting my own brand, I was a makeup trainer as well as Canadian distributor to many cosmetics brands. I already had very solid relationships with the best Canadian indie beauty boutiques such as Kiss and Makeup, Beauty Bar and Lux Beauty Boutique. When I pitched a product to them, they knew it would become their next top sellers and without any hesitation they asked, “How soon can you get this to my store?”
Not long after, I introduced The Ultra Volume Mascara to the world and this product too became a best seller in many spas, salons and indie boutique. The must-have Liquid Brow Liner was born next and for those who are using it, you how this amazing product has changed the brow game forever.
Then, to my surprise came an interview with Jena Malone from The Hunger Games in 2013. My friend Serene texted me and said, “Did you see your feature on Vogue from the Jena Malone’s interview?”. I had no idea and I was in heaven. It was an amazing feeling.
I owe a lot of my success to small business owners. They have supported me and helped me grow my brand to where it is now. We are sold in 80 plus and growing locations across Canada and the US. What I have been noticing is that the big box makeup stores has been affecting the business of smaller, independent ones and I hope this blog will help raise awareness as to where you choose to buy your makeup matters.
It takes a lot of courage to be an entrepreneur. To operate a boutique, spa or salon requires huge overhead and rent is a big chunk of it. There is so much competition nowadays and an independent store with limited budget and manpower cannot compete head on with big box cosmetics store. When you choose to make a purchase at a local shop, you are contributing to the local economy and also at the same time supporting the life and work of an individual and probably their family.
There is so much a small business feels obliged to do and one of them is to participate in social media marketing. It is not only costly but it takes so much time and it is impossible to do without a team. Then, there is Google Ads, which feels a bit like the Monsanto of internet marketing. I am not sure how to relate their power. If you don’t advertise, you get lost but if you do you end up pumping in more and more budget.
Did you know, if you click on a link that says ‘Ad’ in green under the website domain’s you ended up costing the business a fee? That fee could run anyway from $1.50 - $25 plus per click. It is very important to be mindful before clicking on an ‘ad’ as it affects the business’ profit margin.
I hope more people will revert back to shopping at local businesses in order to support these hardworking individuals who are pursuing their dream of operating their own business and supporting their family. Your purchase can change their life and allows these businesses to hire more young local talent.
For this holiday, I hope you will consider purchasing your gifts at a local indie boutique. I can’t vouch for every indie boutique out there but I know my clients and friends who operate their own businesses. They work very hard to curate the best brands with the cleanest and more ethical product so that your best interest is always at heart.