Let’s pick up where we left off with Ahlam Abbas, the creator behind Dirty Lamb. If you haven’t heard about this resilient entrepreneur, check out her previous interview with us on how she started and grew this skin-focused brand.
Hi Ahlam, we've missed you! What has been happening with yourself & your brand since we last spoke?
I am so excited to be back with Nourish Beauty Box! Since COVID-19 I really had to shift the direction of my brand since I was mainly doing retail. I started really focus on selling digitally and taking advantage of platforms like Tik-Tok and Instagram. It was nice to really connect with my audience on a more personal level during this time via instagram live.
Besides focusing on sales I took a step back to give back. My friend Lianna Fertig and I started “Free Lunch Fridays.” I came to her with the idea of giving out free lunches to school-aged kids out of her pink cupcake truck since her business slowed down due to cancellations of parties, weddings, etc.
"We picked a new location in Northeast, Ohio every week and posted our journey through social media. We were able to feed close to 1,000 kids!"
I was recently featured in a book called “Boss Ladies Of Cle” which goes in depth about my personal journey, featuring 19 other women entrepreneurs in the Cleveland area.
I have also been working on new product formulations for both Dirty Lamb and Dirty Lamb Luxe, along with working with a remote designer to modernize the logo, packaging and overall aesthetic. It is a process and it is taking longer than I expected but I know in the end it’ll be worth it. I am giving you a sneak peak at the new logo.
I feel like it represents strength, power and a stronger appeal. My goal with these improvements is to increase brand awareness and to bring the future to present day.
"The new look will give me a leg up to get into Sephora, which will help me reach a much larger consumer base that I know need these products."
You must have had some new challenges thrown in your way during this period of change. Tell us about them!
New challenges always arise as you are growing and doing something where there is not always a "yes" or "no" answer to. I think some things get a lot easier and others more difficult.
"I’ve been learning how to manage my time and skills more wisely so I was able to cut back on staffing which in turn saved money."
I give tasks or hire out when I absolutely need too. I realized that it is a necessity I do all the marketing, sales & formulations. As the CEO you can’t just sit back and expect others to care more about your business than you do.
I am able to take advantage of my brother’s manufacturing and fulfillment facility called Jet Pack based in Akron, Ohio, which has been a huge help. It gives me the space to grow and house my business. I learn a lot from working in this environment. Having my office in the same building that fulfillment and manufacturing takes place allows me to oversee quality control.
"Shipments have been slower due to the increase in online sales USPS has been experiencing. It is something that my customers understand but it has been difficult to get certain ingredients/bottles when I need them."
Right now it’s about staying ahead of inventory and ordering a lot sooner than usual so I can be prepared for orders. I have had a lot of time away from friends but it has been for the best. I put my business first and it has been the best decision I have ever made.
What realizations have you made throughout the journey of sustaining growth in your business?
I learned how important it is to maintain a friendship with my customer base. This means talking to them on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram Live, Zoom calls, and Tik-Tok. Talking to them, figuring out their skin concerns, and giving them advice that will help them is a must.
I recently added a skin care analysis on our website to recommend the best products for our customers' specific skin type. Each person that buys from Dirty Lamb is equally important to me and their satisfaction with the products and brand means everything to me. Reviews speak volume so I continue to ask for my customers' feedback on our website and social media outlets.
What has been your proudest moment to date?
My proudest moment will continue to be when Dirty Lamb heals someone of cystic or hormonal acne. It has been amazing to me to see how natural ingredients have made such an impact on my customers' confidence and everyday lives. I will continue to strive to help them as much as I can through Dirty Lamb’s natural products.