Making a Cream Cleanser + How One Founder Made & Lost a 25,000 Piece Order
Peony Cosmetics was featured in a previous Behind The Scenes article, speaking about why it was important for them to make the difficult decision to shift their manufacturing to Europe. A lot has changed over almost a year, but their commitment to product integrity and a strong brand remains unwavered. With their recently revamped Instagram feed, we speak with founder Corey & gathered some insider on how they managed to grow a self-funded company, as well as sneak peeks into the actual making of her Blackcurrant Glow Cream Cleanser.
OK, let’s talk about the Blackcurrant Cleanser first. If you had to sum this product up in one word, what would it be?
It would be : Exceptional! I’ve been through many cleansers in my life and while they may have removed grime and some makeup, my sensitive skin couldn’t take the daily exposure to harsh ingredients, SLS or mineral oil.
“It was important for me to formulate a soap-free cleanser that would not only exfoliate, but melt away waterproof makeup AND be gentle enough to be used on a daily basis.”
Blackcurrant Glow Cream Cleanser, made with a host of skin-loving botanicals such as Soybean, Linseed, Blackcurrant, Apricot, Grape Seed & Sunflower oils, is the result of this.
What skin type this cleanser is best suited for?
I always design products with sensitive skins in mind as this is what I have, going through severe eczema as a child and later on rosacea as a teen. I know how difficult it is to find something for skins that break out easily.
Blackcurrant Glow Cream Cleanser is made with 5 plant-based oils, 4 fruit & flower extracts, vitamin E and black clay powder, a very gentle exfoliator that also helps to control oily skins.
I used Aloe Vera juice, Lettuce, Linden Flower, Cucumber and Sage extracts to deliver vitamins to deep tissue and help create a protective barrier against environmental stressors. I’m sure your subscribers will love it! Since this is a natural formula, don’t forget to shake it well before using.
Is the new brand direction the result of changes in your life?
I wouldn’t call this a “new direction”, it’s more like a natural progression, an evolution if you like. Peony Cosmetics has always been about flower-powered, gentle but effective makeup. We added our skincare and body care line a couple of years ago.
As a self-funded company and a founder that wears many hats (I formulate, do the customer service, pitch to wholesalers & design the packaging), it was extremely difficult to grow the company as quickly as I wanted to.
“I was being pulled in all directions and making bad decisions all for the sake of ensuring the company had funds to sustain itself.”
At one point, I told myself to stop, take a breather, re-evaluate what I wanted from the brand, why I started it in the first place and what my purpose was in bringing yet another cosmetics line into existence. I think many founders lose their sense of purpose after a while and it’s important to go back to basics and remember the Why’s.
You talk about the challenges of a self-funded company. Have you experienced anything recently that taught you a great lesson on running one?
Recently I had an order for 25,000 pieces which I thought was a godsend. In order to get it done, I had to max out my family’s credit cards and borrow from other members of my family and friends.
“It turns out just as we were supposed to deliver these 25,000 pieces, the customer shuttered and everything that I’d put in now was on hold. I was stuck with a huge debt and an inventory that I had no idea how I was going to store, much less sell!”
Life comes with challenges and it’s during these times that you are forced to roll up your sleeves and dig your heels in. I ran around doing road shows, sales exhibitions, seeding as many products out to influencers who then talked about it, increasing my website retail turnover and somehow managed to salvage the production cost. But the emotional cost was great! It was during this time that I took a break & meditated on my next steps for Peony, and that was how the revamp came about.
What are the plans for the future? Are there “doors” opening for your brand?
I see great potential, yes. But generally, if you are doing something great and staying consistent with regards to your commitment to quality, people start to recognize your expertise. I plan on branching out to retail stores next year but nothing is set in stone yet. I’ll be sure to let you guys know if that happens as you have been a huge part of my brand’s success!