We caught up with Bunch Skincare founder Gosia Suchojad, to find out how the business.connected workshops and advisers have made a difference to her beauty start-up.
Gosia, can you start by telling us a bit about your business and how it came about?
“I started the business last year when I went part-time and had more time. I looked into the organic and natural skincare market and found that a lot of the products for over 35s are very serious and over packaged. I wanted to develop something simple and high quality; to make products that are more colourful and fun.
“Sustainability is also important, so we focus on reducing the packaging and ingredients while keeping the quality high.”
How did you come across business.connected?
“I joined Enterprise Nation a year ago and have found the platform really good. I’ve already done some helpful training, downloaded PDFs and discovered books by being a member, then I came across business.connected in the newsletter.
“I looked at the programme and found lots of relevant topics, like SEO and online security. My website and online presence are both aspects that I need to work harder on, so I decided to sign up to some workshops to get tips on what I could do myself.”
What attracted you to the specific workshops you chose?
“When I started out, I built my own website and tried to sell from it, but it was difficult to get sales. My first sale was actually on Instagram to someone who lived locally to me.
“Since then, the website has had a few iterations. I’ve done it on a Wix template, so I didn’t need to know how to code. There’s a certain layout that works for most product-based businesses, but I’ve changed colours, photos and layouts so many times.
“The workshop about branding and consistency really helped with this and opened my mind to what branding is. It taught me that you need to start with who you’re selling to, not how the product is going to look.
“It’s easy to get someone to do the packaging, but if you don’t get everything right then it’s hard for people to know what the product is. If you make that mistake, you go out there and you don’t have anyone to sell it to.”
Is there any practical advice from the courses that you have been applying?
“I went on the SEO course because I wanted to get tips on things I can do myself. There are a lot of SEO experts online and they just want you to sign up to their services. But I don’t have much of a budget, so I wanted to learn some quick fixes that I can do myself.
“We looked at issues like whether the website is too slow, writing more blog content and how to describe the photos on your website correctly.
“I’ve already changed my photos and added photo names, descriptions and tags. As soon as I completed the session I knew that I had to do those things.
“The blogging course that I did was amazing because the trainer got us to write some blog content and gave us feedback. He was really enthusiastic and had concrete tips, which gave me the confidence to start writing straight away and to keep going with more content.
“I like to learn online and be fluid, so the quick style of the business.connected courses have been perfect for me.”
Have you done any other training to help you start the business?
“I originally trained as a pharmacist. My idea was to combine my professional experience with outside knowledge, so I did some online courses to learn about skincare formulation.
“The first course was a diploma in natural skincare at the School of Natural Skincare a few years ago, where I learned to design formulations. The second was the Formula Botanica diploma in organic haircare formulation – I started it last year and have nearly finished.
“The way I like to approach things is to have some formal background and technical knowledge, so these courses have helped to give me a formal structure.”
What other approaches are you taking to help you develop and improve the business?
“Customer feedback is really important to help me develop the product range. When I sell online, I send a follow-up email asking for feedback. And when I see people face to face, even if they don’t buy, I ask them questions like why they’re not ready to buy or what they think of the packaging.
“For example, people have asked about hair oils when I’ve been selling at the market. I know that if they’re looking for them, they might be a good addition to our product range. I definitely want to introduce more haircare products going forward.
“You can get feedback from all kinds of places, not just customers. Asking friends is tricky as people close to you tend to be nice, so you have to be open minded and see different avenues.”
Enterprise Nation is partnering with Vodafone Business to equip 150,000 small and medium-sized businesses with the digital skills they need to take their operations to the next level.
The free training programme – delivered exclusively online, and consisting of workshops, webinars and e-learning modules – will empower businesses to kickstart digital change, adopt new technology, and stay safe online.