We spend 5 minutes with Evette Hess-Mcewan, founder of insta-famous skin care brand, esmi Skin minerals talking all things business and how she built the brand from the ground up.
It's All Her: What was life like prior to esmi?
Evette: Prior to esmi, we had already started our first-born brand baby, Poni Cosmetics. (Simultaneously being first-time parents to our daughter and wondering what we got ourselves into with this cute small little baby!)
We had Poni for around 3 years before we decided to launch the esmi brand.
We had no idea about product development or what it took to create a successful brand but Josh has always been really great with business and I have always been quite creative.
And we were both a little naïve so together it was a good match. Our goal has always been to create value for customers and to make people feel good so that was a big leader in a lot of decision making.
esmi came around as we just moved out of our home-based office (aka the business had taken over our whole house) into a factory space and we’ve had the best growing the brands since!
It's All Her: How did you put the wheels in motion to start the business?
Evette: I think a good name is always a good start. For me it feels like the brand can come to life and have its own personality (the personality being the goal of the business) once you can call it a name. It can be quite inspiring finding a name that really means something or that you resonate with. Also making sure that name is available to trademark is important before getting too attached. This can take some time but should never be rushed and will be worth it.
We had saved enough money to put a deposit on some land and build a family home, strangely the land never registered and we ended up cancelling the land purchase and put everything we had into starting the brand. We started with a clear idea of what we wanted to deliver to the customer. Creating a value
proposition of why we were creating the product, why a customer would want it, why it's going to make their life better. A bit of a blue print of where you would like to be and working backwards to how to get there is ideal. It took around 18 months from really going for the idea (that I had for years) to launching the brand and the first product.
It's All Her: What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Evette: There are hurdles every day of different size and difficulty.
An ongoing challenge is keeping the growth to new product and brand releases ratio intact, being able to keep stock on the shelf that people want as well as launching new ranges. In the beginning I wanted to do everything at once but luckily, I had this super logical right-hand man bringing my wildly creative thinking
back to earth with perfect logic which leads me to patience I feel like being patient has meant that we were able to build a much more robust business and team.
And it’s easy to get quite serious about what you are trying to do so it’s important for me and the team to keep perspective. It is only skincare and makeup. We (although we would like to think) aren’t saving lives.
Our brand philosophy is be kind to your skin, yourself and each other and we have to live and breathe this philosophy. Making sure that we are always having fun!
It's All Her: Summer is fast approaching, which products are our MUST HAVES for the warmer months?
Evette: Sunscreen is a must and since we will all be swimming at some stage it’s all about the Hydration! The blue range from esmi is all about Hyaluronic Acid and hydrating ingredients.
You may also love the green range for days where you need to cool and calm the skin, perhaps post sun or extra warm days.
It's All Her: The brand has a cult following on Instagram, how have you built such a loyal audience?!
Evette: We love our esmi community. For us exceptional customer care is everything (we literally have this as a neon sign in our offices) not only when someone has purchased something from us but just in the time they choose to spend with us be it via socials or purchasing our product. Making sure we are giving a true value-exchange. We take it quite seriously that at the end of the week or month, when all the bills are paid our customers choose to spend their money buying our skincare. Ultimately exchanging a few hours of their life for our product. As you can tell, it is not something that is taken lightly.
Each customer and every follower we appreciate and hope we can add value to their skin journey! They are all like pieces of gold to us.
It's All Her: What's next for esmi Skin Minerals?
Evette: We have some HUGE plans for early 2022. Launching into a new category which is beyond exciting for us. You might have to have me back to talk all things!