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AudreyPratt
Level 7

How do you find the right people to target on social media? Meet Stacia Guzzo

4 2 1360

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Stacia's handmade skincare kits might be great at soothing chapped lips, but their purpose goes well beyond the superficial. She's learned through trial and error that when her customers — who are primarily young women — use her kits, they're also gaining confidence and nourishing their passions.

We caught up with Stacia to discuss how she learned to price her products early on and why redesigning her packaging was the best decision she ever made for her business. Plus, read on to find out what she's hoping to learn next from you!

Name: Stacia Guzzo

Business: Handcrafted Honey Bee

Started: January 2014

What inspired you to start Handcrafted Honey Bee?

I started making skincare products a little over five years ago and became an entrepreneur by accident. My husband and I moved from LA to the mountains near Tehachapi to get away from city life. We bought some land and a few chickens, planted a vegetable garden and decided to take up beekeeping for fun. 

We had a very good honey harvest in that first year and ended up with a lot of excess wax we didn’t know what to do with. One of the reasons for moving to this rural town was so I could take up new hobbies, so I thought I’d learn how to make lip balm!

I researched different oils, butters and waxes and tried improve on the base recipe I’d taken from a kit. I made about 20 balms in total. Once I had something I was happy with, I gave it out to my friends to test. Everybody loved the final recipe, and soon I was selling the balms. That’s how it started!

I called my business Tehacha-Bee Farm and extended the line to include soaps and lotions. I took my products to craft shows and farmer’s markets and eventually started to offer classes on making soap and lip balms. I got great feedback from my students, most of whom would say, “I wish my friend could have done this too.” That sparked an idea. 

Knowing I’d never be able to teach everyone face-to-face, I decided to become a “teacher-in-a-box” and put together a few kits to add to my store. They soon became so popular that the demand for them overtook the pre-made stuff. So, I relaunched as Handcrafted Honey Bee.stacia_4.jpg

Who was your very first customer?

A little farm shop down the road that said they loved my balms so much they wanted to start selling them! I’m really thankful to them for making me realize my hobby could turn into a business.

When did you know your business was going to work?

I think I’ll always wonder if Handcrafted Honey Bee is going to work! But generally, it’s so fulfilling just to put myself out there. Positive feedback from customers keeps pushing me to do the best job I can.

What has been the biggest surprise so far after starting your own business?

The biggest surprise has been how much work it is! 

But it’s actually a good thing that I didn’t know this going in, in the same way I’m glad I didn’t know how hard being a parent was going to be. If I’d known, they both would have been much scarier to dive into, but they give me so much joy that ignorance really was for the best.stacia_1.jpg

How do you price your products?

 

I was very fortunate to find Lela Barker and  Lucky Break Consulting right at the start. Lela has been a wonderful mentor and Price-O-Matic, the tool she developed with her husband, helped me figure out how to value my products from day one. 

Lela encouraged me to work in a wage for myself and showed me how to use the tool to get accurate wholesale and retail prices, which means I haven’t made any costly mistakes.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I have children aged 3 and 5 and I also have fibromyalgia, so it’s tough to plan my days hour-by-hour. I know what I need to organize into my week, so I sit down with my Passion Planner every Sunday evening to work out how I’m going to split my time between Handcrafted Honey Bee and my family. 

Once it’s all in there, I set goals I’d like to hit and build in a bit of a buffer. I try to keep work to only on weekdays, and my husband and I take our kids away for a mini vacation every three months. 

He works full-time as an aerospace engineer, but it’s our dream to grow Handcrafted Honey Bee to the point where it can support our whole family.stacia_2.jpg

If you could go back in time, what’s the one thing you would do differently when starting your business?

It’s not so much what I’d change, but rather what I’d tell myself: that there’s nothing wrong with things unfolding slowly. 

My business was selected for Etsy Open Call last year and I got to pitch to major retailers like Nordstrom and The Land of Nod. I wasn’t offered any accounts, but I took away a lot from the experience. 

The judges liked the products, but told me that my packaging needed to be stronger. As a result, I reached out to a design company, Aeolidia, and did some research into who was buying my kits. 

I learned that most of my products were being bought as gifts for daughters or granddaughters, so I’ve changed the branding to suit girls aged 7-14, with more color and slightly bigger boxes. I’ve also upgraded the packaging across the line and plan to go back to the retailers I met at Open Call to show them how I’ve used their feedback to improve my product.

What would you like to learn today from a community of other small business owners and self-employed professionals?

A couple of my biggest goals for the business this year are to grow my social media followers and build my email list. 

Does anyone here have tips on how to find the right people to target for my products? I’d love to hear them!stacia_3.jpg

Let's help Stacia out!

 

Do you have tips for Stacia on how she can grow her following on social media and find new customers? Have you successfully set up a newsletter and captured new people who want to join your email list?

Share your story with us below!

2 Comments
WillowOlder
Level 5

One thing I love about this profile is the way Stacia responded to the feedback she received during her big retail pitch. I know how challenging it can be to hear criticism of your brand or product, even when it's constructive. The fact that she actively listened and has now incorporated some of that feedback into her new packaging and positioning is really impressive. And it gives her the PERFECT excuse to reach out to those retailers again! I hope we'll get an update on the next stage of Stacia's Big Adventure. :-)

Anonymous
Not applicable

Stacia! I love your story. I especially enjoy the fact that you produce aluminum free deodorant. I have been eager to transition to aluminum free products. As far as growing social media, although I do not have a large following at the moment but I have found that cool hashtags work wonders! Some of past vendors I have made purchases with ask me to send them a selfie of me and the product. They post the selfie to their social media and tag me. This often prompts the buyer to repost to their page and pushes their follows to become interested in your social media page. 

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