When Alana Rivera began making skincare products in her small city-centre flat, she never dreamed she’d one day quit her job to create Earl Grey soaps and poppy seed body scrubs. Four years after launching Etta + Billie, however, Alana was ready to turn her side-passion into a full-time career.
What’s the story behind your business?
In 2009, I was a full-time recruiter at a solicitor’s office making body skincare products on the side. I didn't go to school for business, and I don't have a chemistry degree. Essentially, I taught myself everything by reading books, taking a few courses and going to conferences.
I left my full-time job at the end of 2013 and moved into a workshop where we manufacture all our small-batch, farm-to-bottle products: processed bar soap, lotions, body scrubs, skin balms, body oils and room sprays. We make every single Etta + Billie product in our workshop. I think that’s pretty incredible
I find inspiration for the line in my favourite foods and drinks, and I convert those ideas into usable products. Everything we make reminds me of something else in my life that I love, like soap that smells like a citrus poppy seed.
Where does the name Etta + Billie come from?
I named my business after my two incredible grandmothers who were both really smart and driven. They taught me about being adventurous and following your passion. Now I feel like I still have Etta and Billie with me every single day.
How did your business become a success?
Before I left my full-time job, Etta + Billie began to gain traction through wholesale. Our products were part of a special partnership between a small-business conglomerate and a large retailer.
Those opportunities brought in our biggest orders to date, which pushed me to figure out how to increase our production. I learned how to pack and ship hundreds of bars of soap. That’s when I realised the only way to know if my business was viable was working full-time at Etta + Billie.
Today, about 65% of our business is wholesale, mostly through privately owned boutiques and spas.
What do you hope to gain from QuickBooks Connect?
I’m looking forward to connecting with a broader group of people outside of my local community. I love talking with others who work for themselves about the challenges and the wins of owning your own business.
I'm also excited about the educational opportunity. When it comes to the business side of Etta + Billie, I’m self-taught. I want to learn how to push my company forward and grow as an individual business owner.
Any advice for small business owners just starting out?
Connect with your local business community. I belong to local and national business groups, and I’ve learned so much from them. The right group can really push you forward and help with support and resources. I think being engaged in a small business community speeds up the whole learning process.
What are you most proud of?
I’m really, really proud to be able to take on employees (one full-time, two part-time). It's an incredible feeling to have a team supporting me and my business. I'm also very lucky to have friends who occasionally like to help package product.
Ready to be a part of an Online Business Community to get virtual help and support from other small business owners? Click HERE to sign up!
Hope you're well and you're having a great week so far! Time seems to vanish sometimes and before you know it, it's the weekend
I have tagged you in this article because I think it might be useful for you to read through other peoples stories and see how they made the transition from one job to another. Do you have a side passion alongside your day job?
How One Woman Turned Her Side-Passion Into a Full-Time Career
Well done you!
As a country we still seem to turn our noses up at people going self employed, this ought to be taught in schools as an aspriration of everyone. It is such a great way to make full use of all our potential.