Small Business Interview: Jacquelyn Foster-Quattro, Jersey Shore Cosmetics
Meet Jacquelyn Foster-Quattro the founder of Jersey Shore Cosmetics a non toxic beauty line. Her products have been featured in Elle Magazine and on "The Talk" TV show with Sharon Osbourne amongst many other well known publications and shows and are often found in the world's largest subscription Glam Bags. Jacquelyn is a self made Jersey girl but don't let that fool you, her profit projections for 2016 are between $6 to $8 million. I think it's safe for me to say that we can all learn a thing or two from this interview. Grab a seat, get your pen and notebook, it's time to learn. Enjoy!
"If you must borrow, be diligent about it. Know what you are going to have to pay for that money."
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
My name is Jacquelyn Foster - Quattro. I'm a mom, grandmother, housewife, volunteer and entrepreneur. I'm the founder and President of Jersey Shore Cosmetics- Non-Toxic Beauty. We offer non-toxic beauty and treatment products. All of our products are all natural, organic, non-toxic and cruelty-free. Our company is top Rated and Recommended by the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) and registered "Cruelty-free" with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (PETA) Our Jersey Kids all natural sunscreen is top rated and recommended by EWG.org and is voted #1 Best All-Purpose Sunscreen, by Livestrong.com, two years running.
We are a member of the Environmental Working Group's 2016 Sun Safety Coalition. Our Vegan Lip & Cheek Rouge was featured in Elle fashion magazine, as "The Hottest Color this Season; All Natural Never Looked so Good!" We were featured on a recent segment of daytime television, "The Talk" with Sharon Osbourne. We are often found in the world's largest subscription Glam Bags. We are a member of Healthy Child Healthy World and 'give back' to many non-profits and community causes.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
Aside from working as a flight attendant early on, I spent most of my young, adult life in the beauty industry. I worked for the heavy hitters in the industry, managing several top designer brands. During my years of training and working with these brands of cosmetics, I realized that there was something very important missing. Many are lacking all natural, non-toxic ingredients. They contained artificial dyes, preservatives and perfumes and were difficult for me to use. I'd had the desire to create a brand with healthy alternatives, but during that time, such a feat would prove to be enormously expensive. I continued to focus on raising my children and research and test formulas on my own, over the years. Through determination and drive, I found formulators who would work with me and allow me to produce my products in small runs. I sold all of my designer possessions and made small loans from family members and began creating and developing.
Do you have any special training?
Yes. Growing up on a farm, in South Jersey, nearly everything we consumed was natural and organic. Mother taught us to create our own products for skin and hair, using plants, herbs, natural oils and other organic elements. Additionally, I gained valuable retail knowledge as a beauty/skin care consultant, account representative, and cosmetics counter manager for high-end retailers for 25 years. I wanted to learn as much about the industry as possible and researched how it could be made better.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments as a business owner are, that I have moved forward with creating this business and having it survive in a billion dollar industry which is saturated with beauty brands. I have created products which are healthy, non-toxic and without parabens, synthetics, and artificial colors, which is something that consumers have eagerly embraced.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
I have been actively selling for three years. After the second year, I began to see small profits, which I folded back into the company. This year, one of our products exceeded a million units sold, mark. We (kids and husband, now help out) are growing exponentially. After a lengthy meeting and review of our accounting, a business mentor projected that we could possibly do 6- 8 million in 2016.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
Our prices are based on the 'cost of goods.' (cost of raw materials, production, packaging, label design, labor, etc.) This is all very expensive when producing in small batches. In spite of the slightly higher cost, our products sell very well. When offered through third-party partners, we are able to bring the costs down, as we are creating higher volume runs in these instances. Third party offers are often found on Zulilly.com, Stylemined.com, television network segments, such as 'The Talk, 'Extra' and similar reputable venues.
What mistakes, if any, have you made with your business?
I can't recall any mistakes in my business. I can speak of challenges. What have some of your biggest challenges been? My biggest challenge has been getting the word out about my new business; Explaining why my products are superior, in a market which is saturated. I literally went door to door, selling to brick and mortar stores. My first brick and mortar store was Whole Foods Market, in Princeton, NJ. I was overdressed in a tweed suit and the interview was held out in the open, at a table in the prepared foods area. This was a little awkward for me, as I'm a little shy. I must have sounded urgent, because the guy gave me a chance and ordered some of every SKU I had at the time. The young lady that eventually replaced him, said that my products were too expensive. I proceeded to sell to my local health food markets and eventually, another Whole Foods Market.
What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
I learned that selling door-to-door was not the best use of my time, that there were brokers for that. I began to step up our online presence and that is now, where we do most of our business. We have a healthy social media following and an enormous amount of traffic which reaches our jerseyshoresun web site. We have great relationships with third parties. We still sell to select stores and spas.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
Besides hard work and not giving up when things get tough, the most important elements of running a successful business is being totally transparent and honest and giving back.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Yes. Have patience and faith.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Yes. I don't receive a paycheck and I'm not tempted to borrow money without knowing how, or when it can be paid back. The more your business begins to grow, the more loan offers you are likely to receive.
Save. Save. Save! If you must borrow, be diligent about it. Know what you are going to have to pay for that money.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
That's another challenge which becomes a little easier with time. I still have a son in school, a husband and a household to run. It's very easy to forget to stop working. It's a challenge to stop and fill out forms for school, attend a recital, take my kid to the gym, or cook a meal, just when I'm 'in a zone' with a work project. It's even a challenge to stop work and go to bed when I would rather work, way into the wee hours of the morning. I'd rather work on a project, or solve an issue with my company, than drive to the market to pick up groceries. I drive to the market. I make a concerted effort to stop what I'm doing and "pay attention" to my family and community, albeit it's sometimes very hard to do.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself having acquired a much needed team of helpers and I'm now in a position of delegating at our multi-million dollar company.
Please share a fun fact about yourself.
In 2009, my mother, Grace Foster- Marshall demolished the indoor world record [in her age class] as a sprinter. (track and field) "The 91-year-old New Jersey resident has set a new world record in the 60-meter sprint, shattering the previous record for her age bracket." Grace Foster sets W90 world record in 60; video goes viral. Grace Foster, who recently took up track at 91, demolished the listed W90 world indoor record for 60 meters, clocking 26.95 Saturday at the New Jersey USATF masters indoor championships in Toms River, N.J. The listed record is 31.82 by fellow American Ida Keeling at Clermont-Ferrand worlds in 2008. She ran in a skirt, with her son, M45 pentathlon record holder Greg Foster, cheering her on at the finish line. Video of her race is posted all over the Web, mainly on NBC affiliate sites.
I mentioned this because it's very telling what a healthy, natural lifestyle can yield.
How can readers find you?
Thank you so much for this wonderful interview Jakki!