Cheryl Rose, Owner FoxyMango

My team naturals will love this site. If you’re looking for natural hair and skin care products without toxic chemicals then you should check out FoxyMango. Cheryl Rose and her team hand select affordable goodies that you can trust in performance and ingredients. The site offers a nice selection of natural hair, face and body brands.

Cheryl Rose2 Can you give a brief introduction about your company/yourself?

Once upon a time (or once upon many times), I was searching the typical mass store aisles for hair care that would specifically help my mixed ethnicity, curly/coily/frizzy hair (not as shown in my photo – I typically blow-dry my hair straight but it is curly… oh yes, the afro is in there). In late 2012 in particular, I was searching the aisles for natural and safer ingredient hair care. Hair care for women of color is already relegated to a small end section of the hair aisle as it is, and then to also want safe-ingredient hair care? Clearly, I was asking too much because it was not to be found. After buying things online, and paying shipping charges from various sites over and over, my husband and I decided there had to be a better, more convenient way. And that way was to launch our own online shop – a collection of natural, organic, and safe-ingredient hair and skin care products called FoxyMango.

What inspired you to launch FoxyMango and can you tell us about the process of starting your company: getting funding/investors, hiring staff, designers, graphics, advertising, etc?

Starting the company was a journey of researching and learning about beauty product ingredients and their beneficial and/or harmful effects. We learned about ingredients that we didn’t want to use on our own bodies anymore – and therefore didn’t want to support in our shop – and we combed the internet in search of brands who share our mission of healthy personal care. Finding new brands that meet our fairly strict ingredient standards was, and still is, the hardest part of our business. We also put a focus on affordable brands (everything in our shop is under $35) because if I won’t pay $110 for some facial serum, why would I expect my shop guests to do that? Finding great natural and organic skin care is relatively easy. There are many wonderful brands out there and many more launching daily. Hair care – and hair care that is right for textured hair – not so much. However, that market is growing and we find small makers popping up here and there, which is great.

As far as getting the shop off the ground and running the business, it’s a fully bootstrapped operation. I am the primary employee and I run the shop as my full-time job. I am the graphic designer, the media planner and buyer, order fulfillment, purchasing dept., customer service, etc. You name it, it’s on my list of duties! My husband helps out with proofreading marketing materials, packing and shipping orders, and IT infrastructure. We decided to carry our own inventory instead of drop-shipping because I’m not a fan of ordering items online and then waiting forever to receive them – and we wanted our guests’ experience to be different. Carrying inventory allows us to control the speed that we fulfill an order, so we pack (and usually ship) in the same day! 85% of our guests have their order in their hand within three days; and 65% of those guests have their order in two (and I don’t mean business days, I mean actual days). We used a chunk of our personal and 401K savings to launch the shop, buy inventory, run marketing campaigns, and pay monthly run-the-biz costs.

Can you share any advice/inspiration for someone with similar goals of having an online shop?

If you’re going to do it, do it well. There are a lot of online shops out there so competition is fierce, and there are probably many that are selling what you want to sell. Don’t be discouraged. Just look at what they are doing and see how you can do it different and/or better.

What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?

I stay on top of our social media accounts all day, every day – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. Otherwise, since I wear all the hats, the responsibilities can vary. Today, I filled some orders in the morning, along with checking on and posting in our social media accounts. After I’m done with my Tilted Cusp Q&A, I’m going to work on new graphics for an email template. Then I’m going to check in on some of the blogs I follow for self-education, commentary, and conversation. Next, I’ll start working on a new blog post that will post in the next day or two, and run orders over to the post office. At some point tonight, I’ll do some financial recordings in Quickbooks for the day’s sales and expenses. In the middle of all that, once my husband gets home from work – I’ll take a break and enjoy dinner with him and play with our dogs for a while.

Self doubt sometimes stop people from trying new ventures. Did you have any doubts or challenges along the way in starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?

Doubts abound. And they continue throughout the journey of running your own business! The biggest hesitation and challenge points at the beginning were how to fund the business and researching the industry to ensure there was an audience there. It’s hard to know if enough people will want to buy what you’re selling so that you can build a business that will support an income. We overcame the challenges by choosing to invest in our business with our savings vs. borrow money, and I did many months of research about all kinds of things including the organic personal care market, online shopping habits, demographic research, etc. before we ever bought our first product. We’re only nine months old, so we’re still waiting to see if the shop can support an income.

What have you learned about yourself in regards to starting a business?

I’m impatient. Actually, I already knew that about myself…

What can we look for from your company in the coming years?

Continued growth in our hand-selected collection of good-for-you products, and particular growth in our selection of hair care for textured hair. We are looking at brands across the U.S., as well as UK and Canadian brands. We’ll also continue to grow the category of items we offer. We recently added make-up and I’m researching safe nail polish next. Further down the road, perhaps there are more online shops in our future dedicated to natural and safe products. We’re considering a shop of natural products for babies and kids, and a grooming shop for men. We’ve even toyed with the idea of creating our own hair care products for textured hair. Not sure how likely that is since I feel like you have to have a chemistry degree or something to figure out how to mix ingredients correctly, but we’ve had the thought.

Random fun fact about yourself or what’s been a defining moment in your career so far?

I sometimes put ketchup on my peas.

Be sure to follow:
Twitter: @thefoxymango
Website: http://foxymango.com/