Want to know what it’s like to join the C2C beauty brand accelerator? In this article, 9 ambitious beauty brand founders who’ve graduated from the Conventional to Cult Status accelerator program share their biggest takeaways from their experiences.
1. Lissette Monzon
Lissette Monzon is a C2C graduate and the founder of Lilly Be, an organic care line that’s formulated to promote mind-body synergy and a deeper connection with nature.
Before C2C: Struggling with Moving from Retail to the Digital Space
Before enrolling in C2C, Lissette was struggling with shifting her business into the digital space to meet her yearly financial goals amidst COVID. “Last year was all about translating my in-person event experiences to the digital space. With Aggie’s help, I built out email campaigns, zoom personal shopping sessions, live sessions, and more. “
Lissette’s Biggest Takeaway: Having More Accountability
Lissette credits the beauty brand accelerator with helping her stay accountable and meet her goals. “The biggest benefit was in having Aggie and the C2C group there as accountability partners. It helped me start a steady Live series (which I wanted to do for well over a year) and show up more in general. From being consistent with newsletters, posts, welcome series, and most of all getting ahead of this holiday launch, I can say that I am sure I will see more consistency in sales in the next year.”
Success Highlights: After graduating the program, Lissette is seeing her brand’s best year ever. “I’m happy to share that I was reviewing some data and I actually broke just about even in sales for Q4 2019 to 2020. But the real win is that my online sales increased by 213%. And these are just the sales that were done on my website. It doesn’t include the zoom sessions I did where I invoiced my customers separately.”
2. Elise Tabin
Elise is the founder of Twiish skincare and a C2C graduate.
Before C2C: Unclear Brand Strategy
Elise Minton Tabin is an award-winning beauty journalist, editor, and beauty expert with more than 16 years of experience. Despite her experience in the beauty industry, when it came to developing her skincare line for teenagers, Twiish, Elise was struggling when it came to execute on her big idea.
Before I signed on [to C2C], I really just had an idea. I didn’t have a strategy at all. I’ve been very heavily involved in launching other brands, but when you do it for yourself and it’s your own time and your own money, it becomes a totally different beast.” Elise ended up joining the Cult to Conventional Status accelerator as a solution to help her take the next steps in her brand. “I said, if I’m going to invest my personal money in this, I need somebody to walk me through the steps and hold me accountable and make sure I’m doing it the right way.”
After C2C: A Developed Strategy and Branding Toolbox
The C2C program helped Elise get the brand clarity she was looking for. “I will say that building a brand takes a lot of work and time and you need somebody else to bounce ideas off of. I’m glad that I had that opportunity through this program because [Aggie] gave me truly unbiased information and opinions and it was honest. I appreciated the candor that [she] offered throughout the program, which was super, super helpful.”
Since graduating, Elise still goes back to the lessons she’s learned as a guiding force. “As I’m in the process of developing and building the brand, I took the information that I was given and that I learned throughout C2C to apply it to all of those different components in my brand. I still have the worksheets and all [the course materials] to go back to.”
3. Anne-Laure Dessimoz
Valyxir is an organic skincare brand with Swiss roots that’s founded by C2C graduate Anne-Laure Dessimoz.
Before C2C: Just a Concept
Anne-Laure began the beauty brand accelerator with only an idea and a few test samples for the brand. “[As a brand founder], I was concerned about building the right foundation. Because I’m just at the beginning of my journey, I really needed that discovery of the many different aspects of marketing. We went through visual branding, Instagram, product descriptions, email marketing… it’s so important to know about the work that goes behind each of them.”
Anne-Laure’s Biggest Takeaway: Establishing Engaging Marketing and Communication
Today Anne-Laure is more comfortable with the essential strategies that go behind each marketing strategy. “Aggie helped me realize what it means to be a professional brand. You can have an idea of what you want to do, but thanks to our discussions and me getting to see the journey from the other people in the group, I was able to see and understand what it really means to launch a product and to have good marketing and communication. [The C2C program] helped me to be more focused and more professional. I learned how to have a brand mission that’s also connected to my personal story.”
4. Kristen Heaton
Kristen Heaton is another C2C graduate and the founder of Crave Naturals, a bestselling brand that offers detangling hairbrushes that actually feel good to use.
Before C2C: Struggling with Finding Her Target Customer
Pre-C2C, Kristen was dealing with a lack of clarity with who her brand really catered to and what her brand really stood for. “Prior to [C2C], I felt lost and disconnected with my brand. I struggled to understand who my target customer was and how to communicate with them. Working with Aggie was a surreal experience… A lightbulb would go off in every session we worked together.”
Kristen’s Biggest Takeaway: Connection with Customers
Kristen credits C2C with creating the framework she needed to hone down her brand identity. “Aggie offers a wealth of knowledge and experience that helped me figure out my brand voice and allowed me to feel a deeper connection with my business. I would say that the greatest outcome that came from working with Aggie is clarity and a deeper understanding of how to connect with customers. Anyone that struggles to find their brand voice or has zero clue when it comes to building a brand with substance, you’ll want to work with Aggie.”
Kristen Heaton, founder of haircare brand, Crave Naturals, got clear on her brand strategy and marketing plan in our Conventional to Cult Status live group program. She translated her successes on Amazon to a direct-to-consumer brand that understood its target customer and how to communicate to them clearly and concisely. Know what knowing your messaging does for a brand? Crave brushes have become a fan favorite of The Rock (who happens to have 221 MILLION followers on Instagram) and as a result, were recently featured on Good Morning America.
5. Andra Maddox
Zia Botanics founder Andra Maddox is a C2C graduate as well as Insider’s Circle, our graduate beauty founder program.
Before C2C: Shifting Her Physical Business to Digital
When Andra first started her skincare brand, she was focused on selling at the local markets in her state. When the pandemic hit and in-person events were put on an indefinite hold, Andra knew she had to take her business online. “At that point, I developed my website and put it out in the world without knowing the industry, where I should put my time and my energy, or what’s going to really give me the results or any sort of benefit.”
While she was figuring out what to do, Andra found answers in my exclusive weekly newsletter. “I had subscribed to your newsletter and I remember reading them and thinking ‘oh, I had never heard of that,’ and each time I read it I was like, ‘okay, she knows what she’s talking about.’ And so when C2C opened up, I just felt like, ‘oh, this is so what I need.’”
“I was so happy when I found [Aggie] and heard about C2C. I was in a really hard place trying to navigate how to move forward in the most effective way. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that my brand was resonating with people. I knew I had an amazing product and it was helping people because I would get feedback, but I was like, how do I translate that to a broader audience?”
Andra’s Biggest Takeaway: Highlighting Her Brand’s Unique Selling Points
Since graduating Cult to Conventional Status, Andra has built the foundations of her brand’s core identity. “Now I’m really highlighting the uniqueness of my brand, how I’m making the products, and all that goes into it. And I feel like it’s super solid and people understand that.”
C2C helped Andra learn the secrets of running a cult-status beauty brand in one single program. “I think I probably would have had to piecemeal together a lot of things from different programs if I didn’t have this comprehensive foundation [with C2C].” Andra also credits her group members with helping her make progress. “I liked having accountability partners to talk to every week, and to see these people going through this same process and the same challenges, struggles, work-life balances, and maintaining relationships [while launching a brand]. That’s been huge.”
Success Highlights: Within a couple of weeks of graduating from C2C, Andra was featured in Taos News, landed multiple retail partnerships, and had her best week of online sales since the start of her business. She also had her best.launch.ever. at the start of C2C with a tiny email list by leveraging our Beauty Brand Launch Method system.
7. Zurie Cheung
Zurie Cheung is a yoga instructor and energy healer who founded FlowFilling to help women heal their bodies, offer stress and pain relief, and enhance their skin and gut with the help of CBD and Traditional Chinese medicine.
Before C2C: Struggling with Objectivity
Before starting the Conventional to Cult Status beauty brand accelerator, Zurie had a hard time being objective about her brand. “I was [never] able to pull myself out of the center of my brand. My business is my baby. And I assumed I would be my own target audience. I had a hard time figuring out who is my audience instead of assuming people will love it because I love it.”
Zurie’s Biggest Takeaway: Honing Down Her Target Audience and Defining Her Brand’s Top Priorities
Since graduating, Zurie connects on a deeper level with her target audience. “Aggie helped me pull myself back and realize who my real target audience is. It’s not just about me anymore. I really figured out who exactly my target audience is, and it’s been a total game-changer.”
What’s more, Zurie now has a clearer vision of what steps she needs to take to grow her brand. “Normally, I’m all over the place and I just feel like my to-do lists have a thousand things waiting for me to do. I didn’t even know how to prioritize it or where to start. So after C2C, it just kind of gave me a world map to give you a perspective on exactly what I need to do.”
8. Kathleen Duff
Kathleen Duff, or Kat, is a C2C graduate and the founder of a sustainable skincare brand called Glotanicals.
Before C2C: Struggling with Beauty Brand Strategy
When Kat joined C2C, her 2 year old brand had a clear mission and was active on social media, but the foundation of her brand strategy were still lacking. “I didn’t know how to pull all those things together, and I didn’t really know how to get where I wanted to go. That was the main thing that was driving me crazy. I was like, okay, I can create a product on social media, but what’s next? It’s not just about followers, it’s about finding your people and your tribe.”
After C2C: A Stronger Brand Community
After graduating C2C, Kat has a clearer vision of who her target customer is. “I’m really working on building that community- that’s the number one goal. My number two goal is to continue maturing the business by expanding the product line and getting some retail partnerships. [With C2C], I laid out those steps to get there.”
Now that the program is over, Kat has a solid foundation of the next steps as a brand founder. “Working with [Aggie] helped me pull my story together into a brand strategy. And it helped me form the next steps in my business plan and my business strategy to get where I want to go and to ask all the questions and understand from the other side of the beauty industry.”
8. Raquel Guardia
Raquel Guardia is the founder of StellaSimone Salon Systems, a haircare system for multi-textured hair.
Pre C2C: Generic Brand Positioning
When Raquel joined C2C, her mission was to get clearer on her messaging. “I realized at some point I just kept hitting a wall. I wasn’t getting through my message. I wasn’t doing things right. And yet there was interest, but I didn’t know how to keep them interested. I needed a mentor like Aggie.”
Before C2C, Raquel’s brand messaging was broad and general. “I wasn’t really talking to anyone. I was talking generally, and no one understood that message.” As a solo-founder, Raquel had a hard time bouncing off ideas with someone who gets her brand. “When you’re the sole person doing everything in a business, you need someone there. We all need a mentor. We all need somebody there that can really give you that insight that you’re missing. Because even though you may be a super woman and you’re building this and that, you’re going to miss the important things. I was missing the number one thing, and that was the brand’s message. I clearly did not have the brand strategy and the marketing that I thought I had because I was talking to too many people.”
After C2C: Branding That Stands Out and Gets Buyer Attention
Since joining C2C, Raquel had the opportunity to hone in on what made her brand unique and spoke to her ideal customers. ”Before working with [Aggie], I was just blending in with every other brand. I felt so confused. I knew I have this great product, but I was trying to talk to too many people. I had to focus. I had to think ‘What makes you unique? How you’re going to do your social media strategy, and then how are you going to build your team?’ Aggie is the right person to help you do that. She is fabulous. I learned so much within a short period of time.”
Raquel also shares the benefits of joining Aggie in a group program. “I’ve been in other programs, but it’s full of generalizations. During these programs, I never felt like someone was talking to me and my needs. I’m not the same as everyone else. Aggie really specializes on the individual. She really wants to know your passion, and she really understood my business and the industry. And so the advice she was giving me, even though sometimes we’re in a group, was always great. I learned a lot from the group too. And I felt like I was part of a tribe. And that’s very different.”
Success Highlights: Raquel landed and crushed not one, not two, but 5 meetings with retailers (hello QVC/HSN, Ulta, Credo, Walgreens etc.) within a couple of weeks of taking her haircare brand messaging from generic to stand-out inside C2C. Previously camera-shy, she is now also showing up regularly on video on social media and in pitch decks with buyers.
9. Ebru Karpuzoglu
Ebru Karpuzoglu is a C2C graduate and the founder of AveSeena, an innovative natural beauty brand inspired by her decades-long career in scientific research in beauty and formal training with experts at leading institutions.
Before C2C: Struggling to See the Bigger Picture with Her Branding
Before beginning the accelerator program, Ebru struggled with being too concerned with the minor details. “As a scientist, what we do is deep dive. Sometimes we dive too deep, so we end up drowning at the end of the day. At one point I was too saturated with the brand. Coming to C2C was a breath of fresh air. Aggie helped me look at the bigger picture instead of obsessing over the little things.”
Ebru’s Biggest Takeaway: The Feedback From Both Aggie and her Peers
After graduating from C2C, Katie’s brand’s voice is clearer than ever and was able to strengthen the foundations of her branding. “
Before my branding was too sciencey. So now people can relate and understand. Aggie helped me fine-tune my brand messaging which made everything easier.”
Ebru also credits C2C with offering her a strong community of supportive peers. “It was really relaxing to know that I’m not alone- every one of the brand owners had their own struggles. It was really nice to have the camaraderie and the friendship. And each one of us had our own strengths- in packaging, websites, [etc], and everyone had their own exchange. I liked that [mentality of] ‘when we grow, we grow together.’ I still talk to them today.”
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