Want to know what it’s like to join the C2C beauty brand accelerator? In this article, 16 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. “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 Attractive Marketing That Organically Pulls in Buyers
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.”
“I’m really happy because, in the process of launching and just afterwards, I didn’t pitch much to the media, but I had an institute and an online retailer reach out to me about selling my product. I was also invited to sponsor an event in my region which was really successful. There were so many positive things that were unexpected because I didn’t pitch to them. It’s really them who have been coming to me.”
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.
6. 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.”
7. 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.
8. 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, AveSeena’s brand voice is clearer than ever and has strengthened the foundation of their branding.
“Before my branding was too science-y. 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.”
9. Heather Lentz
Heather Lentz is a Cult to Conventional Status graduate and the founder of Koi Botanicals, a healing herbal skincare brand that helps soothe skin that’s dealing with issues like acne, inflammation, irritation, psoriasis, or eczema.
Before C2C: Playing in the Little Leagues
Prior to Heather joining the beauty brand accelerator program, she was struggling with taking her brand to the next level. “Before C2C, I was hoping my brand won’t end up like a hobby. And now in my eyes, I’m running with the big dogs and I can be just as successful and prominent as these big brands that I look up to.”
After C2C: A Clear Roadmap to Becoming a Major Player
Heather knew that she wanted to grow her brand and that it was worth the investment in her future. “I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant about the financial investment of C2C, but I just knew deep down that this is what I needed. I knew where I wanted my business to be, and I knew that I needed the program to help me get in that direction, and I was right. I got what I was looking for. Now I have a greater understanding of my brand identity, my purpose, and my customer. I really nailed it down and got detailed with it in C2C.”
Today, Heather has greater confidence in becoming a major player in the industry. “C2C helped me act like a big brand. Now when I look at a big brand that I aspire to be like, I’m like ‘oh, that’s totally possible.'”
10. Ava Ghiotti
Ava Ghiotti is the co-founder of Merchants of Beauty, a clean, artisanal luxury candle brand.
Before C2C: Missing the Mark on Content Strategy
Prior to joining Conventional to Cult Status, Ava was lacking direction of her overall content strategy. “I was missing the mark. I had no concept that there was even a nurturing strategy there, and the psychology of why we’re even creating this.”
After C2C: Foundational Content to Repurpose for Every Launch
Since graduating C2C, Ava appreciates being able to go back to her lessons and apply the strategies from the program to each new product launch. “Those skills I learned in C2C will always be able to be repurposed. I think that was what was so golden, you’re learning something foundational and you can never put a price tag on that. Everything we learned will stand the test of time. These are real knowledgeable systems you can always come back to…they’re tried and true they can work for different launches. They’re not quick hacks, they’re actual foundational pieces of strategy.”
11. Amanda Horn
Amanda Horn is the founder of Loless Blue Beauty Co., a waterless, dry shave gel inspired by the human-ocean connection.
Before C2C: Struggling with Decision-Overwhelm
Before joining the beauty brand accelerator program, Amanda was new to the beauty industry and struggling with not having the right network that could help her brand take off.
“I was overwhelmed by all of the different decisions that I was going have to make in terms of how to create a green brand. I was really in that research phase, asking ‘What is this brand?’ and ‘Who is my customer?’ I thought I knew who it is, but I wasn’t completely sure. So I realized I probably needed somebody with a little bit more experience and skillset.”
Amanda’s Biggest Takeaway: Deeper Understanding of the Beauty Industry
Since graduating from the program, Amanda has a better sense of community and know-how in the industry. “I can’t imagine still being where I was when I first chatted [with Aggie]. The network I created [with C2C] has been awesome. I was new to the beauty space. I had no contacts here and no idea about the inner workings of how all of this goes.”
“I just had to forget everything that I knew, trust the expert, and just have this beginner’s mindset. I was being just completely open to whatever was coming, and that really helped me get clear because I was able to let go of a lot of preconceived ideas that I had about where I want to fit.”
12. Kyra Venable
Kyra Venable is the founder of Lavender Meadows, which is a skincare line that’s created specifically for mothers.
Before C2C: Making Six Figures But Unclear Direction
A year and a half before joining C2C, Kyra launched her products on Etsy. “I honestly didn’t really know what I was doing. I just had a passion for creating skincare and I was a new mother and I really realized that mothers can be an afterthought, especially during the postpartum period.”
While Kyra’s brand was maxing six figures annually, she was feeling overwhelmed about the future direction of her brand. “I had read the books, listened to a billion podcasts, and I knew all the things that I should be doing, but it was seriously like I was in quicksand and I’m sure any other business owner can understand this, where you have so many ideas and you just feel so lost. Like you see all these people do and creative things all around you, and you’re just trying to like compete and then you’re trying to stand out. And it just, it was too much. I, I was definitely hit a point where I needed help and I was looking for help. And it was like the perfect timing for me when I saw Aggie’s course. I just really needed some clear direction.”
After C2C: Greater Clarity and a 50% Sales Increase
Since graduating C2C, Kyra found clarity on the right direction with her brand. “I had too many ideas and I just didn’t feel focused at all. I think that if you’re where I was, where you started your brand and you’re just getting so confused between having, you know, something special and unique, and you’re not sure what direction to go, this is a great, perfect opportunity to figure it all out and be able to make that investment and it’ll pay off huge dividends.”
Kyra has already seen results from her work during the program. “My I sales grew like 50% once we started implementing everything. I just definitely feel so much happier and confident and just excited and ready to go.”
13. Jemila Alharazim
Jemila Alharazim is the founder of Ocean Olive, a skincare brand for eczema.
Before C2C: Struggling to Find the Right Team
Before joining C2C, Jemila was having a hard time finding the right people to help her with her brand. “It’s so hard to find the right people when you finally decide that you want to build a brand and you don’t even know where to start.”
After C2C: Swimming in Trustworthy Resources
Since graduating from C2C, Jemila has a solid team around her to help her grow her brand.
“Taking the course was great for a lot of reasons like knowing how to find your target customer, but also because Aggie has so many resources. And even with my website developer, I’m using someone that Aggie recommended. So you get so many resources.”
“I think that somebody who is just starting out building their brand or for somebody who is thinking about doing a rebrand, you can know how to have a perfect launch.”
14. Tiffany Scott
Tiffany Scott is the founder of Francis Marie, an uplifting fragrance brand for melanin-rich skin.
Before C2C: Searching for Her Brand’s Unique Differentiator
Before joining C2C, Tiffany was struggling to develop her brand’s unique core identity. While she had conducted surveys and market research, she was unclear about how to best build up some buzz for her products. “I went through probably three or four value propositions and brand positioning statements. I just couldn’t figure out what was unique, or what was my key differentiator.”
“C2C offered that support and it really pushed me. I came out of the program being able to finish my entire brand strategy, which is super important!”
After C2C: Cult-Status Positioning and a Perfected Elevator Pitch
Since graduating from C2C, Tiffany simplified and honed in on her unique brand identity. “I’m really proud of all the brand strategy I did during C2C.”
“You know, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Like, let’s be honest. So I’m really trying to find that unique positioning that’s going to cut through the noise and really take a more strategic and scientific approach to it. C2C helped me a lot with that. It gave me a little bit more confidence to speak about what Francis Marie is all about and nail my 30-second elevator pitch. I wouldn’t have been able to do that four months ago!”
15. Maria Wodzinska
Maria Wodzinska is the founder of Stoic Beauty, a clean-water based and marine-conscious skincare line that helps women shop beauty more ethically.
Before C2C: Needing to Refine Her Brand Messaging to Stand Out
When Maria joined the C2C beauty brand accelerator, she was ready to push forward with her brand but felt blocked because of her uncertainty about how her brand should be portrayed to stand out from the competition. “I knew I needed to refine the messaging in a really crowded digital marketplace, so that was kind of my main mission going into C2C.”
After C2C: Record-Breaking Marketing Campaigns
Since taking the program, Maria has been implementing the tactics she learned into her marketing campaigns and seeing major results. “I did so much in the program, but personally I’m just so happy with how much I’ve refined my brand’s process for telling stories. We did an email campaign for Mother’s Day and it was our most successful one yet. I learned to focus on just one thing with just one target demographic inside of our mailing list. It’s been a successful model for us!”
16. Mandi Duong
Mandi Duong is the founder of Blyssen Beauty, a simplified botanical skincare brand for moms.
Before C2C: Motivated Without a Roadmap
Before she joined the beauty brand accelerator, Mandi had just quit her job to work on her business full-time. “I had actually just quit my job to work on my business without full clarity on who I was selling to. I had it in my head what I was trying to do, but I couldn’t get it into words. I was defining missing that clarity of exactly what my brand does, who it’s for and how it helps them.”
After C2C: Major ROI That Moved the Needle for Her Business
Looking back on her decision to join C2C, Mandi shares her fears about investing in her brand and how she feels about it in hindsight. “The first time I talked to [Aggie] was right before I was quitting my job. So I knew it was coming and I was very scared to spend the money. And honestly, I wish I hadn’t waited. I think I could have been further along in my business if I had, um, just taken the plunge at that time.
But you know, investing a large amount in yourself and your business is definitely scary. Especially when you’re looking at your current numbers and trying to figure out, you know, how am I gonna just pay for the supplies I have, let alone invest in something? Being able to share my message with confidence and know exactly what I’m gonna say and how to deliver has been huge.”
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