How to sell skincare and CBD online with Kelli Parisians - Shopify store owner
We are here with Kelly from Parisian's Pure Indulgence and we have changed the our name a couple of times, because Kelly has been pivoting her business several times since she started. I am Veronica jeans. I'm an e-commerce coach and a best selling author right now. My book is called Shopify Made Easy. I'm so excited about it. So, Kelly, we're going to be talking about how you started your business, what you are doing, why you got into it and I am really interested in how we worked on the re-branding of your store. That was a huge deal with you, right? So why did you get into this business?
Kelli Parisian (00:42):
Well, Veronica, I have been in the beauty business now for 30 plus years. When I started Parisians Pure Indulgence, I had been in it for 20 years. I worked in a very high end salon in Los Angeles as a manicurist. We're going to talk about pivoting, I know. I started in 2004 seeing a change in my industry. In that change, I wanted to be a able to create something for my manicure clients that was special, that was an experience because what was happening is we were seeing a lot of what I call cheap and cheerful salons popping up all around. That happened about 15 years ago. And so I knew at that point, I needed to take a pivot. Offer something better to my clients. You know, when you go into a beauty salon for your hair, you know you're going to get the best products used on your hair and you can buy them there.
Kelli Parisian (01:46):
Well, the products that were being offered to manicures were really not good products. They were cheap and they did a somewhat decent job. But I knew I could do better. I wanted to create a spa manicure. And so I knew that part of doing that was great customer service. The other part was wonderful products. But products that didn't just feel good for five minutes while you got your nails done - things that were just really a better quality. And so that's kind of where I started studying. That's where I took a pivot. I started studying natural ingredients before it was really the thing to do. My company is an organic skincare company. I take a lot of pride in the fact that our ingredients are clean, but our products are super effective.
Kelli Parisian (02:47):
So back to why I did it - I started to, um, notice that clients were coming in and I would see a hundred women a week. Men and women, and the women were all kind of telling me the same thing, "I can't use this line, I can't use that line because it makes my skin, my eyes water. It makes my skin turn red" and I start to realize, well, there's a reason for that. And I want to find out what it is. And I did. The reason - I will share it now - most people have allergies to products are because of fragrances, artificial fragrances, right?
Veronica Jeans (03:25):
I don't use any fragrances. I agree with that.
Kelli Parisian (03:29):
And your skin looks great. But it's more, you know, feeling great. A lot of brands were very popular back then and you would go to the department store to get, but those were the brands that my customers were coming to me and say, "You know, Kelly, do you have anything better?" Backing up, I started off with a sugar scrub that I made myself. It's a sugar script that I used for my manicuring clients. It's still my number one seller of the body care line. And it's still my formula and my baby. So that's where I started to make that transition was when I started studying ingredients for that. That's when I knew, okay, I know what this is. I know this is a preservative. I know this is a fragrance. I know this is just an emulsifier. It's it makes the product creamy, but it doesn't do anything great for the skin. So anyway, I'll stop talking.
Veronica Jeans (04:38):
You segueing right into the next question and you're really passionate about why you started it.
Kelli Parisian (04:49):
I was a kid, Veronica, at 14, that was babysitting and using my babysitting money to go buy skincare products.
It's been going on quite a while.
As a kid, I used to play boss. I would tell everybody else what to do. And it was always business, always business. I don't care what it was. I was always selling stuff and writing those invoices. But, if we get back to what you're selling and how you got into this is when I met you, you were still on 3DCart. And then I did a couple of changes on your website. You were not selling a lot online. And I think the big pivot for you was when you actually re-branded. At that stage you were doing things from home and those stickers weren't sticking and it was just not the right image you wanted. And then you just said, "Okay, I'm going to start putting money into this business and I'm going to go for it". That's when you actually investigated the labels, how to put the labels on, the bottles are different and much classier.
Kelli Parisian (06:10):
Yeah. Better packaging in general, across the board
Veronica Jeans (06:13):
And we actually have an expert come in to talk to us about packaging as well. So we had a complete revamp of your website. We move to Shopify, which was amazing. We'll talk about one of your challenges you had, but that for you was the beginning of where you started really concentrating on selling online. When was that?
Kelli Parisian (06:42):
Six years ago.
Veronica Jeans (06:44):
Wow and we've learned so much. So you actually now are using a manufacturer who does it according to your recipes and then ships it out?
Kelli Parisian (07:02):
My formulator, that's what we call it in the natural skincare world, who we consult and we come up with the product. She has the ingredients know how and I have the ability to tell her what women are looking for because I'm constantly talking to women. So I have my products made for me. Yes.
Veronica Jeans (07:27):
That's amazing because I know I used your first products and I'm using your products now. That is a huge difference when you actually go into manufacturing to make your product. So you can actually price your products accordingly as well. And our price has changed as well. And I say, we, because I've known you for such a long time. So the prices went up and you're still really doing well. So the next question is, what was the big challenges that you had to overcome?
Kelli Parisian (08:10):
Gosh, the challenges that I had to overcome in the pivot were wanting to keep my business small enough to be personal, because that's really important to me. Customer service is extremely important to me. My clients know they can contact me and I give them all kinds of ways to contact me. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that don't have debt from my company. And so it's always a challenge when you're trying to work in a certain budget. And if I could do something differently, I would probably be a little bit of a risk taker and have gone ahead and gotten a small business loan or something like that. So I could have thrown more money into it, into things like SEO and just develop. I'm really good with product research and development. That's the part of it I've got,
Veronica Jeans (09:13):
You've added more products to your line as well as you were going along. Right.
Kelli Parisian (09:20):
Well, that kind of comes with my whole philosophy in life about pivoting and about reinventing yourself and constantly learning. I believe - it's just my own personal belief - we always have to keep growing in our area of expertise in maybe even in an area that might just be a good fit with it. For example, last year I went back to school at 63 years and became a certified aroma therapist, I'm going to tell you that was hard. It was hard studying. I did 30 case studies and essay questions and reports. It was a big study and I completed it, did very well. Then that kind of gave me the pivot and shift into essential oils. I became the certified aroma therapist. Now I offer essential oil blends because it's a good fit for my business. My business isn't just about what we put on our skin. My whole business model is about wellness - wellness and good health. And that went along with it. Essential oils and the benefits of essential oils went along with that whole philosophy.
Veronica Jeans (10:35):
Then what you did is, we launched the products and you also added a CBD, right? But that was before aroma therapy. You added a CBD
Kelli Parisian (10:58):
Right before the aroma therapy, because it kind of went hand in hand. I now formulate a custom blended product with these essential oils and CBD and wonderful carrier oils that are so good for our skin. That was big part of why I went ahead with the aroma therapy certification. So that I would understand which oils are good for the skin. And yes, CBD is not only good for the skin, we know that it's great for inflammation. We know that it helps with pain management. CBD was another one of those kind of natural fits in the whole wellness.
Veronica Jeans (11:38):
But there are challenges selling CBD. Our first challenge was selling natural, organic skincare. Is it the organic or the natural that you're not supposed to mention?
Kelli Parisian (11:59):
You can use the word organic, but you cannot say your products are certified organic unless you have that certification. And my facility, my manufacturer is a certified organic facility. So I can say organic and most of my products have at least 70 to 80% of organic ingredients in them. But the biggest challenge is not that, it's to not make claims that you can't prove with extensive testing. That's the biggest thing and CBD is one of them. We know the things that it is good for, and we can in a way say it, but I can't tell you, "If you have this problem, you should use this". I am not allowed to do that so you need to be creative.
Veronica Jeans (13:00):
Even on Facebook showing the before and afters are not allowed, If you're showing a skin before and a skin after - No, no, no!
Kelli Parisian (13:09):
Frankly, I'm glad about that because most of it was bogus. And we all know what can be done with lighting, with certain apps, Photoshop - we've all done it.
Veronica Jeans (13:22):
Yeah. But we try to do two types of nails. The horrible state of a nail and what happens if you use your nail stuff?
Kelli Parisian (13:32):
Yeah. You can't even do that.
Veronica Jeans (13:34):
Can't do that anymore. CBD is a no, no, no on Facebook and Instagram. you can't. I mean, literally we got into Facebook's Facebook advertising jail, but, we are way over that now. What would you do differently if you had to start again today? What would you do differently?
Kelli Parisian (14:07):
Here's what I did wrong in the beginning. I tried to be everything to everybody. That means when my customer came in and said, "Kelly, do you have something for such and such?" Well, two months later I did. I would research it, talk to my formulator and then I would have it. Even to the point of, because I have a large male clientele in my manicuring business, I created a men's line. Well, hey, men know about good skincare, but if you're going to do that - this is what I did wrong. I created a whole line for men, a whole life for women. I had too many products. It was too much. If I had only had a men's line and focused only on that, that would have been great. There's a lot of very successful companies doing that. But my point is - don't try to be everything to everybody. Start with a small core group of products you really believe in and slowly add. I quickly added. Then you get stuck with too much inventory and too much monies going out for packaing and marketing
Veronica Jeans (15:16):
All the photos, packaging - yes. You're not one of the big guys, they can't remember you, so you have to be specific about what they remember you by. And I mean, you have the most amazing reviews as well, which are extremely difficult to collect from any customer. That's what makes your little online store successful as well. Do you do sell retail as well as online. Right?
Kelli Parisian (15:50):
A little bit. I really focus on my online business. I sell retail to my clients in my little studio. There's another pivot. I did a pivot this year. I pivoted my manicuring business away from a salon and into a home studio. So that I could do both businesses better. So I do sell retail to my clients.
Veronica Jeans (16:22):
This whole situation we're in where we had to really rethink our business, but you had to do it six years ago. and not as long as two years ago and now again. I think we have to be very active in looking at our businesses and saying, "Okay, so how can we improve it and what's the path forward?" So this is brilliant. I'm so glad we had this chat and I'm glad to have you on. And again, Kelly is at parisianspure.com.
Kelli Parisian (17:01):
That is correct we are Parisians Pure now because it was too long to type out. That's one of the changes we made. Thanks to Veronica.
Veronica Jeans (17:07):
So parisianpure.com and Kelly, you have something special for us today.
Kelli Parisian (17:13):
Yes. I am going to offer anybody watching this video, a special code to use, if you would like to go to our site and try any of our products. First time customers a 15% discount on any purchase. And, I will give you the code - it's Veronica. So that should be easy, right? 15% Off. And I hope that you'll give our products to try. I think you'll see the difference.
Veronica Jeans (17:50):
Thank you so much, Kelli. Thank you for popping on with me. I'm so excited about this and thank you for watching and Kelly will be in the group answering some questions. If you have any questions about skincare or what she did, what she didn't do, she will be in the group answering any of your questions. So thank you again for watching
Kelli Parisian (18:09):
Kelli Parisian (Shopify owner of Parisians Pure Indulgence Skin Care)
Parisian’s Pure Indulgence was born out of concern about what was in the treatments we put on our skin. After many years in the beauty industry, Kelli was looking to develop products to use on her salon clients that were pure, safe and effective. Now she sells retail and ecommerce successfully online.
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