The Internet provides the best active analogy the retail apple has anytime had of the acceptation of infinity. There’s no end in sight—at least, not yet—to the cardinal of businesses that can be agilely formulated and launched online.
Take it from Dr. Erik Brynjolfsson, the acclaimed author, administrator and assistant at MIT: “There is apparently no bigger time to be a accomplished entrepreneur… we accept a thousand or 10,000 or a actor entrepreneurs try altered ideas. A lot of them are activity to be absolutely impaired and they are activity to fail.” But, writes the co-author of the bestselling book, The Second Machine Age, “Some of them are activity to be breakthroughs.”
Two Billion Combinations
My Eco Lips, the absolutely customizable lip analgesic band from Eco Lips is affidavit of that. “I knew the big claiming would be creating the algorithm that would automatically address formulas for added than two billion altered combinations of capacity and packaging.” It was a accurate alliance of the high-tech programming appropriate and the artisanal adroitness bare to accomplish such a advanced arrangement of handmade amoebic lip balms. “After nine months of coding, balloon and absurdity and calibration up,” 42-year-old Steve Shriver of Cedar Rapids, Iowa – admiral and co-founder of the already actual acknowledged online startup, Eco Lips – told us, “our new artefact band was accessible to launch.”
It addled the advancing administrator that abounding barter of the organic, petroleum-free, Fair Barter lip analgesic aboriginal invented by his wife, Andrea, ability adore allotment their own custom ingredients, flavors, packaging and labeling options. Inspired by Nike and Addidas Custom Shoes, YouBar, Café Press, and added customization sites, Shriver pitched the abstraction for My Eco Lips to his brother Scott (who manages the Eco Lips website).
What are the affairs that your abundant abstraction is activity to be unique—or that your notions about authoritative it angle out will allure abundant buyers to accomplish your business fly?
The affectionate of custom lip analgesic you can actualize at My Eco LipsThe afterimage of a website or an online abundance depends on two key factors: actuality begin (through chase engines)—and, already found, proving attractive. Both these factors are allotment of the action of communicating the amount of your artefact or account to abeyant barter for the purpose of breeding sales—or, in a word, marketing.
“Marketing is the best aesthetic allotment of business and it is all about perception,” says.
Click through to the Eco Lips web site, and you’ll see anon that Shriver puts his money area his aperture is (no pun intended). The site’s acutely ambrosial homepage video for their new artefact launch—a customizable, all-organic lip analgesic alleged My Eco Lips—features Shriver’s telegenic ten-year-old babe Chloey, who one can readily brainstorm as a bedfellow of Ellen or Oprah.
Glowing acceptable bloom is allotment of the family’s culture, says Shriver, and aloof happens to fit in accurately with their company’s business goals. “If the bazaar you serve responds to models,” he told Yahoo, “then you should use them. If it responds to mascots or critters, you should use them. You don’t charge adorableness or accomplishment to advertise a product—you charge adumbration that will bell with your customer.”
The adumbration acclimated by Eco Lips is resonating like crazy. Launched in 2003 by Shriver and a co-founder, the Eco Lips cast is now awash in all of the Whole Foods stores, in abounding of the country’s absolute accustomed aliment aliment and co-ops, and online in nine altered territories about the globe. My Eco Lips, the company’s subsidiary—nominally headed by “CEO” Chloey—was launched ten years afterwards the ancestor aggregation was founded (again, no pun intended!), in 2013.
The Abstraction Behind My Eco Lips
“Chloey consistently had an absorption in our lip analgesic business,” Steve Shriver told Yahoo. “She would allocution to her accompany and teachers, and again accompany home lists of capacity and characterization ideas.”
Yahoo Baby Business wondered if it was a difficult accommodation for Steve and Andrea to accomplish their ten-year-old babe so axial to the business advance for My Eco Lips. Chloey’s dad demurred that “the accommodation was a no-brainer”—and ashamed off a host of affidavit why. “Besides the actuality that the abstraction was built-in from Chloey’s absurd lip analgesic additive combinations, our aboriginal business was absolutely called afterwards the added two kids (Hadley Rose and Lindsay Rain), so it was Chloey’s turn. She is additionally the best amorous of our accouchement about Eco Lips.”
Are the added two accouchement anytime anxious of Chloey’s position in the ancestors business? Shriver’s acknowledgment is an amateur yes. “Since Chloey is the youngest, the earlier girls already anticipate she gets aggregate she wants. This is like the icing on the cake. She gets alike added absorption than she did before.”
Although ten-year-old Chloey is not, of course, the acknowledged CEO of My Eco Lips, her dad says that she acts sometimes as if she were. He describes his youngest daughter’s nominal position as arch of the aggregation as “a fun business campaign, meant to affect creativity,” adding, “I would adulation for it to absolutely appear someday.”
Yahoo Baby Business wondered about the take-away for Chloey and her sisters, in agreement of how they anticipate about authoritative money and additionally actuality amenable ecology stewards/citizens. “This is a big question,” says Shriver. “We allocution a lot about money as a family—about authoritative money, spending money, extenuative money and giving money away. As a ancestors we try to consistently admeasurement the ecology appulse of our purchases—from application reusable baptize bottles to affairs clothing. I’m not activity to accomplish us out to be the absolute ‘green’ family, but we absolutely try to alone buy things we need. There are a lot of agency you can abate your ecology impact, and they are mostly the accession of a lot of baby things. The kids see us authoritative efforts in all genitalia of our life, and we achievement some of it sticks with them.”
Eco Lips Classic SPF Lip BalmHe and Andrea are now acknowledging their ancestors alone through the auction of lip balm. But things weren’t accessible at the start. “There were after months area we were accident so abundant money—and I was so fatigued out—that I concluded up in the hospital.” (He anticipation he was accepting a affection attack.) “We’ve been assisting now for bristles years. No one is accepting affluent here, but we accept a different assignment environment.”
Starting a Ancestors Business
Shriver gave Yahoo four nuggets of admonition for adolescent families absent to alpha their own online business:
The Shrivers alone affectation at four barter shows per year—which agency that best of their business attendance is online. “Our online business is 50 percent Eco Lips sales and 50 percent clandestine characterization [putting added people’s logos on the lip balm].” Best of their Eco Lips sales are done at Whole Foods and added accustomed aliment stores. Alone ten percent of their sales are online, absolute to consumers. “Our primary focus is affairs the Eco Lips brand. But added companies are consistently attractive for high-quality promotional products—so we action clandestine characterization services.”
The Amount of PR
They absitively to accompany in able PR casework from day 1.“It was the best money we anytime spent,” Shriver told us.
We apperceive that the amount of PR can be alarming for any new business owner—and wondered if Shriver was abashed back he begin out how abundant it was activity to cost. “We eased into it with a baby PR firm, so it wasn’t so bad. Already we got into some beyond campaigns, I abstruse that you can’t get the absorption of best PR firms after spending at atomic $10k/month.”
His admonition to ambitious entrepreneurs cerebration about application the casework of PR professionals?
What about that added key agency that determines success online: visibility? We asked Shriver his assessment about hiring professionals to advice with chase agent optimization.
“I accept in acceptable SEO practices,” he told us. “The best affair you can do is to artlessly accept accordant agreeable on your site. The Google bots change action frequently and are accepting bigger at alive what’s absolute and what’s not. We don’t do annihilation added than accept accordant agreeable about our articles and our industry. Deliver on your cast promise, and you will get a acceptable ranking.”
Yahoo Baby Business wondered if this amount changes over time, as a business becomes added established. “Outsourcing SEO ability be added applicative with a new startup, as against to an accustomed business with a beyond following. With My Eco Lips it’s interesting. Consumers aren’t necessarily analytic for ‘customized lip balm’ aloof yet—so we accept to reel them in with added things like agenda affectation ads, Facebook giveaways and ad campaigns.”
Although the aggregation makes and sells three actor lip balms per year, they alarm themselves a bazaar manufacturer. “We’re big abundant to accept some nice assembly accessories and an able operation,” says Shriver, “but baby abundant to advance our superb quality. Our ambition is not to be a huge corporation. Our ambition is to be sustainable.”
Last year, Eco Lips became a certified B corporation. “The B stands for Benefit,” Shriver explains. “We focus on a amateur basal line: people, planet, profit. And we’re audited and abstinent by a third affair on our performance.” The ancestor of three says he wants the aggregation to be a abiding article that continues to serve not alone his ancestors but additionally their employees, their community, their barter and the planet.
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