Photo by Kayla Robins
Skin care is a multi-billion dollar industry overflowing with brands promising beautiful skin and glowing complexions. Many major cosmetic corporations have added skin care lines to their repertoires, and Korean beauty treatments have taken the market—and the Internet—by storm. Amongst them all, one small Canadian brand has carved out a place for themselves. Brittny Robins’ Flawless by Friday brings the best of Korean-inspired gel technology together with natural ingredients for an easy-to-use line for all skin types. Just three years since building her business from side hustle to best-seller, Robins has products in more than 100 stores across North America.
While Flawless by Friday promises results by the weekend, the brand and its success were years in the making. Before landing on the idea of creating a skin care line, Robins sat through a university program that left her uninspired. After graduating, she traveled and worked abroad in Australia and Tanzania, before returning home to take a job in event marketing. The role bored her nearly as much as university did, but she wasn’t sure what to do next, until a conversation with a friend led her back to her passion for beauty.
“He said to me, ‘In your perfect world what would you do because, clearly, you are not being fulfilled.’” Robins said. “I said, ‘Well my passion is in the beauty industry but that can’t be a career. I also thought I’d want to be in sales because I don’t want to sit at a desk all day. I want to talk to people.’ He replied, ‘Brittny what you described is an actual career.’”
That conversation led to an interview at one of the world’s largest beauty brands that landed Robins’ a role in the cosmetic giant’s sales department. The job was everything she had hoped for: sales and marketing experience, relationship building, and of course, getting up close and personal with beauty products she’d admired since she was a thirteen-year-old girl playing makeup artist to her mom and sisters. At first, the job felt like a dream, but about a year and a half in, the excitement started to fade. Beauty was Robins’ passion, but the corporate arena no longer felt like the place to do it.
“When I looked at the way a corporate structure worked, it was like you take a little step every few years. I wanted to take bigger steps faster. It wasn’t fulfilling because I couldn’t move the needle,” she said.
So, Robins decided to start creating a path out of the corporate world. Using the product and market knowledge she gained while working at her job and aiming to fulfill the need for a simpler and less intimidating product, Robins came up with the idea for a five-day skin care kit. She carved out time in her day to work on her idea, listen to business podcasts, and seek out and chat with potential Korean manufacturers. Squeezing the work into her already busy schedule was no easy task, but she made it happen.
“I was so consumed by my new passion. It brought a light back into my life that I didn’t have before. I felt like there was a ceiling where I was and when I was working on my new project, that feeling disappeared.”
It took her three months to turn Flawless by Friday from an idea on a PowerPoint doc into a full-fledged business. But she knew she needed help to grow into a truly profitable brand. It was the support of some key figures in her life that helped to make that possible. The first were her parents who agreed to provide a small business loan so long as she made herself the face of the brand. With some reluctance, she agreed and the money they gave her allowed her to purchase her first shipment of product and insurance. At just 26, while still juggling the demands of her corporate job, Robins negotiated a deal with Trade Secrets that placed Flawless by Friday on the shelves of 65 stores. She used the profit to create 3 new products. By December 2015, with her business growing faster than she’d imagined, she left her corporate job to run Flawless by Friday full time.
Flawless by Friday
The second figure is Robins’ incredible mentor, Bonnie Brooks. Brooks is a titan in the Canadian retail industry with over 40 years of experience. She was the first female president of massive Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). Robins had been a long-time admirer.
“I knew about Bonnie because she was so pivotal in radio advertising while at Hudson’s Bay Company. She’d say, ‘Jackets are on sale today,’ and I’d drive over to HBC and get a jacket,” Robins joked.
After a mutual friend and creative partner, Marc Giacomelli, helped Robins set up a meeting with Brooks, the two met up shortly thereafter. They’d scheduled 30 minutes, but ended up sitting together for three hours. By the end of their meeting, Brooks helped Robins get clear on her brand vision and encouraged her to double her revenue if she wanted to be pitched to big brands like HBC. Robins booked a flight that day for the next big buying show and was in Italy two days later. Brooks’ validation had lit a fire under Robins and drove her to push even harder.
Robins and Brooks have gone on to build a strong relationship, meeting weekly. Thanks to Brooks’ mentorship and sponsorship, Robins has been able to access new opportunities, grow her confidence, and expand her brand into over 100 stores including HBC, Lord & Taylor, Indigo.ca, salons and spas and three shopping networks.
“She made introductions that would have been hard for me to make. It made every door that she opened very warm, so that when I went in and was able to display my passion, it was received in a good way,” Robins said.
Surrounding herself with a team of staff who “bleed the brand,” jumping on ideas as they come to her, and staying focused on making her business better, Robins has made good on the investment both her parents and Bonnie Brooks have made in her vision for Flawless by Friday. With 32 new products prepared to launch by mid-year, Robins is making sure her beauty brand gets all the glow it deserves.
More Info: www.forbes.com
Categories: Money Matters