Today in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know the lovely Michelle Hutchinson who, along with her husband, runs Happy Spritz in Capo Beach (Orange County), California. Welcome, Michelle!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?
Michelle: When I was working as a designer in the fashion retail industry in San Francisco, I was completely stressed out and was having trouble getting to sleep at night. I started researching holistic alternatives to prescription pills, and that is how I stumbled across the world of essential oils! I couldn’t find anything on the market that appealed to me (AND my husband) in both scent and design, so I created my own line of products – and that’s how Happy Spritz was born!
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Michelle: From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to bring essential oil & aromatherapy products to the mainstream market and to both men + women. We also wanted to bridge the gap between luxe green beauty/grooming products and essential oil products.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Michelle: We create premium, modern and functional aromatherapy products that are designed to take you through the day from morning to night. I, however, like to think we are creating a lot more than just a product. We are focused on building a brand around positivity, green beauty and giving back!
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Michelle: You can find our products online at www.HappySpritz.com and in over 160 boutiques across the US + Canada. Nationally, we are sold at Urban Outfitters and West Elm Market locations.
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Michelle: Right now my typical work day is around 10 hours long. I start each morning by 9 (I am NOT a morning person) and ease into the day by answering emails from our retail partners, suppliers and customers. Every day is different and includes a mix of different tasks, so some days, I am designing new branding materials like product labels, or a seasonal website banner. Other days, we are creating new blend recipes and products in our studio which is also really fun. I also post to our Instagram and SnapChat (@happyspritz) accounts throughout the day. That is one of the things that I love most about having my own company – the days are never the same.
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Michelle: 1. You MUST have intense passion for your idea, business, product because your life literally revolves around it, especially for the first couple of years!
2. Make sure there is a real NEED for your product. If the market is oversaturated already with what you are wanting to launch, then you are going to have a very hard time selling it to potential retailers. Find something that doesn’t already exist; or if it does exist, your product has to be even better!
3. You can’t be good at everything! Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, and find people to help in the areas that you need it.
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Michelle: Whenever I feel completely overwhelmed, I head to the beach with my two pups, a blanket, and a bottle of our Breathe Deeply Happy Spritz. I sit on the sand for a few minutes and collect my thoughts; it gives me an instant reset.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Michelle: Growing organically during our first year was a smart move for us. We didn’t get ahead of ourselves. In the very beginning, we created our labels by hand and made every bottle one at a time, until we were able to test our collection and set up a solid foundation to then scale and grow.
Networking has also been huge for us, and it has paid off. People are very willing to help out and everybody knows somebody. We have found a ton of big sales leads by just talking to our group of friends.
Lastly, learn how to say NO… saying YES to everyone will burn you out quickly.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Michelle: It took us an entire year to develop our bottles, and we ran into many stressful obstacles along the way. Three batches of bottles all came back in different shades and texture. One order of our mister tops came back faulty, and we didn’t realize it until they were out in the market. To own your own business, you have to be able to deal with stress very well. I use it to fuel me; instead of looking at the problems, I instead search for solutions. You are always putting out fires, big and small.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Michelle: We are so very passionate about animal welfare, and as a part of our mission we donate a portion of our proceeds to different animal rescue organizations and efforts. I rescued both of my (now senior) dogs, and before that I didn’t realize the heartbreaking overpopulation problem that exists within our animal shelter system. Only 1 in 3 dogs that enter a city shelter get out alive, and over 2.7 animals are euthanized each year. As we grow, it is our goal to set up a foundation to help even more. #adoptdontshop
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Michelle: 1. My MacBook
2. FreshBooks – online cloud accounting
3. Google – Google for searches, Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, apps…everything!
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Michelle: Our company will have expanded into a few other aromatherapy product lines and we will be available globally. We will also have set up our non-profit foundation that focuses on rescuing and adopting animals from high kill shelters across Southern CA. We want to continue to create, inspire and make a social impact along the way.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Michelle: Chips & salsa verde… after all, we have the best Mexican food ever in Southern California!
LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…
Michelle: Depends on the day and mood I am having, but it usually goes from Jack Johnson, Joshua Radin, and Brett Dennen…to JayZ, 2Pac & Notorious BIG.
LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.
Michelle: I have to play Scrabble with Friends before I go to bed at night.
LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?
Michelle: ANYTHING around finance (bleh!) Luckily, my husband (who is the other half to Happy Spritz) has a background in all things finance, so that has been pretty amazing.
LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?
Michelle: “The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately.” – Unknown. I have this quote framed in my studio and I look at it every day.
LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?
Michelle: I would donate all of the money to 10 different animal rescue organizations in North America.
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love what you’re doing with Happy Spritz, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for your brand. We’re cheering you on!
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!