I’m excited to launch a new blog series, introducing you to some of the brands I have the honor of working alongside in the Think Tank, my mastermind for product-based brands. This community of savvy action takers inspires me every day, and I’m hoping that by sharing a peek inside their entrepreneurial journeys, they’ll add a bit more fuel to your fire, as well.
Meet Kathy Fraser: a Jamaica native making some of the most gorgeous handmade soap you’ve ever seen in her West Orange, NJ studio.
Kathy Fraser of Milked Artisan Bath & Body
How would you describe what you create?
We create aesthetically pleasing products that will elevate your bath time.
In what year did you launch?
Where can we find your products?
Our products can be found online on our website, through select stores across the U.S., and at our local pop-ups in and around NJ.
What inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
I’ve supported companies like my own for about ten years prior to starting my own business, as I needed more natural skincare options. But what I truly wanted was to find a happy medium between soaps that were super gorgeous, and soaps that had an impressive ingredient list of skin-loving ingredients and additives. I decided I could provide that to the market, and Milked was born.
Walk us through a typical workday.
My workday for Milked usually begins after hours and on weekends. I’m a Senior Manager at a global accounting firm and dedicate much of my daytime to that. Because of this, I plan my days and have a running list of things at all times.
Typically, the first 30-45 mins of each day is focused on replying to any emails, and preparing a mini-task list based on the hours I’m available to work. Next, I’ll pull and package any orders that are to be shipped. Closer to the end of the week, those days are focused on prepping batches for production, which usually takes place on the weekend.
Suppose you’re having lunch with a new entrepreneur friend who’s on the cusp of launching her business. She asks you to share an example of something you didn’t really think through when you first launched, but wish you had. What would you say?
Branding. That will forever be the one thing I hadn’t thought through, and it was really due to my ignorance of the concept. I thought it was all about the pretty colors and bomb logo, and boy was I wrong.
That lack of branding cost me focus, and quite possibly hindered my business’ trajectory as there’s a ton of work that needs to get done, that I would’ve preferred to do upfront.
Since enrolling in and completing Brick House Branding, I’m excited to unveil the changes I have planned, and I feel confident that that complete brand story will attract my true tribe.
What was the best business decision you ever made?
The best business decision I ever made, was enrolling in the Think Tank. No, I’m not trying to be schmoozer here, but it’s truly an investment that pays off incredibly for me, as I’ve been able to save so much time and effort in just having answers and resources readily available to me.
What was the biggest stumble you’ve experienced in business, and how did you overcome it?
Whew! I cost my self tens of thousands of dollars by pricing my products based on my competitor’s offerings, and not by what it cost me to produce. I sat down one week, and pulled together all of my ingredients, from every supplier, and calculated my COGS for every product I sold. I adjusted my prices to where they should be at a minimum, and even though it sucked a lot to lose a few customers due to those increases, it felt awesome when sales began to double month over month, and my bottom line grew.
Name three essential tools or resources that your business couldn’t live without, and share a few quick words about why each is important to you.
1. Price-O-Matic: This is the first tool I use when thinking to offer any new product or even a new variation of a current product.
2. The Think Tank Membership: Having business resources and advice at my fingertips has paid for itself tenfold.
3. Klaviyo: I upgraded from another email marketing service, and this solution is worth its weight in gold; the ability to segment my audience based on their activity and preference has been so insightful.
Please share a recent win you’ve enjoyed so we can celebrate with you!
I secured a collaboration with a subscription box that sees 575 – 750 subscribers a quarter. My first order was for 610 bars of soap, and the rave reviews has opened the door for us to work on future projects together.
How has being a member of the Lucky Break Think Tank changed your business?
Being amongst a community of like-minded business owners who share resources, and advice without judgment has made my life as an entrepreneur so much easier. Having access to Lela’s whip-smart brain is the icing on the cake!
What facet of the Think Tank do you find most valuable?
The resource vault has been most helpful. I’ve been able to find equipment that would have taken me days to figure out and vet on my own.
Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, what does your company look like?
The revamped Milked will be on the shelves in West Elm and Nordstrom and CB2 nationwide.
Thanks so much for your time, Kathy! Craving more Milked? Follow along on Instagram.