In this episode, Christian Ward, head of multimedia strategy at Stylus, talks to Jaime Schmidt, founder of deodorant and personal care brand Schmidt's Naturals, about turning passions into businesses, and the skills and strategies that brand founders need to know.
Guests on this Episode
Jaime Schmidt is the founder of deodorant and personal care brands Schmidt's Naturals, which Jaime started in her kitchen in 2010 and grew to the point that the company was acquired by Unilever seven years later. Since acquisition, Jaime has co-founded start-up investment fund Color Capital with her husband and business partner Chris Cantina, and written a book, Supermaker, that offers inspiration and instruction to all budding founders.
Episode Discussion Points
- Jaime's journey from DIY maker to business owner to investor [1:11]
- On staying committed to fulfilling your creative needs [2:50]
- On the Unilever acquisition [4:39]
- On the importance of nurturing community around your brand [5:53]
- On maintaining connections with your customers at scale [7:52]
- On the democratisation of entrepreneurship [9:05]
- How the pandemic has impacted Jaime's work and business strategies [11:09]
- What Jaime and Chris look for when investing in start-ups [13:04]
"It is important to get back to that creative energy that [motivated] running the business in the first place. And so I had little tricks for doing that. One thing was: anytime we created a new product or a new fragrance, I made a point to do that in my home kitchen. So even though I built out this big factory, and had a big team of employees helping me make the product, I still would go back to my kitchen, to focus on that energy." [4:06]
"Customers love to talk and be heard, and to see their suggestions being implemented." [6:55]
"Any business that starts should really focus on [its] niche, that's number one coming out of the gate. But then what's key in a sustainable business is expanding that niche – staying true to your customers, but then really expanding on that definition. [Don't] make assumptions about who your customers are. [Stay] true to [your] roots but [keep] an open mind at the same time." [10:22]
"Be patient. Don't make assumptions and always just be grateful for everything and everyone along the way. I've always been asked in the early days of the business: Who's your greatest inspiration? And it was always hard for me to pinpoint one person – it's really just the community of entrepreneurs that I'm surrounded by. We'd support one another, and that's been [my] greatest ally, for sure." [14:19]