Follow Your True North: Divya Gugnani of Wander Beauty
Hi everyone welcome to superwomen. It's Rebecca Happy New Year. That doesn't get old. Today's guests is divvied Guliani the founder of wander beauty and we talk a lot about how amazing background prepared her for an entirely new type of company that she's having amazing success with check it out. I'm with Devia Good Yanni The CO founder of Wander Beauty. You know those gold eyepatches that I wear all the time that save that. I should've worn today. This is the woman plus more. So we'll get into that and I'm passing the phone over. We should podcast it and wore them at the same time. Oh that would've been so fine. I should have brought them. That's my by do that at work. I type yes on Monday. Mornings and I- baggage claim I love. It is claiming baggage claim. It's the baggage claim gold. I'm asking also comes in rose gold. It's the same formula but I have hereditary really bad dark circles so like it's a miracle worker for me I have to use A. They're like my savior. I need them. I need them in my life. So let's start at the beginning. What is wander beauty? When did you start it? Tell me the whole story. So my career's investment banking finance private equity venture all that kind of stuff. And then I kinda jumped into entrepreneurship And so I've had a few companies prior to wander one in the auto parts base another one of the culinary space my last one and fashion accessories and beauty and so I was working had sold my last business. was working at a large multinational company and realize that. I really love startups and I love working in like my own business and just love being smaller teams and growing and learning every day so that corporate America Environment for me was just a little challenging and so I had. My daughter had two kids within two years. Which is tough you have three so. Yeah but years yeah. Two years is rough. Especially when you're working and traveling was just tough so I had my second child as getting up the morning commuting for my apartment on that braeside to midtown Manhattan and looked like what I look like right now which I was telling you as soon as I walked into Mike. Tired and my under US a little. Pick me up. I need coffee for minor is basically and so I would always put on just a little bit of like skin care makeup. Whatever on the subway on the way to work and I realized that like there were so many women as I was trying to lose that baby weight with by fast forward. Seven near is still in process I would go to the gym and like people who are doing their skin care so many women were doing what I call beauty beyond the bathroom. Women are time starved busy. Active interested in health interest in wellness paring. Down there be routine. Want like fewer better beauty essentials so cluttered and inundated with all these brands. That are telling them that. They need so many products too much. It's too much so consumer. I'm just like so it's like overload. I just can't handle you. I just can't I don't need cream for my left elbow. Thank you so much but I don't. What about the whole routine like that? People have like the twelve step night regimen on my twenty got much time. I just don't like listen. I liked I fancied myself like someone likes to be a little extra when I'm getting ready for that special occasion like go out with the full smokey. I I'll do the self care routine once a month. That is a bazillion steps. Like I like it. It's just not my everyday life. I just every day as live as career. Mom I have limited time and they need to spend it wisely. And so Lindsey my co-founder and I really like bonded over this idea of like. We have too much stuff. We love to work. We love to travel. We need to create a brand that is really for real women and like is created by real women for real women and solve pain points in their everyday life. So we decided we're GONNA do all multitaskers we're like we're going to really create multi-taskers things that are double sided multi formulas. If there's three steps would make it one. So that was the idea behind. Wander and wander. Beauty really is fewer better beauty essentials fewer because they are multitaskers better because it's all cleaned beauty and essential things you reach for every day so when you say clean beauty because That name is tossed around. Yes I was GONNA say Dirty Tampon. But we don't around let me just throw those out straight to the garbage for that one thing which is anyways what is clean beauty for you guys. 'cause I know him. So many are like you know. Natural organic clean to us a safe. Synthetics were free of phthalates mineral oil synthetic fragrance all that we follow E. U. Compliance in the e U. They have very strict. They do better in the EU and we believe that that is like a universal standard. That people should follow and so we follow EU compliance. And that's where we are leaping bunny certified recruiter free like these are all things that we think is just should be a standard not an like not an exception so when we're creating the ram we were never like. Oh we're clean beauty in two thousand fifteen when people weren't talking about it we're like this is just like how we live at thought. Shit you WANNA put on your body. Your skin is your largest organ. You're consuming so many chemicals from your skin. You have no idea what's going in there and we just want to be better educated MOMS. We know we've read labels. Yes we all the time. So did you have beauty experience. I did I loved beauty from Young Age and obviously in my own personal journey. My Mom was really big follower of Iras like a lot of ironic beauty principles and a lot of stuff that went on my face and my body came from the kitchen. The GROCERY AISLES. The farm all of the above And I when I saw my last business spent a lot of time. Um Helping grow our digital beauty business at this big company that it worked I worked at QVC so we had a very large beauty business. And I spent a lot of time helping grow that on the digital side and so had a lot of exposure to lots of incredible brands that were built on that platform and grew so it. Was You know a lot to learn? And I spent a lot of time understanding formulations understanding chemistry like it was a learning process but I had experienced before starting the company so when you started with your co founder. You knew kind of where to go what you wanted all that stuff. I did and I done a lot of that work before. 'cause I've formulated some skin care before it actually ever done anything for wonder so. I had a basis of understanding and information personally. My journey lead me Korea. Because in Korea. I really do believe they're at the forefront of innovation in terms of formulation An ingredients and efficacy and facelifts. Yes interest funniest thing I get off the plane which I take this long ride to get to create and the first thing team asked me like the first trip I ever took. They were like. Do you WanNa get plastic surgery. Sia Dermatologist or get your nails done. I was like. Don't have time for all three but thank you so much. I'll think about it for next trip but literally if I get if I leave there and get a manicure. I'm like game winning. I'm winning but I don't go to visit the plastic surgeon they loo- books there. I'm just wanted it so when you go to a plastic surgeon in Korea. There's a book in the Waiting Room. That literally like you it's menu. It's like a Chinese menu for like Dim Zalm. It's like which one do you want? Which do you want which knows? Do you want and there are pictures so I hear all about this from RT members there. But I skipped on that okay so you went there. You've got your formulas there. Yes and we. We do a vast majority of our development and career and I feel strongly. It's just the quality like we were having this conversation. We're launching new categories in two thousand twenty and one of the categories were launching. Doesn't have the kind of pricing that you see in color cosmetics and skin care which is what we're doing now and it's hard and we're thinking of like. Hey do we work with some domestic labs? We had priced out formula that we really liked and like the performance is just not there like when we survey people and ask them why do by wander beauty and we survey our customers maniacally. We find out from them that the number one reason they buy wonder beauty is the performance of our multi-taskers so performance the reason they keep coming back to our brand and so we cannot like scrimp on that in any way shape or form totally so we gotta go for the most luxurious ingredients. Most effective claims like really do it well. Innovate in the formula innovative. Packaging and delivery system. Or just don't do it. You strike me as someone that is very. I'm trying to figure out the word like you know exactly what you want. There is literally barrier perceived or otherwise like it is your it's surmountable like nothing's going to stop you. I don't take no for an answer. But where does it tend to how you talk and how you talk about selling things and there's no emotion of like pass businesses or? You don't seem to have any baggage. Yeah how do you do that? You just think that I move past it. I don't dwell on it I just learned from it and move on so hey I think that every experience I've had in my career. It's funny someone asked me yesterday. Like what was the worst experience you had at work like can be the worst experience and it was like explaining but had this boss who like everything that came out of my mouth was wrong and like no matter if it was like this tablecloth is blue and it was blue like he'd be like you're wrong. You're wrong it's wrong. It's like periwinkle so I was just like I've had difficult career experiences. I just choose not to have a lesson that I think it just weighs you down when you take too much of it in. I just feel like I'm so focused on the positive I. The power of positive thinking is amazing focused on the positive. I'm focused on my goals. They're always obstacles every day. I'm putting out fires. I know you're doing the same thing like there's not a day where I wake up and I check my phone and there isn't like ninety percent of the time there's some emergency happening. I WanNa Hash. I want a trademark. You can't make this shit up. You can't make this up. You really can't like literally. There's so many nights where I obsess over little things that happen during the day that I wish I didn't obsess over them so I started like putting a piece of paper and a pen next to my bed just like write it down folded and put it away so we would not haunt me all night but that doesn't really work to be honest with you like I've tried it sort of works but then I sort of just keep thinking about it but it's just. This is part of being an entrepreneur. Updates. You've down days. You've amazing celebrations. There's so many obstacles in between but I just think that through it all you know the most important thing people are like. What's your biggest accomplishment? My my biggest accomplishment is that I've survived like you have no idea how hard it is to survive starting creating from scratch and building four companies like eats giving birth many times over and much harder. Yes it is my hand so I just feel like I survived. That's my Schmidt I'm alive and I'm still in bed and that's what I got for you. So do you approach growing your latest business like knowing. Okay I'm GonNa grow to axe then a missile that Mr another and does it change your behavior like creating a legacy brand that you want to have for the next X. Money or so interesting. I feel completely differently about this business brand than I did about anything else interesting so I feel like this. Is it for me like I really feel like this? Is the chapter of my life. That is like this. Wander Elijah chapter it. It's longer. I'm more invested like when I started. My first company started it like into it. It was an auto parts company. But like I kinda jumped into because of circumstances it was not an industry as passionate about so that to me wasn't like legacy it was like build grow. See where you can get it. We had an offer we sold it. We moved on my second business which is total passion project. Like and it's okay to have those and it's okay also is a great lesson and failure is what company burner so I had a media site that did tips tricks and techniques. For food wine mixologist nutrition. I had a contract with NBC. I used to do Local TV and I loved it. And I loved going to work every day. I Love Meeting. So many shafts mixologist and traveling around the country like I really enjoyed it. It's just that scaling it and monetize it with advert. Oriel revenue was like really tough and like it would well it will like we'd get great sponsorships than the phone wouldn't ring for six weeks like it was painful like it was just you go through that pain and like it's okay to have an experience that you really love. You're really committed to but doesn't really go anywhere right like it didn't really go anywhere line before the bag. Yeah Houston goes eight. Okay you love it. You're so excited by but like so passionate. I love to cook. It's such a personal passion for me but it's okay to see the writing on the wall and say you know what this is not how I'm going to leave my mark entrepreneurial community. This is not how I'm going to define the rest of my career. It's okay to say okay now. I'm going to pivot and so I- pivoted started on the trend. I loved building that too but it grew so rapidly. We raise venture funding for growing really fast. We had a lot of technology. We built a proprietary algorithm for intelligent shopping so it was very tech based but the soul of the brand that like I just feel so differently about wander. I don't have to say this came out of such a personal passion and it was the intersection of learning how to build a business three times before this on different scale and also making all those mistakes learning from those mistakes facing those obstacles at this time. I almost feel like it was a culmination of doing it. Better faster cheaper more efficiently and really obsessing over the consumer in a different way that they hadn't done before that has made this so much more meaningfully and I've been more attached to it in that way like I get all the time from people like tell me stories of like whether they really like something or are they really hate it. I hear it both ways and so I really liked that though I love being so completely in tune with what's going on with our client stories. They want you to tell and do you literally right and tell the story or do you leave a voice message. Oh it's so funny. I'm so into voice masters by the way I find it so efficient I love everyone on my team. Knows voice notes all the time. I'm guilty offender of that I find. It weighs year than typing a million things out. I also use. Voice Dictation is why actually most of the time when and responding to DM. I just hit the voice. Nice say everything out and I like correct all like series like mistakes of not understanding my language. Our serious to me so. I'm not allowed to do that. Oh really I have various how you on your theories every might like literally. I tried to give my nephews. A home to my sister's like you will not bring that device into our no. She's not in our house Alexa. She's not allowed that allowed like all of the above. So I'm just like I live with the fact that I need the convenience I'm like this is what is my life. I am aware that I'm being listened to probably I'm relatively okay with it uncomfortable yet. Not GonNa do anything about it But I I do that and I respond to everything and I really liked that personal connection. I think it's a. It's very meaningful for me totally. I think I learned the most remark consumers when I'm reading and hearing and you know anybody engaged not just passively. But they're the back and forth dialogue. Of course yeah and they tell you the good the bad the ugly like do reason. We launch skincare. We first launched with Clark has madison. We launched with complexioned Mascara which has been huge for us. Like those categories are high retention. Replenishment people come back for them. They love them. The formulations are so incredible because they're chemically totally innovative in different than what's out there in the market but the client came back to us like but I want skin from you like all these amazing skin loving ingredients and all of your color like it's Kinda like skin color hybrids want skin from you but I wanna like have a wander cleanser but I want to have a wander moisturizer but I wanNA have a wander body product so all of our path and innovation has really been directed completely by the client and customer feedback and where to use starting wearing is Lindsay. So we have really distinct different roles like she is a very creative soul like her strength is creative. It's visual identity. It's photography videography it's direction. It's the visual identity of our brand. It's a lot of stuff that happens in social on like my strength is in product Formulation which we kind of overlap in an an share in some ways and then really like the business operations of direct to consumer marketing customer -sition operations supply chain all those exciting sexy things that make us that because it doesn't go. I really love it. I'M NOT GONNA lie enjoy it. I actually really like that as my role because I feel like I'm so comfortable with it. I know it and I enjoy it and honestly I feel like a fish out of water when I like sit in these cravings and I don't think she really leads them but once in a while when I am involved in things like I'm just like you just tell me where to look and what to do and I'm just like could with that hugest. Tell me why and I'm ready to do it. And I I participate. I'm a CO founder. And all of our creative is really. It's all real women. It's people who are fans of the brand influencers people were like you know friends of the brand and so that's what all we should have an in house studio. We should everything ourselves. We Really WanNA own entire experience. Three sixty from creating a formula to shooting a campaign. It's all done by US Mao. That's so great. And your savings. How much money I know. We've in house team for everything. We really try and builds people who are like really committed to the brand to help drive all these activities and I think that shows through in every area whether you see facebook video from Austin instagram tutorial A direct mail piece in your mailbox. It's all created by people who will work under after interviewing however many women have interviewed the women who have gone to business school and or worked in finance over index. On how successful they are or they've made a lot less mistakes. What could a woman who's already started her business who didn't go to business school or didn't have the finance background? What what is the quick manual? Or the like cliff's notes on where she can just get a lot fucking smarter. Because I learned this shit way too late like I would have made so many different decisions. Had I had the experience that you had I think the most important thing surrounding yourself with people who are experts and have a domain expertise. I think like find three other brands are three other investors who invest in the space. Who really know it? Well like every time you have questions. Don't be afraid to ask. Ninety percent of what I've learned is from the fact that I have no humidity whatsoever like I mean no follow whatsoever. I'm complete humility like I know what I know. I know what I don't know and every day there's one hundred things. I don't know that I need to do to do my job. I have decisions to make and I don't know the answer. I genuinely have no clue and I'm like I could go right go left. I could totally screw this up. I could do it right but I really don't know which way I'm supposed to be going so it's like asking a friend like I have such an extensive network of people that shamelessly call an email and ask questions to and I feel like the reason I have that is because I also pay it forward. I also really if they need anything. I'm there for them. I'm happy to help in any way I can't and I just feel like building that community around you. There's so many things that I'm not strong in our that. I've become strong and because I've learned made mistakes and found the right support in every area and I also think that as an entrepreneur especially first time on twitter. I see this all the time a lot of times because their learning this and they're on their first like leg of the journey. They're less inclined to hire people. Who were super savvy around them because they find it like threatening or like. They're like oh well. Is this person going to want to hijack my idea on? Run my company because it can feel like that and I've been in that situation before to be quite frank but I think that just overcoming all of that like you are the founder. You're the visionary you have. The strategic vision of the company like sometimes are going to be operational. You're going to like do things and other times you're just going to really add. Value by creating culture or creating vision are creating the next big amazing product for your brand. That's going to be blockbuster. And it's okay to have other people handle things that like. They're going to do better than you're going to do. And so he's WanNa hire someone who's better than I am. That's everything right ninety. So that's the advice to the person. Who's starting out ninety? Nine percent of this is no what you know. Know what you don't know. Be completely self aware and honest about what your strengths and your weaknesses are and then bring the right talent. Whether it's board members advisors investors are team members onto the team. Who can really add value and make the pie bigger in meaningful ways where you don't have expertise and just do it. I love it. That's IT I love it. That's the secret I want to be part of your little. Hell self help group please. Lord so many of their multiple text message threads WHATSAPP groups. It's important decision to make today like we were really thinking about our Amazon strategy today and I was just like I could do this. It could do that. This is kind of working for us and I was like literally called one of my friends. Invested in ten beauty brands. Who knows way more than I do and I was like? I did this analysis at someone on our team like Reynolds numbers and like look at all these compounds like where should I play like what what should I do here? And I'm being honest like I just don't know the answer. I'm so confused. And he literally wrote back. Don't do this do this and this is why and I was like. Oh my God. That's what it was and my gut didn't tell me to do that. I was unsure. Ray I didn't have a gut on the situation I was like I really just don't know what to do. And he just made it so clear to me and it was like. Oh great like this is why I love it. I need to go so I like to ask my guests something. We'd be surprised to know about you mean personal professionally told you that. I cook per and cooked professionally. That's already out of the bag out of the bag. And that's out of the way do that. Oh my God that is like so. I do puzzles like this is really weird so when I was a kid I used to love to build things and my mom used to say like I would make all these crazy. Lego structures and like it was just weird. How much painstaking detail I put into these tiny little pieces and you should drive for Bananas. Because they get stuck in the rug and she was like she couldn't get them out if you like stepping on them three days later. She just passed about my lego making and my kids never really got into legos. Which is fine totally okay. My daughter loves to draw. My son loves sports and I recently have been like doing more complicated puzzles with them but like really. They're not doing them with me. I'm spending like my whole evening last red wine to try and figure out how to do these things. It is one three hundred piece Unicorn puzzle that literally takes me four hours to do and I post on instagram. Like it takes four hours to do that. Semantics started again the next weekend. I'm like three hours in. I just feel like I like to be like thinking but not thinking also need to zone out not thinking about work. Sometimes I feel like when I watched I watch a lot of net flex which is not healthy in many ways but I watch a Lotta net flicks especially late night. When I'm taping emails and I just sometimes I need to like not be looking at a screen and be doing something with my hands and my thinking but not thinking zoning out I like that I might take puzzle making hustle. Makings really good. See you might have already answered this question. But is there a piece of advice? Either you've learned through failure or Someone told you that you'd love to pass on outside of the the one you gave. I think that the most important thing is a trusting your instinct and I'll tell you the baggage claim story because I know you like baggage claim buckled. I mask so my story with this was that I have Ratatouille dark circles. My Dad looks like a bulldog like this fact obey so I was like not winning in the android department. Have always been using counselors the first started using counselors freshman year of high school. Okay and I look for when my parents. My mom is like there will be no makeup. You're fourteen and it was like there will be under. I consider you can like I would take allowance go to CVs by the revlon dealer and it was just like my momma throw it out and then I would go back and buy it again like this would happen in my house so I wouldn't. We launch wander media. We had you know some hero art miscarriage which are like Mile High Mascara unlash Mascara like we were known for kind of Complexion Mascara and we took the Backstrom Godi masked one of our retail partners. And it was like I've been using these for a long time. Like they genuinely deep off. Brighton hydrate minder is like reduce. The parents are fine. Lines like it's got camus from Amazon. Which is potent form of admittedly the formula so incredible. The experience is very luxurious. It feels really good. And it's just an added bonus that looks cool and when I showed it to them. They were just like random like this is random. You need to do this. It doesn't make any sense for your brand. And like I see their point a see that it would be random that I'm selling all this like makeup and then like why would I do this one skin-care school and by the way? Why would I do something for under is but as a career mom like? That's like I. This is the thing I need the most. If there's anything I really need that no one had created in the market. It's this yet and this is such a cause of for me so it was so personal and they couldn't attach to it but they're like oh you know like maybe you should do it on your dot com is like you know what. I am going to do it on my dot com and I'm like and you may not believe in me but I have tested this with so many people. Everybody loved it. We sold five million units of baggage claim gold ibis packets last year. Holy and so my two cents is that like I could have just taken that feedback and just not done anything with it and be like okay. Fine they don't want it. Why am I GONNA make it? They're not going to support it in the wholesale retail environment so I'd have to launch to my dot COM. Am I gonNA move through the stock like I could have had a hosta worries and it just trusted my gut and I was like this works. This is amazing. People are GonNa love it and I'm going to take this risk and take this chance and you just have to do it. And it's like look at the success that listen I've made other decisions. It did not work out for me. That's part of being an entrepreneur. Nothing not every decision works out but when you trust your gut and you know your client and you know that you are your customer then you really get it and you just gotTa go at that. Let it let it be your true north. I love it. This has been awesome being. Do that was Devia Guliani. You should definitely definitely get her products. I swear by her under eyepatches that are also golden color. Feel glamorous even when my eyes are going chat and you can follow her at wonder beauty. Thanks for listening. 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