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Beauty business without walls

Published: 
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Entrepreneur finds success online
Kathryn Nurse

Social media has proven to be profitable for 32-year-old entrepreneur Kathryn Nurse. It was the platform that has helped her find a market for her start-up, Immortelle Beauty.

The success of the brand, a range of beauty products, recently earned Nurse Scotiabank’s Vision Achiever Class of 2018, Social Media Champion 2018 award.

The former New Jersey lab technician, who once worked at formulating cosmetics for a company in the United States, returned to T&T to start a business creating beauty products for the Caribbean woman.

After studying the market and what was available, she identified an opportunity and began pursuing her dream in 2011. Through social media she managed to reach her target market in T&T as well as internationally. Her monthly marketing budget ranges between between $5,000 and $15,000, with savings realised from not having the overhead expenses associated with a brick and mortar store.

“I work from home and use a contract manufacturer, a company located in Laventille that does packaging, labelling and filling the containers,” she explained.

Nurse is now sold on social media as the best platform for entrepreneurs to get the word out about products and services.

“Cosmetics are very visual things. They look very pretty and easy to photograph, but the area of social media where I get the most engagement is when I show people how I am using the product,” Nurse said.

“On Instagram there is a feature called Instagram story where I can literally talk to the followers, answer questions, show them how the products work and engage them on a deeper level, because it’s almost like you are talking directly to them.”

She said her online store allows her to reach overseas customers in the US who can make purchases from where ever they are.

The social media platform also enables her to get an audience with people who have a lot of contacts and she can send samples of her products to them. Reviews are then obtained or feedback is given.

“It can be very time consuming to do the posting, so I do hire somebody to post some of the content on Facebook and on Instagram,” she said.

Undaunted by competition from other companies selling similar products, Nurse said because she can talk directly to her customers, they are be able to differentiate the product.

She explained: “You can show how you are different from all of these competitors who might look very similar, so you can adapt your social media persona to match your brand image and to differentiateyourself  and make yourself stand out.”

Athough she occasionally advertises with traditional media, Nurse prefers social media because it allows her to zoom in on her target market.

“Within Instagram it will show your product to people who are interested in beauty, as opposed to showing it to everybody, rather than have it go into one ear and out the other, to people who don’t have a specific interest,”she said.

“That’s why I prefer the online marketing and online advertisements, feedback is instant.”

The Vision Achiever Programme Nurse said she was motivated to join the programme when she got to a point in the business where she needed structure and a better understanding of managing.

Since winning her award, Nurse has been encouraging other upcoming entrepreneurs to participate in Scotia’s programme.

“We had to learn cash management, figuring out how to do financial statements, planning and system sessions—that is putting things in place so the system becomes more automated.

“There was a team management session about how to deal with your employees and setting your job descriptions. It was very holistic and included all the different elements of business management,” she said.

The programme ran from October to December 2017, following which the bank measured the social media traction of all the participating businesses.

“At the end of December, Scotia recorded us doing our elevator pitches, which we have been training to do during the programme.

It was put on Facebook on Scotia’s page and then we had to encourage our friends and family to vote on the business. Entry into the programme was free.”

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