Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah McDaniel.
Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After spending over 15 years in the beauty industry and in marketing roles on both coasts, I started to slowly work on my own concept (very slowly!). I kept chipping away at small bits in terms of product development and branding, testing and tweaking and evolving. About 2 years ago, things took an interesting turn when I had some friends over for wine and workshopping – I brought out all of my ingredients and fragrance oils and we had sort of an impromptu DIY night. That leads me to today, 7 months after leaving corporate life, I have a small batch beauty collection and DIY workshop series that now has my full attention!
Has it been a smooth road?
Ha! If anyone has had a smooth road when starting their business, I would like to meet them! I did my first big market in August 2017 (unique LA). My booth budget was peanuts compared to what I would’ve spent in my corporate days and doing this alone was pretty intimidating. I was loading in for set up and the front wheels of my dolly fell off. Like the wheels literally came off and my boxes of product etc went flying. This was noon on Friday and I still had two show days ahead! Fortunately – and something that is indicative of the maker’s community in general – a couple of folks sprang into action to help this rookie out.
Because 2017 was really all about testing the concept, building awareness and finding my footing. I did over 30 events from August through December which required flexibility to merchandise a variety of booth spaces, from small tables to 10 x 10 corner spots! So physically, that really wore on me. But, it gave me a direct link to so many consumers in all areas of LA and that was so valuable.
The decision to bootstrap the business has been challenging, but it has forced creative solutions and it has required me to work through obstacles without a corporate or funding cushion. Hopefully, the perseverance and victory (in some cases) will prove helpful in future pursuits for funding.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Hush Beauty Labs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Hush Beauty Labs is a small batch beauty collection and DIY beauty workshop series based in LA! Our retail line has a sunny, cheerful aesthetic that reflects our mission to delight. Carefully curated ingredient choices are blended into unique, multi-tasking formulas. Recently, we’ve added DIY kits to the assortment which have been getting rave reviews from users and have sold out at recent markets.
BeautyCraft, our DIY beauty concept, is a fully mobile service that brings the lab to you! We bring all of the ingredients and materials to your party, office or gathering and lead workshops that puts the product development in the hands of the guest.
In addition to our retail assortment and DIY concept, we also do small private label and customization projects. Our first project was with a spin studio in Laguna Beach! In collaboration with their team, we created a candle fragrance and graphic to be sold in their studios. Most recently, we designed a “Get Lit” candle with a small rocket graphic to sell at a private market event at Tesla/SpaceX in Hawthorne.
Collaborations and activations with both local and national brands have been exciting and valuable. Barrio LA was our first wholesale customer – a local goldmine of and champion for LA brands. We’ve partnered with Glamifornia Style Lounge in Malibu, Ra Loft in DTLA and Venice Vintage Paradise on Abbot Kinney as well as the LA locations of J Crew, Athleta and Madewell. In November and December, we had a full time presence in Handcrafted LA, a store in DTLA that sells only made in LA items. Through Unique LA and Artisanal LA, we were able to be exposed to a broader audience, sharing the HBL brand and experience with thousands over the course of a few months.
While I love the products that we make for retail, I have been most excited to bring DIY beauty to the masses. In this world of digital overload, I love having a concept that allows guests to put their phones down, if just for a moment, to make something.
In terms of what sets me apart from others, I would say #1: is experience in the industry and #2: the grit and gumption it takes to build a brand from scratch. #3: would be my genuine love for what I do that comes across in the product and experience of Hush Beauty Labs.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Well, as an ex-New Yorker, several years ago, I had zero interest in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, New York was the ultimate goal for as long as I could remember. A job search brought me to the LA area and in my mind, I was giving it a year! 6 years later, I still call LA home along with my husband and dog. Even in February, I’m running around in flip flops and doing SUP yoga with my friends at Yogaqua. Aside from the weather, the community of indie brands and makers in LA is really incredible and I’ve made some great friends through all of the markets and events.
I love the indie brands and makers that I’ve met over the past year on the LA market circuit and now consider many of them dear friends. We have sort of an unofficial support network and words of support or a high five are just a text away!
Some days, I could do without the driving and the parking (although both are ironically crucial to my business model). I was downtown the other day for an event and I was in two wrong parking garages before I landed in the right one for the event parking!
- Website: www.hushbeautylabs.com
- Phone: 4246534204
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/hushbeautylabs
- Facebook: facebook.com/hushbeautylabs