Interview with Sue Faunt about somethinspecial.com and Volusion
This interview was requested by Volusion and I thought I'd repost it here. Enjoy!
How did Somethin' Special Scents get its start? Way back in 1997 my mom and I opened a candle shop in our hometown of McHenry, IL. The name was inspired by a phrase my Grandpa Skarbek would always say to us kids “you are something special”.
How many scents did you start with, what were they and how were they created? I started out with about 10 pure essential oil scents. I had many customers start to request more body care products and I could not find a reputable supplier. So I cleared out the kitchen, bought the domain name somethinspecial.com (somethingspecial.com was not available!) and created my own line of vegan perfumes and body care goodies.
Were they all popular? No, not even close! But I’ve always kept the 2 most popular ones, Lavender and Patchouli.
How long was it before you decided to expand? My buyers started asking for more mainstream, designer duplicate scents, so I decided to listen to them and give them exactly what they wanted. My very first one was a duplicate of Pink Sugar, which I still carry today. They are always delighted that they can find their favorite scent in products they usually cannot get, like a lotion, body powder and hair conditioner.
Did the process of creating the scents change for you with more demand? I’ve always been a cruelty-free company, but as I grew, I was more mindful of the companies I partnered with and the products I carried. I made sure that our cruelty-free and eco-conscious philosophies were in alignment.
What kinds of things did you have to consider to make this growth possible? I had to really hone in on who was just saying they were cruelty-free and who would actually sign the Leaping Bunny declaration. There were a few that would not, so I had to stop purchasing from them. There were also a few companies that would not reveal if they used DEP in their fragrance oils, so I had to also stop buying from them.
Plus, I learned early on that I had to diversify my income streams. In addition to my own web site on Volusion, I've expanded to include Amazon and Etsy shops. I used to sell on eBay quite heavily, but that no longer works with my business model.
I'm also extremely aware of my carbon footprint on our planet, so I've completely retooled areas that would be better with a more eco-friendly solution. You can check them out at somethinspecial.com/green.
Why did you choose Volusion? I did so, so much research before I chose Volusion way back in 2007. I chose Volusion because it would meet my needs in 2007 and give me the tools I needed to grow in the future. My business looks very different now than it did in 2007 and Volusion has been with me every step of the way. Plus I really wanted a provider with zero downtime and hacking protection and Volusion has met those needs spectacularly.
What advice would you give small business owners? Do your research, be patient but always take action. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. I love the quote “The best time to plant a tree is yesterday, but the second best time is right now”.
Face any big surprises along the way? Like a million!! I’ve launched products that I thought would be a guaranteed best seller to only hear crickets. But I always learn along the way and implement what I’ve learned into my business.
Do you have a favorite built-in Volusion feature? I like that is has plenty of room to grow and evolve and I love the rewards program feature, the wish list feature and the reviews feature. Plus they offer other packages that give you access to their SEO and Social Media experts. Game changers.
Oddest scent you've ever had a request for? Skunk. Weird, right?
Anything else you'd like to add. Being a small business owner has been one of the greatest adventures in my life. I love my products, my customers and making beautifully scented items to ship to people all over the world. If you are ever thinking about launching your own business, do it!! I love the quote by Howard Thurman “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com, I’m happy to answer any questions.