Shopify Expert Insights

E-Com Advice from our experienced in-house team

In one of our recent episodes, I had the pleasure of chatting with David Gaylord, the dynamic CEO of Bush Balm Skincare. This brand's story, evolving from a small project at a Shopify offsite to becoming a top player in Ottawa's business scene, is both inspiring and instructive.

Humble Beginnings

Bush Balm's story began back in 2016. It all started with a simple conversation during a honeymoon, of all places. The founders, Tim and Mel, along with David, brought together their collective expertise in operations, design, and marketing to address a niche in bikini line skincare. With just a $3,000 initial investment, they embarked on this journey, balancing it with their day jobs at Shopify.

Turning Points and Key Strategies

  • Product Evolution: Initially planning to create a balm, they switched to oil and scrub products, adapting to their available resources.
  • Audience Understanding: A key turning point was an Etsy show, where direct feedback helped them refine their messaging and focus on ingrown hair prevention.
  • Branding and Storytelling: Investing in professional photography and ad creatives helped crystallize their brand story.
  • Leveraging Shopify Experience: While Shopify provided a solid foundation in business operations and systems, the team learned that the nuances of e-commerce marketing and product development were distinct challenges.

Scaling the Business

  • The Leap to Full-Time: Transitioning to Bush Balm full-time was driven by reaching $2 million in revenue with a lean team.
  • Dragon's Den Exposure: Their appearance on Dragon's Den, though it did not result in a finalized deal, provided valuable exposure and financial discipline.
  • Growth Strategies:
    • Expanding to over 3000 waxing salons and 1000 Ulta beauty doors.
    • Focusing on seasonality and understanding when to scale up or pull back marketing spend.
    • Building a robust wholesale network through smart automation and relationship management.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Focus on building a great product and an organic community around your brand. Prepare for slower growth and scale thoughtfully. Invest in foundational elements like email marketing flows, clear website navigation, and mobile optimization.

Looking Ahead

As Bush Balm continues to grow, they plan to expand their reach in the waxing salon market, deepen their relationship with retailers like Ulta, and explore international markets. With a bold strategy of launching multiple new products, they aim to redefine industry norms and continue their impressive growth trajectory.

David Gaylord's journey with Bush Balm is a testament to the power of strategic pivoting, understanding your market, and the relentless pursuit of growth. His story offers valuable insights for any entrepreneur looking to make their mark in the e-commerce world.