Come listen in as Cory talks to his partner Ana about eCommerce sales and marketing. Learn how Ana's startup, TheVidaBars.com, hit 6 figures in sales in 9 months. She juggled a full-time gig, two kiddos as a single parent, and got her Masters degree while launching this awesome business.
The Vida Bars was born out Ana's personal mission to create hair products that are free of harsh chemicals and have a minimal impact on the environment.
Machine Transcript – Hitting 6 Figures in Sales in 9 Months, During a Pandemic
Cory Miller 00:01
Hey everybody welcome, everybody. Welcome back to another commercejourney.com webinar. We've got a great webinar today before I introduce our awesome guest, and she starts to unpack her story. I want to say thanks to our sponsor, GoDaddy Pro, if you go to commercejourney.com/go, you'll see the offer that GoDaddy has got, it's got a really good solution for those of you that want to start stores. eCommerce stores, similar to what thevidabars.com that we talked about quite a bit on our Commerce Journey posts. So without further ado, thank you, GoDaddy Pro, but I want to say welcome, Ana, I've been talking about you yours has been ringing probably every Tuesday. But now they actually get to hear from you. So welcome, Ana, to the show.
Ana Nunez 00:47
Well, hi, Cory. I hope I live up to the hype.
Cory Miller 00:50
You do in so many ways. We started putting the title together, which was that your story, starting an eCommerce business, hitting six figures in nine months, that alone is a title by itself. But we also have all these caveats in a pandemic. You've got two kiddos at home, by the way you happen to finish your master's degree, while also holding down a full time job.
Ana Nunez 01:19
Cory Miller 01:20
Did I even capture
Ana Nunez 01:22
Everything on my plate?
Cory Miller 01:24
Yeah, did I even capture all the caveats?
Ana Nunez 01:27
A whole lot of things on my plate. There's probably a few more here and there. I don't even notice them.
Ana Nunez 01:33
I know, it's so awesome a story enough and I so much loved working with you at thevidabars.com. So I want to dive in because it's time to finally share your story. I've been along with you on this ride very much in the backseat trying to help but you just plod forward and do so many amazing things. But I'm pumped to just again share your journey. But let's start like at the beginning. Okay, let's go back. And let's say, I know you've always had this heart and interest as long as I've known you for 10 years now, in some kind of business doing some kind of business. So like thevidabars.com isn't your first endeavor. Right?
Ana Nunez 02:16
So it's my first, like, I guess serious one, the first one that I actually will make money with I mean because we've sold a lot. I'm still not making money, but I know we're gonna make money. But yes, it's the first one that I like it's actually profitable. But I've tried a lot of things. Yes, for sure.
Cory Miller 02:39
And I asked that because you can…
Ana Nunez 02:56
Okay, sorry, Cory, I lost you for a minute. I don't know what happened.
Cory Miller 02:59
It's me. This is crazy. Tech always does it. So I'm sorry. I was saying, I don't know what happened. But anyway, I was saying that. You could read this headline, what we just kind of talked about in the first few minutes here and say Ana's an overnight success. And I know, for most all of us entrepreneurs, we didn't just wake up one day and go, Huh, I think I'll make these shampoo and conditioner bars for curly hair people. And magically do all this. Like, this was years in the making. From your interest in like I've dabbled in all kinds of things over the years, when I finally hit my big thing, which was formally Well, still known as iThemes. And I only mentioned that because, I mean, you have been testing this and I don't want to give a false belief that somebody might think you just magically wake up and go, I'm going to do this. This is my $100,000 in nine months kind of idea. You've been doing this for what you've been, you have this interest that seems like I don't want to put words in your mouth but like, interest in doing something in a business over the years?
Ana Nunez 04:07
Oh, yeah, for sure. Um, I'm a single mom, and I've been you know, it's just my income alone. I don't get any kind of support with my kids or anything. So um, you know, I've looked at ways that I can supplement my income and be able to provide a little better for my kids have more stability. So yeah, I've been looking at different ways that I could do that. Right. Like I have a corporate job and that's great and all it gives me some stability but Kelly has coming up about to be in college and I want to be able to help her with that. So um, I've done everything from like making like decorating stuff for like, just kind of small stuff like wall decor and things like that, too. I made like, I believe like 1000 pairs of handwritten like, leather sandals and I have handcrafted in Mexico. I still have hundreds of sandals in my garage right now. Like, I'm literally talking like boxes stacked in my garage. So if anybody's looking for sandals…
Ana Nunez 05:16
But, um, so yeah, it's definitely not an overnight like, I mean, I've tried other things. Maybe I wasn't so serious about them. But I have tried other things. And regarding Vida Bars, it wasn't just like, oh, okay, we launched in April. And here we are now, it's, oh my gosh, I had so much backward to do even with. So this all kind of started with my own personal brand, I started an Instagram account where I shared tips for curly hair. And that alone was two years in the making to get, you know, accumulate followers and things like that, and really learn to not just the followers, but also learn what my personal brand is even about curly hair, how to communicate with people. So, I mean, that was also two years in the making. And then when I said okay, like, we have to do I, I saw there was a gap in what the consumer needed and what the market had to offer as far as curly hair, environmentally friendly products. And so once I realized that, and I thought, Okay, well, this is something that maybe I can fulfill. It was still another good eight to 10 months before we even got to the point where Okay, let's maybe launch now, so, so yeah, definitely not overnight.
Ana Nunez 06:45
What why I want to say all that one is to dispel some myths that, you know, it's just I go buy a lottery ticket for example, I'm gonna magically win, you know, and, and do all this, there was so much work, and I've seen it firsthand. And there's one quality that stands out so much that I've seen in you, that I think is a composite of what most of the startup startup entrepreneurs need, which is the hustle. Like, you are not allergic to hard work. In fact, the obvious opposite, you don't get where you been. And I know this because I've had a front row seat to it. But I've also seen it in my life is that you don't get here without a ton of hard work that no one recognizes. No one sees most anyone does, maybe your kids, maybe your closest family member see. But like, when when we started talking again, and just specifically about this business, you're like, yeah, I've got this Instagram account we looked at it was like 40,000 people, you have 40,000 people on the Instagram account. And I know, you don't just do that overnight, like it is consistent hustle. So can we start back with the Instagram account? Because when we start when we started kind of talking about this thing that eventually became known as the Vida Bars, the insert the Instagram, I was like, I think, how far did my jaw go to the ground? Because you showed up? And you, you essentially were like, this is what I've been doing for two years. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you have all the good problems. You don't have to go build an audience. You have an audience? How did the Instagram account get there? And the reason for everybody listening and the reason why I'm kind of focusing on Instagram for a second is because most of us, me included, go, I've got an idea, and then have to go build the audience. You did it, which I think is the perfect way, which is you did the tireless work of building an audience saw what you wanted to do with this audience that resonates with you. By the way, it looks like you have curly hair. So you're the customer too. So how did that all transpire? I mean, you started with one follower, I'm sure.
Ana Nunez 08:55
Yeah. So um, I do have to say, I think some of these opportunities kind of have somewhat landed in my lap. But it's okay, so now that it's here, what do you actually do with it is how I feel about it. So it all started like so I used to hate my curly hair, and I didn't know how to take care of it and I had like ruined if any anybody listening has curly hair, they probably know the struggle. And and so I finally one day said okay, I'm gonna stop fighting it and actually do something about it, like, embrace it. So I started learning how to take care of my curly hair. And it was a drastic change. So I was on a Facebook group for girls with curly hair that were trying to like embrace their curly hair. And I was sharing pictures and everybody started asking me like, hey, do you have an Instagram? But of course I just had my personal Instagram like I was like, why would y'all want to like my personal Instagram will come to find out. There's a whole community on Instagram of girls with curly hair that are like trying to figure out how to take care of But what styles to do, what products to use, etc, etc. So once people started asking me, I was like.
Ana Nunez 10:06
Okay, well, I guess I will document my, like journey my hair journey and share what I learned with other people. So I kind of just started doing that and started watching other girls and seeing like, Okay, how did tutorials work? Like, what kind of things to do. But one of the main things for me was I've always stayed authentic. Like, that's number one. You know, hopefully they like me for me, but otherwise, like, I'm not going to. It's not in me to try and lie or pretend to be something I'm not. So I've always just kind of, for lack of better words, kept it real with people. Um, and I think people can connect to that. And I think that, that's one of the things that really attracted people and I gained me a lot of followers was that, yes, like I'm sharing knowledge that I have about my hair, and about how other people can take care of their hair. But there's already a lot of that out there. So I'm just making sure that as I do that, I also stay authentic, and I'm genuine about those things. So I think that that's how I built it. But yes, for sure, a lot of hustle I mean, a lot of having to learn how to do things, a lot of having to, you know, like, things I had no idea. I mean, I've never bought a ring light before, like, why would I need a ring like, and it's sometimes it's, it's even awkward, right? Because I, I'm not an influencer, what the heck, like, but you kind of just learned to take that on to and develop yourself within that realm.
Ana Nunez 11:40
So you know Ana I'm hearing some of this for the first time, because we met at for coffee, just down the street here a year and like a month or two ago. And you that's when you shut off your Instagram. And I was like, it's not just 40,000 people at the time. And I know, you know, you always get some spam stuff in there. And , you know, people with big accounts, like you've got, it just happens, people want to, you know, tag on me too, and stuff like that. But so when I say 40,000, you've corrected me actually before because, you know, it's just a fact of being on the internet is you always get some spam or whatever, because I say I've got 16,000 followers on Twitter 1000 of those maybe even pay attention, you know, but I started scrolling through and going, you had incredible engagement with people talking, you got this little community within your Instagram. And I know you've got the bug for travel, just like my wife, Lindsey. And now I've got the bug too for travel. And I know you would, you know, just scroll through the photos. I see you're posting a photo, and I want to say what you got last year.
Ana Nunez 12:51
I went to Spain, but I think that was maybe the photos from like, Bali or Dubai?
Ana Nunez 12:55
Yeah, Bali. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I was like, okay, you showed up consistently and Instagram. You said first, like a Facebook group, you got involved, and then you started the Instagram. So that was kind of the genesis of it. But there had to be to get 40,000 some catalytic moments in there. Can you recall some of those moments where you're like, you know, you went to bed, woke up the next day, and you're like, I just gained 5000 followers, or I gained 2000 people on your Instagram? Or was it just a continual kind of build.
Ana Nunez 13:29
So it was definitely a continual kind of build. It did. Maybe about two months into having my account, I did start seeing like that number kind of snowball. And but again, I mean, I did a lot of work for that, not only in creating the content, but I was going back to those same Facebook groups that I was in, and building relationships with the owners of the group, the founders of the group and saying, hey, so I started this account, can I post about it. And then I started networking with other influencers within that like curly community and reaching out to them reposting their stuff. And then you know, in return, like they would repost my stuff, and I'd reach out to them and introduce myself kind of thing. So a lot of networking goes on behind the scenes, too. So I don't think I would have been able to build that audience by myself. It really took me being able to connect with other people, not just my followers, but with other people that had followers. And they liked me and my content enough to say, Okay, I'm going to share it with my followers so that they can find you to kind of thing and, and I I'll be honest, um, I changed my account at one point because it used to be curls by pearls. It was only focused on curly hair.
Ana Nunez 14:49
And at one point I made the decision that I just, I didn't want to switch or sorry, I switched it because I didn't want to just share about that. I thought I had more to share at that point than curly hair, because I had made like a few posts here and there that really resonated and engaged people more than just about hair. And so I did some research, and I even talked to other influencers per se, that had done something similar. And they told me, you're probably going to take a hit like you're going to lose followers, you're not going to have as much engagement, like, you're going to have to kind of rebuild in some way your brand, because now you're switching. And to me, it was worth it. And I definitely did see a lot of that, but it's what I wanted to do. And again, with that staying true to myself and genuine to my audience, I let them know, like, here's why I'm doing this, if you know if my content no longer serves you, I appreciate the time that we did spend together that you allowed me, you know, to share whatever with you. And, you know, release them to release myself and release them to
Ana Nunez 15:57
They're such, you've just demonstrated this principle you see all over on the web in particular, which is they come for content. So they were coming for the curls, but they stay for the connection. And I love how you did transition day, you know, your interest and passionate sounds like to me and please correct me, but was curly hair and get into these groups. And then you're like, I want I want to share more of my life, not just curly hair with the world. And it seems like that is a huge catalyst because they came for the content, they stayed for the connection to you your story. And we've been working with some video people to help with taking the brand next level or in next stage. We'll talk about that in a second. But your story, it's your story, like you you are the product in so many senses to me having watched this, you know, for the spectator at times, but it seems like that was that does that does do you does that resonate, did like, came for the curls got the curls, but they also stayed maybe even built for the for the connection with your story like, Oh my god, she's in Bali right now. You know, and by the way?
Ana Nunez 17:10
Oh, no. Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, I mean, I did, I did lose some followers. And not just like 10 or 20, I lost maybe a couple 1000 followers, and it within the first month of that switch as I think they started seeing the content change. But I was okay with that. And I knew that that might happen. And I was totally okay with that. Because the people that did stay, did connect with me and did connect with that new kind of content that I was sharing, which was important to me, because like I said at that point. There is a lot of content out there for curly hair. And that's a great thing. But there's not a lot of content about what I want to share about my story about things that will resonate and connect with people in that way. And so I was, you know, I was fine with that. And I think that, but it's also okay to look at it from the, from the point of view of the people receiving the content that hey, if I came for this, and I really don't like your other content, like it's fine for them to unfollow you like, that's okay, too.
Ana Nunez 18:18
I love that staying true to yourself such a good message. And for me to remind me stay true to those values. And you have been every step of the way. I remember, I'm sidebar in here, but I remember you go Hey, see, I said wow, I love them. I saw the operation which happens to be in your garage. And I was like, wow, all those boxes. I love it because that means shipping product and you're like, yeah, we're sourcing these from this company. I don't, I just don't like the way they do work in the world. It kind of violates our values, and I'm gonna look for another supplier and I was like, I thought to myself Initially, I was like, that's gonna cost money. You know, it we we may not be able to get the same process for that. But what I love about it, well, I love being your, your associate, your socio is because you stick to the values you you've stayed true to that, ever since I've known you and I think that reflects in the brand and everything you do. Okay. So we're building and back to this part. You talked about some things I just want to for everybody to hear again. You connected with these influencers. That means sometimes at night, you're maybe on the phone, you know, sending a message to someone or trying to repost it. That is the grueling work, so many people aren't willing to put into but is this foundational work to me, that you just put in because the snowball that you're trying to build later on? It's the work when you first try to put the snowball, you know, clumped together and you try to roll and you're like, oh, man, this is this is tough work. But you just kept doing it, you know?
Ana Nunez 19:54
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and that sometimes means taking time away from my kids or taking time away from You know, just sitting down and unwinding, because it's not, you know, you also have to be genuine about those connections. So it's not just like, Hey, I'm going to message this person, but it's really getting to know that person seeing, okay, like, I like them. I like their brand. I like what their values and what they stand for. So I'm going to connect with them. But it does pay off at the end. I mean, and you, of course, you don't do it, because you want something out of them. But you do it for that genuine connection, right, but it does at the end pay off.
Ana Nunez 20:26
So for example, those same influencers that I connected with at the beginning, and again, it did take time to make that connection to even take their content and right like watching their videos, liking their videos and like commenting, reposting all of that it does take time. But then whenever I launched my business, you know, whenever we said, Hey, we have Vida Bars now, those same influencers, who normally would charge a company, hundreds to even 1000s of dollars to use, you know, to promote their products or whatever, I reached out to them. And not only were they willing to do that for me, but they were also testers, a lot of them actually tested the bars before we even released them. They did, they did us the favor of saying, hey, yeah, let me try out your product and give you feedback. So that you know, because they've already tried hundreds of other products that are out there in the market name brand, all of this stuff. And they're willing to do that, because now we have that connection, because I've networked with them for this long, you know, period of time. Now we have a history. So it's really cool. I mean, it they, the investment pays off.
Ana Nunez 21:34
Yes. And what I wrote down here was building relationships. And sometimes I think I gloss over the obvious, which is, you're just building authentic, again, your words, authentic relationships with people, you cared about what they had to say you believed in what they had to say. And then they shared it with other people. And that's that foundational slog type work, that just building relationships just takes time, I think I saw a research thing that said, just to build a friendship, it takes like 200 hours of quality time, so I can't imagine those two years. And still, this is not you didn't just stop, you're still building and continue to cherish and you know, those relationships you've built over the over the years?
Ana Nunez 22:18
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, and you kind of have to it is, you know, sometimes I stopped myself, and I think this is kind of maybe frivolous? You know, because it's an online thing. It's Instagram, like, it seems kind of silly, but at the end of the day, who was behind those Instagram accounts, it's another person. And just like I'm behind, and you know, like, sometimes I would get, or I get dm site, you know, asking questions, not even like addressing me as a person. And so I think that sometimes maybe, because we think, Oh, it's social media, it's a big account or whatever. Like, we don't think about the that there really is a person behind there. And the same with brand goal, especially smaller brands like ours, right. Like, at the end of the day, Vida Bars. It's a brand, but there's people behind it. There's your family, my family, you know, so I think keeping that in mind. So for me, that's always been very important is to think that behind everything, they're still people.
Ana Nunez 23:12
Yeah, what a good what a good word. Okay. And reminder, but it's about people. Okay, so you're building, you're building the audience, at some point? How did you come about? I want to do shampoo and conditioner bars. For my audience, how did the product…
Ana Nunez 23:34
So, again, I like I said earlier, sometimes it seems like the opportunities are presented to me. And but you kind of have to look for them too, right. And so, because I was, you know, I had this large audience, a lot of companies were sending me hair products, too. And I was getting paid to promote these products as well. And again, going back to like keeping it real, I only always worked with companies or products that I actually genuinely liked and actually used on my hair. So but you know, a lot of other companies were sending me products to test out or whatever. And at one point, I look, because I would get a lot of questions like what products do you use, and I took a picture and there were like, hundreds of bottles of products in this picture. I'm talking like, seriously, at least 100 bottles, right? And that was grotesque to me. Like I look at that.
Ana Nunez 24:24
And because I try to live like a more of a simple life, obviously. I mean, I go travel to Bali and Dubai and all of these things. But I do try and for the most part, like live a little simple. And so I looked at things like that, you know, that's so overwhelming and gross. Like, nobody needs this amount of products. And I would explain that to people. I would say, hey, like I have all of these products, but it's only because like, companies send them I wouldn't go out and buy all of these things. But anyway, so I see this picture and it's like so many plastic bottles, and right within that week, I'm watching the news and I'm there Started, they were talking about how our recycling system is broken, and how like, we were really exploiting Southeast Asian countries, because we were sending all of our recyclables out to them. And take you know, exploiting that they have cheap manual labor because a lot of the recycling has to be done by hand has to like all of the stickers have to be taken off and a lot of that kind of stuff. And but that I'll be Southeast Asian countries came to an agreement that they were no longer going to be doing that, that they weren't going to take to our trash.
Ana Nunez 25:30
So basically, now we don't have anywhere to send all of the recycles to get processed. And so, you know, this whole time, I haven't felt that guilty, maybe about like, all of these products, because I know that I'm throwing them out in my Recycle Bin. Like, every other week, when the recycle comes my bin is full, because I put it you know, I put all my stuff in there. And so now I'm thinking, Oh my gosh, not only is it my trash or my, you know, plastic that's not getting recycled, but now I'm telling 1000s of other people literally 1000s of other people, hey, go out and buy this product that's in a plastic bottle. So I'm, like, it occurred to me, like I have to do something different, like I cannot keep perpetuating this. And now you know, again, now it's not just me now I'm telling other people to, you know, to create more waste.
Ana Nunez 26:24
So I looked for products. And there are other companies, there's, you know, great products already out there in the market, that are plastic free or eco friendly. But none of them really catered to curly hair, none of them have ingredients that are good for our hair. And you know, they do have other ingredients that we shouldn't use for our curly hair. And so I looked and looked and there wasn't anything. So that's when I say sometimes opportunities are kind of presented to me, that's where I was like, Okay, well, something has to be done about this, right? Like, I mean, there's a lot of curly girls that would probably enjoy having an environmentally friendly option. And I am by no means an environmentalist. I am not like a tree hugger or anything like that. But I am somebody that cares. And so I think that, you know, like I figured there was probably a lot of people like me that like, yeah, my carbon footprint is pretty high, probably. But at the same time, if there is a small change that I can do, then I will do it, maybe I'm not willing to like make huge sacrifices. And I know that sounds horrible. But again, keeping it real. I'm not willing to make huge, huge sacrifices. But you know, if I can change out my plastic straws for an aluminum one, I have done that, things like that, or you know, take my, my bags to the grocery store, instead of getting their plastic bags, I do that kind of thing. So I figured, you know, there's probably people like me that are willing to ditch that plastic bottle if there is a good alternative. And so that was it.
Cory Miller 28:01
Okay, okay. Did you just everybody that's listening? Did you just hear the words like me, there's probably people like me going through the same thing, how can I make a little step in the right direction, like me, and that's what's incredible. And when you first started talking about curly hair, I go, I've got a six year old redhead at home that has curly hair, that we're always trying to figure out a way to keep those beautiful, amazing curls. And we also resonate with the authenticity and part of the story about curly hair, and some people, you know, try to straighten it out over years and hide it. And we've seen some of those wrestles, and we've had those conversations, but I love those words like me, because it's if I'm having this, maybe some other people are too. So that's so incredible. So then, okay, the environmental perspective, absolutely, it's baked into the two bars. Then you get to the decision to do all of the work, research everything to I think we met in like November, and he and I, and we were just kind of talking about business and excited.
Cory Miller 29:04
And when you said, Okay, I think I might have asked, okay, what's next or something and you just go, I'll come back to you in January. I was like, okay, that's a couple months off, okay. And to be honest with you, Ana, you know, like, I've had so many people over the years, because I've had some measure of success and entrepreneur entrepreneurship come to me with ideas. And I go if you start with an idea, it's everybody has an idea. They're not new under the sun. But sure enough, like three months later, you go, let's, let's go meet for coffee again. We sit down and you go, you go here is version one. I was like, Oh my gosh, it's tangible. Here is version two. I was like, and you basically said, Take these home use these with Lillian. I was like, Oh my God, she showed up. She did the work. Like you. You had this determination to do all of this hard work that I could imagine what you had to do to get to those two sample bars that you presented.
Ana Nunez 30:02
I mean, it definitely was a lot of work. But it was exciting work because it was something that I believed in, right. Like, once I got this idea in my head, and again, I have had other ideas that I thought were good. And even had other tangible things, like I said, I have, so how, you know, a few 100, maybe I don't even know how many pairs of sandals in my garage. So I've had ideas that even more tangible, but this was something that I really believed it because I believed it was going to impact I think that's one of the words that is huge for me regarding Vida Bars, is the impact that we have the impact that we're going to have on the or we've already had on 1000s of women with curly hair, and the impact that we're having on our community, because we're giving back to our community and the impact that we're going to have, or that we already having in the world by reading of this plastic bottles, right?
Ana Nunez 30:57
So it was something that yes, I put a lot of work to even for those first two versions of the bars. But it's even now, like, it's so exciting to me, you know, we've got two new formulas launching in a couple weeks. And man, they've been like, a story my side because I, you know, I keep having, we were having issues with them and this and that there was something that I really, really believed in. And so when I, you know, came to you and said that, I mean, you know, now I look back on those bars, and I'm like, Oh my God, oh, they were really ugly. And even the first ones that we launched with, we're so uglier. There's this column rustic looking. Um, but the formulas were good. And it was something that I believed in, it was something that I knew it was going to be great. And, and it was worth all that research. And, again, I don't have any chemistry background, you know, so I, I had a lot of trial and error a lot. But it was I mean, it's been worth it.
Ana Nunez 31:56
Yeah. And and we had it vetted, you got all of this legwork, and then we just had kind of had it checked out with a chemist. In fact, we're gonna meet one this week to talk about next steps. But, you know, the message for me is that I know, I've heard it actually, for me, there was points that you probably go, gosh, this is a lot of work, I want to quit, you know, or just just the slog happened and what, what helped you What, what, you know, one, I think that's, that's valid, I've heard it, and I that's my sore, too. There's so many times I want to just go with this. But you didn't you consistently showed up? Can you speak to that? Like, what? How did you keep going? I mean, we talked about passion, what you believe in, which is so critical, you know, you believed in something you wanted to help somebody. But I know there's probably more times you go. This is so much like you're talking about these new two formulas you're wrestling with, you know, can you talk to that experience a little bit where you kind of go want to quit, you know?
Ana Nunez 33:03
So I will be honest with you, some of it has, or a lot of it probably has been accountability. And, and that's accountability, to having like a business partner accountability to my kids have to see the success in this accountability to, even to my audience, because I put it out there, and that I was putting this or that I was coming out with this product. And so it's, you know, right now I was being accountable to them that I told them, Hey, this is coming. This is like before, we had a name before anything like that very first ugly bar. I made a video about it. And I think this is the one that I showed you. I mean, I had like 700 comments on that video, because people were excited about this product, right? And so it's like, okay, like, I'm accountable to all of these people that I've told it, but not only because I told them but because now they're excited about this product that we really need that is needed in the, you know, in the haircare curly hair care market.
Ana Nunez 34:05
And so, um, and then also, I mean, those days where I wanted to quit were like, I think we had sold maybe two or three batches. And we were redesigning, and we were changing out the molding and how we were doing, how we were actually making the shampoo bars. And I was done. Cory I was so done. I wasn't coming out, right, like the formula was squishy. It wasn't drunk. It was just, it was just not coming like coming out right? It was not going our way. And I told my daughter I was like, You know what, like, we've made enough money to pay Cory back his investment. And I think that's it like I can't do this. But that also kept me accountable like to her because she saw that we had a good product and that people liked it. And so sometimes I have to say like I did lose a little bit of that motivation but But just having other people that believed in me, and having to tell them like, Oh, I quit was just something that I couldn't do, you know,
Ana Nunez 35:11
Gosh, just hearing that and thinking about my life that weighs so heavy, it does keep us going, like people are expecting us to show up in some form or fashion or form. And then just like you have two kiddos to, and, you know, they're watching too. And, you know, that's, that's such a good word. And I can totally see that. And I also know, as your small partner in this, that you have done 99.99% of the hard work, you know, and I couldn't imagine being in the garage, trying to figure that out, being frustrated, you know, because you're learning as you're going, like you said, you're not chemists, neither am I. And, and learning, manufacturing, learning. Oh, and also trying to maintain the audience and content and send emails and is the store working right is this you know, working right.
Cory Miller 36:02
And so I can't imagine that slog, and I'm so appreciative of you sharing that, because it's been my experience to the same thing, like not everything was glamorous, everybody only sees the glamour side, the headline that we did for the webinar today are headlines from my own entrepreneurial journey. And they don't, and I it's not a reminder to scare people often say, like, to get what you want, you have to choose, you said earlier about simple. And you mentioned travel, but I know you make sacrifices to do travel, you live simple, this has much more meaning, you know, for you to choose to be able to go to Bali to choose to go to Spain, you I don't think of it as a sacrifice personally, but it's a trade. Like, I don't need this car, or I don't need whatever this is cuz I want that. And I choose that over this. So I love that.
Ana Nunez 36:54
Yeah, so that's what kind of what I was saying earlier. You know, like, I sometimes I live, like a more simple kind of life. But it's, it's more than that, like, I choose what my priorities are, I guess, like what's important to me. So yeah, like you were saying, like, I mean, I drove a 10 year old car for forever, because, you know, I that was paid off. And then so instead of making monthly payments to my car, you know, I can take a huge trip overseas or something like that. But yes, I, I think you have to be willing to if you're going to go big and do this, right? Or your own business, e commerce, whatever it is, be willing to put a lot of work before you're before you can pay yourself. And so, um, you know, we like even now, you I haven't paid myself, you know, there's like, I literally haven't paid myself, we are making money and putting all the money right back into it. And, I mean, I have literally two full time jobs right now, you know, I have either bars because like you're saying, you know, it's not just the manufacturing, but it's also the I Am, you know, doing the marketing and doing the content and doing this and doing that. But it's, it's something I'm okay with, like I'm fine with because I know, in the long run, I'm going to get what I want out of it. Which one? Yes, it's definitely income. It's that financial stability, but it's also what I want out of it. Like I said, making the impact, like that's huge, huge, huge for me.
Ana Nunez 38:29
Ah, so much there. But we would need like five more hours to journey which has been so inspiring. Okay, so last question. And then if you have questions for Ana, please post those in the q&a button right below our video here. But okay, where are you are today, where you been? your entire life? What advice would you give for someone going I want to do, I want to start a online business. I want to start an e commerce store. What couple of tips and pieces of advice and recommendations would you have for those people listening?
Ana Nunez 39:04
I would say believe in not only your product, but believe in yourself and believe if you're going to have a business partner, or if you're going to have you know somebody else with you along the way, like whatever team you're building, believe in yourself Believe in your product and believe in those people because that's, I think that that's the number one thing because whenever things aren't going your way because whenever you're you know having to do a full time job that you're not getting paid because whenever you start doubting yourself or you know all of those things because they will come at the end of the day, if you can sit back and you can believe in yourself your product and the people around you that you know are directly impacting your business, then that will help you say okay, it's fine, you know, you you can look at the bigger picture, I think at that point and say, Okay, I'm just having a bad day or a bad batch of bars. or whatever. But, you know, in the long run in the big picture like, you can still see it, you can still believe it if you believe in that foundation.
Ana Nunez 40:13
Yeah, so, so good. I'll share some things I extract from your story and why I have thoroughly we've been friends for a long time, but I loved being your business partner, too, is you've done the work, the tireless work, I keep hitting on that, because so, you know, no one remembers or new 1213 years ago, when I was staying up till 2am, doing client work learning web design in order to do next step next to fix it that led to it, nobody saw and recognized that work. And that all built to something bigger that they see headline for. And that is another thing I see again, why I'm so pumped when we started tacos, because you did the hard work that is building the audience of engaged people like that in itself. Like I said, we can could have taken a couple months and rolled out a product. But it would have probably set with crickets if you hadn't done the work of building this audience.
Cory Miller 41:13
And what I also think, and I'd love to hear your feedback, too, is like, you're interested in something and it happened to be a topic called curly hair. And you leaned into this interest. But then you also mentioned, you tried a bunch of stuff. And to me, I interpreted as insane with me falling back about my own career. And what I'm trying to do right now is being a place, the best place to be lucky to have the things fall in your lap, which we all know, is because you showed up and he's you were there for them to do that, you know. And so showing up doing the consistent hard work, but what I see from your story is start with interest. And it evolved into this thing of like this is made this is you use this word believe all the values that you have is like wrapped around this authenticity and belief. And I love that and it grew into something and then you had eyes open vision, cared about the market, cared about the customers and the your, your community on Instagram, and that it kind of intersected to this thing called thevidabars.com. And I think that is there's so much takeaway from your story. And because it's so inspiring. That's why I've waited and waited, and try that out. I can't wait to share help just give you a venue to share this story because I think it's so inspiring. But it's not like the typical stories that we all want to believe, you know, it's the it's the one filled with the hard work, the belief in what you're doing. And being open to these serendipitous moments that you think, Wow, how did this land in my lap? And I just I love this story. Do you have any thoughts about any of that? That but that's what I kind of extract out.
Ana Nunez 42:54
So I will I'm gonna share something with you. So here is that first bar that I ever showed you? It's literally like crumbling, look at that. It's like I don't want to cripple it too much, because I want to keep it, preserve some of it. But like, it's a crumbly, like, terrible bar. But it was like a foundation that I could build on. I said, Okay, if I made that, and here's our I don't know, there we go. So, you know, is much better now. They actually are branded and everything. But, um, it wasn't that foundation that we could build, right? I said, Okay, if I can make that I can build on that. And I think that that's, again, you know, like, I believe I can do it. But also put in that hard work to say how do I take it from this to this, you know, like, where do we go? And so yeah, like just being willing to do the hard work, while also like keeping in mind like what is your end purpose kind of thing?
Cory Miller 43:57
Okay, 2021 I already know it. I know some of the plans, what's in store for Vida Bars and Ana for 2021.
Ana Nunez 44:10
So I think we're taking our brand to the next level as far as like what people see right because a lot of people already know a lot of my backstory know a lot of the backstory about me the bars, etc. But that's the audience that has been coming along with us on this right from the beginning. But there's also a lot of audience that is out there are a lot of customers that are out there that would benefit from our products. And so now we want to like get them to like come to us like find them, bring them back to us. And so being able to message our story a little better message our branding a little better. So we're redoing our entire website, our entire marketing and branding. Up to now we I think that it's very much worth mentioning that you know, during a pandemic is when we launched like right smack at the beginning of the pandemic. At the end of April, and, and we have not spent any money on marketing. So we hit six figures, and you say nine months, it was actually within eight months. But yeah, potatoes, potatoes, whatever.
Cory Miller 45:14
Let's try. We did launch in April,
Ana Nunez 45:17
At the end of April. Yeah, we launched on Earth Day, which I believe is the 22nd of April. So anyway, and we've done all of that with zero marketing dollars spent, right. And so now that we have the, the money to spend the capital to go and invest into marketing, so now we're doing that so we can reach a larger audience. And you know, now that we have a foundation of people that believe in our products that have given us great reviews, that are telling other people about it, and they can come and say, Okay, this is a really cool brand, not just because their products are good, because their story, but their actual aesthetic. I think, right now, I mean, aesthetic is huge, especially for our demographic that women between 25 to 45. Age is huge. So you know, catering a little better to that. And then like I said, we have two new products launching here soon. And just keep developing the brand and getting people to ditch their plastic. Single usage. Yeah.
Ana Nunez 46:23
And use the cool thing called thevidabars.com check out thevidabars.com, and Ana's story you can follow it on Instagram too, you can see all that on the site. But in probably a month, that's going to look all brand new, I look at you know, last year being really proving the product, the customers, the products, marrying that. The manufacturing process, which I've never done, or been involved in, I should say, physical product up until the Vida Bars and it's amazing. I got to come over and help one day and I was like, This is tiring work. This is like a had to confess to you, I was like, I don't think I've worked this hard in a very long time. You know, because my work is, you know, this is like shaping with your hands, measuring it out doing, you know, all that kind of stuff. And now I'm so excited what happens in 2021 and beyond with your story, and I'm so thankful to be a part of the journey. Okay, you can find Ana, would you tell us a little bit where we can find you too? I already said thevidabars.com in please.
Ana Nunez 47:34
Yeah, absolutely. So they can find them our products and there is something that I want to share. And that's you know, whenever we were looking, we first launched the Vida Bars I think we were I especially was looking at more of the broader market, right because it is a product that while I formulated and and was thinking about curly hair, when I created it, it is a product that is good for any kind of hair, right? You can use it people with straight here can use it, like it's good for everybody. But knowing that, okay, if I created it for curly hair, it's okay to lean into that niche, right. And it actually has been better for us to do that. Because they know, hey, this product is for me. And even though it might be a smaller segment of the market, it's still a segment of the market that's going to know that this product is for them versus just the general market to the general audience that Okay, cool. It's for everybody.
Ana Nunez 48:34
So is every product out there. So I think that that's something that I really, I think learned and took to heart, especially within the last few months and is it okay, it is okay. And so I say that because I was gonna say you know, you guys can go and buy me the bars, try them out in whatever kind of hair you have. It is good for you. But we do care about our curly people like that's who they were made for. Anyway, so they can find them at thevidabars.com and they can find us on Instagram as at the Vida Bars. They can find us on Facebook with Vida Bars not ‘the’ Vida Bars, but just Vida Bars on Facebook. And then I am on Instagram as Vida by Pearls and I am on Twitter as Ana Pearls but my Twitter is just like my personal stuff. So it's not a huge deal. It's actually more of my full daytime job stuff.
Ana Nunez 49:32
Well, we've been talking with Ana from thevidabars.com I so appreciate you being open to share your stories and inspire others to do their work. Do the work to build the audience to figure it out to put their selves in the right place. Thank you again to GoDaddy Pro go to commercejourney.com/go check out the offer that GoDaddy Pro has for you, Ana and everybody thank you for being here today and sharing your story and listening to her story and getting inspired by it.
Ana Nunez 50:00
Cory Miller 50:02
Ana Nunez 50:03
👉 Be sure to join our Facebook group and subscribe to our newsletter for our latest webinars, podcasts, blog posts, and a weekly roundup of the best eCommerce reading being published today! ✉️
📖 And if you're just starting out, our free eBook is here for you: How to Start an eCommerce Business in Ten Easy Steps. 🚀