Roberta Perry started ScrubzBody Skin Care when her own skin was suffering, and she figured out a way to make it feel and look better. She recalls, “After sharing it with my late sister, Michelle, she suggested I sell it to others. It was a way to share my sugar scrub creation and the concept of pampering oneself with others, and also get the chance to work with my late sister. It really began when I was so chapped on my elbow that when I scratched it, it bled. All over the papers I was working with at a meeting. I was so embarrassed. I left the meeting and headed to a skin care store, where the manager introduced me to a scrub. I liked it but didn’t love it, so I searched out another. And then another. And then another still. After a while, Roberta decided to make some herself, using only the things that made the great scrubs great and eliminating all the things that made an OK scrub just OK. That was in 2006, and she has grown the business and enjoyed the ride ever since.
Below are highlights of the interview conducted between World’s Leaders and Roberta Perry:
Describe who you are as a person, inside and outside of the workplace.
I like to think of myself as a positive, happy with her fate in life, forward-thinking person. It doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of sh*t, most especially losing my sister, business partner, and best friend, Michelle, but I am grateful for everything I have and really embrace what life has to offer. I love exploring new places and eating new foods. I have always been OK with trying and failing and trying again. I am also a wife, a mom of 3 grown adults, a mother-in-law, a grandmom of 3 incredible boys, a daughter, a sister a friend, and a mentor.
Describe your background and what did you do before you started/joined the company?
My background after college was graphic design, so I did that for five years in NYC before having my first son and starting my freelance design company. Along the way, I started selling telecommunications when the industry was exploding and honing my sales and customer service techniques. I was the marketing director of a failed start-up in Texas, but the 2 years involved in that gave me the chance to learn about web design and trademarks, dealing with the public, and free publicity. I really believe that every job and position I have had prior has been a stepping stone to my business.
What has made you successful? What do you value?
I have said this before and I will say it again: money is necessary to keep my business alive, well, and thriving. However, my greatest success is the relationships I have been lucky enough to develop with my business associates and my customers. I have the greatest people surrounding me, and that is my biggest joy and business accomplishment. I got to start this business with my late sister, and I get to work with my childhood bestie. I get to sell other products in my shop that were made by great friends whom I found through my larger business group. These are the things I value most.
Which are the major services of the company and how does the company get ahead in the competition? What value-added services does the company provide?
My company creates 100% active ingredient skincare. Our specialty is sugar body and face scrubs, but our shea butter lotions and balms run a really tight second in that race. Everything is created with only botanical oils and butters. We have never strayed from our original recipe and still create each jar by hand. But the key to our growth and success is our customer service. We adore each and every customer and make them feel that way. We are so grateful that people choose to spend their hard-earned money with us, so we go out of our way in every way.
What are the most important aspects of the company’s culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
As mentioned before, the entire aspect of my business is customer care. Because we are a skincare company, we recognize how personal that is. We also realize that most people are running around taking care of others more than themselves, and we want to change that. We sell self-love. We sell self-care. We sell pampering. It just happens to come in jars and bottles. That is the philosophy that we stand behind. People deserve to be pampered, and we have the products to help in that quest.
What is the significance of innovative ideas in a company?
To me, being innovative means finding new ways to create revenue. It also means finding the best ways to reach my audience. It may be a new company or program to donate to, which is both a feel good charitable contribution and also a way for 25–50 new people to try our product. It may mean a new scent or product that a customer may have requested. It may also mean pivoting back to what worked in the first place. For other companies, it might mean trying out new systems or new protocols so that operations run more smoothly. But the main word here is innovative. Letting employees share their ideas and contribute is one of the keys to a fabulous organization that will always grow.
Give us your opinion on; do organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes?
I believe you have to have systems and processes in place. However, if you hired someone because you believed in their capabilities, you have to allow them to make some decisions on their own as well. Teaching them to think like the business is a way to ensure they will do just that.
What are your responsibilities as the Founder/CEO of the company? What is the happiest part of your daily routine?
I run the business, but Wendy, my Production Manager and dearest friend since childhood, makes it easy for me. She does the product heavy lifting and oversees the production staff. I do the rest. The best part of my day is filled with customers. I love making people feel good about pampering themselves. The rest is filled with the usual business and marketing things. I answer PR questions through HARO (Help a Reporter Out), I create content either with my weekly email campaign or the social sites I actually use. I do the banking and the ordering. I create new fragrance ideas and products.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
The best advice I give all the time is to listen. Listen to your customers of course, but also your staff. Lead with a solid plan and good ideas, but listen to the people you work with. If you want them to be loyal and help you build a solid business, then you need to empower them to speak up and not be afraid to offer their ideas.
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