In a recent episode of our podcast "Let's Talk Shop," I had the pleasure of speaking with Sakina Bouy, co-founder of The Somerset Toiletry Co. With over two decades of experience in the toiletry industry, Sakina shared valuable insights on navigating the ever-changing landscape of business.
Here are the key takeaways from her interview:
1. Embrace Business Expansion:
During challenging economic times, The Somerset Toiletry Co. realized the need to diversify its resources. This led them to expand their product range and embark on private-label manufacturing. By doing so, they not only strengthened their position in the UK market but also expanded their presence in export markets. The lesson is that smart business expansion can be a key driver of growth and resilience.
2. Stay Ahead of Legislation:
Over the past 24 years, the toiletry industry has undergone significant changes, especially in terms of stricter legislation. Since Brexit, compliance with legal requirements has become even more crucial due to the need to list products separately in England and Britain. To thrive in this landscape, businesses must have a deep understanding of the changing legislation and ensure they have knowledgeable personnel who can navigate these complexities effectively.
3. Cultivate Strong Customer Relationships:
Listening to customer demands and understanding market preferences are essential elements of success. The Somerset Toiletry Co. emphasizes the importance of building relationships with retailers and end customers. By engaging with their customers directly at trade shows and through their storefront and café, they gain invaluable insights into preferences, price points, and market trends. These relationships not only foster customer loyalty but also drive product innovation and development.
4. Prioritize Product Development:
Sakina highlights the significance of continuous product development to meet changing trends and fragrance preferences. The Somerset Toiletry Co. has successfully introduced new brands and product lines while keeping their core brands intact. With a focus on design, formulation, and incorporating active ingredients and essential oils, they ensure their products offer both integrity and beauty. The lesson here is that investing in product development and staying attuned to market demands are key to staying competitive in the ever-evolving business landscape.
5. Embrace Environmental Sustainability:
Recognizing the growing importance of environmental sustainability, The Somerset Toiletry Co. has committed to making environmentally sound decisions. Despite the increased costs, they source their soap base from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to support local farmers and avoid endangering animals. Making these ethical choices aligns with their values and resonates with environmentally conscious consumers. This serves as a reminder that businesses must prioritize sustainability, even if it comes at a higher cost, to ensure long-term viability and customer loyalty.
Sakina Bouy's insights from The Somerset Toiletry Co. provide a wealth of knowledge for navigating the rapidly changing business landscape. From embracing expansion to staying compliant with legislation to prioritizing customer relationships and product development, the key takeaways from this episode emphasize the importance of adaptability, innovation, and sustainability. By implementing these strategies, businesses can position themselves for success in an increasingly dynamic and competitive market.