LIZ DUFOUR THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Just 14 months ago, Lauren Wiley, 26, created Whipped Goods, an online business that sells natural bath, body and home goods.
Ohio woman whips up natural beauty products
By John Faherty • THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER
Lauren Wiley remembers exactly when she realized she was in real trouble. It was Nov. 24 of last year and Wiley’s new business, Whipped Goods, was 2 months old. • Things had been going fine until that day, known in retail as “Small Business Saturday.” That morning, the orders started coming in. By the day’s end, more than 300 customers had ordered Wiley’s products. Two days later, “Cyber Monday,” it happened again.
“I remember sitting there, at the end of the Monday, and saying to myself: ‘I am going to need some help,’” Wiley, 26, said from her home in Madisonville.
Whipped Goods started as a skin- and hair-care company. The market line has grown since then, but not the business model. Wiley utilizes cooking techniques — mostly whipping, hence the company name — to transform organic and “raw” materials into creams and lotions and soaps.
The company is a product of the confidence of its creator. Wiley believed in what she was making. She was certain that Cincinnati was the right place to build a company like this. And she hoped people would want to spend their money on a company they felt good about. Even one that made nearly everything in a kitchen mixing bowl.
“I’m that girl from Ohio who makes everything by hand,” Wiley said. “This company is designed for the woman who wants to know the origin of her products. For women who like the narrative of a product.”
Wiley remembers sitting in front of her grandmother’s mirror, with all its makeup and lotions, when she was as young as 4 years old. Her mom and dad also let her play in the kitchen, trying to make scented oils, as she was growing up.
- But after graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in urban studies, Wiley was no longer a little girl playing with makeup. She was a young woman who needed to earn a living. So while she made hair and skin products for herself, she started working at School Outfitters in Norwood. She learned about e-commerce and marketing and customer service.
From August until October 2012, she sold school furnishings during the day and made and sold beauty products at night. She told her father she could make a living on Whipped Goods. “I told her to keep working and to show me her numbers after eight weeks,” Robert Doggett said. “After six weeks she showed me, and I told her to give notice. This was what she should be doing.”
So she did. And because she was working from home, because she was doing everything herself, because the raw materials are not expensive, she could start up Whipped Goods without going into debt.
- “We’ve been profitable from the first day,” Wiley said proudly. “I knew there was a market. It already existed.”
Wiley buys her grape oil, avocado oil and butters from restaurant supply companies. She mixes them into what she calls a souffle, adding scents to make them smell just right, often using lavender and ginger and eucalyptus from her own garden. “Whipping changes everything,” Wiley said. Then she puts them into containers using pastry bags so they look beautiful. And this, she knew, was important. Customers like to feel they are indulging themselves.
Wiley’s customers started taking photos of their new hair product or skin lotion and placing them on Pinterest or Instagram. Her customers were becoming her marketers.
- “If it were not for Twitter and Instagram, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “It opens so many markets. To date, we’ve had as many orders from Paris as we’ve had from Cleveland.”
Is this a stunning story or what? Lauren may have started her enterprise on the low-down, but understood the necessary ingredients it takes to project into the stratosphere she wanted. And she is doing it on her own terms. I love this success story. There is much one can learn here. Like any good entrepreneur — she isn’t afraid of work, getting in and doing it!
And I love that she got the need for elegance and/or beauty. This is one of my own triggers. Having had a devotion to ‘beauty’ my entire life; nature, photography, the arts – painting, Crazy about beautiful jars. I have saved some old cosmetic jars from maybe 30 – 40 years ago. My favorites are deep, dark blue like lapis lazuli or deep amethyst color. Put my own home-made cosmetics into them. Anyway my friends, where there is a will, there’s a way. Just sayin’. . . . Jan)