The Right Way to Handle Your Competition
Success Story Update: Jessica Principe and All Girl Shave Club
I love how business ideas often come to you when you least expect it—like in the shower as you’re shaving your legs with your husband’s razor. Yup, that’s literally how Jessica Principe came up with the idea to start a women-focused subscription service for high-quality razors and body products. Her husband was already a member of something similar, so his razors always had fresh, new blades. Naturally, she was constantly choosing his razor over hers.
A daily habit of stealing her husband’s razor turned into a life-changing thought: Why isn’t there something like this for women? The best business ideas are the ones that offer a solution to a problem, and she had one.
I met Jessica Principe at our Business Boutique event in Nashville in 2016. Get this: It was actually her husband who found out about the event and encouraged her to attend. I love that! He watched his wife spend three months researching and making plans to build this subscription company. And he interfered at just the right moment—when he noticed imposter syndrome begin to rear its ugly head.
At the event, Jessica recalls taking a photo in front of a backdrop that read, “Do it scared.” She put the photo up in her office. And a few months later, she launched All Girl Shave Club! When we first sat down with her in 2017 to hear her story, her business had generated more than $70,000 in revenue. A year later, she’s killing it!
I checked in with Jessica to hear the latest on how her business is growing.
Christy Wright: When we last spoke in the spring of 2017, you were building your business on the side while working 30 hours a week for your mother. Where is your business today?
Jessica Principe: So much has changed! I actually made the transition to full-time entrepreneur one year after attending my first Business Boutique event in Nashville! It’s been such a wild ride!
I started the business in the guest bedroom of our home, but we quickly outgrew that space. So we transformed our large, unfinished basement into our warehouse and are operating from there presently. I want to stay in-house as long as I can because I love the freedom and flexibility it provides (hello, midday dip in the pool!), but we know our time here is limited as we continue to grow.
We’ve also been adding to our team since then. I’ve hired a customer service ninja, a CFO and a fellow Business Boutiquer as my Operations Catalyst. And my newest official team member is my husband, TJ! All of our other team members are contracted and virtual. That’s one thing that I love about this digital age. It’s so much easier and more affordable to grow your team with contract help.
To date, we’ve served over 5,000 customers across all 50 states and throughout Canada. We nearly doubled revenue in 2018 with a 75% growth rate, and we’re continuing to grow every day!
CW: That’s incredible! I love how much growth your business is experiencing just a year later. Have you seen any competition come into the marketplace?
JP: Oh, yes! In fact, it was one of the hardest parts of business for me. In late 2017, a new competitor entered the marketplace. They had raised millions of dollars in venture capital funds and were directly competing against us. I went through a period of about three days where I just cried all day, every day. I thought, This is it. I’m done. I can’t compete against this.
I called up a colleague who was also a mentor of mine. He didn’t let me get away with it that easy. I’ll never forget what he said to me: “Jessica, I have never seen anyone speak as passionately about their business as you do. The way I see it, you have two choices. One: You can raise funds. I’ll teach you how to pitch and find investors and you can go toe-to-toe with them. Two: You can carve out your own niche and keep going.”
I decided to go with option number two. Despite the competition, we nearly doubled our business the next year, and we have big plans for 2019!
All of it supports what I learned at Business Boutique: There is room for you too. It doesn’t matter who enters the market. It doesn’t matter if they are bigger, flashier, have more money, have more experience—whatever. You can still follow your dreams and find success. Several competitors have come (and some have gone) over the past two years. And while it’s important that we are aware of them, we don’t obsess or worry. We analyze their offerings against our own, and we just stay focused on what makes us unique and how we can provide value and service to our customers to the best of our ability.
CW: That’s such a great perspective. I’ll never forget the story of your husband sending you a link to the Business Boutique event in Nashville. I’m so glad you attended and didn’t give up on your dream!
JP: Business Boutique helped me in more ways than I can even count! I feel like I always tell you this whenever I see you: I don’t know if I would be where I am without having attended the event in Nashville in 2016. It literally changed my life and changed my family’s life. It gave me the courage and the fire that I needed to launch my business.
Prior to Business Boutique, I was scared to death and questioned myself time after time if I had what it takes and if I could really compete in such a huge industry. But Business Boutique taught me that there is room for all of us. It taught me that I wasn’t doing something wrong because I was afraid.
It also taught me what imposter syndrome was, which I realized was exactly what I had been battling with! I didn’t even know it was a real thing. I thought it was just me! To this day, it is the number one thing that people ask me about when they are trying to start their business.
Business Boutique confirmed in me that my dream was worth pursuing, and I was worth taking a chance on. I left there no longer willing to allow fear to limit my life. I get to be home when my kids get off the bus. I get to build my schedule around the things that are most important to me. I get to create and do things that I love to do that helps provide for my family. I get to help others pursue their own dreams. I don’t know if I would be able to say these things if I hadn’t attended Business Boutique when I did.
I’ve also had the opportunity to attend other Business Boutique events since. I find that even as my business changes, I still walk away from each Business Boutique event with perspective shifts and actionable strategies that help me grow both personally and in my business.
CW: Yes! I love that! What big dreams do you have for the future of your business?
JP: I love dreaming big and could talk about this all day! Sometimes my husband has to reel me back in! But all kidding aside, we’re introducing a new product line this year and have plans to release the start of our own body care line to complement and simplify our current offerings. Again, all this comes as a result of listening to our customers and staying true to the values of our company.
My big dream for the business is we are able to continue to grow. We can give back to our community—and someday see our products on store shelves.
On a professional level, I’m looking forward to new opportunities where I can speak and share my story to help inspire other women who have a dream in their heart too. I’ve been journaling a lot throughout this journey and have a goal to write a book sharing the details that will hopefully help to inspire and teach others through my experiences (and mistakes!). I think, as women, it’s so important that we share knowledge and help each other rise collectively.
Y’all, isn’t her journey amazing? Stories like hers energize me. She had a team of people ready to encourage her when she had doubts. From her husband to her mentor and the Business Boutique community, she was equipped to win because she had the right people on her side.
That’s exactly why we created the Business Boutique Academy. It’s my online business training group where I get in your business with you.
I’ve got some exciting news:
We’re gearing up for our Academy Spring open enrollment right now!
Whether you’re trying to get your business idea off the ground or you’ve been building your business and hoping to scale, the Academy will help you get there. With over 100 video lessons and a community of women to help you win, the Academy will give you the focus, confidence and support you need to start making money doing what you love.
The Academy opens March 18, so get the membership on your March budget and join the wait list to be alerted when it’s time to enroll! I can’t wait to see you there.