Our member, Brenda Foster of Bubs and Scrubs in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, has earned two minority woman business certifications: National Women's Business Enterprise Certification and National Minority Supplier Development Council! But before I get to that, I want to share a video Brenda made showing the love and care she puts into her products. In this video, she slices of her amazing handmade soap, and describes some of the ingredients she uses, and how she makes it.
I love how natural and authentic Brenda's voice sounds, and how she proudly displays each bar after it's cut. I also enjoy watching and hearing the sound of the soap slicer as it cuts each bar, along with the loving canine sounds in the background. Brenda took a moment to share a bit about how she's growing her business and what the new certifications mean to her.
dM: What is your approach to business growth?
Generally, my approach to building Bubs and Scrubs has been somewhat methodical. I've been growing the business slowly with lots of experimentation in terms of the product, how I go-to-market (wholesale, consignment, e-commerce, events, etc), production process, etc. I want this business to succeed, and am comfortable with slow growth so long as it's profitable; to me that's the key to creating something that's sustainable.
dM: What are some of the basic building blocks of your success?
I know that in order to grow to the scale I envision, there are some building blocks I need to put in place. These include establishing my business as an LLC, obtaining trademarks, formalizing GMP policies and practices and obtaining certifications.
dM: Tell me about your certifications, and why you obtained them?
I now have two certifications, one as a minority-owned business (through the MSDC) and the other as a woman-owned business (through the WBENC). For wholesale, the key is volume. Without high volume, the opportunity won't pay back. I've had some smaller retailers approach me for wholesale, but I had to decline as it just wasn't profitable; at least not with my current operation.
So, in order to get a foot in the door with the larger retailers, it makes sense to leverage the various supplier diversity programs which require third-party certification. The certification requires lots of documentation and isn't free but it's an investment into the business. I'm looking forward to more open doors and opportunities as a result.
Just because you start small, doesn't mean you should think small.
I love Brenda's approach. As a fellow mom, I also admire the example she is setting for her two beautiful daughters, who can often be found helping her in the soap studio and at fairs and markets.
QUESTION: Do you leverage the power of state-sponsored certifications in your business? Share your storey with us!