They say necessity is the mother of invention and Tara Fisher-Muñoz was very much a mom in need of a solution for her daughter who suffered from allergies. Many parents can relate with the frustration of watching as your little one suffers from skin irritation and not knowing which ingredient is causing it.
Not one to sit idle, Tara decided to take matters into her own hands and began experimenting with creating products from scratch. This way she knew exactly what went into them. No crazy stuff you can’t pronounce let alone know what’s really in it. Using only vegan and natural ingredients her creations were a success. Her baby thrived and so did Tara’s love for creating hand-crafted vegan and organic skincare and artisan soaps.
By the time Tara decided to launch Vida Green Skincare ten years ago, she was a master of her craft. Armed with $100 of her own savings this mom set out to offer everyone a safe alternative to off-the-shelf personal care products.
But taking the risk of using her own money to follow her dream has paid off. Today, Vida Green is thriving despite the set-backs brought on by the pandemic. Still, being a solo-preneur is not without its challenges. While Tara’s now teenage children pitch in to cut labels or help with filling orders, she, like hundreds of women small business owners, is a one-person enterprise.
On any given day you’ll find Tara busy in her solar-energy powered production studio toiling away to fill the most recent batch of orders.
vKind chatted with Tara as part of our October National Small Women Business Month series.
What do you like best about your work?
That I get to express myself artistically, I like being able to create each and every product.
My products are the highest quality possible and made as sustainably as possible. They are: vegan, organic, scented with pure essential oils, colorants are from botanicals, made in a solar, almost zero-waste home, labels are from recycled paper, the containers are made from glass, compostable materials and recycled/recyclable plastic and everything is cruelty-free – not tested on animals or using ingredients that disrupt an animal’s habitat, such as palm oil.
What do you like least about your work?
The boring stuff, such as doing the taxes and data entering the receipts.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Being less of a perfectionist and just allowing myself to make the products and not worry so much if it’s going to turn out perfectly. Also, it’s challenging being a one-person shop because I’m responsible for making the products, taking care of the website, selling my products at markets (when we used to have in-person markets!), labeling the products, photographing, shipping products and marketing/social media marketing. It’s a lot of work for one person! But, I’m very happy that I’m able to run my own business the way I want to.
What skills do you have that without them, the business wouldn’t have survived?
I’m flexible and adaptable. Beauty products are always changing and evolving so I definitely have to be aware of what products/ingredients people are using and what are some new products that I can make. I pride myself in always using ultra high-quality raw ingredients, organic when possible and pure essential oils so my products are truly as nature intended. Your skin will thank you!
What are you the most afraid of — where is your business the most vulnerable?
It’s hard to keep up with social media marketing. I’m worried that I’m not able to get the reach that I desire.
What’s an average day like in your business?
Typically, I make products in the morning. Then, I check Instagram and Facebook to see if I need to respond to any inquiries. Then, I get orders ready to ship. I personally take the orders to USPS so I can guarantee that they’ve made it to the post office on my end.
After that, I do some research and learn about the things that I want to work on in my business, such as social media marketing, SEO, branding, etc. I typically post on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook every other day to get the word out about my products and show my followers what I’m up to and what I’m making.
Then, I focus on my family and spending quality time with them.
“I love that I work from home and can spend time with my family every day.”
When are your busiest times and how do you compensate?
The busiest time…
-of the day: The morning. I’m a morning person so I like to get as much work as possible done in the morning (after my workout). I go for a walk or do a workout in the mornings before I start working. It helps clear my head and feel productive.
-of the week: Usually Mondays because I have to catch up on online orders that came through the weekend.
-of the month: Probably the beginning of the month.
-of the year: the holidays, for sure – November and December. Pre-Covid, I had many holiday markets and online sales in December. We shall see what happens this December. It makes me so happy knowing that people are gifting loved ones my handcrafted skincare/soap. I love adding a personal touch to every order with a note or surprise sample of something.
In December, I know that I have to be extra diligent when organizing my schedule so I can get everything done. I’m really good about getting to orders ASAP and mailing them very quickly after they’re ordered.
What types of marketing have you used?
I don’t usually pay for marketing. I focus on social media marketing. Instagram and Pinterest have been the best for me. Facebook can be pretty successful as well, especially when I talk about my products on my personal Facebook page and my friends get excited to support my business.
If you could give just one piece of advice to someone starting a business similar to yours, what would it be?
Have patience. It can take a while to build your clientele and build the confidence and trust in your products. Once customers have used your products and realize how awesome they are, they will usually be excited to tell their friends and family about them. That’s the best marketing you can have – word of mouth! Good luck!