In this episode…
Are you a skincare brand wanting to find your spot in the Amazon marketplace? Or Have you been running your business as a one man show lately?
Rachel Lambo, started Sade Baron to encourage the entrepreneurial fire in her mom. In a world where race and color can be a factor for your business’ success, Sade Baron pushed through. With the desire to come up with a d to c brand that will give customers nothing but the best, Sade Baron has niched down to target skin conditions to let people know it’s okay to not have sexy skin while going through these conditions and Sade Baron is here to help..
Join Martin Zerrudo on this episode of What Do You Do Next?, as he sits down with Rachel Lambo, Co-founder of Sade Baron, to discuss producing and scaling a brand with a quality product. Sade talks about her mom’s passion and how it led to the birth of the brand.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Sponsor for this episode:
This episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group.
We provide essential Amazon and NetSuite service solutions for brand growth.
Seller Universe Ecommerce Group provides essential service solutions for brand growth and scale. We position brands for success through cost-effective growth initiatives and operational efficiencies. Our synchronized approach allows brands to dominate in today's complex, multiplatform ecommerce marketplace and ecosystem.
Our team at Seller Universe not only helps your brand on Amazon but we also do Netsuite implementation and anything that gives you a headache around inventory management.
To learn more about what we can do for you and your brand, visit selleruniverse.io.
Martin Zerrudo (00:00):
Hi, I’m Martin Zerrudo. I'm the host of the “What Do You Do Next?” podcast. Whether you're just starting your e-commerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand, or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you breakthrough. We're here to help, we interview experienced sellers, top strategic service providers and other seasoned e-commerce experts that will help you answer the question: What do you do next?
Past guests include Misha Khan, account executive from Pacvue, Don Pablo himself, Darron Burke from Don Pablo Coffee, Mike Jackness from EcomCrew, and so much more. Today this episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. We're a global e-commerce agency providing essential Amazon, NetSuite, and Shopify service solutions for brand growth.
Let me give you a quick example, we had one client in manufacturing and it was a CPG that sold ons the Amazon marketplace, but they weren’t doing as well as they could with sales, so we started handling their DSP. By the way for those who aren’t aware we have past Amazonians who are running our ads team at our company. We were able to take them from a 2 ROAS to 8.3. So basically they spent 300K and in 6 months we were able to generate 2.4 million in sales.
If that sounds interesting, visit our website www.selleruniverse.io
But today, the star of the show, the reason why we are here today, I'm talking to Rachel Lambo. Rachel is a Torontonian like myself, who is motivated to start Sade Baron because of her mother and having a passion to be an entrepreneur. She is a marketing and creative professional with over eight years of luxury CPG and product development experience with a focus on branding, brand awareness and sales. Currently, freelancing as a market director, marketing director for several brands and the CEO of Sade Baron.
Rachel is extremely knowledgeable, versatile, detail oriented, always coming up with, out of the box ideas. And previously you've worked as the interactive lead at Shoppers Drug Mart, shout out to Shoppers Drug Mart, brand manager at Simy skin and art director at Leo Burnett and DDB with brands such as Subaru, Kellogg's, Bell, Blackberry, and more. What an extensive list of experience and resume. That's really, really impressive. Hi, Rachel. Thank you so much for joining us.
Rachel Lambo (02:04):
Thank you so much, Martin, for having me and it's been really fun. I've always loved being in marketing and design. That's how I got here.
Martin Zerrudo (02:14):
Yeah. So growing up in Toronto, when you were talking to your mom, Sade. Were you like, “Hey mom, I wanna grow up and be a marketer” or what was the dream growing up?
Rachel Lambo (02:22):
Actually, I wanted to become a painter.
Martin Zerrudo (02:25):
A painter, oh okay.
Rachel Lambo (02:26):
Yes, a painter. And my father looked at me like, I just smoked something big.
Rachel Lambo (02:32):
My dad was like, yeah, I don't think so. That's like not gonna really work, you know, not making a living. And he was not wrong. He wanted to see that my future had potential. So I said, okay, what about if I study advertising at OCAD university. It's not a college anymore, it's a university. You know, my dad was very adamant that I go to a university versus a college.
Martin Zerrudo (02:59):
Rachel Lambo (02:59):
So I conned my way into getting my parents to allow me to apply to the school. And I went to my interview and I ended up obviously getting accepted. And that was really amazing. And I studied advertising there. And then from there I worked at agencies and then I was like, you know what, agency life is not for me, but I really like marketing. And so I ended up going back to school to UT and getting a marketing certificate.
Martin Zerrudo (03:25):
Yeah. That's fantastic. With regards to working, agency life, doing marketing, what was the experience like and what did you have to do for Subaru?
Rachel Lambo (03:34):
I did a lot of digital assets. So when digital just started becoming really big, I don't know if you remember QR codes were kind of popular in 2009
Martin Zerrudo (03:43):
Yeah they were all the rave
Rachel Lambo (03:44):
They never blew up the way they're doing now because of what happened with COVID and everything else. But that was something that was already available and brands were trying to use it and it wasn't really popping off, you could say. I worked with a lot of brands doing digital content assets, sometimes going to photo shoots, but I was a lot of in-house and doing digital content.
Martin Zerrudo (04:07):
Rachel Lambo (04:08):
Web web design coming up with new assets and things like that. That was a lot of fun and I had a lot of experience just working there, but I found that the life work balance was really crazy before I even knew what life work balance meant. But it was just something that I can't see myself doing for like 20 years. This is not feasible for me at least.
Martin Zerrudo (04:31):
Was it a similar experience at Shoppers Drug Mart?
Rachel Lambo (04:34):
No. I think shoppers were really great because we had a marketing team of 200 people at that time.
Martin Zerrudo (04:41):
Rachel Lambo (04:41):
There were different people in each of the categories. So you have prestige, you have mass and beauty then you have the optimum points team. They have their own stuff going on. And then you have mass, which is all the stuff that you see, like the drug brands and everything else in between the aisles. And then you also have other categories. So I would work with all the categories to work on the digital programs and content for them. And match that across 1500 stores.
Martin Zerrudo (05:10):
Wow. So what was it like 9-5 for that?
Rachel Lambo (05:13):
It was actually awesome. I mean, it was great cause I worked in about 400 programs a year, so I was always slammed, working with a lot of third party companies, editors, editing houses, going on sets sometimes. It was a great experience. I think that job particularly taught me a lot about structure, process, and really organized process in chaos. Really understanding that really does help and it allows to create accountability and also just helps each of the category or brand managers to really understand what that looks like. I did have a really good time there.
Martin Zerrudo (05:50):
What was it that they were doing structurally that really impressed you?
Rachel Lambo (05:53):
I think they had like calendars, a lot of calendars, Excel sheets. It'll tell you exactly what day the campaign is running from what day to what day. So I would create work back schedules and then I would let the brand managers know “hey,these are the work back schedules for that” And then also adjust the work back schedule cause things happen all the time in that space. So that was one of the things that I felt like I learned a lot and just like running bigger campaigns and what that looks like and how many people are involved in that. That was really nice to do that on a bigger scale cause I had worked for a lot of medium size companies, having worked for them was great cause I could apply the skill sets that I had picked up already from working at small companies. And just kind of times X that.
Martin Zerrudo (06:37):
And lastly, Kelloggs, what was that like? I love all of their cereal, maybe to a fault.
Rachel Lambo (06:45):
Oh, that's so funny.
Martin Zerrudo (06:47):
Kelloggs, what was that like?
Rachel Lambo (06:49):
That was cool. I mean I worked through them as an ad agency. We did this whole thing called popnetic. It was like a QR code thing again where people can play a game on it with their screen and it was really cool. I created patterns for the art direction, the campaigns for that. So that was fun to work on. Those were the things that I worked at the agency with. I don't, do you remember the Bell and Rogers war?
Martin Zerrudo (07:16):
Yes, I do.
Rachel Lambo (07:17):
I worked on those, built the campaigns for that too.
Martin Zerrudo (07:20):
Rachel Lambo (07:21):
Yeah. Like all the leaderboards and the big boxes.
Martin Zerrudo (07:25):
I was like, oh you convinced me cause I switched from Bell to Rogers like eight times in the last, 10 years.
Rachel Lambo (07:30):
I was just doing the work
Martin Zerrudo (07:33):
You got me to switch multiple times back and forth like one month on Bell, one month I'm Rogers. But Hey, you were very successful in that regard. Since you brought it up, was that something that was like, “hey, we wanna fan the flames. We really wanna incentivize people to make the switch because it's like us versus them”
Rachel Lambo (07:51):
I don't even know what happened from a management level. I just know that I got the information too, here's a look at the copy, let's make the changes. And the changes were just pumping out every day. We'd come back to the office and people were like, yeah, we're doing this now. I don't know about you guys, the prices are the same, the service is the same. I don't know why you guys wanna move back and forth. For me it was just like a consumer and I’m like, there’s no difference.
Martin Zerrudo (08:15):
Rachel Lambo (08:16):
I’m Confused. Right. I wanna have this beef, can you guys do this in the boardroom, not spend advertising dollars on this? I mean it was entertaining.
Martin Zerrudo (08:25):
Yes. It's like Apple versus PC.
Rachel Lambo (08:27):
It doesn't happen in the Canadian marketplace. I'm sure that stuff like that, you can see happening in the US, like Wendy's and McDonald's their beef. But you don't really see that in the marketplace in Toronto and or in Canada generally, cause we're very conservative. So it was fun for me.
Martin Zerrudo (08:43):
We’re mild mannered
Rachel Lambo (08:44):
Yeah, Mild mannered. Exactly. But I think it was great to see that and I'm just like, okay sure.
Martin Zerrudo (08:50):
Hey, it's fun. And you're part of it. It happened. So after many, many years, years of agency life, working with smaller brands, even bigger brands, Shoppers, Kelloggs or whatnot, how did you get started? And what was the reason you started Sade Baron?
Rachel Lambo (09:07):
I think the shot Baron was started for a lot of reasons. I think the number one reason was because my mom really liked creating products for people and helping her. So her story was, my mom was born in Nigeria, in a small town called Ibadan and she had a grand aunt who was a natural healer. My mom herself had issues with her skin when she was a child and my grandmother, her mother sent her to her grand aunt and said, listen, take care of this child. I don't know what to do with her. And so my mom had that passion of wanting to be a botanist to her bliss however, she ended up studying nursing and as she moved around the countries, my mom immigrated from then Nigeria to Germany and that's where I was born.
Rachel Lambo (09:49):
And then they moved from Germany to London and London to Vienna and then Vienna eventually to Canada. So my mom kind of picked up a lot of stuff from all over the world in terms of how people use ingredients and herbs and things like that. So her passion was just something like helping neighbors, helping us with our skin. I have other siblings, so she would make stuff for us all the time and I think that was one of the reasons. And then the second reason was because my mom had told me stories when she was in the early nineties, living in Vienna, that she was trying to buy stocks. And she had gone to the bank and the bank manager was like, well, the person who's here to buy the stocks, help you with the stocks is not here.
Rachel Lambo (10:30):
Why don't you come back tomorrow? So my mom would come, go back again. And that person again was actually there, right? So having these experiences as a black woman, wanting to start a business and wanting to financially invest in herself was really interesting. My mom has always said that, these experiences that she had, and there were several other stories, that she didn't think that she could run a business. My mom was 52 when we started, we started this business and I said to her, we're totally gonna do this. I'm doing this for you, mom. I'm doing this for you. So you know that it's totally possible. The Shopify, the Square Space, the Mailchimp at that time, that was a big thing. And all these other apps and tools are there to help you at a minimal cost to create something and talk to your customer directly and we're just gonna do it. We're just gonna do it.
Martin Zerrudo (11:20):
What did she say when you said that?
Rachel Lambo (11:22):
Mom was like, okay, I mean, as long as you're here to help, I don't know anything. And I said sure, I'm gonna be right there with you. We're gonna do it together. And I'm gonna try to find markets and shows to do and things that could help us get in front of the customer.
Martin Zerrudo (11:38):
If we can pause there, Rachel, some of our listeners are listening saying, “Hey, you know, I have a really great product idea. I wanna launch a company. So on and so forth” What would be the first three things you would tell them to do? If they have a great idea, they wanna start their own brand. What are the three things they need to do?
Rachel Lambo (11:54):
Do some research as to what your landscape looks like, who your competitors are, or even local competitors, things like that. Go to markets, if you're planning to sell it there, walk around, understand the environment that you were planning to sell, where you're gonna sell. I think that's one thing. And then number two is, ask your family and friends to try your products or services if you can. If you don't have that type of supportive network, then reach out to maybe a community of other entrepreneurs or makers that can give you feedback, cause it's really important to get feedback. You wanna have your product, obviously not perfect, but enough for it to be sellable, edible, usable. Thirdly, I think I should just do it. I think a lot of people think they need to wait until something is really perfect, to start a business.
Rachel Lambo (12:44):
And I think you don't, you know why, because people love seeing a brand progress. You make a lot of money and then you reinvest it into your business and your business changes. You update your website, you do whatever people love because they're seeing you grow and they get to watch that in real time. It is so amazing. I get emails all the time from people and DMs to like Rachel. I remember meeting you at the VegFest in 2016 and I am so proud of you that you have come this far and you know what makes my heart skip. Like boom, every single time I get a message just like that. So these are my three tips.
Martin Zerrudo (13:25):
That's fantastic. So you, you tell your mom, you know what, Sade, we're doing this mom, we're doing this, we're making Sade Baron. What's your next step? What were the early days of your company like and how did you get it some traction and really get it going?
Rachel Lambo (13:39):
I think the first thing that we did is, I had a friend who was a real estate agent and I said to him, you know, I need my business incorporated cause I'm sort of like in the cosmetic category. So he found a consultant for me. I incorporated my business for like $750, unheard of maybe if you do it with other people now. I did that and then I found a contract manufacturing kitchen where we can actually make our products, it was the first time ever doing that. My mom had practiced over the years. And then a friend called me and said, “Hey, Rachel, there's a show happening in September” And it was July. And she's like, “you should do the show to sell your products. It's exactly what you were talking about. Like vegan, whatever” So we went to the show, we made a thousand bars or so, and we made creams, lotions and stuff and we went to the show and we sold I think 900 bars of soap.
Martin Zerrudo (14:39):
Rachel Lambo (14:41):
It was awesome and that gave us the confidence to actually continue with our business. Right.
Martin Zerrudo (14:48):
You're like, let's just do VegFest every single time. Let's just keep doing these shows, these markets, these conventions, and we're good to go.
Rachel Lambo (14:55):
Yeah, exactly. But that wasn't the case continuously, but it was a really good learning curve. So the first two years of the business, we spent doing a lot of shows, events, building up the website, getting customer feedback.
Martin Zerrudo (15:11):
Now, did you do the website yourself or did you hire somebody?
Rachel Lambo (15:13):
I made the website myself. I just bought a shop. I paid for the Shopify thing for the whole entire year and then I bought a theme. Now my background, just to say on the side, I used to do WordPress sites and optimized SEO for another SEO company out of Woodbridge in Toronto or in Ontario.
Martin Zerrudo (15:32):
So you already had the skill set?
Rachel Lambo (15:34):
Yeah, I had the skillset to do WordPress sites, but I’m like, I don't want any parts of this WordPress thing, cause I gotta update it all the time and things break all the time. So I'm gonna go with Shopify. And so I did a Shopify site. I built the Shopify site myself and then I put all the products up there. Luckily enough, we had a lot of people give us the email addresses and I started sending emails out.
Martin Zerrudo (15:56):
Wow, you're doing this just you and your mom.
Rachel Lambo (16:00)
Martin Zerrudo (16:01)
Was there ever a point where you're like, man, I need some help.
Rachel Lambo (16:03):
I think the critical breaking point was in 2020 when I needed help. I was tired of manufacturing. My mom was coming back and forth because she lives in Alberta to make products and I would then have to fill them myself with our filling machine and our sealers and everything else. And I was getting pissed because I didn't have enough time to run any other marketing programs. I was in the business versus running the business.
Martin Zerrudo (16:31):
Can't scale with one person.
Rachel Lambo (16:34):
Exactly. So I hired two people that would come twice, two to three times a week, for eight hours of stretch. And all of a sudden I went from always having stock issues to not having any stock issues anymore, cause I had enough inventory all the time, so I didn't have this issue anymore. So now I could start really focusing on other things such as building the business, reaching out to my retailers on time. Sending out orders in a timely manner, cause I was very terrible at that, cause I was trying to run everything else and I was working full time.
Martin Zerrudo (17:08):
What would you say was the biggest milestone that you're proud of?
Rachel Lambo (17:15):
I think it was like 2020 when COVID hit, we thought that we were done. We thought, you know what
Martin Zerrudo (17:20):
Like many businesses for sure.
Rachel Lambo (17:22):
We were like, oh gosh, I don't know if we're gonna survive. And I have to say that people came through, like people were fine.
Rachel Lambo (17:31):
I think because of what happened to George Floyd, the whole situation, the black lives matter movement, the 15% pledge that awareness that's created for black-owned businesses and giving people clarity on that. So like a lot of times, people have this assumption that, oh, because I happen to be black, I'm making products for black people so that notion is not really accurate. It doesn't actually fall in line, it's about, I happen to be black and I make products for people and you can use them.
Martin Zerrudo (18:08):
Yes, it’s not exclusive.
Rachel Lambo (18:09):
It's not exclusive to black people. So I think that has been like sort of mystified
Martin Zerrudo (18:16):
Rachel Lambo (18:17):
Yeah. That this has been like, yes. So I think that was one of the things that I think helped a lot with our business and people wanted to support that, people shouted us out. That was the first time we actually showed our faces cause we were so worried about that for a really long time, not to put our faces on our website, on our social because we really didn't want people to get that misconception that it was only for a certain group of people when it was actually for everybody.
Martin Zerrudo (18:46):
I’ll give you an example just to kind of relate to what you're talking about and I wanna put a disclaimer here. It's not a misconception that we agree with. It's not a misconception that either of us are promoting, it is the landscape. Like you said, that we operate business in. So we handle some Amazon accounts that will purposely use white models when featuring products in imagery, they may be business owners from Asia, from the middle east, from other ethnicities that's not Caucasian, but it's not that they don't wanna feature similar ethnicities to them. For whatever reason. And this is just the landscape, statistically using Asian models, to showcase certain products, not all products, but certain products don't yield a higher conversion rate than using a white model. Are we trying to draw any kind of racial point from that for the purpose of e-commerce, that's just the landscape that you're dealing with on the Amazon marketplace. So I could completely relate to what you're talking about because of course you're proud it's named after your mom, you're both proud of who you are and where you come from. But having said that, you're also business savvy people that understand that there are certain things that you do and there are certain things that you don't do right away. And there are certain things that you introduce at the right time and the method in which you do it, that has to also be conducive to running a successful business.
Martin Zerrudo (20:21):
Would you be able to speak a little bit about that?
Rachel Lambo (20:24):
Yeah, I think the right time for us, like you said, as an example, showing our faces was in 2020, cause I felt like I was more acceptable and people were more supportive of that. And so now, you see our faces on the website, front page, about page, on social
Martin Zerrudo (20:43):
How did your mom feel when she saw her face on the website for the first time?
Rachel Lambo (20:46):
She was very uncomfortable.
Martin Zerrudo (20:47):
Rachel Lambo (20:48):
Yeah, she was uncomfortable. I mean, you have to understand she's seen it. She's seen what it's done to her when she was trying to build a business.
Martin Zerrudo (21:00):
So there's trauma there.
Rachel Lambo (21:01):
Yeah, absolutely. And I'm sure there's a lot of people that have that. If you ask people that are in their fifties and sixties and they had the same ambitions that we have right now today, we just have more opportunities and we have more ability to do it without having to go to a bank. Without having to do these things. I think for me, she was very uncomfortable for a really long time, and I said to her, you know what, it's okay. It's okay, we're gonna just leave the picture on and we can try it. And if you don't like it in a month from now or two, we'll take it down
Martin Zerrudo (21:36):
Rachel Lambo (21:37):
She's used to it
Martin Zerrudo (21:38):
She got used to it. I love that. First of all, thank you so much, Rachel, for sharing that story, thank you to your mom, Sade for having the courage to put her face, not on the website, but on the internet. Like it's there forever now, but you know, she's fine. It worked out and, and kudos to you for really, walking your mom through that process and introducing somebody who grew up in a time where that was just so unheard of utilizing tools that didn't even exist back then to now where you're able to reach literally hundreds and thousands and millions of people. Similar to us at Seller Universe, a huge portion of our staff is in the Philippines. And there's also this misconception that, “Hey, if it's offshore work, if it's a Filipino,are we getting the best kind of work?
Martin Zerrudo (22:22):
Like the standard of work? Can it really provide what I'm looking for because, oh, if you're getting it from another country outside North America, then they must not know how to speak English. They must not know how to do the work. And they must not know as well as others if they were a graduate from Ivy league” For me, as a Filipino, as well as an immigrant who came to Canada, we plant that Filipino flag on the ground quite proudly. Yeah, we employ Filipinos proud that they are from the Philippines. And so long as we do our part as leaders and as business owners and give them the tools and the training and the ability to grow and nurture as people in the right culture, then I'd put them side by side versus anybody in the world.
Martin Zerrudo (23:10):
And, and I love that this is kind of the turn our conversation went to is really being proud of, breaking through barriers and being proud of who we are, where we come from in this space that is eCommerce, which like you mentioned now has such a low barrier of entry that we can really explore, things that was so unheard of just 5, 10, 20 years ago. But I'd like to ask you, Rachel, you know, 2020 was the best time and was a great turning point. What was the worst time? What was a big pitfall or mistake that you made that if you look back you're like, man, I wish we didn't do that.
Rachel Lambo (23:42):
Actually this year I started running ads. I'm not gonna say which ad provider. It was not a good idea. We blew through a lot of cash, that money could have been used for better use. Of course my mom still throws it in my face and I have to explain to her that, that's not okay, but she’s just gonna do it anyway. She's gonna do whatever she wants. But I think that was like a really hard time for us to recognize, what do we have to do? What is changing in our business? and what are the seeds that we can sow now for them to grow, like grow later
Martin Zerrudo (24:21):
Right? What did you learn in that situation?
Rachel Lambo (24:25):
I learned that I can't necessarily always put all my eggs in my basket. Not that I always do that, but I think it was, I thought, okay, this would be
Martin Zerrudo (24:36):
You took a risk, which is normal.
Rachel Lambo (24:37):
I took a risk and it totally failed. I also learned from that experience not to put, you know, people wanna always go full throttle and sell you like the biggest package. And I always try to taper people down very quickly, not gonna do.
Martin Zerrudo (24:55):
Rachel Lambo (24:57):
Let's start here, you know, put your skin in the game because I feel like there's a lot of people that'll approach us all the time to run ads, to do this, to manage this, to get us like 8 ROAS, reduce the ACOS and all that stuff. But it's a lot of promises, a lot of promises that are not always kept and people kind of disappear in the background, after it doesn't work. So I think I've come to learn that I have to keep my expectations low and also let them know that these are the parameters. So really making sure that they're understanding that, “Hey, if this doesn't work out, these are the terms that you've agreed to with me prior” So I make it very, very clear that no longer, take this like, oh great, we made all this money for somebody else. That's great, you made that for someone else. I don't know if you're gonna make that for me.
Martin Zerrudo (25:47):
I totally hear you. For those who are listening at this point, now that they need to reach out, they need either an agency or a fractional person who can provide expertise that they don't have in their internal team. What are some of the tips that you have for them when doing that due diligence. When they start to do those discovery calls in finding the right partner to work with?
Rachel Lambo (26:08):
It's a skillset that you learn over time, it's like meeting people and being able to kind of understand who they are right away. Some people just play up and say a bunch of fancy words and then some people you just know right away, this is what they're talking about. This is the plan of action that they have in place for you. And they're willing to always jump on a call or answer an email, or really want to get involved with your business cause they see something happening. And I think people are genuine if they really wanna see you be successful.
Martin Zerrudo (26:44):
Absolutely. That genuine authenticity, you can't fake it, it's like you hear it, you talk to somebody and you're like, okay, I'm feeling a vibe here. They’re on the same level versus others who seem to just like, oh, you're too slick. Like you kind of know everything. There's nothing, nothing ever goes wrong. And I don't know about that. It gets a little dicey after that. And then, you make a commitment you're one year in, you're locked in and then they don't speak to you. And you're like, oh great, here we are.
Rachel Lambo (27:15):
Yeah, exactly. So I think that's a really important skill that you kind of pick up over time.
Martin Zerrudo (27:26):
For sure. Now in that process of picking up skills, learning these lessons, were there any mentors along the way that you turned to, to kind of give you some advice as you were starting up Sade Baron?
Rachel Lambo (27:35):
No, actually I didn't have mentors until 2020. I had a mentor prior to that, but I don't think she was really a mentor cause she ended up charging me for it.
Martin Zerrudo (27:45):
Rachel Lambo (27:45):
That's so weird cause I know I reached out to you as wanting to be mentored. But I had this really fortunate experience, I was part of this program called BD United, which was right in the US and I was selected and I was paired with someone called Scott Sassa.
Martin Zerrudo (28:01):
Rachel Lambo (28:02):
And Scotts SASA is the president of Milk makeup. They're all over in Sephora, all over the world and he was my mentor. He's still my mentor. And I also then was introduced to several other people that became my mentor. So I have about eight mentors in total. I see them on rotation, not every time, but very regularly and I can tell you that it literally saved me three to four years of progress
Martin Zerrudo (28:30):
What were they telling you about progress that really cut that progress growth in half?
Rachel Lambo (28:35):
Okay. So for example, I was making my stuff in-house and I wanted to start investing into buying bigger manufacturing tools and equipment. And my mentor was like Rachel, no, no, no, no. I'm like, but what about all these other brands that are doing it in-house? That's all marketing by the way. And think about it like this, you wanna get into, my dream store is to get into Sephora. You wanna get into the Sephoras of the world, wherever country you are in. You need to scale, you need to be able to show that retailer that your product is available. You can send it out in a timely manner. You have the ability….
Martin Zerrudo (29:13):
You can fulfill those POs if they want a million by next month.
Rachel Lambo (29:16):
Exactly. I have the capability of doing that. And also, I was doing it in-house two people at a time. We can only do so much for two people, 24 hours in a day. Even if we overwork ourselves, we wouldn't be able to reach the capacity that we needed to, to actually start talking to the bigger retailers, start really reaching out and building our network and moving from, X amount to Y amount. And so I think, that transition from me meeting my mentor in August of 2020 to moving from in-house manufacturing really aggressively all the way to December of 2020, and then transitioning to a manufacturer, a contract manufacturer in April of 2021 that was literally 10 months, 10 months of research and figuring it out. But that changed everything for us because now we had a thousand square foot facility that we were making all this product and I now no longer had to pay rent for that. I no longer had to show up. I no longer had to manufacture things. I no longer had to participate in any of this.
Martin Zerrudo (30:28):
Was it cost effective or was just a little bit more?
Rachel Lambo (30:31):
No, it was cost effective. It was actually, better to do with them than buying our individual ingredients and having to figure things out. And then the second portion of that was that he's like, okay, you cannot keep shipping your products by yourself. You're obviously late all the time, cause I had to bulk ship them. I didn't wanna go to the post office and drop things off like five packages at a time. I usually do like three or four bags right at the end of the week, but people were getting pissed. People weren't getting their stuff on time and people are impatient and it's fine cause Amazon is the problem.
Martin Zerrudo (31:06):
I'm so sorry.
Rachel Lambo (31:08):
So people think shipping is so quick, but I'm a small person. I am one person, please be kind. I think when I moved over to the 3PL, which I did in March, April of 2021, I then started going from seven days time involved shipping to next day shipping. So people would buy something on a Monday. It gets shipped out on a Tuesday and people get it by Friday if they're in Ontario or in parts of Canada. And so that in itself allowed my business to go further because now people were more interested in buying stuff from me.
Martin Zerrudo (31:41):
The word of mouth and like, yeah, I just got this thing. You should try it.
Rachel Lambo (31:45):
Exactly. So, the friction reduced by like, 70, 80% of me shipping stuff out.
Martin Zerrudo (31:52):
Get a co-packer, sign up for 3PL, start scaling and stop doing it yourself.
Rachel Lambo (31:58):
Exactly. And that changed literally a lot for me cause had I gone the route of manufacturing in- house for even up till now. If I had the conversation with you now. I would not have the opportunity to run my business. I would be in my business struggling just to keep the basic orders, the scale that I have right now, I cannot venture further. I cannot even trust myself to reach out to X, Y retailer or sign on a distributor because I didn't have the capacity. I was so depleted in terms of physical labo, filling stuff, heavy lifting, all that stuff. I no longer have to participate in that. And I'm really, really happy because now I can see that my business has literally changed in those 365 days from not doing it anymore to really focusing on getting more retail partnerships, getting more pop ups done with retail partners. Focusing on my d to c, building my marketing channels on social, telling a story, working on my SEO, working on a rebrand. Figuring out what is working in my business and what's not and re-creating a new strategy plan, an action plan that works with my strategy. You cannot do that when you are stuck making products. You just can't.
Martin Zerrudo (33:16):
Yeah. Instead of on the business, you're in there, in the trenches.
Rachel Lambo (33:20):
I no longer am in the trenches and I've seen the light and I would recommend to anybody who has the service business and you have the ability to find a contract manufacturer big or small, there's lots of people that will accommodate you in this day and age. A lot of people will wanna grow with you, which is a great thing. Find a partner that is willing to grow with you. It's a lot easier and you can really start focusing on growing your business and building these relationships with the right retailers or the right partners that need to get you from point A to B.
Martin Zerrudo (33:51):
Absolutely. Thank you again so much. We have Rachel Lambo here from Sade Baron talking to us about her journey. Tell us, what is it about Sade Baron that's different from similar products in the space that you're selling in? How do you differentiate yourselves?
Rachel Lambo (34:12):
That's a really good question. When we started the business, we were really focused on vegan body care and you wanna use really good clean products for your body. This is the brand for you. Our position has changed in the last while and the positioning is focused based on or the result is based on the fact that customers are telling us how they use our product.
Martin Zerrudo (34:37):
And what are they telling you?
Rachel Lambo (34:39):
So people are using our products specifically for eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and very dry skin. I have sensitive skin too. We were very general and now we're very niche. Our focus is now on a high quality body care brand that focuses on skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, dry skin, and sensitive skin. And that's really where we are now. We were very general before and now we're very specific. That's where we are in terms of our positioning or changing.
Martin Zerrudo (35:13):
No, I love that. I love that.
Rachel Lambo (35:14):
And I think what makes us different is that we're not biological, so we're not a steroid cream that you can get up to derm or a doctor's office. And we're not very granola, like a very natural brand that makes everything. And it's very crafty, right? We're sort of a combination of awesome actives that are really great and then natural ingredients that are combined together with formulations that are optimized to actually deal with these skin conditions. We are nonjudgmental. We wanna be the d to c brand that tells you that it's okay not to have sexy skin when you're going through these skin conditions. Absolutely freaking normal. And we wanna make that part of the conversation because when people going through steroid withdrawals or issues, we are that brand for you.
Martin Zerrudo (36:00):
That's fantastic. And for those who may be in a similar space, that's also providing, very vegan, products that help with natural or those kind of skin conditions. How do you differentiate from them?
Rachel Lambo (36:15):
I think we're that combination again, we have really optimized formulation. So a lot of times, the natural brands will stick to the basics, honey, shea butter all the good basic stuff. We go a step further. We are using oils that are really, really expensive. Watermelon seed oil, Prickly Pear oil, to get one Prickly Pear oil, you need to use, like, 20 kilos worth of those Prickly Pear which is like a pear essentially a cactus, we use Camellia, Jojoba we work with farmers in Vancouver to get those extract. We are using ingredients that are really, really high quality. And it was a really interesting point to that is we ended up going to a contract manufacturer and she sat down and she's like, your formulations are amazing, your ingredients are so good. I haven't seen that in a natural brand in a very long time.
Martin Zerrudo (37:06):
Rachel Lambo (37:07):
No one's doing that. No one's doing that. I get customers reading the ingredients plus emailing me: your stuff is really good. We spare no expense, making sure that we put really good quality ingredients. We're not just putting the avocados in the sun fly. Those are great oils they have have a purpose. But what about the high, quick absorption oil, such as the Prickly Pear, the watermelon seed, the Jojoba, the broccoli seed oil, the oat oil stuff that is expensive to purchase. We use that in our products. That's why our products feel so amazing because we're not just trying to do the basic natural formulation. We wanna take this one step ahead and say, mother nature has so much more to give us, but it is expensive to extract that. And how can we put that in there?
Rachel Lambo (37:54):
Luxury brand use a lot of these ingredients in face oils, in treatments, but a lot of people shy away to put them into their products because it's so costly and they're trying to obviously make money. We are also in the business of making money, but we have decided that we want that to be part of our business model, high quality ingredients, incredible formulations. We work with a chemist who has worked on major brands. He looks at our ingredient list and he's always shaking his head. He's like, this is gonna be an awesome product again, because you're really trying to give people the best. We don't want to give you nothing else, but the best.
Martin Zerrudo (38:41):
I wanna show your website to my wife and I wanna start ordering some stuff.
Rachel Lambo (38:46):
Martin Zerrudo (38:47):
I wanna give it a shot. You know, that's fantastic. You know, and as we wrap up this fantastic episode, Rachel, you're coming back a hundred percent.
Rachel Lambo (38:56):
I'm here for it.
Martin Zerrudo (38:56):
And I know you're moving, I'm not gonna disclose where, but I know there's gonna be some changes in the near future and best of luck in that if you ever need any help, you know, lifting some boxes or whatever, just let me know.
Rachel Lambo (39:05):
Okay. I will, definitely will
Martin Zerrudo (39:07):
So lastly, I do want to touch on your hopes that as you scale and launch this rocket ship that is Sade Barron, you're looking for some strategic help, an angel investor, a partner walk us through, you know, who that kind of typical investor would be. And what is the future and what is the outlook for Sade Baron?
Rachel Lambo (39:29):
I think, yeah, I mean, we are looking for an investor and angel investor specifically, and the ideal investor is someone that invests into people, not the business itself, but you would essentially be investing into me as a person, because I run the company, I come up with the ideas, I do day to day. I know my business.
Rachel Lambo (39:54):
And so the ideal person or the ideal partner that would obviously give us money would be someone who can talk to me and recognize that I'm somebody alike or they feel comfortable enough that they can trust that I will do a great job, taking their investment and multiplying it or whatever the case is in that scenario. I’m definitely looking for someone who can also open their roll of decks and say, “Hey, I know a number of X people that you could leverage because I have that connection to increase the success of the business” And I think the next 10 to 18 months for our business is we're currently going through our rebrand to really share a story and tell our story a little bit more succinctly in terms of our new focus, which is skin conditions.
Rachel Lambo (40:43):
And then also what we're doing is we're pairing down our brand line. We currently have 56 SKUs that we're selling, we're moving down to 12 SKUs in general. So really niching down and really telling the story in a way that allows people to understand what our products are really there for and used for. And I think for us right now, there's a really great opportunity to tell the story for these skin conditions that hasn’t been done in a really long time. It's either very like granola or very much biological, there's nothing in between that talks to a d to c brand that talks about it like that. So I think there's a really great opportunity for us to capture that.
Martin Zerrudo (41:20)
Oh, that's fantastic. Thank you again so much for sharing that, Rachel. Again, we've been talking to Rachel Lambo, who is the co-founder of Sade Barron running the day to day and the outlook looks super duper bright. I'm gonna be going on the website, but how can people find out more about Sade Baron, what's the social, what's the website? How can they reach you?
Rachel Lambo (41:41):
You can just go to www.sadebaron.com. And it's the same for the handles @sadebaron on Instagram, Facebook, or the TikTok, and they'll be able to find more information about us and, people can also send me an email by just using the contact form. I usually check the emails and I'll respond and if you have any questions, I'm here.
Martin Zerrudo (42:05)
Thank you so much, Rachel. And we'll talk soon.
Rachel Lambo (42:07)
Thanks for having me.