Margot White had a vision. She wanted to build a "one-stop-shop" for safe? and effective personal care products while also educating consumers about the harmful ingredients saturating the marketplace today. However, like many companies trying to make it in a niche green environment, she faced significant challenges, including the reality of competing with Amazon and their alluring free Prime shipping.
When White launched her company, The Choosy Chick, a year and half ago, she decided that the key to competing effectively was going to be careful curation and a focus on client education. "After extensive research into chemicals and additives commonly found in personal care products, we developed our own standards for ingredients. These standards became the foundation for our product selections," she recalls. "We made a firm decision not to offer any product that contains ingredients suspected or known to be harmful to human health or the environment."
To make sure that all their products meet these standards, her company takes a series of proactive steps:
· The Choosy Chick fully evaluates the effectiveness of all the products they represent with a team of 7 product testers of different ages and skin types.
· They provide personalized assistance to their customers based on their unique needs and skin profile.
· They review packaging often, because White feels strongly that presentation is important and makes sure that their packaging reflects that. Their boutique-style packaging comes with a personalized handwritten note to the customer, to leave a lasting impression.
· The Choosy Chick focuses on education through the "learn" section on their website. White also does television appearances and contributes articles to various media, positioning her brand at the forefront of the healthy living movement, with her primary goal "to eliminate toxins from consumer products."
White funded the start-up through an SBA Microloan; the business is now fully operational on its own. While the company is still small, with under $100,000 in annual revenue, they have exceeded their first year's sales goals by 15%, and are currently on track to exceed last year's revenues by over 60%.
The Choosy Chick customers are "mostly healthy-minded women ages 20-50 who are conscientious about using organic and natural products." White believes that the company's commitment to their safety standards and the personalized approach they take with each client accounts for the company's high rate of repeat business.
As for marketing, The Choosy Chick has been built organically by connecting with like-minded bloggers and non-profit health organizations. "Social media plays a huge role in building our brand awareness. We have a devoted following that helps spread the word about us. We also provide seasonal, educational live segments, workshops, and television appearances that allow us to reach out to new potential customers."
While it is unlikely that The Choosy Chick will go on to be the dominant green superstore that Vine and Amazon Green tried to be, it is a fine example of how a niche business can gain customer loyalty through values-driven product offers in an area where government regulations have failed to address consumer's concerns.
"Most people assume that the FDA plays a responsible role in ensuring consumer safety," White notes. "Unfortunately, there are no laws or regulations that require safety analyses of personal care products or the ingredients in them. The FDA relies solely on the cosmetic industry to self regulate. As a result, our space is inundated with products that contain ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested for safety. Many of these ingredients have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, allergies and neurodevelopmental disorders, among other health concerns. Some chemical components actually pose a threat to the environment. More and more, research is uncovering possible links between chemical exposure and various illnesses." White and her stalwart team at The Choosy Chick are providing a safe haven for their consumers, and happily it is paying off.