What was year one like for Palette Naturals?
Miriam Vareldzis: For Palette Naturals the brand and the collection, it’s been one lovely coming-out party! The accords have been universally loved, appreciated and embraced. Both for their sheer beauty and for the values they represent: Transparency and 100% Natural.
For me personally, on the other hand, and not surprisingly to any entrepreneur: it’s been busy, exuberant, exhausting, challenging, thrilling, emotional and fully gratifying.
It feels like just yesterday that I was introducing you to the line at the Long Beach SCC Show. To say we have been moving forward on all fronts simultaneously is an understatement.
How has the beauty industry reacted to your company?
Miriam Vareldzis: The reaction to Palette Naturals has been overwhelmingly positive from all our clients, who like us, are dedicated to the development of all-natural scent formulations.
There has been excitement from contract fillers that they now have a wide-ranging, high-end ‘kit of parts’ to naturally scent their personal care formulas.
And in one case, a chemist said to me with relief “finally… we now have the ingredients lists for fragrances, so we can show our customers!”
The beauty entrepreneurs who have reached out are mostly natural brands who would like to extend transparency all the way through to the scent. Creative product development teams have played with the collection and then sent it to their contract filler or chemist for formulation.
On the other end of the spectrum, Indie perfumers and educators are using the accords in their studios, custom creations, and blending classes.
I’m also grateful for the positive feedback from my industry colleagues within the fragrance industry. While in NYC, I had the chance to show the line and was overwhelmed with both a little bit of awe and a whole lot of encouragement to keep going forward.
What were you most surprised to learn in the first year?
Miriam Vareldzis: I was amazed by the demand from international clients, especially from our neighbors in Canada.
Just after the launch last October, and thanks to Cosmetics Design, they were the first labs to reach out and embrace the collection for immediate development. I’m guessing that has to do with the slightly more stringent regulatory environment they share with the EU, combined with the huge demand for natural formulations. In any case, it has opened a wonderful opportunity for us, while simultaneously challenging us with international commerce and shipping!
What advice would you offer entrepreneurs considering launching a personal care, fragrance, or beauty supply side business?
Miriam Vareldzis: Well I’m still new at entrepreneurial start-up life. Although I’ve been in the industry 27+ years and have also launched my own perfume collection (40notes Perfume), this experience is on an entirely different level. The word of the day is PERSEVERANCE! Forward thinking, focus, one day at a time (easier said than done), and proceeding “as if.” A very dear friend of mine taught me that phrase: “proceed as if” — as if you are successful, as if everything is falling into place, as if it will all come together, despite current circumstances”. I treasure her advice every day.
As far as advice relating to our industry and specifically supply side: Know our industry inside and out, from manufacturing to product development, and understand the role of each player in the system. Understand the role of scent in product development, because BtoB in our industry will not yield immediate financial returns due to the product development time cycle.
Last but not least, have a team (which I’m still working on!). Support is crucial.
What’s coming next from Palette Naturals?
Miriam Vareldzis: At the end of the day, I adore smelling natural materials. My sheer love of smelling is what keeps me going!
There are several new Palette Naturals accords in development right now. Without tipping our hat too much, I can say a luscious fruit, additional florals, a minty accord, and a very special base note that is proving challenging, but I know will be a highly sought after addition to the line.
In the future I have plans for a Baby Collection, a fun Kids Collection, and a candle collection, which is in progress.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.