“It was so exciting and surreal to be there and to be scheduled on a prime-time show ‘Shawn Saves Christmas’,” Dabble & Dollop founder Stephanie Leshney tells Cosmetics Design.
“Getting to work with QVC host Shawn Killinger was a real treat,” she says, adding that “She’s so down to earth and funny, and we had fun during our segment….There were bubbles everywhere!”
The QVC Big Find and winning The Big Ticket
This May, Curate Retail Group, the company that owns both QVC and HSN, launched a pitch competition called The Big Find to source new beauty, personal care, and fashion brands for its video commerce platform.
Stephanie Leshney, formerly president and co-owner of natural ingredient supplier Ross Organics, launched her kids’ bath brand this summer and decided to pitch Dabble & Dollop for the opportunity to appear on QVC. (Leshney sold Ross Organics to Azelis in early 2017, as Cosmetics Design reported.)
“The experience has been surreal. When we submitted Dabble & Dollop for consideration in July, it had been the exact week we launched,” says Leshney. “I was stunned that we were selected [to pitch], and then shocked to receive a ‘Big Ticket.’ I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to tell Dabble & Dollop’s story to such a wide audience.”
Explaining the thinking behind the first Qurate Big Find initiative, Mary Campbell, chief merchandising officer of Qurate Retail Group and chief commerce officer for QVC US, tells the press, “Every day we strive to bring exciting, curated discoveries to our customers. We are thrilled to introduce such a variety of unique products through The Big Find and to give these entrepreneurs a one-of-a-kind platform to bring their products to life and connect with the customer in an authentic and immersive way. We know our customers will be inspired by their stories and will find new products to love.”
A new personal care brand’s retail strategy
“Video commerce was not initially part of our retail strategy,” admits Leshney.
“Our initial strategy focused mainly on our own ecommerce platform as well as exploring Amazon as a sales channel,” she tells Cosmetics Design. “We did also explore some key brick and mortar stores that we felt fit the ethos of the brand. Direct response both via video and other mediums was certainly something we thought we could address but thought that would be later in our development. This was really just a great opportunity that arose; and we felt we had to explore it!”
Still Leshney did a little encouragement to get involved in The Big Find pitch competition: “My friend and retail consultant Lisa Adams, The Beauty Matchmaker, encouraged us to do it. I didn’t think we had a chance, because I was under the impression that children’s products were not the norm on QVC or HSN. But she insisted and we’re so glad she did.”
Notes and quotes about selling kids’ bath products on air
Dabble & Dollop sells blend-it-yourself bath products, encouraging kids to play in the tub and mix up their own scented body and hair care products. The brand’s core product is The Dabble & Dollop starter kit, which comes with a Vanilla Whip, a Tangerine Gel, and a Strawberry Gel. The kit also includes a sheet of temporary tattoos, a little mixing bowl, and ‘recipe cards’ with suggested product blends. Additional tattoos, mixing bowls and of course individual bottles of product can be purchased as well.
When Leshney presented her brand on air over the weekend, she featured the starter kit. And, as is so often the case with a QVC product debut, there was a limited quantity available—only “2,500 [kits] to go around,” as Killinger told viewers.
For Leshney, being a part of the QVC Big Find was as much about validation and education as it was about potential customer acquisition and sales. “Advancing through ‘The Big Find’ process fueled our confidence that we really were on to something special with our mixing message,” Leshney tells Cosmetics Design.
“And,” she says, “the experience on air at QVC was so fascinating—they have their processes and tools down to a science. It’s clear they want you to do the best you can, but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and deliver. I definitely did not want to throw away my shot!” (Read more about the brand and the beginning of Dabble & Dollop here on Cosmetics Design.)
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.