Like many of us in eCommerce, Rachel Pachivas never actually really intended to be in eCommerce, but has progressed through the industry as the COO of Annmarie Skincare. For over 7 years now Annmarie has been producing the highest quality, wildcrafted organic skincare products available on the market in completely sustainable ways.
Company founders Kevin and Annmarie were seasoned internet marketing publishers, but could never seem to find any skincare products that they were comfortable recommending to their audience. They then realized that there was a large opportunity in the space to create something great. They found a forumulator with over 30 years in organic cosmetic chemistry, and this was the catalyst for developing some of the best products on the market and marketing them at mass.
When working in political activism and campaign work, Rachel happened to Kevin and Annmarie who had just launched the business. A friendship soon formed and the three banded together to build what would become an incredible and beautiful empire in their industry with over 25 team members now.
The products are very high quality, and incredibly carefully sourced, so as the COO Rachel oversees some very delicate supply chain intricacies. They launch 3-4 new products a year which opens up new opportunities, but also adds additional complexity. All of their products are Made Safe Verified, which means that the research on suppliers has to be extremely thorough and sanctioned by this third party.
For anyone looking to get into the ultra-natural skincare space, the best way to start taking steps in the right direction is to always use organic plants and to start to research and experiment with very high-quality ingredients. If there are particular skin issues or products you are passionate about, this will also add fuel to the fire,
The Annemarie brand story is woven into the uniqueness of their products and herb infusions which allow them to stand out and tell stories around these products and formulations. They also highlight various ingredients in each product to continue to build out the product side of the brand with stories and unique angles. The third layer on top of these product stories is those of the farmers and the people who provide these special and carefully created organic and sustainable ingredients.
With multiple products being tested and added each year, the supply chain and operations landscape gets more and more complicated. I am sure many of you can relate to the pains (like inventory forecasting and cash flow planning) in testing and launching new products, and have various systems for doing so.
Annmarie does a lot of communication and surveying of their customers to always be in touch with demand and preferences. They also have tested out different product launch structures. The most recent launch structure has been just soft-launching to their email list and social media accounts…and this actually has worked really well without spending a dime on advertising. This was obviously available as a strategy because they had built a strong brand with a loyal fan base of loyal customers!
They have previously used more “scientific” testing methods whereby they would start making blog posts about the new products, talking about the stories behind them, sending out samples, doing votes, doing pre-sales and more. This is a pretty fun way of product testing, but definitely a lot more involving than relying on your loyal customers.
Speaking of loyal customers, Rachel and Kevin were diving into some numbers with some of their longest customer cohorts and found that they had many customers order thousands and thousands of dollars of product. Some as much as $6,700 worth of skincare products over 8 years…now that is brand loyalty!
Sustainability has been a priority from day-1 for Annmarie, from ingredients to packaging to the way they conduct business as a team as all very carefully crafted to be in alignment with extremely strong brand values.
When I asked how someone can get started integrating a commitment to sustainability into their business, Rachel’s main piece of advice was to start small and not get overwhelmed. If you try and do it all at once (product, label, bottle, inserts, boxes, logistics, company energy consumption) you are setting yourself up for overwhelm!
“In a way, we are all figuring out what we want to do and where we belong” – I love this quote from Rachel when I asked her how it was to now be able to have such a big impact with her business after being involved in the political activism scene. She was also heavily impacted when she was younger and lived with a Naturopath in Australia and didn’t think she necessarily gets to do something in that space, but now fast forward many years later, it is really amazing to see where the journey of life can take us!
Annmarie boasts an incredible organizational culture and supports all of their teammates thoroughly in pursuing additional training and development for their roles and beyond. One of the internal mantras is “we take care of us”, meaning if individual team members aren’t being taken care of, then the team will not progress to its full potential in the best ways.
Last year Rachel took her first vacation lasting longer than 4 days in over 10 years. Her advice to anyone who thinks they might need to take some more time away from their business is to just do it and you will be so much happier and more productive. Give yourself enough time to prepare everything, get your team set up to cover anything that might need to be, and just take the leap.
Spending time disconnected is absolutely vital for our happiness and sanity, and it honestly has some pretty incredible benefits to your business when you return with fresh perspectives and a thunderous amount of energy to tackle the journey ahead.
00:41 – Accidentally getting started in eCommerce
02:17 – Finding the market opportunity
05:14 – Creating a brand story around products, ingredients and sourcing
07:11 – Handling multiple sku’s and new product launches
10:00 – REAL LTV
12:16 – How to get started with sustainability
14:27 – Building a great organizational culture