I can’t believe 7 years have gone by since I sold the first Banish kit! I specifically remember waking up one morning in Sept 2013 and seeing 3 orders for the Banish kit; the first customer was located in Spain. In honor of Banish’s birthday, I will share with you 6 early facts about Banish and 6 things I’ve learned running Banish.
Random facts you may not know about Banish:
1. Banish started by accident. In college, I wanted to be a dermatologist, so I actually studied premed. I took all the required pre-med classes, so I did spend inordinate amounts of time on Orgo, microbiology, etc. I realized memorizing was not my strong suit. However, this background in chemistry and biology set me up for researching skincare when I had acne.
In 2010 I started my YouTube channel to share tips and tricks about skincare; in 2012 I tried out microneedling/Vit C combo, on September 2013 that’s when the first Banish kit was shipped out.
Here are some screenshots of the first website. Don’t judge!
2. To save money, I would rent out my room on Airbnb and sleep on the couch downstairs. I actually didn’t mind. Instead of focusing on ‘What I didn’t have” or “what I couldn’t do”, I started out with a “can do” attitude and I credit my resourcefulness to the beginnings of Banish.
3. At the beginning of the business, I was a one-woman show. I would start my morning with answering emails, updating the website, taking product photos, doing live chat.
In the afternoon, I’d film a YouTube video (because that’s when the lighting was the best!), then edit, upload, respond to comments; in the late evenings, I’d make and package the products. I’d sometimes be up till 3 am. Then I’d wake up at 8 to be the first in line to drop off the shipments at the post office. Because I was a one-woman show, in the beginning, I understand how each component works and why it’s so important, for example, to purchase from this particular vendor for this ingredient, or use these labels for packaging. It’s very hard to learn how to manage a process if you haven’t done it yourself.
4. The first shipment of products was destroyed; I was devastated. I had put about ~$35k of inventory over 5 personal credit cards. After a day of sorrow, I simply wrote out the ‘next steps’ I needed to do in order to move forward. I could have wallowed in my sorrows or negativity, but I always focused on putting one foot in front of the other and creating blinders on anything else.
5. One of the earliest memories of feeling like I was onto something, was when I went to three separate office depot stores and purchased all of their bubble wraps. The orders kept growing that I had to drive more to more stores to purchase packaging supplies…
6. MY FIRST HIRE WAS MARIEL, THE SWEETEST GAL FROM A LOCAL COLLEGE NEARBY. It was a huge leap of faith for me to make a hire, but I was so glad because she’d help me free up some time. I would pick her up from after class, have her work with me, and then drop her off at the train station.
What have I learned in these years?
Be very careful of who you bring into your circle. The biggest stressors I’ve had in the business was dealing with people; make sure you bring people who have the same values and mission you do. If it’s not aligned, you’ll have so many problems along the way. This also goes the same with life: be careful who you surround yourself with. Make sure they want what’s best for you, make sure you have the same goals and vision, make sure they’re not toxic energy vampires.
Stay true to your values and roots: We focus on creating value, we focus on creating the best experience for our Banish soldiers. How can we create better products? How can we eliminate time in shipping? How can we make our soldiers feel more empowered and confident? It’s very important that we stay true to why we started; who are we creating the products for? Who is that young woman that was scared to go outside without makeup? Always go back to your customers. Stay true to YOUR roots.
Don’t do things for the sake of looking ‘cool’. There are so many companies out there that’ll spend millions of dollars on fancy office space or cool trips, only to go out of business a year later. Focus on your people. Focus on your product. Everything else is external. Same with life: don’t do things simply because they are ‘cool’. Focus on what is important. Everything else is external.
Don’t compare yourself! I am a huge perfectionist and very competitive. However, if you focus all your time on comparisons, you will never have any time to create value or live out your authentic truth. I remember when first starting, I could play the victim or I could have the ‘can do’ attitude. If I focused my time on “why don’t I have this, or what don’t I have that”, I can guarantee Banish would have never started.
Perfectionism will kill you in your business. As a struggling perfectionist, this has been the hardest thing for me to overcome. Business is messy, it’s chaotic, it’s crazy. Everything will take 5x longer and cost 5x more than you thought. Just like life, life is anything but perfect. Embrace the chaos.
Don’t be afraid of who you are, of sharing your story. Too often I felt like I had to be ‘someone else’. There were several times when I was the only woman, under 30, and the only non-caucasian in the room. I tried to act differently because I wanted to be accepted. If you google image, “CEO” you don’t see much diversity. I will say though, it’s so much better today than it was 10 years ago. Own your story. Own who you are, don’t be afraid to embrace it, as imperfect as it is.
What’s for the future of Banish?
We are going to constantly be innovating on new products, testing and experimenting with so many different ingredients and products that work for us. We will always focus on the ingredients and composition of the products, never on the look and feel.
We are going to focus on telling the stories of our Banish soldiers,
We are going to focus on empowering our Banish soldiers to feel their best and give them the courage to be authentically themselves!