They say the change of seasons is the perfect time to switch up one’s skincare routine and with the end of summer quickly approaching, we decided to check in with BODY STUFF. You probably remember maker llaria Tarozzi from this year’s show who came armed with her arsenal of scrubs, soaps, moisturizers and cleansers-all handmade with natural and organic ingredients, no BS.
Officially launching in 2015 and made in Brooklyn (though they may be on the move soon!), the brand came from llaria’s response to the beauty products on the market that were filled with junk and overpriced. Soon she was DIYing it and using “NO BS” as her motto.
Since the show, she and her team have been up to some exciting things and we wanted to hear all about it.
Self Made: When did you start your business?
llaria Tarozzi: BODY STUFF officially launched in December of 2015, although the experimenting and planning began a year prior to that.
SM: Who makes up the members of your team and what is each person’s role?
lT: I work with my husband, Guido. I call him the Chief of BS (Boring Stuff!! What did you think?!). From paperwork, to numbers, to spreadsheets, to keeping my head on my shoulder when I let my imagination go a bit too far. My invaluable sounding board and right arm Catherine is always ready to jump in as needed. She helps me sell at events, she is my go-to person when it comes to design and décor, and is meticulously talented at packaging.
I also have assembled a pretty kick-ass branding team to help me stay on message: Tash and Virginia from Tin Can Collective. Noah, our rescue mutt, cheers us on and gives us all the love when business gets tough. So I can’t leave him out!
SM: How did you learn your craft?
lT: Trial, error, trashed batches, more trial, more error, and occasionally…perfection. It all started with silly Pinterest searches, and my eyes were opened to this world of botanicals, chemistry, and incredibly supportive and helpful communities. I’m definitely nowhere near being done with my learning, but I had to start somewhere and I’m not one who pulls back at uncertainty.
SM: What are some of your favorite parts of being a maker/business owner?
lT: I thought it would be the “making”, but it turned out that what I love the most is being a part of such a vibrant community. Meeting likeminded people, sharing thoughts and ideas, witnessing each other grow is so inspiring.
SM: What are some of the challenges you face?
lT: The biggest challenge has absolutely been scaling up by solely reinvesting the profits into the company. We’re European. Asking for loans is something so huge in our mentality that we avoid it as long as we can. So how do we afford hiring a first employee, or having more storage/manufacturing space, not to mention the expenses from trade shows? The company has grown a lot and the demand is out there. We have turned down offers for fear of being unable to fulfill them! It’s a matter of taking the leap and knowing how to jump. If money wasn’t something we worry about, I’d hire a formulator, a designer to redo all of my labels, a photographer to shoot stylized photos, someone to do specific tweaks on my website, and a social media manager- on the spot! Today, I cover all of those roles, plus sales, wholesale outreach, and product development.
The other very big challenge as an entrepreneur is time management. We work 80-hour work weeks just to avoid a 40-hour desk job. There’s always some project to work on and the to do list is never ending! That’s also the thrill of it.
SM:Name five things you wish you knew being starting your business?
lT: 1. Be aware of buying seasons and patterns. For me, most of the profit happens between September through December. That means that my sales happen then, and I have to be prepared for that. Knowing that summer time is super slow, use that time wisely and don’t get discouraged.
2. Take advantage of resources offered by the chamber of commerce or other communities of makers around you.
3. Put very good thought into your prices. Know what your game plan is and who you are competing with. Chances are, you are underselling yourself. A lot.
4. No need of a fancy degree or infinite business knowledge. Listen to podcasts, watch shark tank, take every possible opportunity to network and get to know the makers community because they will teach you most of the stuff you need to know.
5. Know when to delegate. Doing your taxes burns you out and raises your stress level an incredible amount? Paying an accountant that extra few hundred dollars is worth. It. All.
SM: What keeps you inspired? Are there any routines or rituals you follow that help keep you on track?
lT: This may be cheesy but watching Shark Tank fuels all my juices!!! Attending Trade Shows and conferences also is what I consider business-school.
SM: Who are some of your favorite independent designers/local brands?
lT: Oh, so many! Lovewild Design, Jam Jam Jams, Haute Chocolate Brooklyn, Collective Textiles, Dirty Mermaid Beauty, Lotto Love, Shop Buntu, Comfort and Joy Soap, Honeypot Co,…man, I could go on forever!
SM: If we came to visit you, where are three places you would insist on taking us and why?
lT: We’d definitely take you on the famous Wrangler-tour of Brooklyn. It includes visiting our favorite BK neighborhoods (Red Hook, BK Heights, Dumbo, Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Gowanus) in an open-roof 1989 Jeep Wrangler, in the company of 2 Italians and a mutt. We will have 2 pit stops: one in Red Hook at Steve’s Key Lime Pies to have an authentic delicious dessert, and one in Gowanus at Pig Beach for some rad pulled pork, then we’d walk across the canal to Ample Hills for their famous ice cream to finish it off.
SM: Are there any new projects/products in the works that you would like to share with us?
lT: We just launched our line of at-home facial products (masks and steams), which is selling so well! For the holidays, we will assemble stunning gift packages in collaboration with other really talented local makers (Brooklyn and Hudson valley). Other than being NY themed, they will benefit amazing causes. Tis the season…for change!
SM: Where can we find your products/work?
lT: On our website www.ilovebodystuff.com you can shop all of our products, but you can also see a list of upcoming events and shops that sell our line! But the best thing to do is follow @ilovebodystuff on IG. It’s a pretty fun account, and you’ll have access to giveaways and more.