EmpowerHERto interviewed Ariel Gough, co-founder of Bailly, about running a fragrance business with her co-founder and business partner, Edwina Govindsamy.
Tell us the story about how you met. Did you click right away?
We were introduced by Edwina’s mother over coffee and immediately knew that we wanted to start a business together. We spent time brainstorming and it was on a random drive that Edwina suggested that we start a fragrance company.
Can you tell us a little about your fragrance business and why you were interested in starting one?
We are both cosmetics enthusiasts and my mother has a severe fragrance sensitivity, so we were particularly interested in creating a product that would not negatively impact one’s health.
How did you come up with the name of your company?
It was inspired by the fiercely strong and ambitious women around us. Bailly is the name of an impact crater near the south-west side of the moon. An impact crater—a circular depression in the surface of a planet or moon formed by the hypervelocity impact of a smaller body—is a fitting metaphor for women who, one by one, are making a positive impact in their communities and the world.
What is the process that goes into making a new fragrance? How do you come up with the names?
We work with a lab based in New York. Our perfumer sends us samples based on our set criteria and we select the final scents.
It is a joint effort when naming the scents. Our “Girl Power” collection is all about helping women and girls recognize the power that they have to achieve their dreams and change the world. Brilliance, Excellence, and Resilience are the characteristics that we see in the women around us.
What does “a day in the life” look like for you?
Until recently, we both worked full-time 9-5 jobs while running the business: evenings and weekends were spent planning new product development, developing marketing materials, filling orders, and answering customer inquiries. We also have weekly meetings with our lab and sales team.
How did you build your customer base? Do you market your business on your own?
Yes, we currently do all of the marketing for Bailly ourselves. Media early on was extremely helpful in building our customer base and it still is. Social media—especially Instagram—is a large part of our marketing strategy. We also have fantastic retail partners who are enthusiastic about our brand and share it with their customers.
What has been the most challenging and rewarding part of being entrepreneurs?
Making your first few sales is a rewarding and validating feeling because it means that people actually want what you have created. It can be challenging to continue the momentum and sometimes you have to get creative with your strategies.
How have you overcome any failures or setbacks?
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, always told himself to ”just keep going,” and we have adopted that mindset. If something doesn’t turn out the way we had planned, we talk about the lessons learned and quickly move on to what’s next.
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
Many of our retail partners had to temporarily close because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, we were fortunate that we already had a robust online presence and our customers are accustomed to ordering online. We are still experiencing shipping and delivery delays.
What are some plans for growing your business?
We have plans to launch new products and increase our retail presence in Canada and the U.S.
What advice do you have for a young woman looking to start her own business?
Get started. Even if it doesn’t work out or you have to pivot, you will never know unless you try. You never know where your efforts will take you.
You donated to a few charities that help children and young girls. Why is it important to you to support young girls?
It is important to support young girls because they should have every opportunity to reach their full potential. When that happens, we build stronger and more prosperous communities. Everyone benefits.
How can our readers get in touch with you or access your services?
We would love to connect via our website at www.bailly.co or on Instagram at @baillyfragrance
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