Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! I’m Becky Bavley, founder and CEO of T is for Tame. I started the company about 5 years ago when my twins were born with hair and I couldn’t find clean products to tame it. Every morning they would wake up with their hair either standing up, knotted, or all over the place. When my husband started licking his hands to tame it, I knew there had to be a better way.
Our main target is mothers with children 0-5 before their first haircut. She is looking for safe products to use on her child to help tame their hair. We launched with the taming cream and have since launched several other taming products. We started with Amazon and recently pushed Target and Walmart, growing our revenue by over 85+% every year.
Word of mouth is so powerful for moms that we believe getting people to know the brand is the best way to get them talking about it and staying with it.
What is your story and how did the idea come about?
I’m a former advertising executive who spent most of my days developing ads for my clients. I always dreamed of pouring my heart into something I believed in. I’ve worked on haircare and children’s brands in the past, so when the idea for T is for Tame came to me, I wasn’t completely surprised.
Going from an idea and selling our product to over 100,000+ families worldwide is a dream come true. I still get excited when my team shares an IG post that another family has found us and loves our products.
It can be lonely building a business, but knowing you have a greater connection or purpose behind why you do what you do makes it all worth it.
Take us through the process of creating the first version of your product.
I started with a problem I knew I wanted to solve, which was to create a baby hair product that was safe, not sticky, sticky, or greasy, and that worked. I experimented with different fruit juices, oils and other ingredients and after a few formulas I settled on coconut oil as the main ingredient.
The next step was to find a chemist to help develop and test my idea. This was not an easy holiday because my background is in marketing and I had no idea where to start. I followed chemist websites and LinkedIn and got in touch with someone who used to work in the baby industry. I wanted to make sure I mastered the formula, so it was important for me to find someone I could work with.
After the chemist developed the formula, the next step was to try the moms. We mainly used Facebook mom groups and my local community for moms to try it out and fill out anonymous surveys.
I knew that even if I was in love with the idea, I would have to get other moms to buy into it to believe it would be successful.
Describe the process of starting a business.
I decided to do one thing well at first and expand after I really got the hang of it. I wouldn’t say my work is done on Amazon, but it’s the space I feel most comfortable in because I’ve explored it extensively.
About 6 months ago when I launched, I was listening to podcasts from Amazon experts while my twins slept in the car. I was once pulled over by a police officer for speeding around the block. He let me through after he heard the podcast screamer and saw the twins snoring.
When you’re running a product-based business, inventory is one of the biggest challenges. You want to grow as fast as possible, but running out of inventory is a business killer. We launched our channel several times during the pandemic, and if I was on any channel other than Amazon, it would have killed the business.
It was hard enough to know that I wasn’t able to make sales, but if I also ruined relationships with retailers or customers by not delivering, I don’t think my business would have succeeded.
Since launch, what has worked for customer acquisition and retention?
Amazon remains the #1 sales channel. While I love what Amazon has done for our cash flow, it hasn’t provided the opportunity to connect with our customers and gain a deep understanding of who they are and why they buy from us. I see Amazon is working on making this available for brand owners, so I hope it gets there.
Our second largest channel is wholesale partnerships and big box retailers. We sell our products in specialty, Walmart, Target and natural grocers. We decided to invest in getting the brand where he currently shops. We work with our retail partners to participate in promotions to enhance the brand and use advertising to drive globally targeted traffic to stores.
Our social media journey started very slowly and we didn’t see its power until much later. Now we’re getting our product into the hands of as many micro-influencers who want to try it. Word of mouth is so powerful for moms that we believe getting people to know the brand is the best way to get them talking about it and staying with it.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We sell about 80% of our products on Amazon, 10% retail and the rest is our e-commerce/wholesale business. I think having a deeper relationship with our customers is important, and the tools that help us do that are what we use.
For example, we decided that micro-influencers should be part of our strategy. We reach a very specific niche on Instagram and Tiktok and give away products in exchange for content. We then transfer them to an affiliate program.
From there, we work with influencers who produce the best content and create ads and TikTok from it. As more and more moms move to that platform, we need to have a strategy to take advantage of them. We are looking into hiring a TikTok-specific agency because this platform requires a lot of content and a thorough understanding of what will work not only for our target, but also for the platform.
We also just launched a hair gel that is the #1 new product in our category on Amazon and will be launching 3 more this year. Launching on Amazon in 2018 vs. 2023 is completely different. The algorithm has changed, making it harder to rank for keywords unless an Amazon customer clicks on your brand.
And spending money on advertising alone is not the way to get more eyeballs on you. We believe it’s about tapping into your current base to discover your new products, buy them, and tell others about them. That’s what works for us.
Have you learned anything particularly useful or beneficial about starting a business?
I went to the exhibition very early. I thought buyers would run to me and I would be able to present my product. ERROR: I quickly learned that walking the floor, making appointments, and generally being visible is what leads to sales. The best part of the expo for me was meeting a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of.
My advice, find your people and build your group so you can help build each other up. My group is below.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I taught myself how to launch a product on Amazon by listening to Amazon’s podcast, the Amazing Seller podcast. I drove my twins in the car while they napped and soaked up everything I could learn.
When I got into T is for Tame, I read Exitprenuer, which changed the way I looked at my business. I thought my business was something I did for my family to replace my income versus a viable long-term business that classified clean hair products for families in need.
Tips for other entrepreneurs who want to start or are just starting out.
Tap everyone you know and ask for help. Explain your idea or your business and see if they can help or know someone who can. At first I spent too much time worrying that someone might buy into the idea.
The reality is that building a business from scratch takes so much time and effort that even if someone thinks your idea is great (and wants to steal it), the hurdle of building a business stops 99% of people. And now you just have to overcome the 1% for marketing, which you will need help with.
Find a way to give back either with your business or something you do as an entrepreneur. It can be lonely building a business, but knowing you have a greater connection or purpose behind why you do what you do makes it all worth it.
Looking to hire for specific positions right now?
We are always looking to hire interns with a social media background. It can end up being paid off or in the form of a school loan, depending on your situation.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Feel free to email us. [email protected]
- Our website if you are interested in our products or more information
- Or find us on all social media @tisfortame
If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below.
– Becky Bavley, founder of T is for Tame
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