In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Tatiana & Nate Alder, owners of Fuze Body. Fuze Body sells essential oil bath & body care products, is based in Greenacres, Florida, and has been in business for three years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start Fuze Body?
Tatiana and Nate: I have always wanted to get into essential oils, but it has been so intimidating to understand what all the oils are, what they are used for, how to properly use them, etc.
We realized we’re not alone, that most people aren’t experts, and instead of spending countless hours online learning how to use oils, we decided to create products that focus on the benefits, and less on the features.
This makes it easier for consumers to enjoy essential oils without having to become an expert. People also love the unique products we offer, they always tell us we should be on Shark Tank and they have never seen anything like them.
We love selling at our local farmers’ markets every week where we get one-on-one with customers that inspire us to keep creating new ideas.
R: Do either of you have business or wellness backgrounds?
T&N: We both actually went to university to study business. Tatiana got her Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis on market intelligence and business strategy, and she worked in corporate America for about 15 years.
Nate has started several other successful companies with products sold around the world. He currently has other people managing for him so he can focus full time on Fuze Body.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
T&N: Our first prototype for our first product was made with all kinds of contraptions and tools, duct taped and glued together. Since then we have found better tools and improved our methods to allow us to make more products faster and better.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
T&N: We hand make all our unique products in two separate dedicated rooms in our house we call the ‘factory.’ It’s fun this way, but one day we will need to expand to a larger facility.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
T&N: A normal day when we’re not fighting off the next hurricane here in Florida: we get up early, sit down, and plan as a couple/managing partners of the business (husband and wife).
We go through a list of things we need to get done and prioritize from sales, marketing, manufacturing, bookkeeping, research and development, and juggling 2 little girls.
My favorite part is getting to sit down and hand make products together with my husband at the same table and just talk to each other about life, kids, dreams, needs, challenges, jokes, and new ideas.
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
T&N: We used up a large portion of our own life savings to get things off the ground. We are so passionate and committed to our products and customers, we have gone all in.
R: Where was the first place you sold your product? Where do you sell your product now?
T&N: Local farmers’ markets have been hugely successful for us, we sell a ton of products, meet new customers every day, and reconnect with many returning customers we get to know on a first name basis. Now we sell online and at a few local retailers as well.
R: What tips do you have for people thinking about selling at farmers’ markets?
T&N: Farmers’ markets are the best, fastest, and cheapest way to validate a new product idea and prove product/market fit. You get face-to-face time with consumers, hear and see their non-verbal responses to products, branding, packaging, etc.
You can pivot quickly and improve products in minutes to hours with solid data, rather than hypothetical market research surveys and focus groups. It’s important to find a good market that is in the same place regularly, has lots of traffic, good lighting, and clean and classy displays.
Make sure to visit a market first before joining one, but the ones in malls are pretty much always a success. If your product fails to do well at a popular farmers’ market, you need to pivot either your product, branding, packaging, messaging, or display.
Play around and tweak things until you get it just right. Listen to consumers carefully, especially non-verbal cues, write them down and learn from them. Negative feedback is the best, as it helps you learn where to improve.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
T&N: In boutique gift shops all around the world.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
T&N: We send out monthly newsletters, and blogs. Social media is an important part of our marketing strategy, mostly through Instagram and Facebook.
R: Do you have any tips or social media strategies you’ve seen work particularly well?
T&N: Since we participate in several different farmers’ markets, I believe the main one has been to let people know where we are/ will be in the next day or weekend through Instagram and Facebook.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Fuze Body?
T&N: Going through hundreds of prototypes to get our products just right. We keep meticulous notes on each iteration of prototyping to make sure we learn and improve each time.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Fuze Body?
T&N: The biggest achievement was finding the right product/market fit. To realize that people really love our products and read positive reviews is so rewarding. The best compliment is when they come back to buy more for themselves and gifts for friends.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
T&N: Pay attention to what customers want, be innovative, stand by your products, and most of all; have passion for what you do.
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
T&N: Get the right people on the bus, in the right seats, then figure out where to take the bus. – Jim Collins.
R: What are the pros and cons of being a husband and wife team?
T&N: The pros are we never have to ask “how was your day,” lol. We get to talk about life, our kids, errands, and other interests together. Every day is a date. We both studied and worked in business for years so we don’t need to spend any time explaining a different field of work. We get to share in the success and failures together so we know exactly how the other feels.
Cons would be we get so used to seeing each other all the time, it is strange when one of us has to work all day somewhere else or take a trip. We can never “turn off,” we’re always thinking and talking about the business, so it’s nice when we can get outside distractions from time to time, our kids are experts at that.
R: What are some of your favorite essential oil benefits/ fun facts?
T&N: We have two girls, 2 and 4, that are in daycare so they get sick all the time. They are too young to use decongestants, so we use our Crystal Breath pure essential oil in our 500ml ultrasonic diffuser to help them breathe clear through the night and soothe their sniffing and coughing.
During the day we use our Crystal Breath roll-on that clears them up in a matter of minutes. For other daily use items, we have a collection of products that feature the same oils so they can benefit from them anytime.
Another one is that our 4-year-old daughter used to wake up all the time and get in our bed at 3 am, preventing us from getting a good night’s sleep. We started putting 2-3 drops of our Lullaby pure essential oil (she calls it her magic potion, and she’s right) straight on her pillow case every 2-3 days, and now she sleeps all through the night.
Instead of using harsh hand sanitizers that dry our skin, we love using our Dragon’s Breath roll-on that is natural, longer lasting, and hydrates our skin.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
T&N: Working with my own hands, with my own family, and making a difference in the lives of others.