In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Sammi Hill, founder of Mixologie, LLC. Mixologie, LLC sells an innovative perfume line, lotions, bath products, and a men’s line, is based in Smithville, Texas, and has been in business for four years. Shop perfume here.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business?
Sammi: After spending many years in the medical field, my business partner and I were ready for a change. We’re both entrepreneurs at heart, so it was difficult to leave an industry we knew so well, but the regulatory environment and stress of the medical industry had us craving an industry where we could bring innovation to a new industry and simply make products that make people happy.
Since I had always been a fragrance fanatic, perfume seemed like a natural fit for our next venture. We’re innovators, so we didn’t want to make ‘just another perfume’ brand. We set out to shake up the fragrance world by inviting customers to customize their fragrance. Say goodbye to alcohol-laden, overpowering and overpriced, ‘one size fits all,’ mass-market perfume and say hello to a fresh new approach to perfume with alcohol-free fragrances that are soft, subtle, long-lasting, and customizable.
With our Blendable Perfume Collection, we created an opportunity for women to completely personalize their perfume. No more ‘one size fits all,’ ‘if this celebrity likes it, I should too’ thinking. Mixologie is all about celebrating our unique body chemistry (and having fun with fragrance!).
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
S: Oh, boy. If only I had a picture. Our first version of a blendable perfume kit resembled a chemistry set. It was much too complicated and messy for an individual to use in a home setting.
Thankfully, my pragmatic partner, Jeff, recognized this issue. Our big ‘light bulb’ moment happened when we discovered that you could blend the perfume right on your skin using rollerball applicators to layer the scents together. Problem solved!
R: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
S: We make everything right here in Texas! Our team of in-house “Mixologists” blend the fragrance oils, fill the bottles, and package them for shipment. It’s great to have all of our manufacturing on-site, providing local jobs.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
S: No day is the same, that’s for sure. We spend a lot of time at markets/trade shows introducing our brand to new stores. When we’re not at shows, we’re usually working on the next product launch (or fixing a printer lol). This is a small business, after all. We wear many hats!
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
S: A ton! I’ll leave it at that. We bootstrapped much of it, and borrowed what we needed to from the bank.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
S: We tried selling direct to consumer online at first, which was a big flop. We quickly realized that most people weren’t interested in buying a perfume they had never heard of and hadn’t smelled before online. We quickly transitioned to the wholesale model so that customers could smell the fragrances in a store.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
S: Most of our retailers are brick and mortar gift boutiques and gift shops. We’re in about 2,500 stores in the U.S., and just starting to sell internationally.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
S: Is “the cutest boutiques in every zip code in the world” an acceptable answer? Because that’s where we want to be!
R: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
S: My favorite fragrance from our line is Assured. It’s such a warm, inviting scent. It’s a blend of warming amber cashmere musk, creamy sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver. Fresh and aqueous marine notes keep things light and airy while crushed violet leaves add a feminine touch. I can’t get enough of it. I get compliments all the time.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
S: I guess social media is here to stay, so yes… we consider it a priority. That being said, promoting fragrance visually is a challenge! Maybe someday we’ll be able to smell through our screens. For now, we do our best to help customers imagine what our fragrances smell like through pictures and descriptions.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Mixologie, LLC?
S: There have been plenty of ups and downs, for sure. We’ve learned from our experience in other businesses that being nimble and quickly adjusting plans is the key to getting through the difficult times.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Mixologie, LLC?
S: Being selected by Daymond John’s company (Shark Group) at a product innovation competition was definitely a high point. From that, we had the opportunity to sell our perfume kit in a special segment with Daymond on HSN. We were also featured by the Style Squad on The Today Show, which gave us a national presence at a critical time.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
S: Take one step towards your goal every single day. Don’t skip a day. All of those small steps lead to bigger ones, and before you know it you have a product ready for market!
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
S: “Stop worrying. It just slows you down.” That was said by Charlie Blue, a mentor of ours. You can waste a lot of time stressing about a problem you have, or you can get to work fixing it.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
S: I love working with other business owners. The friendships I have made with other vendors and store owners are the best. Everyone that owns a small business is someone who hustles and I love the adrenaline we all feed off of. Even though we’re all doing our own thing, it somehow feels like we’re all in it together.