Twilight and Downton Abbey actress MyAnna Buring told the Daily Mail’s glossy magazine that Earthzest products helped her adult acne. Earthzest is a micro-company that makes specialist vegan & organic skincare, and the wave of traffic from the mention in YOU Magazine crashed the website, wrecking the owner’s carefully laid plans for the week – and organic beauty entrepreneur Jackie Callow could not be happier!
It’s every beauty professional’s dream – to be mentioned in the mainstream press by a bona fide star. But what happens when a celebrity unexpectedly name drops a small company? Is it time to get the champagne out, or more trouble than it’s worth? Would you be able to capitalise on an unexpected Tweet or mention in the press, or would you wish that you had been better prepared?
It costs a reported ten thousand dollars for the likes of Kim Kardashian to Tweet about a product or service, which will often sell out instantly. A lot of time and resources are invested in the fallout of a seemingly off the cuff celebrity Tweet or mention – from making sure the website can handle the traffic, to having enough staff to deal with the sheer volume of enquiries. Most of the time these PR plugs are carefully planned and timed, but if a celebrity likes your products enough, it might just happen unexpectedly!
When Jackie Callow, 48 from Southend-on-Sea set up her specialist botanical business in 2014, she had only one aim: To create the highest quality, most effective skin formulations, without using any synthetics, filler or animal products whatsoever.
The result was a highly concentrated product that felt and behaved differently to conventional skin creams. With no fancy packaging and marketing, and set against hundreds of well-marketed skin products, Jackie had her work cut out trying to sell it!
The converts to Earthzest products began to grow, particularly as customers would rave about certain products to their friends. Jackie quietly carried on producing and refining the products, until her skin soothing formulations caught the attention of a famous beauty.
MyAnna Buring is an accomplished actress, having starred in the Twilight franchise, as well as appearing in primetime BBC dramas such as Ripper Street and Downton Abbey. She was the subject of a six page interview by the Daily Mail’s glossy YOU magazine, having recently returned to our screens in the latest series of Ripper Street, and to top it all off she has a glowing complexion, and obviously knows what works for her skin.
Unusually for an actress, she was very candid and honest when asked about her beauty must-haves. She opened up about suffering from adult acne, and told the Daily Mail reporter that Earthzest products had cured her skin issues.
Although Jackie knew that MyAnna was pleased with the products, she had no idea that she was going to be mentioned in a huge feature in a mainstream publication. In fact, that was beyond her wildest imagination, and when her ‘phone started pinging with more notifications that usual for a Sunday afternoon, she couldn’t understand where the traffic to her website was coming from.
It became clear that Earthzest had appeared in the Daily Mail, and a quick Google confirmed that Earthzest products had been personally recommended to deal with adult acne. The emails were from people wanting to know what products MyAnna was using, and how they could buy them immediately.
Jackie answered the emails as they came through, and then decided that she needed a glass of wine to deal with the shock of it all! Unfortunately, she then got an email through from a customer, telling her that the website was down.
The unexpected traffic to the modest site had crashed it, and it remained offline for 90 minutes. There were more visitors in an hour than there had been all week, and this continued for several days. After a frantic ‘phone call the site was eventually back up and remained online. Jackie didn’t manage to open the wine until half past two the following morning.
The products that MyAnna used soon sold out, and a new batch of ingredients had to be urgently ordered. Jackie noticed that her hand was shaking ever so slightly when she pressed “send” on an email for more labels.
Jackie describes the whole experience as “Intense but wonderful” and feels that it has given her the validation she didn’t know that she was missing, after several years of hard work and research, not to mention her personal financial investment into the company, including giving up her well paid job as a legal secretary.
“I am such a shy person, and I would never dare to ask someone to mention me in the press or pay for that kind of publicity, as I’m very much a believer in the products speaking for themselves. So this whole experience was a bit like winning the lottery – such a wonderful surprise but at the same time a real game-changer. I am extremely happy about it, but I nearly had kittens when the website crashed!”
Holistic Therapist Magazine asked Jackie some key questions about her Holistic business …
What is your passion?
My main passion is filler and synthetic free products, which goes against conventional wisdom, costing, and the emphasis the beauty industry puts on packaging and marketing. On paper, many experts would say I have it the wrong way around, but to have one of my customers tell the national press that I got it right – I must be on to something!
I am also passionate about animal welfare, and I have been certified by the Vegan Society, to ensure that my products are kind to animals. Not all of my customers have exactly this passion, but the ones that do, are delighted that they are also animal free and cruelty free. If you are very passionate about something, chances are others will be too.
How can you remain authentic in such an aesthetic world of beauty?
I am not a multi-million-pound beauty guru that lives in a mansion. I don’t live a glamorous lifestyle and I’m quite well known locally for delivering my products personally, on my old bicycle, in my dog-walking jeans!
The beauty industry is of course image-led, and customers want to feel pampered and luxurious. I certainly wouldn’t turn up to an event or treatment looking a scruff. But I firmly believe that being the most down to earth and authentic version of yourself that you can be, truly attracts like-minded and lovely souls, and sometimes you can help one another along the way.
What is your business advice?
It is my personality to go completely overboard with any aspect of my business that I feel is important. The very best ingredients, 100% organic rather than compromising on cheaper or more stable formulations, and even choosing jars that don’t leach chemicals into the contents. Who buys face cream based on how chemically stable the jar is? Nobody that I can think of! But to me it is important, and I am sure to the readers of HTM it is too. You only get one face, after all. So, this minute attention to detail is not noticed by everybody, but that is not the point. This is about being the best that you can be, and knowing that your stuff stands up to anything else on the market, and I think that’s a universal truth, whether you run a restaurant or a beauty salon, or whether you make submarines or face cream. It’s all in the detail.
What is the most important part of your marketing? When I ask my customers to please recommend me, I genuinely want them to be so happy that they absolutely rave about them to everybody. This is more important to me than any volume of sales. That’s where my confidence to ask comes from, and I think if you’re feeling that positive about it, you’re going to inspire confidence in others.