organic beauty professionals

Shop Talk: Why It’s Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Why It's Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

Know why it’s important for online beauty store to be pretty? Other than the obvi, which is that a pretty shop is more fun to look at than a less attractive site.

Shows effort, yes. But what else?

The experience!

Ah yeah, we gals and guys who are into beauty love the feel of walking into a pretty little beauty shop. It is not just about the products stocked (thought that is why customers keep coming back!) it’s about the energy, the vibe, the whole package.

I recently wrote a story for EcoSalon on shopping organic brick + mortars in NYC. And most of the comments I received were centered around the gorgeousness of the shops.

Remember, when people shop online there are certain elements they miss out on. They can’t touch, apply, or smell the products. That’s where great descriptions and messaging come in, more on that in a minute. They also don’t get to experience the overall fun factor of physically being in a super cute shop.

The great news? This is so totally fixable. There’s no shortage of web designers out there creating beautiful sites. There are even templates designed just for women biz owners.

Like what you see here? I use Bluchic template Isabelle on OBS and had my header designed by How Sweet Designs. Very affordable and the look conveys exactly what I was going for…fresh + clean with a bit of glitz. If OBS were a store IRL, it would be all white with touches of gold and blushy pink, packed with the best organic beauty and tons of vivid information to help shoppers make their decisions. For reals, it might be a library or book shop since I’m more into the writing aspect, but for the sake of the theme here…

Now back to that messaging we touched on earlier. Sharing your products and message with people who come to your site is key. And it has to be done right. No clue where to begin? Check out these 3 things to keep in mind when crafting product descriptions.

Now you see why a pretty online shop is pretty important. Let me know if I can help. xxoo

OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.

OriginalHomepageSmall

Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at Unsplash.com has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Really Want

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Need

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

You neeeed vibe word flow.

Know why? It’s how you sell your stuff.

If you were a blogger or shop owner around 6- 10 years ago, you probably remember online marketing in a very different way. Back then it was all about the pretty ads. Flashing, sparkling, bright ads. Plastered everywhere.

Sure, people are still paying big bucks for ads on highly visible sites. But do you know what gets customer attention these days? It is not that big flashy ad. It is words. Solid, honest, super transparent information.

We’ve upped our online game along the way. And thank goodness! Now we go to someone’s site, read up on what we want to know, and decide if we’d like to request more info or make a purchase. The way it should be.

Hey, if you walk into a shop and you are surrounded by lots of retail shop fittings and you start looking at, say…juicers. You are thinking the cheap one looks good price-wise. But will it burn up the third time you use it? Is the more expensive model the best way to go? What do you do? Look at the huge banner telling you to purchase the expensive model and do that, just because the banner said so?

Heck no!

You ask the person working in the store. That is why they are there, right? To give you more information that will aid in your buying decision. And how much does the giant, brightly colored banner with the eye-catching font do for you? Not a whole lot.

Same deal with your web content. Your words tell your customers what they want to know and answer their questions. This is what helps them decide what to buy. Not the crazy ad.

No clue where to begin? I’ve created a little crib sheet for you, including three important things to keep in mind when sharing your products with your customers.

3 Important Things to Share With Your Customers

1. Who is this product for? Most often, when people shop beauty they are shopping for a solution. Fix their acne. Tone down their redness. Diminish their wrinkles. Tell them exactly who the product is designed for and what problem it solves.

2. Look, smell, feel. Since we are talking online stores here, customers can’t get their hands on your sweet products. Let them know what the product feels like to the touch. How does it smell? Is it a creamy, dreamy violet-hued red lipstick or a striking matte tangerine lipstick? Be as descriptive as possible.

3. Give up the ingredients. We know this is important. Consumers are savvy these days and look for full ingredient listings. So don’t beat around the bush, copy and paste those suckers onto each and every description page.

If, on the other hand, you do not have a love of writing, think your writing stinks, or simply do not have the time (you are running an online biz, after all), I can help with that. Organic beauty/wellness writing is my thang and I’d be more than happy to help you out.

Find out what my services will do for you, and fill out the Content Stylist form with the specs on your writing wants and needs. Or if you are less wordy, don’t know what you really want or need, or would like to talk about retaining my writing services on an as needed basis, please give me a shout through my good ol’ contact form. Questions welcome.

Would love to hear from you organic beauty + wellness professionals…what are your biggest hurdles in running an online biz? Setting up time for blogging, social media, or emails? Getting to know your customers? Finding new and exciting products? I’d love to know, so please share in the comments.

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

What are the most important words on any organic beauty store’s site? Any guesses?

More important than product descriptions. More than expert notations. Possibly even more than product reviews.

Ingredient listings.

Like, complete product ingredient listings. The full meal deal.

Know why? Because it is the only true way to tell what is in a product and if it is safe.

Have you ever been to an online shop and found lots of great looking products, all advertised as clean? But alas, no ingredient listings. You search their About page, their ingredient commitment. Still, the fact that you can’t find out what exactly is in this product you’d really like to push the Buy Now button on is bugging you.

You Google the product to see if you can find the ingredients on another site. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You spend several more minutes on this product than you feel it warrants. You start to get frustrated because you just want to know what’s. in. the. dang. product.

Right there. That’s a customer’s red flag to click the heck out of your site, away from your shop for good.

People selling safe, nontoxic cosmetics aren’t afraid to tell you what’s in them. Even more, they actually want you to know what they are made of. So they tell you. In the form of complete ingredient listings on every single product page.

For organic beauty shoppers in the know (and make no mistake, the majority are savvy these days) this no listing thing is a deal breaker. An almost sure way to tell if someone is being a little less than honest about the safety of the products they sell.

So do your customers and yourself one huge, big, fat favor. List ingredients on your site. It’s a copy and paste thing that is super important to your business and the faith your potential customers put in you. Have your intern set aside a day to get this done or peel your teenage son out from behind his Xbox for the weekend and pay him to do it. You won’t be sorry.

Image :: timothy muza at Unsplash

Shop Talk :: 6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

Hello, Organic Beauty Pros!

Last week we talked about your lonely little site blog and tips for perking it up with some fresh content. I mentioned shorter posts and hiring a professional to do the writing for you. But there are other ways to make regular blog posting happen too.

If you are someone who has ideas and would like to share them with your followers, but just can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule, today’s post is for you. I’ll share tips on ways to gather your ideas, get them organized, set up a schedule, and post those babies lightning fast.

1 :: Ideas most often happen on the fly. Free your memory space (in your actual head) up for important stuff, like remembering to record your daughter’s dance class or schedule a coffee date with your bestie, and get those post ideas down somewhere else. I use the Notes app on my phone while I’m out to record ideas and any related links that I may like to write about later. Evernote is another great place to store your thoughts, emails, articles, and post plans.

2 :: An editorial calendar is a super effective way to keep up with regular posting. Did you just groan at the thought of coming up with one of these? Seriously, you will be glad you did. Even if you only plan to posts once a week (which is absolutely fine and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), an ed calendar will help you plan ahead and stick to your schedule. Put it on your calendar, “Post to Blog” every Wednesday.

3 :: Most blogging platforms have a schedule feature. This means you can write your post anytime that works for you and schedule it to go out first thing Monday morning. Hot stuff!

4 :: If you seem to get stuck in a time suck every time you sit down to write a post, give yourself a limit. Remember, blogs are a more personal space than a site or store. Speak in your own voice and focus on one subject at a time. Tracking your time helps big time her too. I use the Time Tracker feature on Freshbooks to log my writing time. There are other apps that do this too. Or heck, set an old fashioned timer for an hour.

5 :: Guest posts and interviews are interesting ways to share different types of content with your readers. They also free up some of your time because someone else is doing the writing. Obviously, these need to be set up in advance. Come up with a list of brand creators or industry experts you’d like to feature, and ask them if they’d be up for an interview or would like to write a guest post for your blog.

6 :: One of my favorite ways of writing themed content is with blog series. You’ll notice here on OBS I have several. This not only makes it easier for me to organize my post ideas, but helps my readers to find articles they like on a certain subject. For shop owners, things like Product of the Month, What I’m Wearing, or Customer Favorites are sweet ways of sharing opinions while featuring products.

Once you get in the blog flow, ideas, writing, and scheduling will all become easier and faster. Next week we will cover inspo generation for those who want to blog but don’t know what to write about. See you back here then!

Shop Talk :: Suffering From Blog Neglect?

Shop Talk :: Suffering from Blog Neglect?

How many of you organic beauty shop owners have a blog? How many post regularly? Seldom? Haven’t removed the “Coming Soon” placeholder?

Yep, I see it all the time. A beautifully laid out organic beauty shop, filled to the brim with the best products, images that make you drool, and great editor tips. Then I click the “Blog” link, and … *crickets chirping*.

Know why your blog is a tumbleweed magnet? Because you are a shop owner not a blogger.

They are two very independent beings. One runs a shop full of organic beauty products. The other writes about those products. Two different job descriptions. This is why you don’t post to your blog.

Writing is what I get paid to do and I love it. If you told me I had to sell beauty products on the side, I’d probably blow it off for a few days in a state of frozen bewilderment, before putting out a half ditched effort. The bottom line: I’d sell very few products.

And that’s not because I don’t know how to market them or don’t know how to install a shopping cart on my site. Which, admittedly, I do not. But that stuff can be learned. The real reason I wouldn’t sell any product is because … selling beauty products is not my thing. Not my jam. Not what I do.

And blogging is not what you lovely, successful shop owners do. Nor should you be. It takes away from your true purpose. Time spent on doing something you hate rather than doing what you love is counterproductive. Why do I assume you don’t love blogging? Because you chose to be a shop owner, not a blogger, plus the aforementioned cricket chirper you have there on your site.

What’s that? So maybe you don’t hate to write? If you do yearn for a personal spot to share your personal stuff and hoped it would happen in blog form, that’s great! Maybe it’s more of a time factor for you. If this is the case, here’s something to remember — blog posts do not have to be long. Forget what you’ve heard about what Google loves and those blogging rules you’ve seen on Pinterest. Those apply to people who blog for a living. You sell products for a living. Few customers are going to find you through your blog. Your blog is there as a side component to your real business. A place your customers can go to further connect with you.

This is where short posts come in.

Put up a couple of tiny paragraphs on your latest offerings and why you love them. Talk about what you are stocking up on for the season. Tell of how you used a product in a new and different way. And the ultimate shorty post, a poll or simple question asking your readers what they want or if they have questions. Simpler and quicker still? Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram that stuff out in super short and sweet format.

Blogs are a great way to lend a more personal feel to your business and customers love that. So before you delete that baby or, even worse, continue to let it linger in its state of loneliness, consider getting it some rehab. There are folks, like me, who do this blogging thing for a living. Order up some fresh and sparkly content for your neglected blog or give the short post a whirl.

There you go, quick and easy tips for getting your blog some love. Now get to doing what you do best and sell us some organic beauty products!

Shop Talk :: Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Shop Talk is a new series I’m starting here on OBS. It’s geared toward the organic beauty professional – shop owners, larger web sites, brand creators… But anyone is welcome to join in the conversation.

We’ll be covering things like what consumers love/hate in organic beauty, ways to connect with your audience, how to make your shop or site the best it can be, content ideas, and more. Whether you are an organic beauty pro or not, I’d love to have your input on this. Feel free to contribute to the comments or contact me with ideas or questions.

So, here we go with the first official Shop Talk post. Today we are covering samples, why shoppers love them, and why shop owners should love them too.

Why Shoppers Love Organic Beauty Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

This may seem obvious at first glance…because everyone wants to try stuff for free or almost free, duh. But there truly is more to the whole organic beauty sample game than just getting to try something out for free.

Remember when, in your pre-organics days, you’d walk through the department store beauty section and score some high end samples? You’d take those suckers home, feeling like you’d just won the mini lottery, and commence to using them like a fiend. Or was that just me? C’mon, you know you did it too.

You’d feel like it had miraculously turned your skin into someone else’s and you simply had. to. have. more. So you’d hop your sweet little buns back out to the mall for a bigger score. This time, on you.

In short, you bought the dang products, didn’t you?

Me too. Even if they didn’t work for the long term. You bought them because you got to try them out. You bonded with them. A connection was made.

Sure not all products are a match made in heaven. Plenty of them get pitched and never again see the light of day. But some blossom into a full on love connection.

Samples are even more important with organic beauty products than conventional. And that is because not everyone is sold on the fact that clean beauty products can behave themselves the same way the department store brands do. We know they do, but some people are still skeptical. Another reason, lack of experience. Most people simply have not tried as many organic beauty products as they have conventional.

Let’s think about this organic beauty samples thing in terms of food. Say, almond milk. When almond milk started to become popular you may have wanted to try it, but maybe not enough to buy an entire carton. What if you didn’t like it? What if it sat in your fridge and no one drank it? What if it was downright gross? And did you really want to be someone who drank almond milk, anyway?

Then one day as you strolled through your favorite Target, there was a sample of almond milk. You tried it. You weren’t that into it. You didn’t buy it.

The next week there is yet another sample of almond milk. Been down that road before, you are thinking. But this time it’s different. This time they are offering vanilla almond milk. Hmmm. You try it. You love it. You buy it every week because you just can’t get enough. You put it on your cereal, in your coffee, use it to make smoothies. How did you ever live without your precious almond milk? The rest is history.

Would you ever have considered buying the vanilla almond milk without a sample? Probably not. Target got the sample of vanilla almond milk in your hand and you weren’t so scared of it because they’d already introduced you to the regular almond milk the week before.

Green beauty shoppers are at you store, so they are already interested in green beauty. You just have to help them find the stuff that is right for them.

Samples are a super helpful way of getting organic beauty products into the hands of buyers. They may not love each and every sample, but it is introducing them to different products and brands. They are interested in investigating further. A connection has been made.

Whether you offer standard samples with each purchase, give options, or make sample sizes available for purchase, this is a valuable way of helping consumers find products they like and getting your items on their radar.

Time to up your samples game.