Our special guest on Clean Chat this week is logistics expert Rachel Whittaker, founder of Indie Beauty Delivers. Whenever we asked anyone from the beauty community if they knew an expert in logistics, they always said Rachel. We knew she would be the perfect match to collaborate with us by creating a webinar called ‘5 Top Tips To Help You Outsource Your Logistics’, and bringing so much value to our community of clean beauty founders through an interview on Clean Chat and a Facebook Live in our group ‘The Clean Hub Members Club’.
A BIT ABOUT RACHELS BACKGROUND
But first, a little bit about Rachel and how she founded Indie Beauty Delivers. Rachel has worked in the logistics sector for over 15 years. Before starting out on her own with Indie Beauty Delivers, she managed the domestic and international logistics for some really huge companies, giving her the opportunity to learn an awful lot. But her passion always stayed with smaller independent brands and brands who weren’t getting the same opportunities to benefit from a wealth of logistics knowledge and skills. So, over three years ago, Rachel quit her ‘corporate day job’ and began her journey with Indie Beauty Delivers.
WHAT IS INDIE BEUATY DELIVERS?
Rachel’s stand out service is the warehouse match. Rachel goes into detail about the full consultancy service she offers for free(!) in this episode of Clean Chat, but in short Rachel will help you find your perfect warehouse partner and be on hand every step of the way.
IN THIS EPISODE…
In this episode of Clean Chat, we talk about the terrifying move from corporate to starting your own business, an awesome social media tip and why its so important for brands to be thinking about their logistics plan early on. Rachel also gives an insight into what you can expect from her webinar collaboration with us, ‘5 Top Tips To Help You Outsource Your Logistics’. The webinar includes valuable tips on when is the right time to outsource and how to find the perfect partner. If you are already a Clean Hub member, click here to check it out, and if you would like access to this webinar and tonnes more, learn more about out membership program here.
Thanks again to Rachel for being our guest on Clean Chat this week and for being so great to work with on our webinar collaboration! Now onto the show! Listen to the full episode below, on iTunes, or check out the transcript…
Raquel:Hi there and welcome to Clean Chat. I’m the host Raquel Wing, founder of The Clean Hub. Every Thursday we help to grow the clean and natural beauty industry by interviewing key experts, founders and influencers so that people can make informed decisions. Check us out at thecleanhub.com to learn more. Now onto the Clean Chat podcast…
Raquel:Hi there and welcome to Clean Chat everybody. Today we have the wonderful Rachel Whittaker from Indie Beauty Delivers. Rachel has worked in the beauty industry for over 16 years and has helped so many indie beauty founder find the inspiration to grow their beauty business. We are so lucky and excited to have her share her insights with us on the ins and outs of logistics and when to outsource them, along with her warehouse match service. So we are going to dive into that today. But first Rachel, well first thank you very much for coming on Clean Chat, but can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you started Indie Beauty Delivers.
Rachel:God yeh, well thank you very much for letting me be a part of its, its absolutely brilliant, So yeh the reason I started indie beauty Delivers was I guess because I worked with really big corporate beauty brands for a very long time, for around about 13 or 14 years. And I had been responsible for a lot of their international as well as domestic logistics and I really enjoyed that and learnt an awful lot. But part of that experience also got me involved in some of the more independent and start up brands. And I enjoyed working with them more is the honest truth (laughter), because I felt that the value that my skills and knowledge could add to their business was far more than working with those big corporate internationals who can afford to employ you know incredible people with incredible talent. I saw that there was a real opportunity and there were real opportunities missed and lost by the smaller brands and the more because they couldn’t access that level of knowledge. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know about the logistics side of their business. And I just thought that was a real place where I could add some value and you know I love independent business, I am fanatical about independent business, whether its beauty or anything else. So being able to work in that sector and really boost this massive growth of independent businesses at the moment was really really important to me. And I am luck enough to get the opportunity to give up the big day job (laughter) the corporate day job and launch my own business. I count myself very lucky in that.
Raquel:Awesome and can you tell us a little bit about Indie Beauty Delivers?
Rachel:Yeh so Indie Beauty Delivers, gosh, its my complete and utter passion. I have built it up over the last 3 and a half years now. And its really a community and I’m really proud of that. I work with beauty entrepreneurs from all over the world in lots of different ways through all the different aspects of the community. So there’s a Facebook group, there’s Instagram, there’s my weekly blogs, there’s the blogs that go on my website as well, plus the products I offer to brands. It’s really important that it’s a community and it’s a place where beauty entrepreneurs can come and hang out, ask questions and meet other beauty entrepreneurs, you know it’s a great place to be. And I thoroughly enjoy then being able to offer my sort of services and expertise to as many people as I possibly can through those channels.
Raquel:Awesome. And moving from a larger corporate company like you did, to starting your own business is a common path that a lot of beauty founders do. Can you tell us a little about your experience making that transition? And how do you motivate yourself, I know its tough (laughter).
Rachel: Yeh I know, your telling me! And this is one of the reasons I love working with the indie beauty entrepreneurs. People are actually on the same journey. Were on different levels of that journey and different stages of that journey but were all having to face that challenge of ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to leave my day job as I call it, my old job, my proper job and go into something new’. And it was totally terrifying, to be honest with you. I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I had an idea, I had a dream and I have had to teach myself and invest time and energy into teaching myself lots of different skills. And luckily there are things like social media marketing and blogging and thigs like that I absolutely loved it the moment I started doing it, so that’s good. Given that platform to, and I’m always saying this to the guys in the and the ladies that I work with, is that were so lucky to live in this world now where we have access to this incredible social media world, we can talk to people anywhere, and it costs us nothing apart from our energy and our enthusiasm. But we can build a business and I think we are really lucky to be around that now. So yes, it was a struggle, it was hard (laughter) but I have loved every minute of it but yeh I live and feel it and I understand what every body is going through out there, definitely.
Raquel:Yeh definitely. And I feel like social media is the hardest part and why? I know you said its free!
Rachel: And the other thing about it, you can just be yourself! People over complicate social media so much and I’m sure you see this. The more experience you have doing it the more relaxed you get. And then you suddenly think, oh my gosh I’m more relaxed, I’m more natural, I’m more me, and its working better! So its just about, its free but it also allows you to just be yourself and just you know express yourself and your passion. So it’s a fabulous tool we have available definitely.
Raquel:Yeh definitely. So now lets talk about your exciting and fabulous collaboration with The Clean Hub. And we were so excited to work with you. Every time we asked somebody does anyone know an expert in logistics, everyone said Rachel Whittaker. Like I had to talk to her. So you know the ins and outs of logistics really well and you have a service, the warehouse matching service. Why do you think it is so important for small indie beauty brands to think about outsourcing their logistics early on?
Rachel:I think its fundamentally one of the key aspects that beauty brands need to build their business on. Because your ability to fulfil that customer journey and the ability to get your incredible products that you’ve invested your time developing and to get them out to your customers is actually one of, is probably the key point in your business. And whether that’s your own customers, sort of ecommerce customers, or whether that’s sort of big retailers that your working with or independent retailers, they are all your customers. So being able to have the infrastructure behind you that allows you to do your amazing products justice and also scale when you need to is really important. Which is why logistics are really important. Whether you outsource your logistics or whether you keep your logistic in house, I always say whether you do a Pai or a Paul, a Pai Skincare or a Paul Smith, they will, that’s going to be a choice that you have to make as a brand owner, and there’s no right or wrong in that. If you do choose to, the benefits of outsourcing I think, is you can then focus your skills down on what your really good at. Because its complicated and you will inevitably, if you decide to keep it in house, will have to recruit people with you in that function. You can’t do everything. So I think as a founder, you have to strategically look at where the best options are to outsource. And logistics is definitely one of those because you are buying in that expertise then and you are sort of bolting on a logistics team to your business at a much cheaper cost than employing one yourself.
Raquel:Yes, definitely. And can you tell our listeners an insight into what they can expect from the webinar.
Rachel:Oh yes the webinar! So in the webinar I go through my sort of 5, I would say they are my 5 top tips but each one probably contains a few, I always do that! So there are 5 top things that you really need to be thinking about if you are going to be outsourcing your logistics. So we are looking at sort of the benefits of outsourcing for instance. We are looking at sort of how you can start that process because when you think about it, you know you can say we’ve made up our mind, we are going to employ a warehouse or a third party to sort out all our logistics for us, let start to do that! But its like where do you start? You can’t just go and google, it doesn’t spit out the answer!
Raquel:I tried that (laughter)!
Rachel: So you get to lots of different information coming at you and its really hard to filter it through. So I give you top tips on maybe how to get started and how to make a move on that. And I talk about things that will help you make the decision and fine tune that process. Things like accreditations. Lots of warehouses have lots of accreditations so you know if you look for those you know your getting some kind of seal of quality. I’ve got a few bits on there, I’ve got tonnes of resources that I’ve left in there for you as well to just download. But it is really just giving you the essential things you need to help you out to make that decision to outsource and then how to go about doing that outsourcing.
Raquel:And what is one aspect that you find is the biggest challenge that beauty brands encounter? Or what would you see as the biggest challenge?
Rachel:Yeh, I mean there are a couple. One of the biggest challenges is that if you are entirely new to warehousing, and you know you may have come from another company and launched your own company so of had some experience of working with warehouses. But if you haven’t, you know this is the dream and the path that your going down and you haven’t had that experience it is like when you go into any other new industry. There is a whole new language and your not entirely sure what people are talking about or even what the words mean. And then people are giving you prices and you like what are they charging me for and how does that physically relate to what they do everyday. So it is just like entering into another world just like any industry. The people that work in that industry just yabber on because they’re used to things and they sometimes forget that sometimes maybe people aren’t at the same place. So I always say that the services that I provide in that area around warehousing and logistics, I’m like that interpreter between the world of logistics and the world of beauty because sometimes the logistics guys need a little bit of interpretation as well because they’re not up on the trends necessarily. They are very up on the logistics side. So I kind of act as that intermediary and help get to grips and understand what they are getting, what they should expect to get and what it should cost in real terms.
Raquel:Exactly, perfect. It’s going to be so helpful. And the information that you provide and the warehouse matching service, its based in the UK but you can help anyone in the world essentially find a UK warehouse?
Rachel: Yeh, yeh that’s right. So if you are here in the UK and looking for your first warehouse, or perhaps you’re a brand who is already established and your thinking I’m not in the right warehouse, then I can help you. If you’re an international brand, and your looking to do work with retailers or ecommerce clients over here in the UK or Europe then yeh I can help you to find the right place for that as well.
Raquel: Awesome and can you tell us about the customer journey for that. So you have learned all the do’s and don’ts, the benefit that Rachel has given to you and now you want to use the warehouse matching service. How does that work?
Rachel:Well you get in contact and basically it’s a full consultancy service for you. So its one of my favourites actually, its really great. It means that your sort of on your way. Brands come to me and say I want a warehouse or I want to change my warehouse and I say yes! It means your dreams are really coming true so that’s the best point for me. And what I do is I will spend some time with you talking about your brand because what’s really important when your are looking for a warehouse is that you understand yourself where your going. Because every warehouse is different and they have different services that they can offer you. So understanding whether you’re a brand that’s committing to a ecommerce, a direct to consumer model is really important. Maybe you are actually only going down the route of working with major high street retailers or department stores or maybe your doing a bit of both, or maybe your wanting to export in the future. So we do a really good piece of work together where we work out all those details. And we also look at your current volumes and your predicted volumes. And I will pull together for you a profile of your business and I will then take that out to the warehouses that fit your needs and I work with lots of different warehouses that are all very different with slightly different services. And I will go and sell you to that warehouse. Its really really important to remember that it is as much, you’ve got to impress those warehouses when you want to. And when you go out and do these, you must impress warehouses, especially when your and independent brand and you don’t have a lot of volume behind you, they will invest in you and be excited to work with these brands. But they need to see your passion and your energy and your plans and your knowledge and your professionalism. I’ll do all that with you. Then I will bring back the tariffs for you, which is really really hard. So we will go through that and we will model up some costs so you have a rough idea of what your doing. And then we can choose which warehouses you want to go and visit and I will meet you at those warehouses. So I will come down and meet you for a tour, the warehouse shows us round and tells us what its all about. And then I keep working with you all the way through that process to help you make the decision and help you understand what we’ve talked about. And when you have made your decision I will help you to prepare to move your self to that warehouse. So I will literally hold your hand from start to finish through that process and make sure your in the right place long term not just right now.
Raquel:That sounds amazing (laughter)!
Rachel:It is, I love it!
Raquel: That is a great service. I think that, I will keep you in mind if ever that happens for me!
Raquel:That’s an amazing service. Because what I think is funny about what you mentioned earlier is like what do you do when your looking to outsource, do you Google? I Googled and you just don’t know, it’s a whole different world. Yeh work with someone that knows. And this service is free or the initial consultation is free, right?
Rachel:Yeh if you’re a UK brand then the service is entirely free. I haven’t no charge on this at all, this is something that I offer free of charge. International brands there is a small charge because it is a tiny bit more complicated for you. But it’s a tiny tiny charge.
Raquel: That is amazing! Well thanks for people like you Rachel.
Rachel: Yeh, its important because I saw from my history of working in the industry for so long on the logistics side, its difficult for independent brands and start up brands to find the right warehouse and people who will invest in them. Because everyone is trying to make money and if you haven’t got any evidence of your volumes and stuff it can be really hard to outsource that kind of thing. So I work with warehouses as well, I do a lot of consultancy for them and help them understand all about what’s happening in indie beauty, where its going, who are the brands that are coming up, I do a lot of training with them. But it then just makes it the perfect match because your getting warehouses who are completely experienced in beauty, that already work with beauty brands, your buying in all that knowledge and I can just match you up. So it really is a great service.
Raquel:That is a great service. And we were really excited Rachel is doing a Facebook Live in our Facebook Group ‘The Clean Hub Members Club’, on Wednesday but it will stay in there forever so check that out. And where could people find more information on your services Rachel if they wanted to reach you?
Rachel:Yes you can go to my website which is indiebeautydelivers.com, the homepage on there is all about the community that I run it gives you all the options of how you can get involved in that. And then there is also a tab which says ‘Work With Me’ and on there it explains my warehouse match service, the various VIP workshop days that I do to help you prepare when you set up your brand and also my mentor program which is on there as well. So go and have a look, you can book a free consultation with me if you want to have a chat about anything you see on there.
Raquel: Awesome that is absolutely amazing. So thank you so much Rachel for coming on the Clean Chat today, its been an absolute pleasure. I’ve learned a lot and we hope to have on again!
Rachel:Yeh I will be more than happy to come back yeh definitely. Its been absolutely brilliant and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, thank you!
Raquel:Thank you well have a great one everybody and viva clean beauty!