From Stay at Home Mom to Staying in a Mansion: How Kylee Lane’s Home-Based Business Changed Her Personal and Family Life
In the last bit of Kylee’s interview, you read about how she was inspired to make all-natural vegan soap, her run-ins with the law, and her advice for entrepreneurs.
In this edition, you’ll find out more about she balances her family and business priorities, how social media propels her forward, and when she sees her business hitting the seven-figure mark.
How do you balance your family life, social life, and business life?
I make it all one thing. My family helps with product design so we sit and talk for hours and giggle and experiment. My social life is 99.9% online which is massively to my advantage, because it gave me a head start into social media and marketing. And the business part just happens. A good friend told me over year ago that I have the best anti-business business ever.
How do you see your business change as it continues to grow?
I see our business becoming a family business as we grow and our kids get older and more involved. The best employees are the ones you raise from infancy.
What will you try to keep the same no matter how big Luxury Lane Soap becomes?
Just had this conversation last night!! Every single order includes a hand-written and signed thank you. I will never stop doing that. I am genuinely grateful for every order I receive, so it only feels right to say thank you, and mean it.
Whether I have 3 orders or 3,000 orders, every last one of those people is going to be thanked personally, by me.
How is social media (Facebook, Twitter, your blog) important to the growth of your company?
It allows us to become known to people who might like our work and buy from us. It allows us to have conversations with not only individual customers, but our whole community of customers and all the people who support what we do.
But of course, as with everything I do, the most important thing is that I don’t do it for any of those reasons. I do it because I like to, and the business benefits are secondary and unplanned for.
So while social media has benefits for me, my personal and business presence online is indistinguishable. I just started a corporate account on Twitter this year as an experiment, but up until then (and even now), Kylee’s social media and Luxury Lane Soap’s social media are the same.
What other ways have you used to expand your brand’s reach?
I make soap, and I talk about it online – that’s pretty much the extent of it. I may donate some soap occasionally to a group or cause for them to use as prizes, but only because it’s something I believe in, and that’s my way to support them.
How is selling online different from selling in person/at conventions?
Selling in person scares me. I started in retail over ten years ago and I really am not very good at it. In person, I am very quiet, albeit I look very loud, and it just throws people off. I literally leave my small town maybe twice a month. Even then I never make eye contact with strangers and force myself to be completely unaware of my surroundings. You can imagine how this awkwardness makes selling in person very difficult…
Online, however, I am very fun and loud and talkative! It doesn’t scare me! My online community is very real to me, and I love the people I have met of the past couple of years. This naturally makes selling online very easy.
What was your best customer service experience?
I had a customer email me once and tell me I “had a very sunny disposition.” For some reason this just really had a profound effect on how I see myself and my business. I printed the email out and it sits near my computer where I read it every day.
Of course, the main thing I pride myself on is my customer service. In over six years I have never had one single dissatisfied customer. I have had problems here and there, I am only human, but I am willing to do what it takes to make my customers happy because I see them as my friends. So really, all of my customer service experiences have been good ones, because I either smile at it or learn from it.
What was your most challenging customer service experience?
Since Luxury Lane Soap ships worldwide, language barriers can make things very frustrating sometimes. If I have a customer who is in a foreign country and their order never arrived, trying to discuss back and forth who to contact, steps to take…sometimes even sending a refund causes confusion.
Where do you see your company at this time next year? In five years?
Our projected growth shows we could be a million dollar company in under four years. I don’t want this, and my husband and I have already set limits to how large we are willing to expand. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but I do not want my business any larger than I can handle. I will not give up the things I love for money. My time is very valuable to me, and I will not be forced to run a manufacturing plant.
Earlier I had mentioned writing thank-you notes and how important they are to me. At the point where I am sitting there dreading writing one more thank you and it loses its appeal, I am done. We will scale down, or at least set an upper-cap for our growth and look to stabilize at a point that’s comfortable for us.
Have you ever used promotional products? Do you consider your own products promotional products for the geek entertainment that inspire them?
I have tried using promotional products, but really, I don’t know how. I consider myself the brand and aside from business cards, I don’t know what comes next. Eighty percent of what I do is probably the result of an accident, so to plan a promotion…I don’t even know where to begin! However, it would be something I would very seriously consider hiring someone to design for me.
I do think fan made crafts as a whole play a role in promoting what inspired their creation. Adding content to their various universes certainly doesn’t hurt their popularity!
So there you have it! Any comments on Kylee’s journey? What kinds of promotional products could she incorporate into marketing for her brand? Gee, could anyone recommend a company that could help her out with that? How do you feel about including your family in with your passion (that also happens to be your business)? Sound off in the comments below!
Until next time, keep expanding your brand!
An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.