What's new? I debated all night if I should publish this or not. I decided to as I have a lot to add when the issue comes out and patience is not a virtue of mine and I let all parties involved know my stance on this, so here goes. Please note in bold are questions they asked me. What was cool about this exercise was:
- They found me.
- In doing so, and by asking me these questions that took me all of five minutes to write because I write really fast and am weird like that, I ended up defining what to most people would say is a company or brand's mission or value statement.
• Describe who you are as a person, inside and outside of the workplace.
I'm the Founder of the performance-based advertising agency Rock Candy Media and am currently laser-focused on growing my second venture into retail, Royal Malady, a niche fragrance house. We offer everything from perfumes, colognes, unisex fragrances, custom fragrances, men's grooming products, long-lasting hair perfume collections, our in-salon Hair Satin, and home scents. I see Royal Malady as an alternative to stereotyped luxury products and as an alternative to your typical fragrance brand. I built my fragrance house to stand out from the others and the differentials are our built-in primer, the quality of the materials we source, and how each signature scent is perfect alone but every fragrance in our family of products is built to layer with any of our other artisanal fragrances. If you happen to collect fragrances like me, this differential is huge. Just knowing that you can count on having a solid foundation to start building a fragrance wardrobe with is a wonderful feeling to have when engaging with a brand. Outside of the workplace, I'm a single mom to a 14-year-old daughter and am a fan of hip-hop and deep house electronic music (and anything with vulnerability - my favorite tracks I play in the car over and over again) - am an avid shoe collector, speed reader, magazine-obsessed type of person & total online shopper. I'm an extroverted introvert and a walking existential crisis.
• Describe your background and what did you do before you started/joined the beauty industry.
I was a magazine journalism major from the University of Texas in Austin. I've traveled to so many places that it's hard to know where to start, but that's part of why I started Royal Malady. All of my memories are scent-based and it's a place where I can share my life experiences and give the timeless gift of exquisite fragrances. My first retail endeavor, Rock Candy Life, was a line of eco-friendly shower curtains that didn't mold (the chlorine in those clear shower curtain liners is actually what makes them end up molding) so I took out the middleman in the sense that I took out the need for the unnecessary. I guess I have a knack for that. I had to source overseas, and they were limited-edition prints. Jessica Alba of The Honest Company ended up putting our company in her first book and had a huge hand in helping us make it a success. And by success, I define that as a chance to show that I walk the talk under my agency's name but with Royal Malady it's a different ball game - with this one, I'm all in and it's something I told the world I would do if the day ever came that I saw that there would be a change.
• Tell us about the inception of the company. How did it all start?
In 2020 I started re-evaluating what I wanted out of life and what my motivator was. Turns out it's the same: I have something to prove to myself. If my name is on something, it's going to be a high-quality product as I strive for excellence and compete with myself. I'm always the hardest on myself. I turned an entire attic into a perfumery. It has six shelves, and is sorted in alphabetical order: one for base notes, one for top notes, one for top to mid notes, one for mid notes, and one for top notes, and then one for three different types of fixatives (literally other brands don't use any, some may sell one separately, but I'm really Type A so I found fixatives that bring out top notes, some that enhance base notes, and the other through trial & error), three different types of carrier oils depending on the format, two different types of enhancers depending on the type of notes & application, all imported from Italy. Sourcing from four to five different places before going all in at the beginning of 2020 was a difficult but expected part of the process
• What has made you successful? What do you value?
The people on my team that I rely on to this day, are my peer network of Founders & CEOs, my original crew on my agency side, and new collaborators I've met since I founded Royal Malady. I'm excited to have our Hand Sendal in commercial spaces, retail spaces, bookstores, salons, etc & and am expanding those locations out & am working on a directory - and a digital map with my team - and will launch when the time is right, and all parties involved are ready. I value the self-taught, the ones I meet that I want to add to my team because I can tell that they want to prove themselves to me, and want to grow alongside me and take the time to research my brand to showcase it correctly. I can just tell right away when someone just 'gets it' and through mutual collaboration when I say 'run with it' (which is rare), they know I mean it. I love this moment because it's one less thing I have to worry about.
• Which are the major services of the company and how does the company get ahead in the competition? What value-added services does the company provide?
We just launched our affiliate program. I was debating this, as I didn't want it to affect our price point in any way. I'm highly aware when it comes to branding & marketing. But I value transparency and brands like Sephora and other niche perfume brands hide their affiliate programs and I prefer to have mine independent and transparent so I can get feedback from the people that I do trust. With Participate
, our customers can now get rewarded for referring their friends, and it's the perfect segue way for Royal Malady's Custom Fragrances which we're about to build out in different sizes, and subscription service styles.
• What are the most important aspects of a company's culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
The most important aspect of a company's culture is awareness: Definitely know where your strengths lie and know what you aren't good at. Find the ones who will cover you in those areas that you can trust and have the same work ethic as you do, and for me, I like to stick with the same people, I like that sense of reliability even as we branch out individually, I'd rather tailor where I'm weak and expand when and where they do, and it's always worked out that way for me just fine.
• What is the significance of innovative ideas in the company?
Very. Without innovation, you see where we're at today. Scattershot, and without a clear vision as to where we're headed, and no one willing to say that out loud. I don't understand what they're so scared of saying they don't get. It's so easy for me to say because I love looking at the analytics and then tailoring my messaging, for starters, not to mention my company's branding and images and content strategy depending on so many variables. I rely on a mix of digital marketing and earned media & editorial but in today's digital space, it's getting more challenging as someone who relies heavily on consumer feedback and deems it important.
• Give us your opinion on; do organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes.
For me, I'm a weird one. I try to match employees that I know want to earn a seat at the management table by finding out what they really want to do vs what they learned in school. When you do that, you get the best out of them, and that is mutually beneficial but it's a definite time investment. I do look at everything work-wise long-term.
• What are your responsibilities as the Founder of the company? What is the happiest part of your daily routine?
They're tremendous. I have to make sure everyone's comfortable and confident. What makes me the happiest is when we can celebrate wins together. I see my responsibility as making sure we grow and cover for each other when we have to so we have to teach each other parts of each other's jobs (and this is for my senior team), and it's no easy feat. If you need more than two pizzas for a senior team meeting, in my book you're doing something wrong. The happiest part of my daily routine is getting dressed in the morning and the 3 AM creative moments I have in the shower. I'm weird like that, down to a waterproof notepad I have along with a waterproof pen for when that moment strikes because this gal has insomnia and never wants to lose those moments of creative genius.
• What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Make sure your senior team critiques you because if they don't, I assure you they don't really care about you. They just see you as a commodity. I know that I'm the hardest on the employees I see the most talent in.