Branding, Blending and Business
Published on 04 July 2019
In the great wide world of entrepreneurs, there is no one doing things quite like Tamara Loehr. This powerhouse of a business owner has based her life around the philosophy of “doing the opposite” and forging her own path towards her perfect life. Now with multiple million-dollar companies under her brand, Tamara is proud to get back down to grassroots and become a Traction Lab expert and share her story to help build the foundation for other businesses to grow. In a recent Hub Live, SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin sat down with Tamara in order to learn all about her story and the key lessons she has learnt since becoming an entrepreneur.
Keeping it Simple
One of the key philosophies Tamara believes in is revisiting the fundamentals of the business, which is one reason she loves sharing her story with those who are still building their business. “My businesses are large, and as they get bigger, they get more complicated, and as I’m saying something to a new entrepreneur I realise I haven’t been doing ‘that thing’ in part of my business, which gives me the opportunity to go back to basics and revisit it. I think it’s a lovely experience,” She said.
In order to keep things simple when running a business, a strategy she recommends is keeping it deep and narrow – whatever it is you do, do that thing the very best you can do and just do that. For Tamara, this means investing in wellness businesses that produce vegan, organic, cruelty free, ethical and sustainable products that align with her personal values. “You have to get very clear on what your niche is, and it gives you the permission to define yourself and to say no to certain things. My thing is creating beautiful products that are female founded, that are ethical and sustainable and that women want to buy. My big thing is that every one of my products has ‘giving’ entrenched as a cost of goods. What someone would normally do is wait until they become rich and then they start giving, right? Everyone says they’ll give back when they get to that point. I don’t believe in that model. You do everything by starting with the right intention, regardless of whether you’re making money. If I’ve got a haircare product, there’s a tube cost, an ingredient cost, a capping cost and putting it in the box. I add giving in as part of that cost, so when you buy the product, you’re also giving a donation.”
Tamara’s personal values of living clean, while looking beautiful, run deep in every business she owns. Her first business, Hot Tresses, is a hair-care brand on a mission to protect and revive hair damaged by heat styling and create hair that needs less styling in order to achieve results. She also has a brand called Gutsii, a snack food brand that emphasises health, the power of prebiotics and probiotics and guilt-free snacking. Tamara is also the co-founder of Dollar Beauty Tribe, a service that allows women to try high-quality vegan beauty products for thirty days, at which point they can send back the products if they didn’t like them. “We’re giving the trust back to the women, giving them these products upfront, and we’re only showcasing the best products and helping female business owners in the process,” She said.
One thing that sets Tamara apart from the crowd is the fact she doesn’t pay for marketing – she relies entirely on social media to market her products by cultivating a community surrounding her brand and values. “I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek, and he talks a lot about beginning with the why. I spend so much time at the front end getting the why right before I do the dial-up. Most people just go, “I’ve got this product, I think it’s great. I’m going to launch it and I’m going to tell everybody everything about my product.” That’s not how that works. What you need to do is start by asking yourself, “What is the problem I’m solving for these people? What are their pain points?
“For me the pain points are women wasting money on beauty, women knowing that having a Kardashian on the product costs three quarters of the product. Women feeling guilty about the fact that beauty is mostly tested on animals, so I start with that conversation, “Could you imagine having a beautiful, premium product, it’s not going to be Chanel, but it’s going to be gorgeous, and it’s going to work for you, and it won’t test on animals.” I start with that conversation first and then I move to, “Join me and let’s revolutionise the beauty industry. Because guess what, between us women, we’re the ones buying all the beauty, right? We own that purchasing power, and we can choose what values we want to support,” Tamara said.
While having key values and a message to spread is important, effectively communicating that message is the key to success. “I find a lot of people making the mistake of spending $10 producing something but only $1 to distribute it. I say you should do the opposite. So, $10 should be for the distribution and $1 for the production. You have to give your content legs,” Tamara said.
As she went on to explain, the best way to increase distribution on a low budget is to post on all social media channels. “A lot of people just post on Facebook and maybe Instagram, or some people just do LinkedIn and one other thing. You’ve actually got to post on six or more channels in order to rank organically or get higher. As they say, they bury dead bodies on page two of Google. My big secret is that when it comes to the front page of Google, there’s paid ad results at the top, and then there’s organic results. 50% of all people choose organic results over the paid ad results, and it doesn’t cost anything to get there. So don’t tell me, “I can’t afford to market online because I don’t have the budget to get on the front page of Google,” I say to them, “Well, 40% of people aren’t clicking on those anyway. Why don’t you do your best to get into the organic results?” To get to the top of the organic section, you need to spend time putting out quality content with 90% value and 10% suggestive sale. Start conversations about your brand and get people involved in your brand. It doesn’t have to cost anything but time.”
Learning to Grow
As someone who has grown her own business from the ground up, Tamara knows how to get a business to grow sustainably. “We get busy working in the business that the business model gets complicated. If you sell one thing and a client asks, “Can you also sell me this or do this for me?” then we go really wide, and we end up really busy being mediocre at everything. One of my lecturers at MIT in Boston told me about Uncommon Service. Uncommon Service is where you choose one thing to be great at, and to give yourself permission to be bad at something else. Just do one thing, put in all the systems and process you need to streamline and then you can spend 80% of your time working out how to scale your business.”
A lot of businesses, especially those in the early stages of being a business feel the need to cater to everyone. They believe everyone should use their product, that they should service a large number of people in a host of areas and that they should do everything that is asked. This, however, is not sustainable. “You need a very clear, fine-tuned vision. You need to be very clear on exactly who your customer is - deep and narrow. And if you say things like, “Oh, everybody, and we cure 100 things,” I will say to you, “I get that. But let’s look at those 100 things that are cures. Let’s look at what’s trending, what has the biggest impact, what your customers are coming back for and what nobody else is doing, and let’s own it.”
Tamara gave an example of how this works in her own business. “For me, it was prebiotic and probiotic gut health, but gut health is really wide, so I went narrower again to gut snacks. Then it’s about tuning in on what that is, knowing what you can do. I’m selling a snack, so I go on the front counters, right? And that’s where you find your retailers, where you find your customers. We’re talking to health-conscious women who want to do something better for their gut, but don’t want to give up certain foods or drinks, so they just want something to counteract it. I know the conversation around my market and it’s very deep and narrow.
As a female entrepreneur, Tamara often finds herself outnumbered in the business world, with the organisations she participates in. The Young Presidents’ Organisation and Entrepreneurs’ Organisation having 7% and 20% respectively. “Women are wonderful at business, we are brilliant problem-solvers and we’re good at connecting with customers. We’re good at making deals. So why is it at 7%? So I knew I had to figure this one out, and I discovered that women feel that as you scale your business, you get less time with your family. I wrote about it in my book, but the fact is that when you have boards and management teams and your business is big, it doesn’t depend on you like a small business does. So how do we push through to a situation where you’ve got all that, so you’re not stuck having to work long days all the time?”
“The second concept is around blending. Everyone asks me how I’m so relaxed all the time, but I’m really not. I’m just highly organised and clear on what I will and won’t say no to. It’s just a matter of figuring out that scheduling, and I blend everything together. I do work with friends, because they know I’m obsessed with work, so they come and join me. If I haven’t seen my sister for a while I’ll say, “Oh, by the way I bought you a ticket to LA. Let’s go have some fun, but I need to work during the day for about four hours.” I blend all these things together. I blend family with my business. I only go into the office one day a week, the rest is at home at the beach with my kids. I talk about this whole concept of blending, because as women we will burn out if we want to be mother of the year, wife of the year, all that stuff. It’s exhausting! So we blend everything, and we don’t apologise. If you want to see me and I’m not in the office for that day of the week, then guess what, you’re driving to the beach. Bring your family, and we’ll have dinner at the same time.”
Steps towards Success
In order to get the most out of your business and personal life, Tamara shared three actionable steps that she recommends in order to start creating a better life as an entrepreneur. Firstly, she recommended establishing strong values. Values become the compass for everything you make decisions on, whether in business or in life. “Stop over complicating things and when you feel conflicted, go back to your value compass and focus on that,” Tamara said.
Secondly, she emphasised the importance of taking care of yourself because business success is impossible if you are failing at home. Tamara said, “You’re no good to anyone if you work to a breaking point and you’re a walking heart attack. The number one killer of women is heart disease, so take care of yourself, your wellness and everything else as well as your business.”
Tamara’s final piece of advice is to be bold. Do the opposite, give it a go, try something new and find out what’s going to happen. You can always go back to your old job, but don’t ever live in regret. “You don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I had tried that,” or, “I was really good at that, but I had the kids and I didn’t feel …” Because there are ways to make it work,” She said.
Applications are now open for the next Traction Lab, due to start on the 26th of August. Tamara, as a mentor of the program, couldn’t recommend the Lab enough. “The team here is amazing for what they’ve created. There’s nothing like this in the world. And I don’t care where you are in Australia, you should be getting on a plane and coming here for this stuff. It’s $160,000 worth of value that you get for free. If I had this at the start, I reckon I would’ve saved myself 10 years and $2,000,000. It’s just incredible.”
If you’re interested in joining the Turbo Traction Lab, click here to submit your application.