Blossom Essentials with Sarah Vilenskiy feature #59 of Together Talks
Updated: 4 days ago
"Together Talks" feature #59: Blossom Essentials presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on Blossom Essentials
Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the luxury of interviewing Sarah Vilenskiy, Founder and CEO of Blossom Essentials. On a mission to bring you clean, natural products crafted from the finest ingredients nature has to offer, empowering you to celebrate your natural beauty and feel confident in your skin. Blossom Essentials believes that being comfortable in your skin is where true beauty begins.
They specialize in clean and simple head-to-toe solutions that offer relief to ultra-sensitive, dry and inflamed skin. Their products are cruelty-free, made in the USA, and gentle enough for the most irritable skin.
The beginning of Sarah's journey formally began in January of 2020. As someone who has suffered from life-long chronic dry skin, she sought after creating a product that would provide her the best results. The first six months of business the company operated under a different name and was focused on Eczema. She instantly realized that it was an oversaturated market and she didn't understand Eczema. Sarah told us, "When starting a small business, create something that you understand." With that Sarah noticed that there was a better opportunity available and decided to pivot to creating a personal care and skin care company that treated dry skin, something she knew.
Dry skin was the niche of Blossom Essentials, but unlike some other brands, Blossom Essentials focuses solely on becoming a wholly dry skin company.
Sarah shared that often times companies neglect the body and then create a product as an afterthought. Instead she believes that products should be targeted, but also simplified thus producing a simplistic skin care routine. Blossom Essentials thrives by providing specified to exact usage and benefits that are simple to follow for an easy routine. Sarah began by making something she could handle (she advised she has the most sensitive skin). She managed to do this by investigating and sourcing clean ingredients, then thoroughly testing them for the most irritable skin types to ensure their products would also be safe for everyone else in the market.
Clean, Focused, Proven
Sarah mentioned that every person is welcome, but not for everyone in that their products focus strictly on dry skin. Rather than trying to create products for every type of problem, she instead zoned in on an area that she has a connection to. The goal of her and her company is to solve dry skin. Blossom Essentials provides a top to bottom solution that covers more than just face products. "Blossom Essentials is the go to place for anytime dry skin problem from scalp to toes." Sarah shared with us.
The journey of Blossom Essentials is even more incredible knowing that it was completely self-funded by Sarah. She went all in from the jump. As she shared with us, "When you believe in something so much, it is an easy decision. If you don't, you probably shouldn't do it." Sarah chased results for her self with the products she created and then she was on to chasing growth for her company.
She told us how exhilarating it was to create and build something from scratch, while also trying to keep her head above water. Self-doubt absolutely creeps in, especially when you factor in a new industry and without a successful exit under her belt. She shared that there was a lot of confidence talks along the way and it took almost 2 years to see any fruition. But then the following happened.
2020: Soft launch, results -> small revenue
2021: Hard launch, results -> $390K revenue
2022: results, -> $1.65M revenue
And then recently Blossom Essentials was honored to be chosen as part of the SKU accelerator!
Here is Sarah's post on her LinkedIn.
We asked Sarah if there was anything unexpected she had to learn entering a new industry and starting her own business, "What didn't I have to learn?!", she joked. She then rattled off some topics that came to mind:
Banking for Business
But one really stuck out to her and was a topic she wanted to highlight to give perspective to other founders, agencies. "We could do another interview just on this topic", she passionately told us.
Sarah started by giving us the story of agencies and the incredible impact they can have on a company, both good and bad. It started in the second half of 2020 she partnered with her first agency. She said they were not great, but the company also wasn't making a lot. She bookmarked this as her initial breaking and thinking maybe her concept and company couldn't work.
In 2021, Sarah took a new approach and started vetting like crazy. She was working with an agency that was tremendous on the creative side, but lacked the media buying side. She had felt like the company had plateaued and she wanted to partner with an agency that focused on media buying to accelerate the growth once again. Leaving the agency she was with was incredibly difficult because they had a strong relationship and produced, but in order to reach the next level Sarah felt the move had to be done.
Once again she started her vetting process. The company she found had been highly recommended and suggested in the space for her specific need. It had seemed that she had found the right fit. Until it wasn't...
"They were so highly regarded and reputable. I spent 4-5 months with this agency and was spending a huge amount of money with little return...it was AWFUL." Sarah shared. She told us this time almost broke her. She continued, "Agencies will blame clients for their incompetence. They promise you the world and then stick you with a junior media buyer while spending everything you have."
Sarah and Blossom Essentials found their back against the wall. Sarah told us she felt they just needed that one moment that could spring them forward, but it looked less and less likely. Until she met an advisor who she couldn't thank or compliment enough. Within the first two months they nearly doubled their revenue. Month three...more than tripled it. But on top of the sales growth, it was the guidance and structure they provided that Sarah believed contributed the most to Blossom Essential's success, "I was given the confidence to step back into my CEO shoes, supported to believe that what I know is true, and to trust my instincts and capabilities. I value our partnership because the responsibility was taken off my plate in terms of advertising efforts. The agency handled the sales, I focused my efforts on running and growing the company in other ways. It prompted us to have a huge year in 2022 and I am happy to say, we've been able to sustain it through 2023 so far"
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Brand and Relatability
Sarah's ability to learn how to maintain healthy skin was the driving force to creating the products within Blossom Essentials. Knowing how to have dry skin and not have it also gives her the knowledge to educate and relate to her customer base. "It is a blessing I didn't come from the beauty industry, because I am able to actually speak to our customers. I can speak to the differences between having dry skin and not using our products. I have firsthand experience of the difference and relatability is a huge component." she explained. The ability to simplify the ingredients used in each product and the specific purpose behind the inclusion gives Blossom Essentials a leg up on the competition Sarah believes.
Creating a product that you're passionate about also is imperative according to Sarah. "It is easier to create an audience for a brand that you believe in, trust, and use. The passion becomes authentic and that is visible. Transparency matters.``, Sarah explained to us. 'The belief and commitment started with that self-funding we previously mentioned, she put up a six-figure investment before raising any money through family and friends for seed investing. But as with any startup',' funding is always going to be a challenge. Trying to stay afloat initially while creating an audience and community can as Sarah mentioned, "break you".
But then Sarah reminds herself that the company is not in it for superficial reasons. She wants to continue providing products to solve the issue of dry skin. By doing so, their products can promote confidence inside and out for customers. The goal is to remove any negative thoughts individuals have about not loving themselves. "Most of our users have dealt with skin diseases their entire life. It consumes them, all they can think about because it is very discomforting, itchy, visible, and to them not pretty. We are here to help them take back control of their self-belief, their confidence.", Sarah enlightened us.
To understand the CEO of Blossom Essentials, we need to understand her background. Sarah's background is very sales-driven, but comes from a family of entrepreneurs. We joked that it was in her blood. Her family's entrepreneurial successes were definitely a driving force in her decision. She had always thought about making the jump, but said it was hard to leave the comfort and stability of her salaried job to start from zero. In her mind she knew it was always a matter of when, not if, but she convinced herself that there is never a right time, and to jump. "When you feel like you're on the edge, as if you could lose everything, it pushes you to give your absolute best effort. That sense of urgency creates the right mindset for chasing success. You can't do that with a full-time gig to fall back on", Sarah told us.
She attributes her growth to a two-step approach: learning first and adapting second. One aspect of her business that she particularly enjoys is delving into the chemistry behind her formulas, especially the intricacies of preservatives. She's fascinated by how even a minor tweak can make or break an entire product. This element of her work not only allows her creativity to flourish but also offers valuable lessons from mistakes. This learning mindset is an asset she applies to other areas of her business. Essentially, It's sometimes better to take time and learn than to rush to get something out the door.
A challenge for her has been being able to step back and appreciate the small wins. She mentioned how as business owners we only think about the bad things coming or how we can reach the next milestone, but rarely do we applaud ourselves for hitting the little milestones along the way. Sarah explained her own examples and how she is combatting that going forward, "When we hit 7 figures it was surreal. I couldn't believe it. And then in the blink of an eye it felt like it was gone. I was on to the next milestone and focused on how we grow to the next benchmark. So I started adding milestones into my calendar so a year from now when I get the reminder, I can look back and appreciate how far we’ve come.”
Another avenue that brings Sarah so much gratitude is the feedback from customers. She said how incredible it is that her product is resonating with people and more importantly providing them an actual solution with sustainable results. "Hearing these incredible stories is super emotional for me, because I was them once. Knowing they have tried everything including steroids which are addictive and horrible for skin, to now having found our product is just so moving. We are providing relief-based products that actually work without any dangerous side effects.", Sarah told us.
Enjoy YOUR path
Sarah often reflects on her journey as a CEO, remembering the initial emotional connection she had with her idea and the challenges that almost sank the company. She emphasizes the importance of resilience, sharing, "Believe in yourself, hang in there, and keep pushing forward. My journey has been a remarkable comeback story." Sarah shared how she has an incredible comeback story.
"In 2021 we pretty much ran out of money. The agency was costing us more than we had at that point. It was a 'make or break' moment, and I had to swallow my pride to borrow from friends and family. That year was filled with stress and self-doubt; it was terrifying. But we persevered and now we're on track to pass that crucial three-year mark," Sarah told us. Sarah shared with us.
Sarah hopes she is on a path to building her company to a successful exit, but as she told us there is still so much to do, she will cross that bridge when she gets there. She also discussed the importance of emotional well-being: "Normalize feeling shitty. If you bottle it up and pretend things are constantly fine, you will have a hard time focusing and you won't be able to regroup. Let it out, it is ok to cry!" She continued with her plan any time she feels a breaking point approaching, "I've found that a good cry every quarter clears my mind, allowing me to refocus on my goals. It's cathartic!" Sarah explained how it is important to understand your emotions and not let them control you or your decisions, "It is liberating and a reminder that you can do this. Releasing all of that emotion brings you clarity and the sense of purpose to get back after it the next day and continue your journey.
Ending our chat with Sarah, she wanted to share this piece of advice, "Every founder, every brand, is on a unique journey. Don't compare yourself to others; focus on your own path. And, don't try to rush the process, because your journey will play out differently to get to your definition of success."
Words well said, but our personal favorite quote followed this from Sarah, "Starting a business will be one of the most difficult things you can do. You won't see anything positive for the first two years potentially. It will try to break you multiple times. But if you can be vulnerable, it will help you get through it and ultimately succeed." "Plus creating something from scratch, that is your own...it is pretty F'n cool."
Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
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Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
KLS wants to thank Blossom Essentials and Founder and CEO, Sarah Vilenskiy for today's "Together Talks" feature. Keep up to date with Blossom Essentials by following their blog on their website, check it out here. Follow along for the Blossom Essentials journey with their social handles below!
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Blossom Essentials feature #59
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
Our precise and reliable effort.
We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.