Interviews Start-ups

Liselotte Wannijn on Innovation and Entrepreneurship from a blog to a Beauty Product Line

Liselotte Wannijn
Founder SMPL Skincare
Founder BeBio
Managing director HealthBox

What is entrepreneurship for you?
It is doing things I never thought I could do! It is also a lot of hard work and a lot of doubt. Never being completely sure you are making the right choice and doing the right thing. But when something works out… It feels amazing!

How did you get the idea for SMPL as a natural skincare?
We first had an online magazine,, about conscious lifestyle. We got to test a lot of natural skincare and write about it. Most time we where impressed by the story the brand gave us, but when we got home and checked the ingredients we often could not believe what was in the product. For example, it was not natural at all, the ingredients where natural but not good for your skin or where way too expensive. We already had a gadget on, what was our own natural deodorant rock. We got some great reactions and we always wanted a product line of some sort. This was it: natural skincare. We just went for it.

How did you create it?
Willemijn and I brainstormed together what our product line should be like. What was important and how can we be different. We started to search a production company that believed in 100% natural skincare. This was difficult but after a lot of searching we found one. We got together with a creative branding company and they made our plans visual. After this we created the website and webshop.

You have a background on event management, editor, copywriter and four years as entrepreneur with Healthbox, Bebio and SMPL. How did you make the decision to become entrepreneur?
I always knew I wanted to start my own company. It was my plan for in the future. When Willemijn came with the idea, it felt like the right time and combination. I didn’t have to think long before I said yes.

You are in a growth phase and you have a product which has a great recognition among beauty and fashion magazines and experts, what are the key values and key steps for you now?
Our key value is to follow our intuition. If something does not feel good, we don’t do it. For now it is most important that we keep focus. There is so much to do and so much we could do, but in this phase we really have to focus on sales. Till now it was a lot of investing. In our products, in our brand, in the website, in social media. Now we have something that we can sell. If that goes well we can invest some more.

What is your main achievement you are more proud of?
Having good reviews. It is the most important. We developed our products to help people, and when we get great reviews and people are really helped that means for us that we achieved our goal. Also our sunscreen won a international award. So proud!

What kind of partnership did you build to growth your start-up?
Willemijn and I are doing it together. We are building our company ourselves. But of course we can’t do it alone. We work with two laboratories we trust and we hire some freelance help when needed.

Which are your best practises while working together with your partners and other business?
Also, follow your intuition. If something does not feel good, don’t work with that person/company. Also, make sure that you have it all on paper. Then you know what to expect and it clarifies the process. We learned this the hard way.

You have a very active blog on your product site and you have more than 10K followers in instagram. How do you translate followers into consumers?
This is very difficult and this is something we struggle with. We try to involve our followers. Ask them questions and give them advise when they have questions. We try to make it more interactive. This way we hope to build a community.

How are you managing growing a start-up, being a freelancer, family, friends and time for yourself? How do you manage stress?
The first years I found it very difficult to find some balance in trying to do everything. I was very stressed and could not relax. Luckily, now I know better what works for me. During the week I have to focus on my work and taking care of my family, don’t work late at night because I won’t sleep, eat healthy and try to go to the gym. Keep it simple. The weekend I try not to work and do something fun with friends and my family. I can’t do everything anymore and that is fine by me.

As a beauty entrepreneur. What is your beauty rutine in the mornings and evenings?
In the morning I wash my face with some water and our konjac sponge. I massage my face with one drop of our serum. After that I put the nourishing cream and mascara on. In the evening I wash my face with our wash and massage a few drops of serum or an oil on my face. That’s it!

What are your favorite books, you would like to recommend?
I wish I had one! It is very embarrassing but I haven’t read a book in years. I always take one with me when I go on holiday, but I fall a sleep after only one page… My favorite thing to read know is the newspaper.

You can read the Golden Rules of Living of Liselotte Wannijn, here.

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