Scentbird CEO’s journey to building a multimillion dollar company

Scentbird CEO’s journey to building a multimillion dollar company



as many of you guys know I've been working on making my own company shudder I want to make it easier to find a good photographer videographer whether you're an influencer a brand or a regular person and in doing this I've realized just how hard it is to start a company and make it work it's a lot of rejection a lot of uncertainty and I'm just fascinated by people that are able to push past that and make it work when there's so much risk involved it's 2019 and last year only 2% of companies that got funding from venture capitalists were female founded 2% while I was in New York I had the chance to stop by one of these companies and learn about how they did it maria nur is meloa is the CEO and co-founder of stanford a company that started in 2014 and has since grown to over a hundred employees and 250,000 subscribers of the product but in general this kind of like right starts straight into the working area can you tell where a fragrance company has a bunch of fragrances and if you follow me I'll show you the boardroom I got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug pretty early in the game I think I might have been about 10 years old and my girlfriend and I decided that we would make little toys and we would make them with beads just like different color beads and we could make like little crocodiles and like lizards with little beads and then when I was about 12 I learned about a company called Avon and it's makeup right and it's beauty product so that was like totally my passion so I tried to convince my mom to allow me to become a representative at 12 Wow it's illegal so I went to my best friend's mom and I'm like my mom wouldn't sign for me she wouldn't let me do it could you like become the representative but I'll sell and she said yes and so I convinced my best friend's mom to sign on and become a representative and I would just you know sell makeup to people and it worked many years later Maria would come up with the idea for her current venture Sanford if you're an avid YouTube viewer you've probably already heard of it but if not it is a monthly subscription that lets you try a new perfume each month I was just and rooming one day somebody would build a website that would allow me to discover new fragrances from the comfort of my couch in my PJs that was like the vision in the early days the website was really really simple so it was just basically somebody coming onto the site typing in three to five fragrances they absolutely loved my algorithm then would go to the keywords for each of these favorite fragrances of a particular person and then they would be like okay let's find some other things for them to try the recommender worked but they had a problem they couldn't monetize a recommender we had a pain point of consumers then we had to turn it into a business and that was a really really tricky thing to do so we went through three business models the first was to send the customer five the fragrance samples and then allow them to upgrade on the scent bird website while people did enjoy the five little samples nobody ever upgraded to a full-size of the bottle you know what kind of started just being in our heads a lot because I was such a user of the category I thought I had all the answers but as a founder you don't always have the answers sometimes I just have the right question after one business model would fail they'd quickly try another you're thinking okay well maybe they're not upgrading because it's too early still should I give them a little bit more time I don't want to bug them or say and then it takes you a little bit of the time to realize they're just not really coming back every day you see how less money you have in your bank account your friends and parents ask about hey what do you think about your future once you start pursuing your you know your heart's desire you're playing high-stakes like poker game because you're all-in all the time and and if it fails you really you really feel it it got to the point where they considered ditching the idea of fragrance altogether but eventually they landed on a model that really worked the CEO of Y Combinator told us that like we spent a year working on fragrance market nobody knows this market better than you you should keep trying and he gave us this ad that people want fragrances but in smaller sizes what if they wanted a new fragrance every month and then it hits me and I'm like what if they ended wanted a new one every month and then it was a matter of figuring out what is that right vehicle right because if you're changing it fragrances all the time you don't really need a large bottle per se all the time once will launch this business model we started getting very stable traffic so we started getting sales without having a marketing budget day one the first day we got like 30 sales the next day 40 and 50 100 my experience before has been if you build something you have to like beg your family your friends to be your the first pioneer and like try it out we didn't have to say anything they just purchased and I'm like huh what is it and we're getting organic sales all of a sudden after a year of misery we had around 200 subscribers and here after watching this product in the mosque we had 300 subscribers it was successful 300 subscribers was a good start but they would have to raise money to really get this going describe the process of raising money for scent bird and how you got into your first accelerator and where you went from there I I knew the one of the founders of the accelerator every time I would have a new venture or an idea I would kind of tell him and we would have him yeah catch hops or meet at events and so when I told him that I was building this fragrance business he was like you should totally apply I'm like okay sure that $40,000 was not terribly complicated but a $40,000 only last you so long we needed to buy inventory and you know boxes and mobile mailers and it was it takes cash we got all this orders 300 orders even before we got the packaging from China and then the packaging arrived and then like oh now what should we do but don't have labor we don't have people to feel all disorders so we have to feel all disorders by our own during the night hours like between 9:00 and I don't know 5:00 a.m. repackaging perfumes and sending them to our customers to keep scent bird going maria needed to raise $100,000 I went through a lot of nose I never really calculated how many it was definitely like many dozens like back to back to back to back she was able to raise the money from their first investor John in part by telling him they'd be accepted into one of the most competitive startup incubators Y Combinator John listen to that and he gave us a check ok Road as a check or what were you thinking also we were like ok pretty sure we'll get it I was so sure we're gonna get in because I I knew Y Combinator was smart I thought we had something of a band you know they just had one slight problem they actually ended up getting rejected from Y Combinator it was a shock to me it was such a disappointment but looking back and like now I understand why then we had a hundred thousand dollars so we're in business and then the business was growing still and even more so and we're getting amazing feedback from users so and back to John I was like yeah John we did not get into my Combinator's however look Stanford is growing here's another growth graph and six months later they ended up getting accepted into Y Combinator Marie is definitely the person I want to be when I grow up and I'm already an adult it's one of those things that she is a true leader I mean sometimes were here and it's like after nine o'clock or you can come to her with any problem or any topic and she's very quick to like be knowledgeable and like answer anything and her number-one qualities that she's very trustworthy I don't think there was anything pretty thoroughly at school that allowed me to prepare for this journey it was all a little bit theoretical you have a lot of questions and no answers initially and then I knew that one day with this big dream of mine of building a beauty company it's gonna come true but if I'll fix it don't like such a big dream that it kept postponing it and I said well you know what when I'm like wise enough when I'm old enough when I'm like but I have experience under my belt I realized something I might never get there yeah I might never get to a point where I feel smart enough or I just feel enough to do it and so I decide you know what this is now's a good time as ever and I'll just learn by doing to aspiring entrepreneurs I would say start small don't postpone your dream like if you don't think you can go all in and you know make this a full-time thing do something that would get you closer to the goal but also never giving up on your dream yeah just keep going you know stand up the world puts you down because there is always light at the end of the tunnel whether you see it or not okay I hope that you guys enjoyed this video I've really enjoyed making it and I want to make this a series but I don't know what to call it so if you guys have any suggestions comment down below also if you guys have suggestions of anyone you want me to make a video like this about comment that down below I have kind of a running list thank you so much Maria for letting me follow you around for a day it's definitely like this video wasn't sponsored or anything like that I just thought it would be a cool video to make I could just tell following Maria around she's someone that doesn't let a no stop her she doesn't give up and I think that's awesome and something that everyone should try and be more like so hopefully this inspired you guys if you want to see more of a behind the scenes and some of the extra footage that didn't make it into this video I will put that up on my blog channel soon so go subscribe to that channel down below and that is it I will see you guys in my next video bye you

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  5. Grate video good job if only YouTube videos was all about realistic stuff like this video.👍💐

  6. This is a great video – I'm inspired by you and the Scentbird CEO! Great message and very high production quality of the video.

  7. Ditch the toxic fragrances! Really, I make mine with high-end essential oils. You can too! www.myyl.com/raisingkale

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  10. Great! I watched few dosen of these and usually men create tech companies and women beauty companies. Anyone else noticed a similar trend?

  11. Just pointing out, b/c no one mentioned it here. BUT SHE SAID HER GIRLFREIND. She had a girlfriend at 10 years old. WE STAN A OPEN GIRL BOSS CEO.

  12. Yeah, I signed up for scent bird and was supposed to get a free holder when I signed up and picked out the scent that I wanted. Instead, I was charged $16 for just the holder. Never again.

  13. That's so true. "Don't ever give up your dreams." This is very inspiring💛💛💛It is hard enough to build a company let alone to be sustainable.

  14. Lovely video, you did a Realllly good job with it. Loved your subject too, she's beautiful! and most definitely Inspirational!

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