Victoria Tsai is the founder of Tatcha, a skincare line inspired by the beauty secrets of geishas. The former analyst for Merrill Lynch and Harvard graduate built a business around the use of ancient Japanese traditions to solve common skin problems.
Tatcha’s sales have tripled every year since its founding.
Here are 5 entrepreneurial lessons from Victoria Tsai:
- Take control of your future
Upon the founding of Tatcha, Tsai was an exhausted, pregnant employee who had experience as an analyst for a Fortune 500 company. She knew she wanted a change and saw the opportunity when she discovered a product while on a trip in Japan that she thought women could get behind.
You can find inspiration in the world around you. Chances are, if you are in need of a solution to a problem…other people probably experience that problem as well. What can you offer that will make life better for others?
Businesses that focus in this way have greater chances of survival. And you can gain financial independence in the process!
- Invest in something outside of yourself
Tsai has her eyes set on success for more than just herself and her immediate family. She wants to keep Tatcha profitable and within the family name so it can be passed down for generations to come. Her 100+ year perspective shows her understanding of the impact that a family business can have on prosperity.
Tsai’s approach is understandable since she grew up working in her mother’s beauty store in Houston, where she was first exposed entrepreneurship.
Think about the impact of your successful business on more than just your personal bank account.
- Be different
The first product Tsai decided to focus on was skin blotting paper, which absorb excess oil to prevent breakouts and blemishes. Tatcha makes use of natural ingredients like green tea, oatmeal, rose, and seaweed to make products like their signature blotting paper.
Compare this to the list of ingredients you would typically see on beauty product labels in the US. Many American skin care and cosmetic companies use parabens, synthetic fragrances, and sulfate detergents. The FDA does not regulate skin care products like other countries do, but the market is becoming increasingly more aware of the skin’s absorption of anything that is applied topically.
Think about how can you provide something different that your market wants. What improvements can you make to everyday products or services? How can you make life easier for a specific market? What market trends can you use to your advantage?
- The fruits of sacrifice
Tsai sold her engagement ring and car to finance her business. Surely, this was a hard decision but these material possession are replaceable. Years of your life as an unhappily employed person are not.
You might not need to get as drastic as selling something sentimental or getting rid of all your possessions, but there are sacrifices you have to make if you want to be an entrepreneur. Whether it’s socializing less to focus on your business, delaying starting a family, or forgoing some comforts that you’ve become accustomed to having, you will probably have to make some hard decisions. Just keep your eye on the prize and focus on the abundant and creative future that is made possible through entrepreneurship.
- The power of PR
What sealed the deal for Tatcha’s success? Something we hear over and over again at Eazl when we talk to successful entrepreneurs: public relations. In the beginning, after the common discovery that taking a website live does not equal sales, Tsai sent loads of samples to magazine editors and makeup artists.
People started to take notice and Tatcha was featured on far reaching media like Oprah Magazine and the Today Show.
Get your product or service in the hands of influencers right away and when you have a budget to work with, whether it’s from raising funds or selling product, don’t forget about PR!
Check out the rest of the Fempreneur Series:
5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal
Is Ida Tarbell the OG Arianna Huffington
10 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Coco Chanel
6 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Sara Blakely of Spanx
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