I’m delighted to be sharing a Behind the Biz interview with you today. If you’re new to Prettygreentea, Behind the Biz is my weekly interview series where I discover cool businesses, the people behind them and their business journey. Today we’re diving into the world of beauty with a focus on eczema.
In today’s interview I’m chatting with Charlotte, the founder of XO Balm.
Please tell us about your business.
XO Balm is a treatment product for very dry, irritated skin and eczema. It can be used for a huge range of beauty purposes such as dry lips, cuticles, split ends, preventing blisters etc, so really a handbag essential! XO Balm uses a simple but effective combination of natural ingredients to soothe, hydrate and protect the skin. No fragrances or preservatives ensures it is suitable for sensitive, delicate skins and all areas of the face and body.
Where did the inspiration for XO Balm come from?
XO Balm is really a product born from personal experience. I have suffered from eczema and contact dermatitis all my life and have always been on the look out for alternatives to topical steroids. My biggest frustration when using over the counter treatments was getting oily, greasy products which may soothe my skin at first, but wiped off easily and needed so much reapplication. The ratio of beeswax in XO Balm means it sticks to the skin and doesn’t wash or wipe off easily, giving longer term protection. Greasy emollients and medicinal tubes are not pretty or practical so I was keen to bring some of the more stylish image of the beauty markets to the skin health market, so the packaging was a big focus. The mirrored tin is designed to be carried and applied on-the-go as skin conditions are best cared for proactively than reactively.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
During a wine fuelled dinner with my sisters and our other halves 🙂 we were all suggesting things and I really loved XO Balm as it had so many meanings…. exo = outside of the body, XOXO = hugs and kisses, as well as Roman numerals X(10) and 0 = 100 uses. I also loved creating a logo around the two letters so the packaging didn’t need to be text heavy.
What did you do before starting XO Balm?
I have always worked in the beauty industry. After graduating I worked as a PR Account Executive for fashion and beauty brands, and then moved to a magazine publishing house to work on their women’s portfolio. Most recently I worked as a market analyst covering the UK beauty markets. So I’ve used a combination of all my work experience to create XO Balm.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
Not really! I’ve always enjoyed being creative and love a project, so I guess this was just a natural progression. I’ve really loved the journey and it has been hard work but great fun learning new things. I think people are much more productive and excited when the topic is something which really interests them.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Trying to learn everything! When you start a business there are so many skills you suddenly need to learn and things you need to understand, such as web design, accounting and legal product regulations. I spent a lot of time reading and watching YouTube tutorials over the past year!
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
Selling my first product to someone who wasn’t friends or family. People have been so supportive which has been fantastic, it is a great feeling to know that people have bought XO Balm based on the product itself, and wanted to buy something I created.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
It’s very important and I’m still learning a lot about how to use it best. I wasn’t very social media savvy in my personal life so discovering all the platforms and what you can do has been really interesting. Instagram is my favourite platform as I’m a very visual person and people share some beautiful pictures.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t be shy about telling people about your goals, or be afraid to ask for help. There are so many people who are really willing to help aspiring entrepreneurs and offer assistance in helping you take those first steps. Networking groups can be amazing, just discussing ideas and business struggles over coffee can provide a lot of inspiration.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
Hopefully continuing to grow my user base and reach more people. Being such a new business it can be a challenge to let people know you exist. In the long term I would love XO Balm to be stocked in retailers such as Whole Foods and Holland & Barrett.
I’ve suffered with eczema and very dry skin throughout my life. So as soon as I discovered XO Balm I knew that I needed to try it out and that I really wanted to get Charlotte involved with Behind the Biz. I’m so happy she agreed to the interview and I hope you’ve all enjoyed hearing about her business journey. It’s always good to hear from someone so passionate about their business. I can’t wait to see XO Balm grow over the years!
I’ve already started testing out XO Balm and so far I’m loving it. I had a particularly sore and itchy patch of skin on the palm of my hand the other evening so I covered it with the balm and put a glove on over night. By the morning my skin was already looking much better and totally hydrated. I’ll be sharing a full review within the next month.
If you’d like to get involved with Behind The Biz please leave a comment below or drop me a message over on Twitter.