Petit Vour (pronounced "peh-tee vohr") is a luxury vegan beauty box subscription and e-boutique that showcases the crème de la cruelty-free. Subscribers complete a beauty profile at signup, receive a freshly curated beauty box each month, and earn store credit with every review and purchase. It's the ultimate way to effortlessly discover luxe green beauty! As for my role, I manage all of the moving parts of the business with my partner with a focus on box and shop curations.
Is your background in business? Do you think you can learn entrepreneurship in a classroom or do you believe that you learn by getting your hands dirty?
My background is actually in teaching, but I've always had a knack for projects, which entrepreneurship definitely falls under. To prep for Petit Vour, I read a lot of books and articles on starting a business and asked myself all of the difficult questions one must ask before investing every dime into a potentially failed experiment. I'm sure that a business background would have helped in some ways, but I also think a lot of what makes a business successful is a mix of networking ability, persistence, timing, edge, and stroke of luck.
Why did you decide to go into the beauty space? What made you change your views on the industry?
Beauty was certainly an area that I was interested in and had a bit of consumer experience with, but what it came down to was the actual need for luxury vegan beauty. I myself am vegan so it was an idea that meant a lot to me on a very emotional level. That, plus the fact that there was no destination for luxurious vegan beauty made the decision fairly simple. I wanted to create the space and make vegan beauty something non-vegans could desire. I knew it would be incredibly difficult to do so since I was young and hadn't made a name for myself in the beauty world, but I was determined and made every effort to showcase only the most high-performing, aesthetically pleasing vegan products to our audience. I wanted to raise the bar for vegan beauty and change the way consumers see cruelty-free. Yes, our products are thoughtfully made, but they're also gorgeous and work just as well (if not better) than conventional products.
Do you have ideas for other businesses or would you like to grow this one as big as you possibly can?
I'd like to grow Petit Vour as well as I can. I want to continue tweaking what we've created to provide the ultimate shopping experience, with all of the bells and whistles. We have a few exciting ideas up our sleeve that will reveal themselves (hopefully) not too far down the road.
What steps are crucial to take before starting your own business?
1) Do your research and make sure that your business will be offering something truly unique. ASK YOURSELF: Will people buy my product/service? Who are my competitors? What makes my business special?
2) If you're still feeling pretty good about moving forward, form a team (even if that "team" is just one other person). Lay out your *unique* ideas and start making a business plan.
What part of your personality helped in your journey and what did you have to work on?
I'm a bit of an idealist and I think that helped get the show on the road. I had this very naive confidence in the beginning all because I was so excited to create this perfect vegan business that was absolutely lovely.
My biggest personality challenge? I sometimes have a short attention span when it comes to tasks, so I do best with projects that are short and sweet. I would have a very difficult time analyzing product photos and shooting for the website day in and day out. Fortunately, there are people (i.e. my partner) who love that sort of thing! I'd rather have conversations with our brand partners, make marketing plans, and connect with our audience.
How important was your network? Is there really such thing as “doing it alone”?
Networking is essential and there is absolutely no way our business would be where it is without the incredible community I've actively participated in. Networking is especially important in the cruelty-free/green beauty world, because character plays such a significant role in how people perceive your business. If you show good character, people are more excited to work with you and trust your word. Also, it shows your commitment to the cause, whatever that may be. For Petit Vour, we are committed to non-toxic beauty, transparency, and the fight to end animal testing.
Grow steady and slowly or take the world by storm? Which one do you think is the way to go? Why?
You'll hear different advice from many business folks, I imagine, but we took the slow and steady route for two reasons:
1) We're self-funded and
2) we didn't want to lower our standards (rather, we wanted to keep raising them!). Boutique luxury brands have their own limitations and we wanted to make sure we could work with them and do everything on our end to make the partnerships possible...and mutually beneficial. We would have been (more) strapped for cash and limited to working exclusively with large brands had we decided to take the world by storm and that would have affected the boutiquey vibe we were trying to craft with our beauty box.
Do you believe it is important to take care both of your body and your soul while running your businesses? How important is it to make sure you are living a healthy and balanced life?
Yes, though I can't say I'm a stellar example. I try to go on long walks as frequently as possible (which is sometimes only 3 days a week), eat wholesome vegan meals (though I'll admit I need more veggies in my life), and get plenty of rest (which I always get!). I think laughter, hugs, and the cat in my lap balance out my sometimes hectic work days, but I'm still not where I want to be long-term. I think daily outdoor exercise, meditation, and fresher food would help my creativity, productivity, and overall happiness.
Is being a female entrepreneur any different from being a male one? Do you think that we should separate the two or do you believe they are one and the same?
Being a female entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges, absolutely. Growing up, even with the most supportive family, we (women) receive all of these signals and ideas from society that we shouldn't be bold and courageous like men. At least, not with the same power. When you start a business, you have to be bold and accept the fact that many people you engage with may not respect you or want to listen to you at first (that's just the reality of business!). Being a woman, you have to acknowledge the discomfort of stepping outside your norm and just do it anyways. As they say, fortune favors the bold!
Do you think it takes a special kind on person to run a business or anyone who is passionate enough about a product or a service? Is this learnable?
I think you need to be comfortable taking calculated risks and potentially living with a perceivably failed (and perhaps very expensive) experiment. If you're okay making a lot of mistakes and your team has the skills to rebound and change with demand, you might do very well.
What does it mean to achieve success? Do you think that it can ever be achieved?
I think there are certainly successful milestones we can achieve, but I don't think there will be one moment where we're like, "This is it. We're done. We have achieved success." For me, when cruelty-free brands of ours reach out and say, "I'm developing a product and I want it to be 100% vegan" -- wow, that is a successful milestone for us. When fans reach out and say they've started to eat more consciously or have made a green beauty swap, that feels like a successful milestone. Really, it's the journey that needs to feel valuable to you and that's what makes it a success.