Faith and Entrepreneurship Series
By Leilani Whitfield
Photos courtesy Alicia Bean
When life gave Alicia Bean lemons, she made lemon sugar scrub. The entrepreneur pivoted her twice working in both retail and healthcare, not realizing that the skills she honed would be the very stepping-stones into her ultimate path of creativity and ownership. Beans journey started in 2010, after giving birth to a premature son and suffering from skin breakouts, acne, dark spots, and acne scars. The weight of financial and emotional stress took its toll on Bean leading her to research solutions to the problems that threatened her stability and sanity.
“After my son’s birth, being a new stay-at-home mom, and going back and forth to the doctors’ appointment to nurse my baby to good health. Life was too hectic, stressful and emotions were all over the air. My husband worked two jobs to support our family since I could not return to work. At the time, my self-esteem was low. I had some personal problems taking a toll on me; I could not do many things I once did. I can recall when I wanted to purchase products to fix the skincare issues I was currently having, not being financially able to do so,” Bean tells Heart & Soul.
Bean began online research and sought out cost effective products to treat her skin conditions. To her surprise, there were two simple ingredients that would change her entire skincare regime and ultimately her lifestyle. “I decided to start pampering myself at home by making my skincare products and ended up achieving outstanding results. Throughout all the years of personal setbacks and loss, the fire was burning within me, and significant changes were about to occur,” says Bean. In 2018, Bean turned her passion into a business and self-funded “Oh, So Sweet” Scrubs.
Built on the foundation of family, each family member plays an important role within the business while offering handcrafted all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan skincare products.
Bean sat down with Heart & Soul to discuss her journey, self-funding her own business, and gives advice to spiring entrepreneurs.
Your company was 100% self-funded. How were you able to self-fund/finance your own business?
My husband and I hit the ground running hard; we both continued to work our full-time jobs, for starters. I approached my husband about initially starting a company. I was not interested in applying for loans or even getting an investor; I wanted to go with the flow and do things naturally. We have pushed and promoted the business to the fullest by reinvesting everything that has been made financially back into the business. Even though we are only in year two since launching, we have also participated in over 100 in-person markets/events in the Houston and Dallas area. We took this marketing approach from the early stages of launching to create a brand presence by consistency, and it has continued significantly to create more brand awareness of Oh So, Sweet Scrubs. Our eye-catching delightful products and fun interactive presentation have taken notice of so many. This approach also has gained the company’s customer trust as a reputable market leader, which has brand status and brings the company to a higher level.
Also, outsourcing has been an added plus in the growth and success of Oh So Sweet Scrubs. Being blessed to work with many women and men in business to help grow and guide Oh So Sweet Scrubs has been a blessing from God. I have been fortunate to outsource many smart and talented companies in my hometown Houston, Detroit, Indiana, and New York.
It has been such a blessing to see where it all started and see where it will head. From the moment in November of 2018, when I participated in my first in-person event, I realized my special gift was to help others feel good about themselves from the inside out. My vision, passion, and optimism have reached a new level.
What were the most important skills that you had to learn to sustain your business?
My faith and belief in God have kept me driven and determined to stay the course. A few months ago, at the start of the pandemic, I faced a few personal setbacks that were taking a toll on me. Though the pandemic has impacted the way I do business in person as far as events, it hasn’t stopped my business from operating nor functioning. It is crucial to learn skills and implement them into your business. Yes, I had to find new ways to increase growth and sales by managing my strengths and weaknesses and thinking outside the box. So I had to learn all the things I was outsourcing others to do. I have tapped into the online marketing side of things and found it to be a strange land. But it is working for me. Showing up more on social media by adding value content that customers can relate to has played a huge factor. It has all been necessary to keep my business needs afloat and has opened my eyes to see things more precisely and become more effective in business.
What is your advice to aspiring business owners?
Understand and believe that your creativity and imagination are the beginning of something so beautiful and magnificent. Once you find your gift, God will point you on the right chosen path. It would be best if you believed that you are good enough to achieve all the things God has for you and that lies from the enemy aren’t real. If you can see all the beauty that God has in store for your life, you would not want to doubt yourself.
I was required to put together a business resume a few months ago, and after viewing the first draft, so much joy and pride filled my heart. I had no idea I had achieved and accomplished so much within a two-year time frame for my business. No matter where you are in your life journey, always remember slow growth is still growth. You must give yourself grace and be proud of who you are TODAY and how far you have come in your journey.
You can find Alicia Bean’s company Oh, So Sweet Scrubs on Instagram @ohsosweetscrubsllc