Shark Tanks: Meredith Jurica talks all things business.
USA TODAY included the MakeUp Junkie Bag "One of the Top 10 Travel Bags" and with more than $10 million in sales we sat down with the founder of the brand to talk all things business. After her breakout appearance on ABC's "Shark Tank, founder Meredith has turned her brand in to a multi-million dollar business and we sat down with the entrupenuer to talk shark tank and what it takes to make it in the business world.
Meredith, Let's talk about your brand 'Makeup junkie bag', where did the inspiration come from to start this business?
Sure! As a true "makeup junkie", I own tons of makeup. Modern day cosmetics are so much different than the cosmetics that have been around for years. Now we see all these large artist pallets and full sized brushes that are supposed to make us look like Heidi Klum and Tyra banks haha. I was frustrated that no cosmetic bag company was keeping up with storage of modern day cosmetics. I had an upcoming trip and so in preparation of my travels I went to the local craft store and purchased materials to make my own cosmetic bag that would house all of my things. I wanted it to pack flat, be leak resistant, and open up down the middle so I could see everything. The design did exactly as I intended it to and I was so pleased. I mimicked the 12 inch size I had made for my makeup and made a larger one for my shower toiletries as well as smaller sizes to pack face creams, eye care, chargers etc. I was excited to take them on my trip and never really knew it would turn into a business.
For those who don't know, what is a 'Makeup Junkie Bag'?
A Makeup Junkie Bag is a lay flat, pack flat, storage travel bag with leak resistant wipeable interiors. It has high storage capacity of full sized toiletries among other things without taking up space in a suitcase or travel bag. I was issued a Design Patent on the bag and they are all made at my factory here in the Houston area. We lifetime guarantee them!
How did you go about launching your business?
I started as a one woman show in my home. I sold through Facebook before having a website developed. It grew organically, obtaining more customers every month. Eventually I moved into a small commercial office, adding employees and sewing machines as the business grew. We are proud to now occupy 18,000 Sq ft of workspace.
What were some of the toughest challenges you faced when starting your business?
Navigating the business world with no business background is not for the faint of heart. I had to learn about material sourcing, setting price points, marketing, customer service, shipping, etc....all at the same time. Learning to budget time for family, the business, and the different parts of the business (production but also marketing and development etc. ) took several years to master and there is still room for improvement.
Is there anything you did that maybe looking back you think you shouldn't have?
When I first started making Makeup Junkie Bags I did not know what wholesale was/meant. I was purchasing all of my supplies at full retail price therefore yielding no profit to speak of whatsoever. Haha. My background is medical/education so rookie mistake. In the first few months I discovered buying in bulk wholesale and googled everything I could to teach myself how to manufacture, market, and sell something in the absence of business training of any kind. The lesson learned was that I have a lot to learn but also that you can learn new things and grow every day to fill the holes in.
Let's talk about your time on ABC's Shark tank. Looking back, would you change anything about your pitch?
What a fun experience!!! I actually would not change a thing. However it was executed, it has contributed to the life I live today. They were kind to me considering past episodes I had seen and that I was a novice in a room of experts.
Would you say your appearance in the show helped bring in more customers?
110%! Our customer base and retailer base grew by double. We feel fortunate to have been chosen for the show and appreciate all it has done for the business.
After going through the process, would you advise someone to go on the show? Or would you suggest to seek investment elsewhere?
It was a lengthy process to get to film day. It took many months of cuts and still there is no guarantee of investment. If you have time and patience, yes it was a great experience I will treasure and I encourage anyone to try it. If you need immediate guaranteed investment money, I would say try elsewhere.
Many business owners have launched a few businesses that didn't work out before the one that works! Was this the case for you?
This was my first business venture and it's success has made me excited. I have expanded into other lines within my brand and am always pondering new business ventures. I am sure as many, I will have failures along the way with new things I try!
The 'Makeup Junkie bag' is huge in America selling over $10M in sales in over 2000. Do you have any expansion plans? Maybe to the UK?
We are primarily domestic right now. We have several companies in other countries that are ready to distribute so yes I would say that is inevitable. :)
Are there any exclusives you can tell us about any new products you're looking to bring out?
My clothing line “Modern Jester” just launched and my crossbody purse line as well. We say that we are "in the business of making beautiful things" so as long as we can sew, we will continue to produce apparel and accessories.
What advice would you give to any budding Entrepreneurs reading this?
Breed a culture of hard work, gratitude, and love for ones job. Do not let negative people into your business. Walk in your employees shoes so you know what their days feel like so you can stay in tune with them and their needs.