Knowing Your Brand: Be You
Paola is the founder and owner of SUGARMOON, a sugaring business with three salons, take-home sugaring and organic body care lines, and the SUGARMOON training academy. In this instalment of her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she shares her experience and advice on branding your business.
By Paola Girotti
What is in a brand? In my entrepreneurial experience: a lot! Knowing my brand and developing it has kept me grounded on the busy days and guided me in future plans for SUGARMOON. It has allowed SUGARMOON to grow in the competitive skincare and beauty market. It has allowed us to care for our clients, our employees, and our earth.
The SUGARMOON brand is embodied in our marketing, including our tag lines: “Good for your skin. Good for your body. Good for the earth.” and “SUGARMOON – Toronto’s “sweet” alternative to waxing.” It is also embodied in our packaging, in our salon atmosphere, and in our customer service.
The brand is ultimately integrated into everything we do; It encompasses our salons, our treatments, our customer experience, our commitment to organics and all natural beauty, our branded skincare products, and the other items we offer online and in store. Our packaging, communications, social responsibility initiatives, online academy, and our vision for the future are all embodied in our brand.
Developing the SUGARMOON Brand
The SUGARMOON brand began when I was a young girl. As an adolescent, I suffered extreme hair growth on my face (a common problem for pubescent girls). Luckily my mom was pretty hip to the idea of me not shaving and encouraged me to wax instead. At that time sugaring was not very well known, but when I turned 17, I found a sugarist that I visited nearly every 2 weeks. I saw amazing results with this method of hair removal and the benefits to my sensitive skin were outstanding.
With this passion for skincare in mind, and sugaring as a niche market, I decided to take the chance of opening my first sugaring salon—SUGARMOON. My partner and I wanted to make sure the option for a safe approach to hair removal and skincare was available. We also wanted to support that salon experience with high quality skincare products that would be good for people and good for the earth. I was passionate about helping people and our earth.
Evolving the SUGARMOON Brand
The SUGARMOON brand has always reflected my vision and focus as an entrepreneur. It supports our earth and our health—both mentally and physically.
When SUGARMOON opened, we spent a long time searching for the right products to carry. We found a host of skincare products, but also decided to develop products around our clients needs. We hear a lot inside the treatment rooms, and this typically inspires new ideas. This is also a part of our brand—being “sweet” in our sugaring products and in our approach; we are open, approachable, and supportive of our clientele and their needs.
SUGARMOON’s relaxed approach comes though with our employees and our casual, yet professional approach. We believe in good skin, good health, and we ensure our practitioners are well educated.
In developing SUGARMOON products, we found the best antioxidant and vitamin-rich ingredients that would be kind to our clients’ skin and our earth. SUGARMOON prides itself on bringing the most eco-friendly products on the market in every category. This includes the upcoming launch of our BABYMOON line, an organic baby skin line, as well as our SWEETMOON line, a brand for teens that will include healthy deodorant options, shampoo, face washes, etc.
Our tag line nicely summarizes how our brand reflects our business:
SUGARMOON – Toronto’s “sweet” alternative to waxing. Sugaring is sweet and our product is so natural that you can eat it (we often showcase this at events or in house). Also, our salon and our organic products are truly “good for your skin, good for your body, good for the earth.” Our carbon footprint is very different from many spas that wax because sugar is water-soluble and completely biodegradable.
How Branding Has Helped the SUGARMOON Business
An understanding and integration of our brand has helped SUGARMOON in a host of ways—from sustaining the relaxed approach in our salons to supporting the development of new, organic products—the brand supports our clientele and our staff (including myself). This has helped us retain clients and expand our business beyond our salons and into their homes. It helps us stay the course in the face of competition and accurately assess our vision for growth.
As a bonus, an understanding of our brand (and its focus on supporting each other and our earth) has helped SUGARMOON develop its social responsibility initiatives. We are dedicated to helping young girls and boys through Plan Canada as well as World Vision. We have loans with KIVA that help entrepreneurs all over the world get started, and we support a variety of schools and local charities in our area. We are very dedicated to giving back.
Finally, the SUGARMOON brand also keeps me passionate about my business. It helps me see my vision come to life and that motivates me to continue with expansion and product development. It helps me make it through the everyday experiences of employee management, customer service issues, product ordering, maintenance, bookkeeping, and the other daily business struggles that sometime make you forget why you start a business. My brand keeps me grounded in my vision and keeps me moving forward.
During her fourteen years as the owner of SUGARMOON, Paola has experienced both the triumphs and the trials of being a female entrepreneur. In her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she’s sharing stories and lessons from her journey as a business founder and owner. From financing, to expanding, to balancing motherhood, Paola offers a candid view and valuable insights for aspiring and fellow entrepreneurs.