Interview: An Esthetician on Building Her Successful Natural Skincare Line

Updated: Feb 21

I'm excited to share with you all my first interview since Krisztina Clifton Beauty branched off into its own site earlier this year. Kim has been a sponsor of mine and a soon-to-be photography client as well. For those of you who are active in our little beauty community on Instagram, you may already know her as the face behind Autumn Glow Botanical. I've been a huge fan of her organic natural skincare line, and I'm happy to get to know more about the woman behind the brand.

Krisztina: I love the behind-the-scenes you post on social media. What is a typical work day like for you? Kim: A typical work day for me is waking up in the morning, stretching, getting water and coffee then posting on social media. Generally I get my inspiration first thing in the morning which I know is crazy. I should plan more in advance by I don't. Then I get dressed and come downstairs, turn on my computer and get to work. A lot of times I am forecasting on marketing with Google.

Doing my own photo shoots, picking out music to videos I've put together, repurchasing supplies and keeping inventory. I'm currently working on getting my products on Amazon. I'm working on collaborations with influencers to help get my product out there more. I also have my product in a few stores, so I'm working with the owners to make sure they stay stocked. I'm also in the lab developing a new product to expand my existing skin care line. Sometimes this can take weeks or even months to perfect. I'll use the product on myself for at least a month to know that it's ready to be marketed. I'm also packaging orders almost daily now so that keeps me very busy.

Krisztina: What was the very first skincare product you created? Kim: My first product was the Glow Beauty Oil. And what's interesting about that is

I was making products for myself because I couldn't find anything to really give me that glow that I was looking for.

A lot of the products on the market just didn't do it for me. So I started making my own oils, and it wasn't until a few years into it that I realized that maybe someone else can benefit from this too. So I made samples and I handed them out to my clients and I never told them that I made it. I just told them I will call them at the end of the week. So when I called them at the end of the week, every last one of them said that they loved it and wanted to know where they could purchase it from. It was at that moment I knew that I had a product, so it was at that point I went into production.

Krisztina: You work so hard on your handcrafted skincare line! If you could outsource one thing, what would that be? Kim: The one product that I would outsource would probably be a stronger exfoliation like a peel. That's beyond my area of expertise, so I would probably outsource that.  Although I don't have a peel yet, I hope to have one soon though.

Krisztina: As a woman of color, what was the biggest obstacle in starting your business, and how did you push past that? Kim: I haven't had any obstacle so far in terms of me being a woman of color. 

The only thing I want to get across is that my product line is for everyone. Everyone can benefit from it.

It is all natural, all organic, free of toxins and it's developed for all skin types. It doesn't matter what color you are, so as of right now I haven't seen any issues yet.

Krisztina: The words “white privilege” are being thrown around frequently these days. To me it has always meant that people of color are sometimes coming from a disadvantaged position due to a lack of equality, and because of that, should be afforded advantages when necessary to level the playing field. Would you mind giving a personal example of a time you felt you were at a disadvantage in the beauty/wellness industry?  Kim: I haven't experienced any disadvantages as of yet but I'm a small online business and still pretty new to this particular part of the industry. But I truly believe in carving out a lane of your own. 

People of color tend to be marginalized in the beauty industry and somewhat overlooked. So I basically decided to carve out my own lane and find my own niche and find my own tribe so to speak. 

I want my product to speak for itself...a good product that works for everyone.

Krisztina: I see from following you on Insta that you're into wellness practices such as cleansing with sage. Was this common in your household growing up, or is it something you began on your own?  Kim: My dad is pretty holistic and he was the first one to introduce me to that type of living and lifestyle. So whenever we would move into a new place he would sage to get the energy right. So I do the same thing. I'm a firm believer in energy and positive energy.  And I can read energy. So it doesn't matter who you are, I am fortunate enough to be able to read and pick up on energy, and because of that it has steered me down some pretty good paths.

Krisztina: What does the future look like for Autumn Glow Botanical? What are your ultimate goals for your brand?

Kim: My ultimate goal is for Autumn Glow Botanical to be a household name. But first, I would like to branch off into bodycare, strengthen the men's skincare line, and eventually have an "Autumn Glow Home" which would have different household accessories such as candles, candle sticks, pillows, bedding and small comfort items for the home.

Krisztina: Who do you draw inspiration from when you face challenges that come with owning a business? Kim: I get a lot of encouragement from my husband who is a business owner of 25 years. He has helped me a great deal with the "business end" of the business. I love to create, and this is why I've created oils and cleansers and mists. I'm in the process of creating scrubs and a face mask, but there is a business side to the creativity, and he inspires me a lot.

Krisztina: What advice would you give a fellow woman of color who is wanting to start their own business? Kim: The advice I would give is to just start it! Have a passion or a dream and take the baby steps necessary to see your dream come to fruition. If it's a product, hand out samples, get opinions: If it is a service, lend help to those who may need it. Have them find the value in what you do. Once you figure out what that is, you can package it and sell it. You have to do your homework first. Study all there is to know about the business you're about to start. In other words, become an expert in your field. That will give you the confidence to move forward.

Thanks so much to Kim for sharing some of her story with us! I find so much inspiration and motivation from my fellow entrepreneurs, and I hope you do too. If you have any additional questions for Kim, please leave them in the comment section below.

But first, grab this coupon code! Use "thanks" at Autumn Glow Botanical to receive 20% off your total purchase. Trust me, you will absolutely love one of their face oil and mist bundles! Those are my top picks at Autumn Glow Botanical, and they're about $40 for the pair...even less with the 20% OFF coupon code! Thank you so much for supporting the indie beauty brands that we care about at Krisztina Clifton Beauty.

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