The Perspective

The Start of Smith & McCain

Hi, my name is Kristin Smith, and I am the Co- Founder of Smith & McCain Fragrances. I'm 27 years old and have always been a go-getter.

When asked this question my response is always the same. "Well, we [Alycia and I] are both estheticians and wanted to create a product that gave women confidence on a much deeper scale than skin care or makeup. When you smell good, you feel good!"

The Start of Smith & McCain

So this is the VERY summarized way of how Smith & McCain came about. I met Alycia when I was a freshman in high school, and she was a junior. We had the same Spanish class together and hit it off immediately! After high school, we stayed in touch, even as I moved from Canada to LA and then back to Bakersfield.

Fast forward...

Alycia and I have always had the drive to do more and to get the best out of life. One day we got together because we both had the same thought, to go into business together! Once we discussed it, we went back and forth for a couple of months debating if this was something we truly wanted to do. After no talk of business for about a year I sent Alycia a text one day and said: “You want to say f*ck it and go for it?”. Her response, “I was just looking up business plans last night!”.

Afterall, smelling good is what truly gives us our confidence...

A few days later we got together to draw out a plan. Originally we wanted to start with cosmetics, but after calling around, we saw how difficult that might be. See, everything requires minimum orders and can be tough when being a startup company. With further investigation, we found out that the minimum order for cosmetic components were 10,000 pieces per unit! Are you FREAKING kidding me?!! We would only be able to order three eye shadows and two lip glosses at that cost! Many phone calls later without any answer (no one picks up the phone unless you’re Calvin Klein) we finally got someone to talk to us. This very sweet woman was super helpful answering all our questions and much more. Then to find out her company doesn’t even work in cosmetics, only fragrance. “Are you serious??”, I thought. She had given us so much information knowing she wouldn’t make a dime off us. So naturally, we started asking questions regarding fragrance. The information she gave us was astonishing. After getting off the phone, we both sat there knowing that everything had just changed. We came to the conclusion that we would start with fragrance. Afterall, smelling good is what truly gives us our confidence and scent is tied to memory. So let’s start helping women make an entrance while making a lasting impression!

The start Kristen & Alycia

A few days later we got together to draw out a plan

Originally we wanted to start with cosmetics, but after calling around, we saw how difficult that might be. See, everything requires minimum orders and can be tough when being a startup company. With further investigation, we found out that the minimum order for cosmetic components were 10,000 pieces per unit! Are you FREAKING kidding me?!! We would only be able to order three eye shadows and two lip glosses at that cost! Many phone calls later without any answer (no one picks up the phone unless you’re Calvin Klein) we finally got someone to talk to us. This very sweet woman was super helpful answering all our questions and much more. Then to find out her company doesn’t even work in cosmetics, only fragrance. “Are you serious??”, I thought. She had given us so much information knowing she wouldn’t make a dime off us. So naturally, we started asking questions regarding fragrance. The information she gave us was astonishing. After getting off the phone, we both sat there knowing that everything had just changed. We came to the conclusion that we would start with fragrance. Afterall, smelling good is what truly gives us our confidence and scent is tied to memory. So let’s start helping women make an entrance while making a lasting impression!

Once we decided on fragrance, every door that needed to be opened did! But, even though we decided to go into fragrance because everything seemed to line up perfectly doesn’t mean the journey has been easy. Many times I have questioned if this is really what I’m supposed to be doing and if we can actually make it. Whenever I am in a time of confusion I always turn to Jeremiah 33:3; “Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Many times God will just give me the number 333 to keep reminding me to continue searching Him for clarity.

Fast forward again. . .We are about three months out from our launch date, and we have already decided on a bottle. Our newly hired business advisor comes to us and tells us our bottle is too big. Ok, no problem, just order it in a smaller size. The glass company gets back to us saying they don’t make our bottle in a smaller size. WHAT?! Our rep sends us samples of other bottles similar to ours, but now that means our minimum order goes up because we have to fill a crate for shipping. And the minimum order went significantly up. At this point, I am so stressed out! We have come this far and so close and now won’t be able to afford to launch!

Alycia and I get together after she ran the numbers. She looks at me asking why I’m freaking out. I’m thinking to myself, isn’t it obvious?! She shows me the numbers. Because we ordered more bottles, it actually dropped our dollar amount. Not only does it lower the cost but we only have to sell 333 bottles to earn back our start-up investment. What was that number again?! Yes, 333 bottles! I immediately calmed down and knew God was in control. On top of that, three days later in a meeting to go over our analytics, the average number of likes we were getting to our page weekly was 333.

We finally launched

We finally launched in November of 2015 and did it with a bang thanks to all the help we got from our community. It has been a year and a half since the launch, and I have learned so much, making MANY mistakes along the way. I think your whole first year in business is just dedicated to mistakes. LOL! To this day I still wonder what the heck I’m doing and if I can actually make it. Starting a company is not cut out for the weak. You hear things you don’t want to, see things you didn’t expect and have to do more than you can imagine! Our new motto is “Rejection equals redirection.” But I know in my heart that we are right where we need to be even though it may not be easy at times. I just continue to trust that God will provide and will guide the way. As long as I keep my heart and mind in the right place, I know it will all work out the way it is supposed to!

Next Post
Working Mom Survival Tips

Related Posts

No results found

2 Comments. Leave new

I like the way it smells I’m very senitive to a lot of products but I saw yours at my salon I really liked it but the price threw me off a small vial was 30.00 that’s over the top and I am a shopping expert so I will stay with philosophy products they smell great sorry I tried

L

Reply

Hi Deb! We love that you tried our product and liked it ❤️ Our price is actually quite comparable with other products, especially with ours being a hand crafted, niche fragrance. We also decided to keep all our components and fragrance made right here in the U.S.A. which can also be pricey. From our research we found that our pricing was fair. We hope to one day win you over and that you support The Invitation’s “perfume with a purpose” 😍

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Menu