June 27, 2023
Vermouth Beauty, lip color with 100% compostable packaging, was founded to tackle one of the beauty industry’s toughest challenges: microplastics. In this week’s Her Story, Meg Diaz, one of Vermouth’s founders, shares Vermouth’s commitment to inclusive beauty and environmental sustainability for their lipstick “flights”. She also shares the immense value Vermouth has received from mentors, partners and a collaborative community that share their mission.
To make the beauty industry better. Better for women... and better for the planet.
Why did you start your business? What motivated or inspired you?
To make the beauty industry better. Better for women, better for women's bodies, better for women's self esteem, and better for the planet.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
Inventing packaging really is as hard as people said it would be. When they said "it's going to be really difficult" - they weren't kidding.
Why did you decide to join The WMarketplace?
To be part of a community of like-minded female entrepreneurs.
What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?
Entering cold into an already crowded marketplace. Despite validation of our product and our belief that we have something women want, it is really hard to find our brand voice among the chatter.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
Hearing that our customers love what we're doing. Our customers are inspired by our brand and really rooting for our success, not just because we've created a sustainable product they love but because they see themselves in us and trust that we have their best interests at heart.
Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success? Have you had an “AHA!” moment(s)?
We had a vision for our product and identified an unmet need, yet when we went to the industry to solve the packaging problem they offered us more plastic and more of what already existed. The pivotal moment was when we realized that we had the skills within our own team to design something new. Drawing on her background as an artist, and pushed by Jill's demand for sustainably sourced materials, Meg created the delightful crayon box and handles inspired by art tools that deliver the ease, playfulness and sustainability we were looking for.
It's inspiring to belong to a community of women who are showing that doing the right thing is good for business.
How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?
We've been in business just over a year. We started with one "flight" of five lip colors and have just launched our fifth flight of thoughtfully selected colors. Listening to customer feedback we're now offering flights that are in more similar color ways as well as more diverse selections designed for blending. We're also beginning to plan some exciting collaborations with other women-owned businesses in the fashion and beauty space.
Do you have a mentor, formal or informal? What role have they played for you?
We're lucky to have the support and guidance of an experienced venture capitalist. He's helped us navigate not only challenges specific to our business but avoid many pitfalls common to start ups. His faith in us and tireless encouragement have helped us through some dark moments and to believe in ourselves and have the courage to stand up for our convictions.
What communities have been important for you as you grew/developed your business?
Belonging to an incredible community of female entrepreneurs, many of whom we've met through the WMarketplace, has been invaluable to us. This community has made introductions, brainstormed promotions, shared lessons learned, lent a sympathetic ear and even put a roof over our heads in the early days. It's inspiring to belong to a community of women who are showing that doing the right thing is good for business.
Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?
Do the math but trust your gut. Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it can't be.
If a journalist were to write a headline about you/your business, what would it be?
Different by Design
Are there any apps or business services that you just can’t live without that you would like to give a shout-out to?
Hemlock Printers were instrumental in helping us through the last mile of our packaging design. They were the first carbon neutral printer in North America and their enthusiasm and belief in our mission has made them valued and trusted partners on our journey to sustainability.
Is there a non-profit or other social/mission-oriented business that your business supports? Can you tell us about this?
We support several community based organizations that support women's freedom and independence. We offer support through donations, raising awareness and participation. We also support initiatives that promote awareness of plastic pollution and protect the earth's resources. We contribute towards carbon offsetting our shipping and printing impact.
Thank you, Meg, for sharing your advice and journey with the WMarketplace!
SHOP VERMOUTH BEAUTY
Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.