The digital transformation of a cosmetics business
The life of Veronica Reyes took a 180-degrees change ever since the birth of her daughter Valentina in 2017. She prioritized taking care of her child as she was born with a condition that required special care and the usage of skincare products. That was the start of a project that led her to start the business she now runs: Rebel Bonny.
Back then, Mrs. Reyes had a well-paying job, which allowed her to start a social responsibility project that helped vulnerable people in her community, mainly elderly and disabled people, offering them a chance to have a job and have their own income.
She partnered with her 87-year-old grandmother, Ms. Matilde de Reyes, and founded Bioterra in 2018 (the company that is currently known as Rebel Bonny). In 2019, they were able to register their company as a limited liability company, with support from AGEXPORT and the European Union.
My grandmother has been my greatest support. She has been in the most crucial moments of my life; she contributes with her wisdom to this business and has been able to find unique alternatives to different problems; said Mrs. Reyes.
Rebel Bonny is a company that offers natural cosmetic products using only local raw materials such as essential oils. The company offers different products, including facial creams, tonics, facial gels with aloe vera, among others.
Selling these products as been a “trial and error” process, as Mrs. Reyes describes it. They made three attempts to sell their products in local shopping malls, but they soon realized that malls were not the appropriate channel to sell the products.
Being a single mother has made me face different dilemmas, take tough decisions, have difficult and tiring days where one thinks of throwing in the towel. Yet, I have invested money, time and knowledge on this project and the sum of all the little battles I win each day encourage me to continue. Pursuing a business is like an extreme sport, where at the beginning you need to focus on different areas of your future company: the financial part, the management part, human resources, among others. It can be overwhelming, but being constant is the key; said Mrs. Reyes.
As time passed, the company strengthened its social media channels and developed an online selling platform which was well received by consumers.
During their family dinners, grandmother and granddaughter have long conversations on the future of the company, which has also helped to motivate Ms. Matilde, as this is a project still in-development.
Find the positive side of a negative issue
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Guatemala, Veronica met with her workers and said that the essence of the company was to be social and environmentally responsible. They could not change this essence in order to boost sales, which led them to take a pause and analyze the evolution of the pandemic.
We continue with our meetings online. Our management was not affected by the current pandemic, but our salesforce did take a hit. This pushed us to change our products, innovate and introduce new packaging lines, hygiene products, personal care products among others; said Mrs. Reyes.
The company defined delivery days on Wednesdays and Fridays, as they could not continue being sustainable and not selling their products. At the same time, they started developing a website to get closer to their customers and make it easier for clients to purchase from home.
With this situation, we were able to find a positive side of a negative situation. COVID-19 made us speed up our processes and objectives we had for the long term. We were also forced to accelerate obtaining sanitary registries, position our brand in the minds of consumers and fulfill all legal requirements to later-on be able to export our products abroad. We have also other projects for the future, such as opening a school of natural cosmetics and build our own lab; said Veronica.
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