By Elizabeth Brady, Scentsy Translation Coordinator
“Hey, Elizabeth, come hold this for a sec.” I was assisting at a photo shoot when the Design Manager handed me a Baby Buddy. “Great! Now insert this Scent Pak into the Baby Buddy.” Next thing I knew, the photographer was clicking photos over my shoulder and directing me on how to aesthetically insert a Scent Pak.
I had just been bootstrapped.
To bootstrap: rely entirely on one’s own efforts and resources; self-generating or self-sustaining. Basically, solving problems with what you’ve already got, instead of outsourcing or purchasing a solution or new resource.
Bootstrapping is not a new concept for Scentsy. In fact, Scentsy’s history is riddled with stories of utilizing what’s available.
Like the time the shrink-wrap machine broke. It was December of 2005, and Scentsy had recently moved operations into its first warehouse. Money was tight, and orders were waiting. Wax couldn’t be packaged without the shrink-wrap machine, and there was no time to halt production and buy a new one, or even hire a repairman to fix it. So Orville rigged up a pipe wrench and bungee cord to stabilize the device, and production started once again.
Or the time Heidi became Scentsy’s first designer. Before then, Scentsy warmers were designed by an outside company, but Heidi thought she could do it better and cheaper so she designed Scentsy Green, the first warmer exclusively designed and produced by Scentsy . After Scentsy Green, Heidi and Orville took over warmer design, shaping the flagship Scentsy product into the beautiful product line it is today. Now Scentsy has its own product development team to carry on what Heidi started.
If you can believe it, there was also a time when the Scentsy catalog was simply pictures of warmers in a photo album. Heidi herself photographed them (in her backyard, no less) and collected the pictures into inexpensive 4x6 albums.
And let’s not forget the original story of Scentsy bootstrapping: the ocean shipping container. With the new business venture requiring a lot of attention, they needed a facility to manufacture and ship products, and serve as headquarters. An old ocean shipping container happened to be on their small sheep farm, so Heidi and Orville utilized this 40-foot metal box for several months. Even though the space was small and less than ideal, they were able to launch Scentsy from a readily available facility, and rent-free!
From Scenty’s earliest days, creative problem solving and ingenuity have made all the difference in the face of obstacles. These foundations of bootstrapping have also shaped the way Scentsy continues to operate today.
My hand-modeling stint for the catalog is actually pretty typical. All of us at the home office are deeply woven into the fabric of Scentsy, willing to stand behind a product and represent it when given the chance. This works out well for our design team, who are always in search of models representative of the target market. The design department isn’t limited to bootstrapping in the modeling realm; they have rigged their own props, creatively staged their studio, and produced what looks like summer weather in December.
Our fragrance department also relies heavily on resources at hand—the noses of employees and Consultants. Before a Scentsy employee can contribute to the scent selection process, they must go through a training course, Fragrance 101, where they learn about the elements of fragrance and the fragrance design process. This prepares employees to be vital participants in the scent selection process. Similarly at Convention, Consultants provide feedback and ratings of possible new fragrances. This step in the fragrance selection process is vital because it allows Scentsy the opportunity to survey the field and ensure we’re providing Consultants fragrances they’re excited about and excited about selling.
With this fragrance screening process that incorporates so many contributors, the Scentsy fragrance team can rely on statistics that will then translate to “market acceptance” of a product, and because we boot-strapped the whole process, we got a great result without spending a fortune.
Bootstrapping and Scentsy go hand-in-hand, and when I look at the Spring/Summer 2012 Catalog featuring my exceptionally glamorous hand modeling debut, I can’t help but think, “Man, I love bootstrapping.”