The Underrated Key to Business with Moonlit Skincare
Patience is not my virtue.
I can’t fathom a life without 2-day shipping. I take comfort knowing my Lyft is 1 minute away. Don’t even get me started with flight delays.
If you want to know the nitty-gritty details about this deal, over the course of 18 months, my co-founder Kriszta and I kept potential retailers updated with new launches, press hits, and events –even if we heard crickets from them. Eventually, they noticed, realized we were onto something, were here to stay and put the work in.
Every “no” we heard, was really a “not yet.”
For those “yeses” to start appearing, I learned to be patient.
Founded in 2017, Moonlit differs from other consumer goods companies in a few key ways. Sure, our nighttime focus and lifestyle product offerings are unique but we are also different when it comes to our business ethos. We’re in it for the long haul, for our customers, and for the sake of sleep. In addition, we admit we also have a selfish motive–it’s a creative outlet.
Kriszta and I were roommates at Parsons School of Design. After graduation and years at various design agencies, we launched many e-commerce sites, directed packaging rebrands, and marketing strategies, so being able to do it for ourselves continues to be incredibly rewarding. We’re bootstrapped (for now) and we stay in our lane. We want to get really, really good at listening to our customers and making money –not get really good at listening to investors and spending money. And that takes time.
Whether you own a small business or you’re a freelance writer, time allows your audience to discover you. Reputation is key. In today’s democratized internet society, the emphasis is on customer experience and reviews; however, for those to really take form, you will need time to perfect that interaction and gain trust.
If you’re working within the physical product space, you’re going to go through horrible customer service mishaps, shipping fiascos, unexpected tariffs (heaven help you), production hell, complicated retail dashboards that were made in the 90’s, and packaging blunders. Through these problems, you will learn how to manage people, manage your stress levels, and you’re also going to get really good at solving problems.
When you run a small business, you learn so much every day. In the beginning, everything is scary and terrifying and new and terrifying and did I mention absolutely terrifying? Then somehow, magically, the terrifying becomes the norm.
Problems used to paralyze me. (I am not one of those people who get excited by problems) but over the years, I began to gain confidence in tackling the obstacles that come our way. I guess it’s kind of like driving a car. In the beginning, everything seems like an immediate threat when you’re learning to drive and your heart rate is 400 bpm but then you learn to relax, and you get to a point where driving isn’t even a big deal anymore. Allow me to be crystal clear: I am not thrilled by problems but time has taught me not to sweat it and they’re part of the journey.
Time is the most underrated, never-talked-about secret ingredient to a business.
It is essential to cycle through your “seasons.” In order to not burn yourself out, recognize that lifestyle where your ideas are blossoming, when you need to plant ideas, when you need to pitch, when nothing is really happening, when the responses pour in, and plan around the ups and downs.
Protect your creativity. Nurture it because it is a valuable extension of yourself when it's integral to your work. Be gentle and give yourself the breathing room to grow and navigate yourself. Time is a tool and you can learn how to preserve your energy, sanity, and train yourself to be as efficient for the long run.
Stephy Kim is co-founder of Moonlit Skincare. Moonlit is dedicated to overnight skincare and sleep wellness. Previously she worked for Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, Obliphica, Birchbox, and L’Oréal-owned Kérastase and Shu Uemura. She graduated from Parsons School of Design . Moonlit Skincare has been praised by Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, Marie Claire, dubbed as CEW's "Indie Brand to Watch," and is available at Urban Outfitters.