Startup showcase: Creating a revolutionary luxury shave experience for women
Each month the James J. Hill Center interviews entrepreneurs for the Startup Showcase feature in the Pioneer Press. See interview as seen in the Pioneer Press Startup Showcase originally posted on December 19, 2018.
For 100-plus years, technology for female shaving hasn’t changed. The typical pink handles and aloe strips are unfortunately included in a list of minimal options for women, and they don’t solve much.
According to a 2018 Euromonitor report on beauty and personal care in the U.S., women spend over one billion dollars on razors per year. Euromonitor goes on to say, “A female-oriented online shave club … could seriously shake up the industry.”
Introducing Tracy David from Little Acorn Shave, who is answering that call. She has not only started an online shave club but created a revolutionary luxury shave experience that is set to inspire confidence inside and out. With her tenacity and experience she will shake acorns out of every tree around.
Name of company: Little Acorn Shave
Business Start Date: Jan 2017
Number of Employees: 2 co-founders 6 advisors
Number of Customers: We are pre-revenue with 65 Annual memberships pre-sold at this point with no marketing done
Name: Tracy David
City you live in: Blaine
High School: Anoka High School
College: Ramsey College Associates degree in communications/Brown for broadcasting degree
Q. What led you to this point?
A. I have had an extensive experience as an entrepreneur starting four other businesses plus consulting and speaking. I have owned and created profitable businesses in retail beauty, finance and direct sales which has made me ideally suited to lead and grow the Little Acorn team.
Q. What is your business?
A. Little Acorn Shave Co. is an online shave subscription with the convenient delivery of innovative shaving supplies to provide a complete luxury shave experience inspiring confidence inside and out. Having consulted thousands of high achieving women, I experienced firsthand how critical or negative self-talk prevents women from living to their full potential. By meeting women in one of our most vulnerable places, the shower, we’re able to inspire women to nurture themselves with positive affirmations from their waterproof decals as well as a luxury shaving experience.
Even the smallest of acorns, when nurtured has the potential to become a Mighty Oak Tree. We are on a mission to inspire women to accept we are enough and own our true beauty
Q. What problem does your business solve?
A. Women view shaving as a chore because of the skin irritation and time it takes. We’re introducing a premium shave club for women with the all new ‘Amora’ Light Touch Razor technology for women, creating a luxury shave experience. This dramatically better shave experience comes from a handle that’s 45 percent longer and a flexible neck to intuitively glide over curves for sexy smooth skin in half the time with no nicks, cuts or skin irritation. Women can now get a luxury shave experience that inspires confidence inside and out while saving time and money.
Q. Did you pivot or run into any challenges along the way?
A. We started out thinking we’d just create an online shave club for women and then quickly realized the shaving supplies for women did create a positive user experience, so we set out to solve the problem of shaving feeling like a chore to women and invented razor technology that provides a luxury shave in less time with no nicks cuts or irritation. Our biggest challenge so far has been perfecting the prototypes and design engineering as well as raising the resources to produce this innovation.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I am proud of our incredible team, because no matter what adversity, disappointment or rejection comes our way we always stay focused on serving our members with excellence and creating a quality experience with our brand. It’s been extremely challenging to build for two years and have such limited resources and yet our team continues to make things happen.
Q. What obstacles must you overcome to be wildly successful?
A. Fund raising is our main obstacle right now, and we have many women waiting with excitement for us to begin production and sales.
For us to be WILDLY successful its vital that I continue the journey of owning my worth, leading by example by choosing to see the beauty and potential inside of me through daily challenges and seeing our setbacks as ‘set-ups’ for the next great thing to happen.
Q. How are you funding your business?
A. We’ve raised $235,000 with friends and family so far and are looking for our next equity partner as we raise $600,000.
Q. What would be success for your business in the next two to three years?
A. Our goal is to inspire one million women to see the true beauty they carry inside of them, so getting our membership to 400,000 in next three years will have us right on track, while changing the beauty industry with an elevated shaving experience for women after 100 years.
Q. Where do you go when you need help?
A. My board of advisers or my business coach is my go to for guidance, clarity and wisdom and then of course our legal professionals as well.
Q. What personal strengths or skill sets do you bring to the business?
A. I have overcome incredible adversity. After a crash put me in a wheelchair for a year, and even after multiple surgeries and doctors saying I wouldn’t walk without a cane, I did, I have since run marathons. I don’t quit.
Q. In your opinion, what does it take to be a great entrepreneur?
A. Courage to take a risk, learn new things and not have all the answer. Tenacity and grit to be able to press through hard times, rejection, insecurity and the unknown. Commitment to stay the course, never quit and give it your best every day and get up and do it again the next day. Belief in yourself, team and idea. Resilience to get knocked down and get back up with more excitement than before, hundreds of times over. Don’t ask for it to be easy, just ask for it to be WORTH IT.
Q. What is something we haven’t asked you that we should understand about your business?
A. We give back 5 percent of our profits to support survivors of sex trafficking because every woman deserves to be seen and valued.
Q. Why do you do what you do?
A. Acorns have the DNA of the MIGHTY OAK embedded into their make-up just as women have immeasurable potential built into their DNA. When women have more confidence, we become more effective and productive daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, workers and friends allowing us to have a much greater impact on the earth. It’s time we start loving ourselves and the brands we buy from can help us do that. That’s why I do this.
Q. How did 1 Million Cups Saint Paul at the James J. Hill Center help you with your business?
A. My experience at 1M Cups St. Paul was incredible. I made some valuable connections for potential investors, marketing support and fulfillment options as well as additional opportunities to share our story to more people. It also helped build my confidence in how we share our story and making it clear and compelling. The questions were relevant and thought provoking allowing me to articulate better in our marketing materials. Since presenting we’ve sold our first 65 annual memberships generating nearly $10,000 in sales, so thank you 1M Cups for all your support, we are grateful.
You can hear from startups like this every other Wednesday, 9-10 a.m. at the James J. Hill Center during 1 Million Cups St. Paul. Visit jjhill.org/calendar for scheduled dates.The James J. Hill Center is a nonprofit in downtown St. Paul that provides access to business research, educational programming and a place to work. The Hill is open to the public 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Thursday. To keep updated on what startup is presenting next or to apply to present, visit www.JJHill.org/1-million-cups