Hi Lauren, please tell us about the lady behind Lauren Stone Number One.
I’m a single working mother-of-two and fragrance has always been my passion – it’s been a dream of mine to develop a brand so this is literally a dream come true. I’m Cheshire born and bred (apart from a stint in London when I was in my 20s) and have appeared in the Real Housewives of Cheshire on ITV Be for the past 5 series.
What is the story behind this amazing brand?
I’ve got really strong memories of being a young girl and playing with my Grandmother’s beautiful antique perfume bottles – she had a dressing table full of beautiful trinkets and I was fascinated with how glamorous she was. She’s definitely the inspiration behind the brand.
You’ve launched not very long ago. How has the journey been so far?
It’s been hard work and a real labour of love. I’m a very passionate person and if I do something I have to do it well – I can’t take failure and will work and work until I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve. As with any new business I’ve hit some brick walls and come across things I wasn’t expecting but you just have to keep going - I don’t like being told no so I’m persistent to say the least!
I love the strong, yet feminine design of the bottle. What was the inspiration behind it?
I’ve got a tattoo on my back of a flower which is where the rose design came from and I absolutely love black and gold because it’s so sexy and opulent so they were my first choice when it came to designing the packaging.
You starred on a very popular TV show, how do you think your experience on The Real Housewives of Cheshire has shaped your mind-set on entrepreneurship?
It’s changed us massively – when we started out in the show we were quite naive and in all honesty, we were dependent on our husband’s money. The show opened our eyes and we realised that there’s so much opportunity out there that it turned all of us into entrepreneurs in our own right. We’ve become businesswomen and it’s amazing to be around other women who inspire and support each other.
You are growing in a market that is highly saturated. How did you separate yourself from your competitors?
I’ve used the best products and the best oils possible – Number One is different from any other scent out there and it’s a little bit of affordable luxury. People are looking elsewhere for fragrance now, it’s not just about what you can buy at your local chemist, I’m aiming at a more discerning buyer who’s happy to pay for quality and doesn’t want to smell like everybody else!
Your grandmother must be so proud! How does it feel to have something so amazing out there to represent the incredible memories you both shared?
She died when she was 99 and was truly the most wonderful lady. She was a businesswoman herself who didn’t get married until she was 36 - back in those days that was practically ancient! She was a tough woman, I have her spirit, and I know she’d be very proud of what I’m building for my own daughters.
How did you fund it all in the beginning?
It’s completely self-funded.
What would be your top 3 tips on how to grow a small business, without the budget for PR?
· Use social media as much as you can – that’s a key driver back to your website.
· Commit to it and dedicate every waking minute to what you’re doing. You really can’t start up a business unless you really believe in it and you’re willing to make sacrifices.
· Think positively and remember that as in life, business is a journey and we don’t always have the answers to everything that’s thrown at us but all we can do is keep that vision of what you’re we’re trying to achieve clear in our minds.
What has been the most exciting and the most challenging experience so far?
The launch was the most exciting – I had 200 people at Foxes in Hale Barns when I was meant to have 60 but it was amazing! I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights about the business though worrying about whether it’s going to work but I just keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s going to take time to get it to where I want it to be.
How do you stay motivated?
I’ve got really close family and a group of 10 best friends who are always on hand to pick me up if I have down days. Having said that, I’m generally a really positive person though so I tend to keep myself motivated making plans for the future!
What plans do you have for Lauren Stone Number One over the next 12 months?
To be stocked in designer boutiques across the UK and we may have another scent in the pipeline too.