Episode 25: How to Build, Grow and SELL a 6 Figure Product Business

african american woman writing business plan with cell phone out

Today on The Product Entrepreneur Podcast, Kalina joins Maureen to discuss how she built, grew, and sold her six figure product business.  She is the host of her own podcast, Small But Mighty.  They discuss her background in entrepreneurship, how to connect with raving fans, and how to overcome mindset blocks.




Meet Kalina Stormer

Kalina’s parents were entrepreneurs, and she grew up watching them build their business.  She knew that she wanted to explore it at some point.  She went to college for Horse Science and learned a lot in the college space.  Following graduation, she started working in restaurants and retail small businesses.  This work gave her experience with small businesses from the inside out, but she learned that she doesn’t love being told what to do.  This realization came as she went on maternity leave and medical rest, but was given not additional time without withdrawing from her benefits.


At that time, she and her husband had started a dog boutique.  When the medical issues came up, they decided to give the boutique a shot.  They jumped before they were ready, procured a physical space, and kept going.


Lessons From Owning a 6 Figure Product Business 


During her time at the boutique, she loved the in person interaction.  Her boutique was a unique space, and her guests would always light up when they came to the interactive, pet-friendly space.  However, she was challenged by being very married to the physical location and hours.  Because they dove in head first, they had not considered childcare, outside demands, staffing, etc.  Their community was very understanding, but retail and physical locations have the pressure of always being staffed.  They also have to ensure that the staff has to do the right thing while at work.


Lessons From Selling A 6 Figure Product Business


Kalina recommends building up your assets.  In this case, assets include your community.  Your community is a huge strength.  Her boutique had a highly connected instagram community.  They also had a great email list.  Finally, they had positive rapport with their customers.  This was all very appealing to buyers.


How Did Instagram Help Grow A 6 Figure Business?


First of all, don’t believe the myth that you need 10s of thousands of followers to do business.  The key is to have followers who are an aligned and connected community, or they won’t purchase.  So how do you create a community like this?


Niche down


Be super clear on your niche. Who are you serving?  Be the “biggest fish in the smallest viable pond.”  This makes you the go-to.  Your community knows what you provide and that they need you for it.


They got extremely specific about who their target customer is.  You no longer have to be everything to everyone.  Kalina had a specialty dog boutique.  They provided beautiful, upscale dog products.  


Know Your Target Customer

Then, get into their head.  What are their fears?  Consider the problems they face that you could solve.  Find out what they absolutely love.  These are going to be your different points of connection.


Kalina’s customers loved supporting local businesses.  They loved their dogs. They also wanted the things in their homes, even for the dog, to match their personal style.  Get creative!  Their products addressed the fears of not being perceived as stylish. 


Develop A Communication Plan


Speak to your audience!  Know what motivates them, and then create content that helps them purchase.  Tell them how you solve their problems.  Serve them by talking about the things they love and care about. 


They provided a lot of free content around their customers’ dogs.  Cute pictures in their Instagram stories.  Their customers cared about aesthetics, so Kalina focused on beautiful flatlays.  They also did blog posts with Instagram content to repurpose.  Her blogs were around things like DIY dog treats or seeing if your pet has bonded with you.


Then, they solved the problem of providing beautiful dog products.  There were a lot of “hokey” products, but nothing beautiful and stylish. 


How Do You Embrace The Ramp Up of Social Strategy?


When you lead with your service, you have to trust the process.  Starting a business can be scary.  However, you have to trust yourself and your customer!  When you serve them, it is a long game.  But it builds a great rapport and serves them deeply.  This creates not just customers but also raving fans.  These are the customers who come back time after time.  They also share your business online and tag you when they buy.


This means that you’re connecting with the people who will truly support your business.  It creates long term results for a long-lasting business.


How Long Does It Take?


Kalina started her business in 2017 with popups.  After about six months of having the physical store front, she started noticing that people would come back.  Then, their friends would begin coming up.  It took about a year total to develop those raving fans.


How To Address Limiting Beliefs


It’s tough to be vulnerable!  Rejection is a real thing, especially in business.  We don’t want our business to be rejected, and we want people to purchase.  However, at the end of the day, you have to decide what you want the business to be.  Then, identify who you’re serving and how you want to help them.


When those fears and objections pop up, remind yourself of your why!  You deserve to put the message out, and your customers deserve to get it.


Kalina experienced so many opportunities for personal development through ownership.  Money mindset was a huge obstacle for her.  She explained that it is important to identify your limiting money beliefs.  Ask yourself how you were raised, and the conversations that happened around your home related to money and entrepreneurship.  


Then, you have to commit to self belief.  It sounds cheesy, but this is a root piece.  If you don’t believe it, no one else will either.  When you are growing yourself and working on your business, give yourself some credit!  When you recognize your limiting beliefs, this is huge growth.  It’s a big deal!  So once you identify it, you can then begin to change it.  Who do you want to be, and how can you act as if you are the person with the beliefs you want. 


Anytime you slip back into limiting beliefs, give yourself some grace.  Keep course correcting.


Goal Setting and Money Mindset


Then, look at your goal-setting.  It’s easy to set huge goals that lead to disappointment.  If you constantly feel like you’re falling short, it is overwhelming.  Take it back to the small steps and create smaller revenue goals.  Get the small wins in!  With those small wins, build yourself up to that bigger goal.  


The moral of the story here is to be gentle with yourself through the process.


Kalina shared that hard work and limited money were constant themes in her life.  Her parents never spent money on fun or vacations.  She continues to work on overcoming the scarcity mindset.  It’s important to realize that it doesn’t have to be a struggle.  You can earn with ease!  You can price things and feel deserving of that income.


The biggest thing she did to overcome scarcity was paying herself first.  Then, she learned to outsource.  While it is difficult during the bootstrap phase, it is ok to let go of that money to receive your time and flow back.


Mentor Lessons


Kalina had a business mentor who helped her with mindset.  She was feeling tired and burnt out, and her mentor told her to raise her prices.  You have to factor in other things.  It’s not just the 2x markup.  It should also include rent, merchandising, packaging, social media investment, and everything else in your business.


Her mentor told her plainly that her prices were not sustainable and that her business was not going to survive if she didn’t raise her prices.


A price increase is scary!  However, they had more people come in to shop with them when they raised their prices.  Their customers didn’t care that the products were a few dollars more, and the few who did care were not the target customer.


If you are manufacturing your products on your own, take that into account with your pricing as well!


It’s important to have a pricing strategy, not just count on basic formula.


What Contributed To Your Success?


While Kalina already touched on pricing, which was huge, then her community was huge.  She learned dogs by name.  The community knew that their dogs would be recognized and get a cookie whenever they visited.  It was not just a transaction, it was also an experience.  You have to dig deep with your customers.


How Did You Use Email Marketing?


This is one of the biggest keys to your business.  If you’re ever looking to sell, it is also an asset to a business buyer.  While social media is great, you do not own your followers.  You do own your email list.  It also has a higher conversion rate than your social media following!


Part of your social media strategy should be to get people to sign up for your email list.  You could offer a freebie or discount.  Her boutique offered an enneagram test for dogs for fun!  Their customers loved it.


Advice For Entrepreneurs…


If you’re just starting out, get into your clarity!  You need to niche down, identify your target customer, and look at your overhead.


When the boutique began, they found a low rent space.  It allowed them to make the move to have a physical location! 


If you’re scaling, continue to readjust your pricing.  Then, continue to build and create community through social media and emails.  Then, get more customers the same way!



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