This week we’re officially launching a new monthly series, Brands that Bloom! At the end of every month we’re going to showcase a different entrepreneur whose small business we’ve been following.
These are people who have their voice and vision on point. They obviously have a clear vision about who their ideal customer is and they do a great job staying on brand with all the content they put out—oh, and their followers love them.
We are really, really excited to launch the Brands that Bloom series with Christi, who is a super busy badass. She’s running two brands simultaneously: Pop! Natural—her pioneer biz and the focal point of this article, and Cactus Baby Soap—her very new shop that we’re excited to watch bloom in the coming year.
We found Pop! Natural on Instagram—she’s one of the first people we ever followed because her style is so good. We immediately fell in love with the skully vibe, unique product titles, and witchy edginess that she infuses into everything she puts online. This is a niche that we can identify with, both as experts in customer communication and as Christi’s actual ideal customer (all natural skin care with edge? Yes please.)
Interview with Christi, the brains of of Pop! Natural
We were a little nervous about reaching out to her for this interview because hey, we’re basically fangirling over here, but Christi was super responsive to our questions. She went above and beyond to share with us, so here it is!
You’ve been making products for 25 years – but what got you started with Pop! Natural? What fascinates you about building this brand?
I grew up in San Fernando Valley (California) where our neighborhood had horse trails and everyone had little farms. We had a huge organic garden, ducks, chickens and a rooster. My best friend and I pretty much played outside in the garden and mud, all day everyday. We would make “beauty” creams out of mud, fruit, and veggies. Haha! I never grew out of that.
I had really bad acne as a teen and one day I read in Sassy Magazine about how Mangoes could help. My dad bought me some and pretty much flipped out when he saw me putting this expensive fruit in my face.
It took me a while but I was able to calm my skin with a mixture of store bought and homemade products. I started making bath salts, salves, lotions, and oils for gifts, and my friends and family really loved them.
I’m actually a grad school drop out. I was doing the grad school thing while raising a special needs toddler and it just wasn’t working. Being a single mom was very challenging for me and I needed to find a way to make money and stay home.
My cousin suggested I open an Etsy store and it went really well right off the bat because there was just a handful of people making edgy type products at the time. I made some friends on instagram, a few bath bomb videos went viral, and here we are.
Was Pop! Natural always focused on this witchy, dark, funny vibe, or was there a turning point where you jumped into these super fun titles like “Not Today Satan Room Spray” and “The Kids Will Probably Be Alright Mini Bath Bombs?”
Pop was always edgy!
I have the most fun making things that are a little shocking and dark. I’ve actually mellowed out as of late because production cuts into creative time so I’ve evolved into more pretty and dark, than horror.
Your audience is large and really engaged with you, especially on Instagram! How did you build such a loyal following for your brand?
Instagram is a different beast when I first started. People actually saw my posts, which is a little harder now.
I followed a lot of really cool gothic influencers who liked bath bombs. I sent them some and they made demos that got a lot of attention. It was important for me to search for genuine influencers that really liked sharing what they loved. I get a lot of emails from influencers , and I pick the ones who seem to have a really good connection with their followers and are into the products they advertise.
I also try to connect with my followers. I hate the “keep it real” cliche but it works!
Can you talk a little bit about Cactus Baby Soaps and where you’re heading with Pop! Natural?
I’ve split the brand into two companies because my creative juices were all over the place. I had a branding session with a PR company that helped me organize my ideas and come up with a strategy that was more unified.
Cactus Baby Soap @cactusbabysoap is my Southwest baby. It’s geared towards my love of all that is New Mexico. It’s light, fun and just has the awesome vibes you’ll find locally. I was able to whip that brand up pretty fast.
I’m actually in the process of changing the name of Pop! to something more fancy. The name change for Pop! and changes has been a little more difficult than Cactus Baby Soap as it will be more high end, dark and fancy. My inspiration came from the 1920s. The branding session I had was very important to pull that together. Now I’m just getting the graphics and rearranging things.
I wish I had done that sooner. It would have been a lot easier to have those ideas in a nice package before things took off!
Anything else you think is important for readers to know about you and your? <3
Starting a business is hard when you don’t have capital. It’s not impossible, but it takes desperation and creativity. It’s all about finding the right mentors and mentoring.
Women start businessness for various reasons—my reasons were that I needed to be able to stay home with my kid and make money as fast as possible.
It’s an added challenge being deaf in the workforce, but I’m doing it. I learned that I needed to create my own little space to survive pretty quick. With email and text, it’s been pretty easy but it’s hard at events because I can’t always understand what’s being said. I have a lot of support in my community and often have help when I vend.
You can find Christi on Instagram @popnatural. Follow her to see all the upcoming changes to the branding!
Interested in being featured in our Brands that Bloom series? Click here and tell us!