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From Fiction to Fact—Ideas Build Beauty Business
By: Abby Penning
Posted: August 31, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.
Votre Vu’s top-seller is its beauty drink Snapdragon—which includes collagen, vitamins, aloe vera, ginkgo biloba, and green, white and red teas among its ingredients.
- Exceptional customer service, high levels of customer involvement and interesting, innovative product have helped Votre Vu create a solid base as a growing beauty company.
- The interaction with its brand ambassadors and its customers is paramount for Votre Vu.
- Welcoming constant feedback helped the company develop improved selling tools for its direct sales force.
- For direct selling, word-of-mouth is key, and a grassroots style pays dividends.
Starting a small business always requires many elements—a good business plan, strong financial backing, a vision for market penetration and growth, and not a small amount of courage. But even with all these factors lined up, success is hardly ever a guarantee. In fact, the opposite is likely true, which is why the budding beauty company Votre Vu, a direct-selling organization featuring French skin care products, is beginning to make a name for itself in the industry.
Co-founder, chairman and CEO Harold Zimmerman cops to the fact that Votre Vu’s beginning was somewhat nontraditional. Zimmerman had been heading up a software company, Next Wave Logistics, Inc., a business he founded with partner Dave Proctor that provides software and technology solutions to the direct-selling industry, and was meeting more and more resistance to their ideas to bring direct selling into the digital realm.
“Through working with all of these different direct-selling companies, we learned a lot more about the whole picture—not just what the reps see, but what they should be doing to position or reinvent themselves in many cases. We learned a lot about the entire business, and we still had a lot of ideas on how to improve the industry, to dump the stigmas of direct sales. Often times it would fall on deaf ears. We would be sitting across from CEOs who didn’t want to rock the apple cart as much as we wanted them to. A lot of ideas were met with, ‘Thanks, but what do you know Mr. Software Guy?’, ” says Zimmerman.
“So we started out kind of jokingly saying we need to create a fictitious company and implement a lot of our ideas on how we would do it if we had our own company instead of just being at the mercy of other companies. And then that whim of creating a fake company became, ‘What if we really did this?’, ” Zimmerman says, and thus, the idea for Votre Vu was born.