I am amazed, in awe, and inspired by the way many nonprofit leaders – many of whom are women – are leading their organizations through the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. So much so, that I’ve decided to do a special series about Badass Nonprofit and Small Business Executive Women who are living in the trenches, working to keep their nonprofit running, and doing critical work to continue to serve individuals and families during this crisis. I’m curious about their work and the people they’re serving, their biggest concerns, and how they are taking care of themselves and those around them. So I asked!
Tracy Land, Owner, Frangipani Body Products
Tracy is the owner of Frangipani Body Products, a plant-based skin care line that she makes and sells to women in search of beautiful, healthy skin. She started making her own skin care products as a way to relieve the frustrating symptoms of Rosacea and adult acne. The most important part of her business (besides making great products with great ingredients, of course!) is education. Tracy loves talking to people about plant-based skin care products, what’s in them and why, and how to best switch away from conventional products.
Q. Who are you serving and how are you serving them during this crisis?
A. Even though it is an often overused term, self-care is really important for mental health. Right now, we can’t get a haircut or have our nails done but we can take care of our skin. When everything else might be uncomfortable, at least my customers’ skin feels comfortable. I have amazing lotions to help people with the inevitable dry hands from washing and sanitizing. The calming scents in a lot of my products also help with sleep and anxiety, something virtually everyone is dealing with these days.
Q. Have you added, changed, or deleted any services because of COVID-19?
A. Up until mid-March, my mom and I would do 4-6 in-store demos per week. We love being out in the community talking to people about their skin issues and needs. We have obviously stopped that completely and have no idea when it will be a good time to go back. I have recently launched an affiliate program for customers to earn real dollars when they refer family and friends to buy Frangipani. And I will be speeding up the release of a new face mask product that has been in the works for a long time.
Q. What are your biggest concerns right now?
A. I think every small business owner is concerned about if their business will survive this complicated time. I started Frangipani after being laid off from my IT job during the 2008 financial crisis. I weathered that storm so I am trying to stay positive that I can weather this storm, as well. I am a single woman and support myself solely on my income from Frangipani, so keeping that steady is very important. I am also concerned that people are perusing the skin care aisle at the store significantly less when they are trying to get in and out and back home. For small brands, it is incredibly hard to get shelf space in major outlets. I have succeeded there but keeping it on the shelf is the second battle. Not being able to be in a store talking to customers really hinders that progress.
Q. How are you taking care of yourself, your staff, and your clients?
A. I don’t have staff, only my retired parents who help out a lot and get paid in love. I have been doing more yoga than usual to stay calm and I take a daily walk around my neighborhood. I do a lot of puzzles and have continued doing those during this time. I have organized all of my closets and completed a couple other house projects. I plan to spend my first Saturday in 10 years lying on the couch watching light hearted movies.
Q. What is your biggest need right now and how can people support your organization?
A. I think the biggest thing is for people who have used Frangipani to share it with their friends and family. “I use this and I love it and you would love it, too!” is the biggest endorsement any brand can experience. Supporting other truly local businesses is also extremely important. First, we need to think outside of just restaurants and retail shops. There are so many other types of small businesses that offer a truly local option. Second, when we are considering restaurants and retail, just because it is down the street doesn’t mean it is truly local. The lines I have seen at the Panera and Chick-fil-A drive-thru are disappointing when the truly local restaurant across the street is dark. It makes me sad.
Q. What are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing to get through this?
A. I just listened to The Library Book, by Susan Orlean and highly recommend it. Learning about something new is really important to keep my mind occupied right now. I am also reading The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks. I have this fantasy that I could be a coastal farmer. He is convincing me otherwise. I am an avid reader but tend to stay away from “business” topics because books are my escape from the everyday tasks of running a business.