Meet Vaneeta. Owner of Champagne Showers, a brand that creates a 100% natural organic skin care line. Before I go into the story behind this brand, let me tell you, everything is divine. When I met up with Vaneeta, I got the cutest package with some of her best sellers tucked away inside. While it is hard to pick my favourite, I am already partial to the coconut peppermint body scrub. Such an enveloping scent that is both sharp (the peppermint) yet soothing (the coconut). I definitely will add this scrub to my routine! Now back to the story of Champagne Showers.
From face masks and serums, to body scrubs and body oils, Vaneeta makes everything herself, packages everything by hand and each item can be individually customized to suit her clients’ needs. How’s that for a bespoke artisan brand?! Vaneeta started her journey as most entrepreneurs do, with all of this as a hobby coupled with a need for a product to match her personal needs. That combined with the unwavering support of her husband, gave Vaneeta all she needed to take that entrepreneurial leap.
“My husband has always supported me in my job and in our marriage, and would always encourage me to step outside my comfort zone. I started making body scrubs and serums in maybe three scents, for our own use. It had reached a point where I was trying so many new scents that our house was full of scrubs and oils. I was also making a sleep serum to which my husband had become so addicted, that he started putting in requests for beard and body oils in masculine scents. So I suppose being a businessman and from a business family, he encouraged me to share all that I was doing, by starting this business.”
Vaneeta also had her personal reasons for delving into skin care. “I felt that I was not getting what I needed from the well-known foreign brands that I had been using for years. So, in early 2017, the products that I was making for my personal use, finally provided me with the alternative skin care that gave me the results I wanted. There was a marked and noticeable improvement in the health of my skin – it was cleaner, tighter, looked younger, more supple and was finally feeling hydrated and nourished. The satisfaction that the results brought me, was something I had to share. Soon my husband and I came up with a name and started marketing it on social media. So really Champagne Showers started off in the spirit of levity and leisure because I loved doing it and was not seeking a second job. So I mistakenly thought that this would be all simple and easy breezy!” Vaneeta’s passion and love for her brand is clear.
As for the brand name, Champagne Showers? Vaneeta admits to wanting something edgy yet classy. “I love Prosecco, so I was originally thinking of a name that included that. But as a French speaker, the ‘Champagne’ influence was also there, as opposed to the Italian Prosecco. Champagne also sets the tone of being luxurious, so I wanted to project that the products spoil you. The ‘Showers’ part was obvious, as the products are used in and after the shower. I felt that combining the two was catchy and projected exactly what I wanted to. From there, a logo design was chosen. I liked the idea of pink because it’s so feminine, and the green gives it that unisex balance. The colour combination is vibrant and attractive so it was something with which I immediately identified.”
And so Champagne Showers TT was born and while Vaneeta doesn’t do it full time, her passion is unwavering. “I don’t do CSTT full time. This started as a hobby which has evolved into the business that it is. Therefore, time has become challenging and free time seems non-existent. But I am a stickler for organization in all aspects of my life, so that automatically translates on to Champagne Showers TT. Time management is of the utmost importance in order to do both my job and CSTT well, to keep all the balls in the air.”
Being an entrepreneur is certainly about juggling so Vaneeta is right when she says that time management is of the utmost importance. So many entrepreneurs take every thing into consideration when formulating their plans but time management itself, and sometimes that is where it can fall down. Vaneeta ensures that her planning is on point and this has led to the success of Champagne Showers.
And it is the successes along the journey that keep us entrepreneurs going and Vaneeta certainly has a few major milestones under her belt to be proud of. When I asked her about her entrepreneurial wins, creating a vast product line was first out the gates. Since inception Champagne Showers has been regularly introducing new products and is always diversifying. This has led to the line now including body scrubs, beard oils, scented body oils, face masks, face serums, lip scrubs, pregnancy serums and oils from eyelashes, under-eyes, hair and cuticles.
And this extensive product selection has earned a client base that Vaneeta describes as phenomenal in both quality and quantity – something that she is also very proud of. “I have connected with my clients on an individual basis and have come to understand their specific needs. Customising the product to facilitate their needs, is a major part of what I do. They also appreciate the fact that everything is chemical-free, paraben-free, with no preservative or additives, therefore making it safe for both children and expectant mummies”.
Champagne Showers also specializes in bridal shower tokens, Sweet 16 party flavours, wedding tokens and more. In 2017, Vaneeta really felt the demand for her product as all her customers wanted Champagne Showers to give as gifts. “Christmas 2017 was a major milestone. The requests for Christmas gift packages was incredible, as well as the purchase of gift vouchers. Clients placed orders for everyone on their Christmas lists, each one individualized, because we have items for all ages, genders and preferences.” The corporate community also showed interest and this is when Vaneeta really knew Champagne Showers was on its way. “What really stood out for me, was the interest from the corporate community. My clients felt that CSTT made corporate gift-giving extremely easy by being able to provide corporate gifts and Thank You gifts for bosses and employees, as well as for co-workers. Parents and students even ordered for their teachers at the end of the Christmas term.”
I’ve also harped on the importance of customer segmentation as a brand strategist. The truth is the answer will always lie with your customers. So as a brand, when you drill down and identify the individual needs of your customer groups, observe patterns and work your brand magic to suit – the wins will never be too far away and Chamapagne Showers is yet another brand on The Brandom to illuminate this.
So what has the Champagne Showers journey taught Vaneeta so far? “There are so many meaningful lessons, it’s hard to address just one. I’ve learnt that running a business is hard! It is even harder when you cannot dedicate all of your time to it. However, loving what I do, makes it easier and it feels less like a job and more like a passion. I’ve learnt that business is so much more than the final product. There’s purchasing, accounts and marketing – all of which I learnt by trial and error, since I don’t have a practical or academic business background. Running a business is quite separate and apart from being versed in your product.”
Vaneeta hit the nail on the head right there. There is a difference between running a brand and running a business and as an entrepreneur, you have to do both, simultaneously. Of course, as I had Vaneeta’s attention I wanted to hear more of her thoughts on brand as a general topic. “A brand is the image and products you sell.” Vaneeta adds “but the business is the how you sell the products and all that goes into the brand’s growth”. And she’s not wrong! But as this is The Brandom and not The Businessdom (corny I know) I wanted to hear more of her thoughts on brands.
“A brand has a style and personality of its own. It must be identifiable. It must possess or represent something with which one can identify and to which one can easily and quickly relate. A brand sets itself apart from all others and reaches its demographic in a personal, relatable way. It must be of a certain quality that one can trust without question. A brand must have an image, literally and figuratively. Literally, people must automatically picture your logo, image and products; but figuratively, means it must evoke a feeling from its clients. So in essence, one will feel the difference between having a shower and having a ‘Champagne Shower’.
She also mentioned customer care to me – which I couldn’t ignore as it is the nucleus of keeping your brand and business successful. “I’ve also learnt that customer care is the foundation of any business of quality. Customer service, which includes customer satisfaction, is my number one priority, bar none. Going the extra mile for my clients is always such a pleasure, even if it means customising and labelling each package for their gifts or events. That way, when a client collects, their packages are ready for their event!”
Collaboration and networking is something else I preach in my brand musings and Champagne Showers has created its own network since inception. “The biggest lesson I have learnt and understand fully, is that a business needs support, not just from your clients but from a wider network. I have a major support system in the collection points for CSTT. The brand would be nothing without them. The owners of these businesses are all entrepreneurs and understand well, the importance of customer service. They are also my closest friends and family who offered this service to me, to help me and support CSTT. While CSTT does bring clients into their establishments, the support and guidance that they offer to me, has been and continues to be immeasurable.”
So Vaneeta has certainly taken the entrepreneurial plunge and successfully so. Does she have any advice for those contemplating the same path of entrepreneur ?
“Just do it. Start small; start with what you can. With hard work, the rest will fall into place, once you approach it head-on and passionately. Believing in what you do is key, not just as an entrepreneur but in any profession. Many times when monetary gain is the primary reason for a business, I think many factors that make a business successful can sometimes be neglected; quality is sacrificed for the sake of profit. This is the luxury I have, I suppose…the fact that I do this for the love of it”.
Vaneeta believes that there is space for everyone to be successful here within the small business community in Trinidad and Tobago. “I am thrilled to see how much it has grown in the past few years. There is a need for local entrepreneurship, for many reasons. Firstly, for our local economy and secondly, to satisfy the demand for personalisation and customisation, instead of the run-of-the-mill standardisation for which consumers have come to settle. Local brands have a uniqueness to them that set them apart. It is satisfying to know that we want to use local brands in lieu of the bigger, international ones. Trinidadians are a very creative people, so the recent growth of entrepreneurship was inevitable”.
Exploring the story of yet another brand like Champagne Showers shows that to become a successful entrepreneur and brand it takes passion, hard work, collaboration and quality customer care. Thanks for sharing your story with us here at The Brandom!
You can contact the brand directly :
WhatsApp:741 – 9077
Facebook: Champagne Showers TT
Champagne Showers TT is also available by special order at the following locations:
• Sher Beauty Day Spa in Curepe
• Leerific Styles in El Dorado
• Mafe Nails on Ariapita Avenue
• Ojoes in Sangre Grande