What is a manly man with dry skin to do? What about a man who wants natural cleansing products but could do without the lavender? A man who wants an effective after-shave without setting his face on fire?
While women can choose from countless all-natural brands when it comes to their personal care, men have been unfairly overlooked. Fieldworks Supply Company aims to end this era of neglect. Co-founder Lisa Dolezal tells us more:
The spark that inspired the birth of Fieldworks Supply Company: I ran a personal care company, which my two other co-founders were a part of. But the owner sold it, and after that we didn’t want to work for the company that purchased it. We thought, hey we could go work for someone else or we could do this for ourselves. We met for a few months every Thursday over wine and cheese to hash out a plan.
The problem that Fieldworks solves: The company we had worked for was a women’s personal care company. We knew personal care, but we also knew that the world didn’t need another women’s personal care brand. We wanted to serve an undermet consumer in a segment with growth potential. We knew we wanted to make chemical-free natural products and create a brand that was fun.
We discovered this growth in men’s personal care and grooming, which is where women’s personal care was 15-20 years ago. Within that, we found that guys wanted natural care. There wasn’t a brand that talked to the sweaty, hardworking guy. We honed in on that. The craft beer movement tells us that guys know hand crafted, and we knew that this demographic was all about being USA-made. So we created a brand for this consumer that was out there, but who wasn’t being served.
The best laid plans are great, but they always take longer and cost more than you think.” (Tweet this)
How you came up with the name: Our name and our logo are all about the psychograph of the guy who wants to get his hands dirty. Even if a guy is a lawyer, the idea is that he wants to get out in the “field” and get his hands dirty on the weekend.
How you are better/different than your competition: We do have competitors, but one thing that sets us apart is our pricing. In this marketplace, you can price your products at $20-25 and someone will buy it once as a gift. Even if the consumer likes it, they may not buy it again. All of our competitors’ price points are $20 and higher. When we looked at this, we said, we can do that and go head to head, or we can build this to be an annuity brand, something that guys buy over and over again. Our price points are $10-16.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur: Making things happen with the people you want to work with, and the collaboration that comes with entrepreneurship. There aren’t a bunch of we can’ts, it’s about, how can we? That’s what really gets me up in the morning, working with smart people you not only respect but also really love working with.
The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: The best laid plans are great, but they always take longer and cost more than you think. Kind of like remodeling a house.
Your biggest success: When we launched into the marketplace in September 2013, we met with Natural Grocer, a chain of 75 stores. They loved our product line but the buyer only wanted to put it in 20 of the Northwest stores to test if it sold well. I said, great, that’s terrific! Two weeks later, I got a call and was told that the owner of the chain had seen the samples we’d left and said, “This is amazing stuff, we need this in every store.” We went from a test run to having it in 75 stores.
What keeps you up at night: Cash flow. We’ve got these opportunities – can we capitalize on them? And how can we do that? Right now we’re self-funded, and what we’re coming up against is that we could grow a lot faster than we’re able to from a cash-flow inventory standpoint. We don’t want to miss the growth opportunities so we’re having discussions internally about how to scale.
That said, it was important to prove the concept. Now, when we’re talking to potential funding partners, we can say we’re in over 200 retailers. They don’t need to be asking, will this work? They know that if their money goes in here, it will do X.
Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: Be honest with yourself when it comes to what you know and what you’re good at. Surround yourself with the people who can see the vision and understand the brand, and grow that collaboration. You’re not going to know everything. Also, fail fast. Don’t dwell on it, move on.
Why Oregon is a good place to start a business: In Portland, you have access to so many local people with expertise. Portland has such a collaborative nature within the small business community. You don’t get that win/lose mentality, it’s really about win-win.
What’s on the horizon: We’re excited about rolling out our holiday gift set (pictured above), which includes after-shave, shave gel, body wash, and hand cream… all packaged in a paint can!