We spoke with Daisy Jing about her start up company Banish Skin Care, and how her journey to find a solution for herself turned into a thriving following and business.
Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to the LA Business Podcast, a form for business owners and senior executives to share the experiences about the elements that drive their success. Your host is Robert Brill, CEO of Brillmedia.co an Inc 500 company. Delivering the power of hyper-local advertising. Robert writes for Forbes, Inc., and ad trade publications.
Our goal is to bring you the stories about successes and failures of people who are making big things happen in marketing, entrepreneurship, and management.
Robert Brill: [00:00:36] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the LA business podcast today. Our guest is Daisy Jing, founder at Banish.com. Thanks for being with us today Daisy.
Daisy Jing: [00:00:46] Thank you Robert, for having me.
Robert Brill: [00:00:48] So now I understand you have a really great story. You have a massive, a YouTube channel. And is it correct to characterize it that your YouTube channel led you to create the business? Or how, how did that all come about and tell us about what banish?
Daisy Jing: [00:01:06] Yeah. You’re exactly right. Robert. So I’ve always had really bad acne, and bad skin my entire life. So in 2011, I started my YouTube channel, documenting my journey and trying out different skincare products and just reviewing different products and ingredients on my YouTube channel. So my YouTube channel was kind of the reason for starting my business.
So while fixing my skin, I tried something called micro-needling with vitamin C that a doctor recommended. My audience saw the difference on my skin. I didn’t intend on selling it at all. It was just something I tried and people wanted to know what I was using. And so I just shipped a few of those products out.
I basically made some of it in my kitchen and then shipped about, and that’s how banish started.
Robert Brill: [00:01:56] Okay. Sorry. So, so let me, let me ask you a few questions. So today you’re, what, what exactly are you selling today?
Daisy Jing: [00:02:06] A skincare, a banished skincare.
Robert Brill: [00:02:08] Got it. So this is your brand Banish?
Daisy Jing: [00:02:10] Yes.
Robert Brill: [00:02:11] So do you manufacture, like how does the manufacturing set up?
Daisy Jing: [00:02:16] Yeah, so we manufacture in the US, we do some of the manufacturing in our office in house as well. So he didn’t get different components and then we kind of put it all together ourselves.
Robert Brill: [00:02:28] And what are people buying? Is this cream?
Daisy Jing: [00:02:31] One is a banister, which is a microneedling stamp. It’s our patented product like patented a skincare device tool.
And then there is an oil, a cream, a mask, a spray. Yeah so we have skincare products. It’s only about six products.
Robert Brill: [00:02:49] So you started in 2011 with the intention of documenting and sharing your journey. At what point did you realize, like, Whoa, tell us about your growth, like the cadence of the growth of the channel?
Daisy Jing: [00:03:03] Yeah, the channel, I would say to get the first. A thousand followers took a long time, maybe one to two years, but I was creating content almost every single day. And I wasn’t, I wasn’t trying to be an influencer. I wasn’t trying to get views. It was just me having like me just documenting my journey, whoever wanted to see it would see it.
I would say when I launched banish, I had maybe 30,000 subscribers. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t huge, but it was an audience and those got me, my first customer. So I think it’s really important that I had an audience because then I could sell the products too. And then I realized, Hey, people really liked this product.
They keep it repurchasing it. They’re telling their friends and family about it. And then I could expand from there.
Robert Brill: [00:03:54] So when you were creating videos, so, so it took, it took you about two years. So you went from 2011 to 2013 and you got your first thousand followers subscribers on YouTube. So what you’re posting content about almost every day. Every day.
Daisy Jing: [00:04:12] Yeah. It was a lot of work like it was, yeah. I spent a lot of time on that channel.
Robert Brill: [00:04:18] And and where are you, what do you think. And so let me ask you then to go from a thousand followers to 30,000 followers or subscribers, how much time did that take?
Daisy Jing: [00:04:31] Yeah, that took the same amount of time.
I would say maybe at least 40 hours a week. I had a few videos that went viral that got over 10 million views, in that time. So that is really what made it. What made the subscriber account grow?
Robert Brill: [00:04:48] So two years to go to a thousand followers and another two years to go to 30,000 followers.
Daisy Jing: [00:04:54] Yeah, I would say that.
Robert Brill: [00:04:56] Okay. And, and what, what’s your count at the moment?
Daisy Jing: [00:05:00] I think it’s 200,000.
Robert Brill: [00:05:03] So 2011 to 2013. Then 2015, but you have about 30,000. And so you’re growing exponentially. Like that’s a really interesting
Daisy Jing: [00:05:14] Yeah. I would say we were, about 200,000, 22, 2017, 2018. we’ve kind of stagnated, cause I haven’t really made too much content on the channel.
It’s not been a priority, running the business has been, so I do make content occasionally, but. Yeah, it was definitely exponential in the beginning.
Robert Brill: [00:05:38] That’s amazing. That that feels really good to hear. I’ve been wanting to talk to someone on YouTube for a while now because, I’m having a heck of a time.
Like we, we like literally every something happened over the last year, few weeks where we’re getting like one or two subscribers a day, rather than one or two every few days. So that, that already to me feels exciting, but we have on YouTube, like 294 subscribers, I’m like, Holy cow, this is great. But, I mean, that’s not, that’s not the way we’re building our business.
It’s a, it’s a short term thing. Or it’s a, it’s a longterm thing. I’m not looking at it to drive revenue today, but it’s fascinating because Holy cow, so in the first two years you were making, you made around 700, 800 videos, maybe more. In the first two years,
Daisy Jing: [00:06:25] Maybe. Yeah. Probably less than that. Maybe three, 300 videos in the first two years, three, 400 videos, but maybe one every other day or a few a week.
Robert Brill: [00:06:35] Wow. So now a year 30, under 30 Inc 5,000 entrepreneur, you’ve spoken with TEDx. Tell me about like when these, when these things started to happen for you.
Daisy Jing: [00:06:50] Yes. So, Oh, the Forbes 30 under 30 was 2018, I think. Or 2017, the Inc 5,000 was 2018. And then the TEDx was last year, 2019.
Robert Brill: [00:07:04] And what, what do you think like, is this, it sounds like something just like clicked during the course of this process, right? Like some potentially around 2015, 2016, something just clicked with your business. Is there any things specific that you can point to where you can say it, it all kind of just came together or this one thing was the tipping point for you?
Daisy Jing: [00:07:27] Yeah, I definitely think maybe 2016 ish. I think first and foremost was the product solved a pain point. So our product targets, acne scars, and currently there is no product out there that you can treat acne scars with at home. A lot of people are focused on the acne or skin care in general, but I had a very specific problem and pain point and I was able to solve it and it solved other people’s problem and pain point too.
And the second part was YouTube. The influencer market, you know, kind of blew up in 2016 ish, 2015. So we had some big influencers reviewing our product completely for free and that’s kinda blew it up. So there’s a lot about timing and the right product market fit.
Robert Brill: [00:08:15] And when you decided to, so basically at one point you, you said, okay, I’m going to manufacture, I’m going to create marketing and manufacture these products, these banished products.
What was your learning curve on that? Like how, like, how did you go from, cause it seems like a daunting task to go from front of YouTube to now I’m going to actually like manufacturer physical things. Especially things that are, that are for health.
Daisy Jing: [00:08:40] Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely a learning curve. And I would say, you know, every day as a business owner, it’s all about learning and diving into something you don’t know.
We actually just started with one to two products in the beginning, so we just took very, very easy baby steps. So that made it a lot less daunting, just focusing on one item and, you know, there’s already, there’s a lot of suppliers out there who have components of what you’re trying to do.
There’s, you know, chemists, you can hire out contract manufacturers. I mean, there’s people there. You know, who do stuff who can help you along the way. The important thing is you need to know what you want and what your vision is. And because I had that background with acne, for my, you know, almost my entire life and with skincare, I already knew exactly what I wanted in the products.
Robert Brill: [00:09:29] You had a vision for what you want to develop. How did you go about finding the right people to develop it for you? Like the, were you presented with an offer? And you’re like, all right, this is interesting. I want to make it my own. Or, did you seek this out or did it seek you out? The, the, the product of the manufacturing side of this?
Daisy Jing: [00:09:48] Honestly, the first product, a first couple of ones I actually made myself. so I took like. Ingredients I had vendors. Yeah, you can buy like the certain raw ingredient components from different vendors. And I knew where I wanted to go because I had been using them on my own skin.
So I kind of just made it myself and used it myself. And some of those formulations are the exact same formulations we have today. And then there’s a couple where it was very much trial and error. It was me going and trying out a lot of different products, samples, et cetera, and then seeing kind of what stuck and what people liked, and basically what worked for me.
But we are presented with, you know, hundreds of different formulations products all the time. We get samples all the time. And I mean, almost all of them are rejected since we only have like six or seven products in our line, just cause it’s just. The amount of work it takes to make manufacture, fill, ship, advertise a product.
I only want something, I know a hundred percent that is going to succeed.
Robert Brill: [00:10:55] And what, and what was the timeframe from like, deciding you want to do this to getting a product out the door and having a real business bottle behind it? Was it months, years?
Daisy Jing: [00:11:08] No, I mean, all of this happened accidentally, so I didn’t intend on. Having a skincare line or creating a business like this. So immediately, I mean, immediately it was that people wanted to use whatever it is I was using. So I, I sent it to them and then I just kept iterating on that one product.
Robert Brill: [00:11:27] And so, fast forward to 2020, you have a booming business. You’re getting a lot of attention. What happens with COVID? Does, do you see an increase or decrease in business? I don’t know what to think.
Daisy Jing: [00:11:42] Yeah so we actually saw an increase, right when businesses are shutting down, I think March, April. April-ish and because people are at home and I think skincare and e-commerce in general, trended, upwards.
So I think people are, you know, they’re more open to the idea of doing skincare at home of doing facial treatments or acne scar treatments at home. And, you know, when we launched in 2013, it was always an at home acne scar treatment. So people are. More receptive to doing these things at home.
Robert Brill: [00:12:17] And, and how did you, as you think about the marketing for your business, what is your primary growth? What pushes your business forward with marketing?
Daisy Jing: [00:12:27] Yeah, so we have a lot of different buckets. We try to diversify because, you know, if you do all of your marketing in one channel, that channel screws you over, something happens to it. Your business has gone. So, really almost every social media platform you can think of tech talk, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, we’re on.
So we just try to diversify as much as we can’t also with SEO.
Robert Brill: [00:12:52] Is there any outlier that you can point to that does particularly well?
I mean YouTube has
Daisy Jing: [00:12:58] always done well for us, but now it’s kind of. not doesn’t drive as many sales for us. That’s probably our Instagram. but we still have you too. We still have to keep doing it because the times we kind of like times we kind of forget about like YouTube or other social platforms, we can definitely see a dip maybe three or four months from when we kind of forget to invest in it.
So, yeah, YouTube has always been really good for us and we spend a lot of money on Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising too.
Robert Brill: [00:13:29] And so when you, when you talk about, not investing in YouTube, what is that? Not creating videos? Are you running ads on YouTube,
Daisy Jing: [00:13:36] Everything, working with influencers, creating our own content, posting content. I mean, it’s all about consistency and you know, sometimes we get complacent. We’re like, okay, we already have a few videos lined up and then we kind of forget about it, go onto the next thing. And then a few months later we’re like, Oh, wow. We’re not getting any more sales, because it’s all about the algorithm.
You know, if you’re producing and posting good content, it’s going to drive up your other previous videos as well. So don’t touch it. It’s going to, your channel is going to die down. So it’s just really important to be consistent. And so, yeah, it is a lot of people’s full time job to post and create content.
Robert Brill: [00:14:15] And when you look at Facebook and Instagram ads, have you seen a bump in performance this year on Facebook and Instagram?
Daisy Jing: [00:14:22] Not really. I think especially now, because the elections are coming up, it’s getting more expensive. I think in the beginning of the quarantine, there was a little boost, but yeah, I think things are kind of leveled out and plateaued now.
Robert Brill: [00:14:38] Yeah, we’ve been, I think sales, the majority of this year do really well on Facebook, lead generation and sales. And you’re right with the, with the political season, coming to a close, we’re seeing CPMs jump up on Facebook. It’s also getting to be Q4 and that’s going to be more expensive and as well with so many advertisers for the holidays. What kind of team do you have supporting you?
Daisy Jing: [00:15:07] 13 people so yeah, marketing, shipping of course, shipping packaging, operations, customer service.
Robert Brill: [00:15:21] Nice. And, where have you, so customer service, shipping, marketing, do you find, what, what kind of challenges are you facing as you scale?
Are you running out of product? Are you, is your marketing like needing to scale? Like what are the challenges that you might be facing? Where does it look into 2021? It sounds like things are going really well.
Daisy Jing: [00:15:43] The challenges would be just, everything is changing so quickly on social platforms and you know, what’s popular today is not going to be popular tomorrow.
So it’s all about reinventing yourself. That has been a huge challenge. And, you know, sometimes even the influencers we work with, you know, they have to constantly reinvent themselves or today one influencer will be popular, but tomorrow a completely different one will be popular. And the types of content we post, we have to constantly change cause people want to see different things.
So I think it’s just always keeping up with what the algorithm wants. And keeping up with the times because the people who are YouTube celebrities who years ago are not necessarily, you know, YouTube celebrities now. So it just it’s constant change all the time.
Robert Brill: [00:16:30] So you really need to keep track of culture.
Daisy Jing: [00:16:32] Culture. Yes, exactly. Culture. What do you do anything with, take talk. Yeah, so we have done tick talk. we haven’t, I mean, it’s not a huge traffic or revenue driver, but you know, it’s, again, we have to stay relevant and create content on there. So we do use Tik Tok.
Robert Brill: [00:16:51] And when you pick influencers, like what are you looking for? Certainly relevance, cultural relevance. But I imagine there might be influencers who are more expensive, some are less expensive. How do you judge the efficacy of an influencer content? And as it, as it ties back to your business.
Daisy Jing: [00:17:10] Yeah. So, I get this question a lot and it’s simply kind of this gut intuition that our team has because we’ve been working with influencers for seven years now.
A lot of it has to do with, you know, if you will, are somebody watching their content or if you’re, you know, one of their followers, do you trust what they say? Are they your target market? Just because someone has a million followers doesn’t mean their posts are going to convert. You know, so it’s all about like, I guess their target market and their authenticity, do they seem believable?
Right. And also are they always posting, sponsored content all the time? You know, if they’re doing that, then people are less likely to believe them. So yeah, it’s kind of this intuition gut instinct, but I think, you just have to think of it from a perspective of, if you’re one of their followers, would you believe what they have to say?
Robert Brill: [00:18:04] Have you, I mean, it sounds like you’ve had some pretty good experiences with influencers. What’s the, what’s the process. Like? I mean, it’s like, you’re, it’s interesting. Like you’re kind of like you’re doing your own advertising marketing, like, so you have to be on top of culture, you’re doing your shipping, you’re doing the manufacturing.
Like what kind of processes do you have in place to ensure that, you know, there’s review there’s redundancy that you’re making the most out of your, your marketing investment, like how do you ensure that you’re not wasting a bunch of money on marketing and advertising?
Daisy Jing: [00:18:36] No, that’s a great question. So we have a lot of spreadsheets and reports and we have a lot of meetings and check-ins, and so, at each checkin we have a bunch of numbers.
And if we’re above or below, we were like, okay, what’s going on? But we track everything, you know? How many emails even like how many packages are undelivered, how many, you know, return to senders, where there, you know, what is our labor efficiency? What is our labor costs? What is our, you know, return on ad spend?
I mean, yeah. How many impressions of this video get, how many sales that we get from their code? Yeah, we, we track everything. So I think if you’re tracking the right stuff and then you just put it all in a spreadsheet and look at the numbers, if there’s huge variance or fluctuations and you can be like, okay, something’s going on here?
But yeah, it’s a pretty, I mean, it’s, it’s been seven years, so it took seven years to do this. And also I try to keep. The business as simple as possible. I would say for a business of our size, I think the business is pretty simple in that we have very few products. We don’t try to make things complicated.
So it makes it easier.
Robert Brill: [00:19:55] It sounds like creativity is at the heart of what you’re doing. And what I like about it is that it, it really creates an opportunity for you to express yourself. Within culture, which is really cool to me.
Daisy Jing: [00:20:07] Yes.
Robert Brill: [00:20:09] What does, what does the next year look like? I mean, you roll out new products, new marketing, or just keeping the same and, and, and, and growing further.
Daisy Jing: [00:20:21] There’s, you know, a huge skin positivity movement focusing on mental health of those with acne. And that’s been pretty trending. I think now more than ever, everybody wants to have a voice and an opinion on things that they matter. People want to stand for what they believe in. And so that’s part of culture in 2020 and, the skin positivity movement was part of that.
So we’re really honing in on that. And even, you know, in 2020, we worked with a lot of different organizations that, people are passionate about. But yeah, I think 2020, and maybe 2021, it’s all about standing up for your voice.
Robert Brill: [00:21:03] Do you, do you ever have to get into not purposely controversial content, but like. Does politics ever come into it or like the body positivity movement? Like how do you, how do you keep your content fresh when you’re doing something good and positive for people, and at the same time not get in, do you find it pretty easy to not get into like things that are controversial with regard to the larger with Coronavirus was wearing a mask with black lives matter with blue lives matter the whole thing, right? Like, like I’ll tell you, I found on my challenge, like getting on board about like, it’s the new world order because I called this thing. The channel on, YouTube is called The Great Reset. The core idea is like, look, now’s the time to change anything that’s not working. Make it better. This is a reset for all of us. Right. That’s the idea of people. Commenting, like all kinds of political. I was like, it’s not political. Like, and you’re so out there, like, does it ever, do you ever come across that or is that you, do you find it easy to stay away from that?
Daisy Jing: [00:22:12] I think it’s relatively easy for us, but yeah, we have come across. I mean, recently it seems like no matter what you do, everyone has an issue. So yes, there are things people have not spoken positively about, I mean, I think relatively compared to other brands, it’s been pretty easy.
Robert Brill: [00:22:34] Very cool. And so the, the marketing and advertising that you do, is it, is it squarely handled in house?
Daisy Jing: [00:22:40] Yes.
Robert Brill: [00:22:41] Nice. That’s great.
Daisy Jing: [00:22:46] recommend it. And, we have like, you know, including myself, three of us were really strong in just thinking of ideas. And funny thing, none of us had any previous work experience in this, we just kind of, I don’t know, it’s just this knack for it, right?
Like, and sometimes you see, when you work with someone, they either get it. Or they don’t, especially with marketing and branding. Like people just get her though. You can’t really train for it. You can’t go to school for it. It doesn’t really like you could be working at the best, you know, maybe marketing branding agencies, but if they don’t get, get your voice and your vision, then it’s probably not going to work out.
So that’s my favorite part of what I do is just thinking of ideas for new branding marketing initiatives.
Robert Brill: [00:23:31] What’s the thing that you’d like to do the best in your business?
Daisy Jing: [00:23:35] Oh, I’m thinking of ideas. I’m the idea person. And everyone gets tired of me when I want to launch something new.
Robert Brill: [00:23:41] Do you just override them and be like, we’re going to do this. Or, or is it, is it there? Is there a group of people that kind of has to sign off on it?
Daisy Jing: [00:23:49] Well, I’m the one who can be like, okay, we’re going to do this or not. but I have learned to take feedback and really ask questions about, is it really necessary? Cause I mean, people aren’t going to say like, okay, Daisy or idea’s stupid.
Right. But I’ve had to ask and like kind of read people and sometimes, yeah. Okay. It might be stupid or maybe we’ll table that for a different time and I’ve gotten in trouble for this. Cause I’m always the idea person. So, you know, we’re working on something that’s working and then I throw like five new ideas and then we go to the five new ideas things, and we forget about what was working and it you know, it, it hurts us in our business. So I think a part of that is, you know, working on what’s working 80% of the time and always trying new things, but not only trying new things and forgetting about what has been working.
Robert Brill: [00:24:36] Absolutely. I mean, , when you look just at like Facebook ads, for example, like. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Like, like maybe not 80, 20, but the core idea is if we’re forgetting a bunch of leads on something, we are going to ride that thing until the wheels fall off and then recreate that. And when you tinker with the targeting too aggressively, it becomes really acknowledging.
So where can people buys is banished.com.
Daisy Jing: [00:25:05] Yes.
Robert Brill: [00:25:07] And if they want to reach out and learn more about you, do they also go to banners.com?
Daisy Jing: [00:25:14] My personal Instagram is @daiserz89 and that’s the YouTube channel handle. So you can reach out to me there.
Robert Brill: [00:25:22] And then can you spell that?
Daisy Jing: [00:25:24] D A I S E R Z 8 9.
Robert Brill: [00:25:28] Okay. And banish.com. Well, very cool. Daisy Jing founder @ banish.com. Thank you for being with us today.
Daisy Jing: [00:25:37] Thanks Robert.
Robert Brill: [00:25:39] Thank you for listening to this episode of the LA Business Podcast. If you like what we’re doing on this podcast, please consider subscribing on Apple or Google play.
Leaving a five star review. And sharing with your friends. If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations for a guest, you’d like to hear on this podcast, please email me [email protected]. Thank you. Have a fantastic day.