Have you ever wondered how you can use affiliate or influencer marketing as a small business owner? In this episode, Camille welcomes Quintin Croft, the owner of BAQE Cosmetics, where she helps bridge the gap between the everyday woman and the beauty enthusiast through her products.
In Part 2 of this episode, Quintin shares her marketing strategies to help grow her business. She talks about the pros and cons of paid versus unpaid influencer marketing and how you should find people that really align with your brand and your vision.
If you’re looking to expand your following, tune into this episode to hear Quintin’s advice on how you too can use marketing to leverage and grow your business.
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Purchase BAQE Cosmetics at: www.baqecosmetics.com
CAMILLE WALKER [00:00]
This is a part two of BAQE Cosmetics with CEO and founder, Quintin Croft. This episode is a part two. So, if you haven't yet listened to part one, make sure that you go back and do that. This episode is all about how to work with influencers as an affiliate or influencer marketing and the best way to do that as a small business owner.
BAQE Cosmetics is a makeup business. And it is also one that is started and run by my friend, Quintin Croft, who is incredible. So, if you want to hear her origin story, make sure to go back to part one. And let's enjoy part two.
There's so much to unpack here because I feel like very many women, perhaps they have that support and perhaps they don't, but many have small children and dreams and are like, how the heck do I make this work? If they feel a calling or a draw to do something, what advice would you give to that person who has the small kids and wants to do the thing? How did you make it happen with so much going on?
Yeah. Oh my gosh. So, I always did preschool in the afternoons because it was during naptime for the baby. And so, I would three days a week get a two-hour break where the baby was napping and the kids were at school. And I had this little window that I could work.
And then, we'd get them in bed. And I would bring my computer upstairs. And I would work while my husband had a show on. And I'm sitting next to him. And he's my sounding board. And I know that not everybody has that spousal support, find a friend. Find a friend who can be your sounding board. And I guarantee that a lot of people might be so nervous to ask someone to be that for them, but if there's anything that I know about other entrepreneurs, we want to be that for somebody because we know how important that support system is.
So, when somebody reaches out to me to ask me about my journey, I'm always really honest about it, or to ask me for help about where to look for things or just to vent about business, I think it's so important to have those relationships. And I've met a lot of those women through networking events that are paid or free.
And then balancing the kids. Sometimes, my husband just has to step up a little bit and do some of the things that you as the default parent do. But no, seriously, sometimes, they have to step up and watch the kids so that you can go do these things.
And the first year of business, I will say it was really hard because my husband and I agreed that I needed to go to every market that I possibly could to get my face out there, to get the name out there, to get a local brand recognition. Because in Utah, we are really good about that.
And so, I was gone three times a month on Saturdays, which are sports days,. And my husband would have to do that alone or partially alone. I would miss part of it and catch the end of it, or I get the beginning of it and miss the end of it, or not at all. And it was not easy. I'm not going to be like this is so easy. Even when you have support, there are times when your spouse needs you to step up to the plate and set your stuff down.
And so, for me, and we talked about this in brevity before, but marriage and family first, business second. And I want this business to grow and I would love to retire my husband and have him take over the business side of it and be the CFO. But currently, we are still trying to grow it.
And I'm okay with growing a bit slower if that means that I'm at my kids' stuff and that I'm with my husband and that we aren't fighting or anything like that. And I think having those open honest lines of communication in your marriage about what the expectations are, are so important.
I will be very forthcoming about events that I have coming up or things that I'm needing from him, and then he will be very forthcoming about events he has coming up at work where if we're going to double book, then we need to get a sitter or something. But I always, always, always put that relationship first.
So, if there is an event that maybe he just for some reason doesn't feel comfortable with or anything like that, then I just don't go. And I think that that's the piece that you have to layer in there. So Pinners Conference, for example, is our biggest market of the year. And it's actually the only true market that I do anymore. I only do pop-ups and Pinners.
And last year, I found out that my daughter's birthday was the day before Pinners last year. So, I went up there early in the morning and set everything up because you had to set up the day before. And then, I threw her birthday party that night and everything was fine.
This year, the first day of Pinners is on her birthday. And we knew that last year. And I called my husband, I was like, "Oh my gosh, the first day of Pinners is on her birthday next year." And he was like, "I'll take care of it. We'll do her party a different day. It'll be okay. She'll survive."
My daughter and I have talked about it. She gets a really special party on a different day. We usually do it on their actual birthday. And she's really excited for mom. She's really excited because not only is that my big sales day, but I'm teaching at Pinners this year on her birthday. And she helped me pick out my outfit. And she's so excited for me. And we make it a family fair.
And I think when you make it a family affair and they help and they see the work that you're putting in, it is so important for them to see the hard work. And so, if I need to get something done and they're awake and they're here, maybe not everybody agrees with this, but that's when they get their screen time, or they can invite a friend over to play.
My kids actually help me bring all my bins to my car when I have an event. And they just help make sure that everything's there. And my daughter's so cute. I made her a BAQE shirt that looks like mine. And sometimes because they go to a charter school and they wear uniforms, and sometimes on her free dress day, she'll wear her BAQE shirt. And she's like, "I'm going to get you some more customers." I'm like, "Sure." Yeah, the fourth grader's great. But she's so cute.
But I will be very honest with them like, "Hey, Mommy has to write these emails right now. I'm going to need you to leave me alone for the next 20 minutes. And then, you have me. I know it looks like I'm on my phone. But really, I'm working right now. So, just give me the next however much time I need. And I'll get that done." And then, I'm where they need me.
And I schedule myself to be in the zone when they're not around, if that makes sense. So, when they're at school. And we actually do five days a week, preschool now with our youngest because I now have that time every day to myself. And it gets easier as they get older in a way because they're gone all day at school.
But when you have the littles at home, I understand how hard it can be, get stuff done during naptime or after they go to bed. And it's okay. It's okay to allow those to be your business hours for you and batch out whatever you need to batch out during that time and find the support system. If it's not your husband, I would encourage you to find a spouse that is your partner in life and in everything. But if that's not your reality, I would encourage you to find a best friend, partner or someone who you admire in business to be that.
Yeah. No, that's so helpful. A lot of what you're explaining and the way you have done things are similar to what I did when I was first starting out. That naptime and the preschool time together was money because then you could really focus on the kids, get out of the house in the morning, go have special morning time or get out and do something fun.
And then, when they're tired and it's naptime and preschool or afternoon kindergarten for me or preschool at the time, that was the time. And I think that there is something really beautiful in giving yourself that grace of saying, it doesn't all have to be right now, but that you can be a consistent person. And that doesn't mean that that means it's every day, but that you have a consistent system of this is my work time.
If all things go well, because we always know motherhood comes with surprises, but just setting up a system that works for you and that's how I said I built my business. It was in nap times and in between pockets. And that works. It doesn't have to be this big production of everyday 9 to 5 with no breaks. That is not required to build a successful business.
It's also just not reality for everybody. We don't have a nanny. We don't have a lot of help. My husband's parents live in town, but there are five siblings and there's lots of babies. And so, they are where they're needed. And I just also would advise you to avoid burnout. This is the opposite message of the hustle culture that is taught in MLM theory.
I do believe that there is a hustle, and there's a pace. If it's at the end of the day and you're having a day and you just want to sit and watch TV with your spouse, it is not the end of the world if you take that night off. It is okay to be honest with your mental capabilities.
And it's also good to keep in mind. And I oftentimes remind myself, businesses usually don't get off the ground floor for the first five years. Typically, that's the average. That means that some businesses go sooner. some businesses take longer. But more often than not, people close up shop within the first year because they're not successful, whatever that is the definition to them. So, if you make it past a year, you're already making it further than anybody.
And don't compare yourself to these super companies that are growing really, really, really fast. Remember that a lot of that is the amount of money that they're able to invest at the time. There may be investors and because of that, they're able to invest time and energy and money into ads and ad companies and all of these other things. And it's okay.
I'm a completely self-funded business. So, I don't get funding or capital from anybody. I didn't take out a business loan. My husband and I came together. And we said, this is what we have to allocate to the business. And then, anything that I've gotten back, we've reinvested. And that's how we've grown. And that's what we've done. And that is our journey. And that's not other people's journeys. And that's okay.
And so, it's just a reminder that it's like the tortoise and the hare. Your journey, you're still going to get to that finish line. And it's okay if someone is faster than you or crosses later or before you. And everybody's success looks a little bit different.
Yeah, I love that. Everyone's on their own pace in their own journey. I wanted to ask you and this is a little bit of a shift. But into the marketing piece, you've worked with a lot of influencers. What has been some lessons you've learned in the dos and the do nots in that?
Oh my gosh. I'm still learning that. So, my best friend is an influencer. So, I'm able to use her as a sounding board in this. But my approach is that I never have an expectation of return when talking to influencers or affiliates. I offer it and this is the best piece of business advice that I can give.
So I, at this moment in time, will reach out to people that maybe I think are out of my league and send them a message and say, "Hey, I would love to send you some of my product. Can you please tell me where I can send it to you? I love your content. I love what you stand for." I don't make this up. I genuinely feel this way. I think it has to be genuine. It cannot be fake.
And occasionally, you'll just get left on read or they'll never see it. But occasionally, you'll get someone that says, "I would love to try it." And I send it to them, no expectation. And I found that if you have a great product and a great company, it speaks for itself and that they'll want to work with you.
I've done it the other way where I think it's more important with affiliates to have expectations of like, "Okay, if I'm going to be sending you this product for free that you've signed up for, then you have until this date to post about it," I think that's a whole different story. But with influencers specifically, I like to send them product with no expectation in return and be pleasantly surprised when they do share.
I had a big influencer who actually used to work in the same company as me who I've known for years. And I wasn't sure if she remembered me because I'd only met her twice. And I reached out to her. And she said, "Oh my gosh, I would love to try some product," and sent me her address. I sent it to her. And before even telling me, she posted a TikTok and on Instagram. And she has hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok.
And I was like, "Oh my gosh." And she liked it. And she was like, "I usually charge for content, but I know what it's like to be a small business owner. I own my own company as well," that she does with her son. And she was like, "I really like your product and I wish you the best. And I'm so excited to watch you."
And so, over that time after that, then she commented on a post of mine, she's like, "Wait, I didn't know that you had this." And so, I was like, "I will send it to you." Then she shared another video. And you might gain some following from that. You might not. You might gain some purchases from that. You might not. It's all about exposure, though. Brands need exposure. They say it takes about 15 touches with a business before people purchase.
So, if you think about you, as a shopper, you'll see an ad. You're like, that's interesting. And then, you'll keep scrolling. And then, they'll show you that ad again. And then, this time, you'll click on it. And then, the next time,you'll click on it and you'll look through the website. And then, the next time you might add to cart and think. I don't know if I want to spend that right now. And then, you'll go follow their Instagram. And then, you'll start interacting with their content. And then, you'll buy. And it takes you about 15 times to really get to know a business.
So, to me, if somebody's first experience is this random video. And they're like, "That looks really pretty on her, might look at this person." And then, they don't think about it for a little while. And then, they go back to that video. And they're like, "You know what? I really liked that. So, I'm going to go follow that company." So, you might not see it right away, but it might add over time.
I like that advice because I think that, like you said, an influencer relationship versus a sponsored or partnership relationship, they're different. And the way you price it is different. And it's the Wild West.
And in fact, I was coaching someone this morning on what to charge as an affiliate or as an influencer. And they're different. And it's so funny because she asked me, "What's the going rate?" And there is no such thing. It's really the Wild Wild West out there. So, as a company, I'm curious what you would suggest? Not that we need to know exactly, but what's your experience with that being on that side?
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Yeah. So, I don't do any paid anything. I do trade only because it's what I can afford. And actually, the waves are changing. I will say this attending business luncheons and dinners over the last couple years. And you actually might notice this in influencer marketing. A lot of people are turning into affiliate partners now. And the reason being is that it's a mutually beneficial relationship for our business and a person.
So, that's why you see a lot of Like To Know It happening rather than Like To Know It isn't paying them per post, but Like To Know It is getting paid from the brand to have the brand on that page, and then paying the influencer whose link they're shopping through. So, the brand doesn't have to pay the influencer, the brand pays Like To Know It, if that makes sense. So, you're seeing more of that kind of stuff.
And for me, that's what works for my brand. I know other brands that they do really great on paying influencers. But like you said, it is the Wild Wild West. And like I already explained, you don't always see an ROI immediately. It can be down the road.
And so, I would advise to start out with trade only and working with what they call micro influencers, which is people that have 10,000 or less because typically, their following is more engaged, more of their friends and family and their friends and family than just so many random people.
And just work with people that you feel align with your company. Don't just reach out to somebody because they have a following. Reach out to somebody because you like who they are. And I don't particularly care about following.
My personal following, I have like 3800 or something, which isn't even that much, but I have a really engaged following. And I think that that is something far better than an amount of people because people ask me all the time like, "How did you get invited to this influencer event?" And I'm like, "Because I post about something and my people actually like it and they buy it because I'm honest."
So, I would look for people who are honest, who you agree with, and offer the trade deal if that's what you want to do and you're working with them on a contract. But this has been my mistake up until recently. They have to agree to it. And you can even say in a contract like, "If you don't post by this date, we will bill you for the product.: And that's okay.
And I'm sure if you've worked with brands, that's typically in a brand deal on a lot of affiliates and a lot of influencers because the brand doesn't want to lose money on free product all the time because that is a lot of money. But we can as businesses only write off the value of what we paid for that product, not the value of what we would have made off that product, which sucks, but it's a loss.
So, you have to protect yourself while protecting the influencer or affiliate. Like you said, a lot of times, they're completely different. It's the Wild Wild West. I don't personally do paid things. I do trade only. And that's just where we're at. If I could afford to, maybe I would, but I would rather put that money into my actual business into my products and the things that I am passionate about and those kinds of things rather than stuff that I'm not sure if I'm going to see that ROI, if that makes sense.
Yes, it's a risk. And I think that now that influencer and affiliate marketing is happening more and more, there are new ways of doing things where I think that mutual beneficial aspect of it, protect yourself and know how much you can really work the numbers and make it work so that you're not putting yourself out of business because it's not a written guarantee either way. So, I think that that's really, really good advice. This has been so helpful. Oh my goodness.
This has been so fun.
You know what? I think I'm actually going to split this into two episodes because we've covered so much. Yes, we've covered how to support the family, how to do things as a family woman and also as a business owner working with sales and production and everything else.
As we're closing up, what would be a bit of advice that you would give someone who's looking to do a product business? Is there anything that you would say, I wish, if I could go back and tell myself this, this would be the thing I'd want to know?
If I could go back, okay, I've got it. Have multiple manufacturers set up already because, and every other business owner will tell you, this number is going to sound so embarrassing, we've all made $20,000 mistakes with manufacturers specifically. Yeah, so have a backup of multiple manufacturers doing the same product or what we now do is I have one just for my lip products or these specific lip products rather, just for my face products, just for my eye products. And just make sure that you're very organized and that you are on top of them.
I love it. Yeah. Good advice. That way, if something gets hung up, it's not your whole business shutting down because that is a nightmare. And it sounds like you're sharing that from experience. This has been absolutely amazing. Please tell everyone where they can find you, support you, and your amazing product.
So, you can find us on all social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, all of it is @baqecosmetics. And our website is www.baqecosmetics.com. But we do have a code for you. If you're listening to this podcast, use code Camille for a little discount and just be sure to check it out.
We have everything except complexion products currently, so just no foundation or concealer. I can privately give you my favorites. And I am happy to color match anybody with lipsticks, blushes, eyeshadows, all of that. If you have any questions, please, please DM me on Instagram on the Baqe page. I would be happy to personally give you my recommendations for you.
I love that. And I love that you have such a knowledge of makeup that you're like, yes, let's talk about it like it's so fun for you. This is going to be coming out pretty close to Black Friday. So, are there any Black Friday teasers you can plug for things that are on your page?
Oh my gosh, okay. So, I have things sitting here that are in phase three and the final phases. I've been talking with my manufacturer. So, I'll just tell you because if this is coming out right by Black Friday, then these will have already released. There are two new eye palettes that are coming out this fall and a restock of our top selling eye palette, the Nearly Naked eye palette, so it's super exciting.
We have a little bit of something for everyone. And so, if you like neutrals, if you like the pinks and oranges or if you like color, something for everyone. And again, everything comes with a video, so you won't feel left in the dark if you're like, I want all of them. And they all play well together. So, I like to call myself a dipper. I will dip into different colors. And it's fun to have your palettes out.
Yay! So fun. Thank you so much for being on this show. This has been such a great time.
Yes. Thank you so much for having me.
All right, everyone. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with a friend. That's how we can support other women in business. And also leave a rating and review. That helps the podcast to be seen. And so. thank you for being here. I appreciate you and I will see you next time.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment in a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss!
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