"Our lives may be short on fairy-tale elements, but our generosity and our willingness to serve well the people we live with lead us toward an ending happier than we can imagine." ~Unknown
Colleen Montini is an entrepreneur who keeps on going! She knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship, staying focused and surviving, and doing well. Check out her inspiring small business story:
1. Can you tell us about you and your business?
My name is Colleen Montini and I have had my Mary Kay business since June, 2000. I did Mary Kay full-time while I finished my degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and have continued doing it part-time ever since.
2. How is your business doing?
Great! Mary Kay is designed to be whatever a woman wants and for me that is having wonderful customers who enjoy the products and keep coming back for more. I am proud to say that I have customers who have been with me since I started my business 13 years ago!
3. What gets you going?
I like interactions with people where I feel I can make a positive difference in their day.
4. What are your products or services, and key benefits?
More than 3 million people worldwide are Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants. I offer Skin and Body Care for Men, Women and Teens, Fragrances, and Color Cosmetics. The benefits of being with such a trusted brand and company that just celebrated their 50th Anniversary are enormous. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and Mary Kay is a name people know they can trust. The products sell themselves.
5. Who are your customers? Can you share a brief success story?
My customers are mostly women (and a few very important men!) of all ages. I have done presentations for Girl Scout Troops on how to care for your skin and use make-up responsibly and then had the privilege to watch them grow into beautiful young women who are still customers.
6. How do you find new customers? Or customers find you?
I have moved around a lot and have customers in roughly 12 states. Most of my customers come from referrals and networking. They can find me through my Mary Kay personal website or on Facebook. I also volunteer and attend community events and try to make sure it comes up in conversation.
7. What is your biggest challenge? What help do you need to overcome this?
Lately, participation. I have been trying what I think are cute or clever contests and incentives but am not getting the bites I’d like. I think the repeat customers are just more likely to buy when they need something, regardless of the promo (and this is okay too!). More customers is always a plus.
8. What are your 2013 goals? Did you kill them?
My goals have been to make enough to have fun with, keep getting new customers, and keep the ones I have happy and loyal. I’ve been killing that for 13 years.
9. Can you share some tips with our community?
Make sure you are doing something you love and don’t quit! Even the most successful businesses will have their ups and downs. As a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, I get a lot of representatives from other companies (It Works, Jewelry in Candles, Premier Designs, etc) trying to recruit me because they believe their business and products would be "great in conjunction with Mary Kay". If you are going to start any business of this nature, my advice is to research them all very carefully and then choose the ONE that fits your goals and lifestyle and is the one about which you can be passionate. With any business like this, the initial roll-out is typically to friends and family and there are only so many things in which they can support you. It is also difficult to build a loyal customer base when your customers can't be sure where your loyalties lie. Lastly, if you wish to truly be a breakout success then you will need to devote your full time and energy; this is impossible if you have spread yourself too thin and have goals that compete with each other. You cannot serve two masters (or three or four) so do the due diligence, find your passion and stick with it.
Connect with Colleen Montini