Today's guest is another lady boss who did not initially set out to build a multi-million dollar business. All Daisy Jing wanted to do was to solve a problem that deeply affected her and to share her journey with other people who are going through the same struggle.
Her willingness to openly share her struggles and her desire to help other people attracted followers. In her own words, “Relatability and authenticity really put me on the map.” Years later, she's running a multi-million dollar company, Banish, serving the very same people she always wanted to help.
In this episode you'll learn:
- How Banish was founded almost by accident (6:58)
- How she gained massive following on Youtube and how to build trust with your audience (12:18)
- How to find the right kind of influencers and how to build successful relationships with them (14:26)
- The lack of women in ecommerce (2:22)
- How Daisy handles the impostor syndrome (24:10)
- Why successful business owners didn't go to college (26:42)
This episode is part of our Women's Month celebration. We'd love to see more women in the ecommerce industry, so if you are a female business owner, head over to www.ecomcrew.com/underthehood and tell us your story. We'd love to feature you on the podcast.
Thanks for listening! Until the next one, happy selling.
Full Audio Transcript
Intro: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 263 of the EcomCrew Podcast. And today we are continuing women's month with another one of my favorite women in entrepreneurship and e-commerce Daisy, someone that is in my mastermind that I’ve become really good friends with and learned to really respect and admire from afar and now close because I'm in the mastermind with her. This mastermind has been instrumental in changing my life for the better. It's a great group of people. I often joke that I would lay down in the middle of traffic for these guys. They've just been amazing support group for me. It's been fun hopefully helping them as well.
It's not just business stuff, but a bunch of personal stuff and development stuff and things that have just made me think about things in a much different way, things that I would never thinking about before getting in this mastermind. And Daisy has an amazing story. Her product comes out of a personal struggle, which we're going to talk about in the podcast. I love brands that come out of stuff like this. I think that they're often the best ones. But she's also just a hustler and has done an amazing job building this multi seven figure business. I couldn't be more proud of her. And without further ado, let's get into this episode today with Daisy. I think you guys are going to love it. And after this intro, we'll get right into it.
Mike: Hey Daisy. Welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast.
Daisy: Thank you so much Mike for having me on here.
Mike: Oh no, man, like thank you for coming to do it. We've gotten to know each other for a couple of years now. You're in one of my masterminds; the mastermind that I feel like changed my life more than anything else I've been a part of. It's helped me grow as a business person and as a person, period. It's a great group of people that — the masterminds I had been a part of before were like a mastermind for Amazon or a Facebook mastermind or something that was highly targeted. And what we have is more of a business mastermind or a people mastermind. And all of us hold each other accountable and call each other out in our BS and it's been amazing. And I wanted you to be a part of this woman's month. So I'm just so excited to have you here.
Daisy: I'm so happy that you're doing a women's month because yeah, I was surprised in e-commerce that there's not that many women. I'm part of EO, which is entrepreneurs organization and I feel like when I go to EO events, there's at least like 15% women, I would say 15, 20% women. But I was so surprised in the e-commerce events I've been to, even ECF Live, I feel like a couple years ago, I felt like I was the only woman in the room at the time. So I was so surprised like what is it about e-commerce that, I don't know, that doesn't — maybe women are not into e-commerce as much or we're not — I don't know, I really don't know why there's so few women in e-commerce as compared to maybe other businesses.
Mike: I was actually hoping you're going to have some insight on that, because that's what I wanted to talk about first, because that was the reason that I wanted to do this. I was kind of talking to you about this before we did a mastermind in Hong Kong, and there were 23 people that came, and this year, it was all men. Last year, we had two women that came. And I was like, so it seems like it's even less than before, it's going the wrong direction.
And I was wondering from a woman's perspective, is there something — obviously, there's gender-based things where women are more likely to be X and Y or whatever. But it does seem from an entrepreneurial standpoint or e-commerce standpoint, that it's just, it's so out of balance. And I was wondering if there was something that you could point to that maybe would encourage other women to get into it?
Daisy: Yeah, I really think it's — I know a lot of women have very, very successful e-commerce businesses, and a lot of them you've never even heard of, right. So I think part of it has to do with like, if you don't see anybody that looks like you that you can relate to, you're not probably willing to go that extra mile to hang out with them. That's what I'm thinking.
Mike: Got you.
Daisy: Because like maybe in your instance, let's say there was a mastermind full of women who was completely different from you, had different interests, would you be willing to be part of that group? So I think we need to promote more women, or at least give them the opportunity to be out there more so that way more women can be like, oh hey, she looks like me or oh hey, I can relate to her, and they'll be more likely willing to join these groups and conferences.
I noticed even when I was in EO and I was part of membership chair, we got a lot more younger women and men but of Asian descent that year. And I think it was just because they saw me and they could relate to me. And they're like, oh hey, I want to know what this is. So I think we just need to bring a little bit more exposure for the different diversity or different people in the groups and I think then we can bring on more people like that.
Mike: Hopefully, if it is just an exposure thing, hopefully what we're doing here this month will help with that, because we have a different woman entrepreneur coming on every single episode for the month of July. So we're super excited to have you be a part of like I said, and I mean, hopefully it's one of these things if you're a woman and listening or even if you're a man and listening and you have a significant other or someone in your life that has been thinking about this, have them listen to the series. There's lots of people with different backgrounds doing different things.
We have a blogger, someone that came from that angle, we have e-commerce people, there's all kinds of things that women can do in entrepreneurship. And I think it lends well ironically to the other like stereotype of women, which I'm not saying that this is how it should be, but against or typically or statistically, women are more likely to be at home taking care of family and kids. And again, not saying that that's the right way or the wrong way, this is just statistics. So don't — crowd out there. That's listening, don't jump on me. But the reason I'm saying this is because it lends well to that lifestyle.
I mean, if you're at home taking care of family, and during the hours at the kids are in school, you can be working on an e-commerce business. It doesn't have to be something that requires 40, 60 hours a week to start with. You could do it with less time. And as it builds up, you can adjust things accordingly. But I think that if you're in that position, you're even on a better spot to do it. So hopefully those combinations of things will inspire people to jump in.
Daisy: Yeah. And I also want to say, to all the women listening out there, I feel like what has gotten me so far in my business is having this instinctive knack for knowing our customer base, which most of them are women, right. So I think there's a huge opportunity. I mean, there's so many things that we as women can sell that maybe other sellers don't really know about, right? Because women are the ones purchasing, right, we're usually in control of like the purse strings and shopping habits and buying things for the family and all that. So I feel like there's a huge opportunity for women sellers.
Mike: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. So let's kind of shift gears a little bit and tell people why you're so awesome, and how the business that you have came to be, which I love, because I think that this is something I've been thinking about a lot myself, and I think we've even talked about it. But I think the best businesses are born out of a personal need or something that you have a personal interest in, because you're going to be more passionate about it and understand the customer base at a more fundamental level. And for you, I don't want to get too much with you; this was a very personal journey for you. So let's talk about that, how your company came to be?
Daisy: Yes, Mike. So I started my company in 2013. And it started from a personal problem that I've had my entire life. So I've had acne since the third grade. And my skin has been my biggest source of frustration and insecurity. I've just always had really bad skin. So as a young kid, I grew up in Minnesota, I was the only Asian American in my school. And then I had acne, I always felt like an outsider. I felt like such a loner. I was reading all these magazines. And this is before like social media and YouTube, but I was buying all these products to try to help my skin and nothing seemed to work.
And it was like I would try product after product after product. I went to dermatologists, plastic surgeons, took Chinese herbs, I tried everything right. Nothing seemed to help my skin and I became so depressed because I was so — I just felt like I couldn't fit in if I had all this acne on my face and if I looked different from everyone else. So what I did was in 2009, 2010, I started making videos on YouTube. And it was very much accidental. I chose the username Daizerz89 because I wanted to make sure nobody would ever be able to search and find or remember.
It was definitely not SEO optimized, but I just made a few videos and it felt really good to review certain skincare products kind of show how my skin was looking, the progression. It was kind of just a journal for me. And then I had one viewer and then two viewers and then it kind of that fall, it kind of grew and I made more videos. And I think what people really loved about me was that I was very authentic to my story and just showing my skin. I wasn't trying to hide or make it seem perfect. And I think people who were suffering with the same thing could relate to me. So I think that relatability and authenticity really put me on the map.
So I kept — I have over 700 videos on YouTube. I basically would purchase a product, go through every ingredient and talk about it in my videos. And I would read clinical trials and research journals about different ingredients in skincare. So I became the skincare guru ingredient junkie. And then I think it was like 2012 or so I wanted to get my face lasered because I had all the scarring from the acne. And so I had this plastic surgeon who was introduced to me by my friend, and he actually recommended me laser is not going to work for Asian skin types, you need to try this new technique with these ingredients.
So because I was like the skincare junkie, I was able to source the exact ingredients that I wanted to and I knew which labs and contract manufacturers I wanted to purchase the ingredients from. And so I made a few of my own and then started using it on my skin. And then within a few months, people on my channel, were asking, hey, what happened to your scars? What happened to your skin? It looks so great. What are you using? Even my mom would say like, oh my gosh, your skin, it's glowing. And she would never, she would never say anything positive about my skin before like the Chinese, yeah, Chinese mom.
Mike: Yeah, I get it. I have a Chinese wife and I’ve see her mom doing that still to her so it’s pretty funny.
Daisy: You know when she's saying like that you look good, it means you actually look good, right?
Daisy: So I was like, huh, it must be this thing I was using, and I had absolutely no idea. Like I was never planning to start a business, I never like read business books. I wasn't planning to do anything like that. But then people wanted to buy whatever it is that I was using. So I shipped a few out, I remember my first order was from Spain, and I had this old PayPal link. And I actually like wrapped the package up myself. And then I went to the post office, I didn't even have a printer. So I'd hand write all the labels. But that's basically how it started.
And my company is called Banish or Banish Acne Scars, and really solves the pain point which I dealt with, which was a lot of skincare products and ingredients weren't working for me because my skin is so sensitive. And a bunch of products out there are mask with a lot of artificial fragrances, colors, dyes, additives, that make your skin worse. So Banish products will not contain any of those harmful ingredients, no filler ingredients, we just contain basically the pure ingredients. And that really helps your skin.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, it's an amazing story. And fast forward a few years, you're now a multi seven figure business and I mean, just doing amazing stuff. I get to see all the stuff behind the scenes. So it's fun seeing how people react to like the entrepreneurial roller coaster and all the things that's going on in their heads and like how they continue to be successful through all the adversity and all the things that we're struggling with. I mean, you were, like deserve a trophy for that, because it's amazing what you've been able to do.
And I mean, the thing is that we've been talking about this a lot on this podcast, this formula is actually somewhat simple. If you boil it down to like its basic components of get attention, get an audience. So you started with YouTube, you put all the effort into making all these videos, and I got to see your first video when you were showing us the stuff in the TED Talk, which was awesome. I saw the clip I think how you got started on YouTube, which was pretty cool just to see how far you’ve come there.
And so you broke past like all these insecurities and just did it even though it wasn't comfortable speaking on camera and having attention when people watch you, but you grew an audience and grew attention and then had match that up with something that you had a personal struggle with. And once you have the attention, it becomes a lot easier to start an e-commerce business. And obviously, it's a struggle figuring out manufacturing and shipping and returns and people ripping off your products and all these different things that happen along the way but having this leg up really helps. Having that initial attention really helped get your business fired off from day one.
Daisy: Yeah, I mean, I totally agree, Mike. I say this business 100% wouldn't be where it is today, if I hadn't had those videos on YouTube, of me just talking, and not trying to sell anything. I really do believe it's because of my authenticity that people really related to me. And they're like, hey, she experiences the same thing I'm going through, and therefore can trust my opinions and recommendations. Because having something like acne, I mean, it messes up with your mental health as well. You see yourself in a whole different light. And I think I was able to talk about that. Honestly, I think people really related to me in that aspect.
So I think it's really important to speak openly and have that audience, not only have that audience, but have them trust you. I think that's really important because we've worked with influencers who have a huge audience, but the conversion isn't there, right? And then we've also worked with influencers who have a tiny audience, but the trust is there, and therefore the conversion is, so it's really about does your audience trust you?
Mike: Yeah, makes perfect sense. So speaking of influencers and things of that nature, I mean, just because I have had the pleasure of knowing you I mean, that's been one of the main ways that you've helped grow your business. So in terms of — because we always like to give advice and value bombs on the podcast, are there any things that you can recommend in terms of how to find good influencers, how to work with them, how to deal with the pain of when they get bigger and kind of disown you or forget about you, and all these different things that happen in the land of influencer marketing?
Daisy: Yeah, for sure. So I think influencer marketing has changed so much, even the past year, in the past five years, especially. I would say focus more on the right targeting versus just numbers and metrics. People are like, oh, they have this many followers and this much engagement and this many comments, and blah, blah, blah. But if you're not focusing on the right target, then you're not going to get the conversions. So I would say first focus on making sure you have the right targeted audience. So I know there's a lot of these Instagram models that have a ton of followers. But for us, they don't convert, because their followers don't necessarily need our product right. And so…
Mike: And they're also like that perfect, non-realistic woman that's being perpetrated through society, making everyone else have all these problems that you were talking about with depression.
Mike: Because you look at that, and just like, that isn't real, but it looks real. And so it's not your market.
Daisy: Right yeah. And we've also worked with like Victoria's Secret models, and all that, and it didn't really convert, because yeah, people don't really trust them for skincare advice because they’re just naturally gifted with beautiful skin. So try to find your niche target and kind of go after those specific influencers, that would be my first recommendation. And as with how to work with them, I mean, influencers, they're very — they have a very different personality than maybe e-commerce sellers, right? So it's just kind of being able to understand from their point of view of what motivates them, what they want.
And surprisingly, it might not be actual like free product, because they get so much free stuff sent to them.
Daisy: It might not even be money because they get so many opportunities to work with brands. So trying to figure out what would motivate them and help them get there, I think would be my best recommendation. I think that kind of works for anyone, right? Like figure out what motivates them, and try to target your offer to something that's a win-win situation for both of you. And then as for the info, like what to do when they get bigger, I mean, that's really hard. I'm trying to figure that out as well. But it's not — I mean, it's definitely not unusual for us to work with one influencer one month and then three, four or five months later they 3x their price, and we're like well, you're following hasn't 3x’d.
Daisy: And yeah, it gets increasingly more expensive. So yeah, I think it's just being able to find the up and coming ones and also I like to work with influencers that are very easy to work with. So if they're getting a little bit too demanding, it might actually be very hard for them to change different copy or creative. So just kind of get a sense of like how easy is this influencer to work with, because we've had influencers where they're unwilling to change something or unwilling to do XY&Z even though we've already paid them this much, and it’s just kind of like a lose-lose situation. So you kind of have to gauge like is this worth taking on or not?
Mike: Yeah, and we've had the same issue. I mean, it's been totally different niche, obviously. But it's interesting like the wide variety of the types of influencers you run into. You get the big guy that acts like the small guy is like happy to do anything that you ask, and they're very accommodating, then you get the smaller channel that thinks that they're 10 million subscribers and has all these demands. And some of the things that they asked for will blow you away, or blew me away, at least. And I agree, I mean, the people that have produced the best results for us over time are ones that would use our product anyway. They're happy to get the product because they would use it anyway. It's not just a matter of someone is paying me to talk about this. And they have the best attitudes. They are fun and easy to work with. And they make it so you want to continue to work with them versus everything along the way is like it feels like you're going to the dentist when they go through that. And it's been tough.
Daisy: I'll give you an example. We had this pretty big influencer, she promoted our — she actually is a customer of ours. But she promoted our product and it was basically on like other famous YouTube channels in her skincare routine. And then when we asked for her to put the link in the description box, her manager comes in and be like, that's 10, $20,000 just to put the link, or even type in the product name in the description box, they won't do it. And I'm like, God darn it, because like she actually loves our products and buys it from us. And I'm like, oh, but yeah, so I would always suggest, even though they might have this sexy big following, if they're hard to work with, probably in the long run, that's not the best fit for your company and brand. So kind of choose your battles.
Mike: Yeah. For us, we found that channels that were a size where there wasn't a manager involved yet, so sub one millionaire, sub half a million was the best way to go because then you're working directly with the influencer. And they're still hungry; you can still negotiate with them. You're not dealing with somebody that is of a manager mindset, where it's just all about the numbers and you can't even really develop a relationship with the actual influencer. The downside is that some of them have gotten bigger, and then they put that shield in between them, and you lose that sometimes. But I still find that working with the smaller ones has been best for us.
Daisy: Yeah, I mean, when you try to work with the influencer directly in the beauty space, it's so difficult now because most I mean, like 95% of them have managers. And there have been instances where we started signing a contract. We started negotiating, signing the contract, and all of a sudden the manager, they get a manager and they just pop in and then they want X amount more. And we're like, well, no. And then the deal doesn't get done. So yeah, I would try to stay away from managers and work with the influencer directly.
Mike: Yeah, cool. So completely switching gears into something else before we run out of time here. I mean, besides the business that you've built, which I think is amazing, we talked about that for quite a while. You've become an amazing businesswoman as well, which is so cool. And I want to take a minute just to talk about what you've done with EO and also realizing one of your lifelong dreams, which was to go do a TED talk, which you practiced for us while we were in Austin, then I went and watched the actual video afterwards, which you did an amazing job.
Daisy: Oh, thank you.
Mike: That was awesome. Yeah, so let's talk about that a little bit because I think that that's the part of business and things as well that women often get left out of, and it's not talked about as much. And you've made I think a really big impact on EO, certainly on our mastermind and Ecommerce Fuel and now TED Talks. Let's chat about that for a few minutes.
Daisy: Yeah, so I realized even starting my business it was never because I had this great business idea and I wanted to make so much money from it. It was never about that. So it was always about me wanting to help other people. And actually, when I was doing my YouTube channel, I was able — when I focused on helping other people with their problems, or helping them feel better about themselves, it made me realize, like, hey, I don't need to be so depressed with my skin, it actually made me happy. That would be like my number one tip for anyone who's going through a depression or like a dark time.
Instead of focusing on your external appearance and focusing on like, hey, just be happy, focus on helping other people, right, and that will kind of just naturally make you happy. So when I was growing my business, I actually realized through reading all of these business books, doing all of these business plans and all of that, I realized like yeah, making more money and growing the business, that's great, but it doesn't really drive me. So I realized money doesn't really drive me. I think to a certain extent we need money for financial security. But after that point, it's not like I want a private jet, or go on yachts or have a huge mansion. That stuff doesn't really make me feel any different I noticed.
And so, what I wanted to focus more on the past few years is focusing on going back to my roots, which is helping people, being a thought leader in my space, and making people feel like they can have the courage to be who they are. And I think that's really, really difficult. And I know even to this day, I struggle with it all the time. But I think each person comes into the world with their own unique quirks and kind of their own unique dreams and vision.
And sometimes, the external world society, social media, all this stuff, kind of I feel like kind of pressures you into being someone you're not. And so I want to really make people feel like, hey, you can be the best version of yourself, and hey, it doesn't need to fit in with what society tells you need to be. And I feel like that is what makes me the happiest. So that's why I wanted to do the TEDx talk because that's like my story and this is like my purpose. And I'm very, very happy that I found my purpose and I want to focus my business on channeling that purpose.
But I think when you realize what kind of drives you, what motivates you, what's your purpose, what's your end goal, you get better clarity as to what you do in your business. So I don't sell on Amazon and I feel like that's very rare for an e-commerce seller not to. And I know everyone was telling me to sell on Amazon X, Y, and Z. And yeah, sure, I probably could have made a lot of money doing that. But for me, I'd rather focus that time on building a brand, building a cult, building a community and focus more on spreading Banish’s mission out there.
Mike: Yeah, awesome. One of the things that you were talking about in terms of helping others and feeling a little bit awkward sometimes with that, is it some of that like imposter syndrome? Do you worry that you're not good enough sometimes when you're in that situation? I know I still go through that because I'm a big — that's why this podcast was started and one of the things that I do are helping others. But even I start to second guess myself sometimes and am I good enough? Or should I — am I worthy to be giving other people advice? And do you go through that sometimes as well?
Daisy: Yeah, all the time. I think also just kind of how I was raised culturally like very strict Chinese American household. Got to get A's and 100% on everything. And in business, you can't do that, there is no 100% in business. It's all about throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks and making a lot of decisions that you have no answer to, right. That's like the hard part about business is not having perfect information, not knowing if you're making the right decisions, but moving forward with it and bringing your team along with that decision anyways.
So I definitely struggle with that. But I think what helps me is focusing on helping other people, focusing on how can we make this company help other people, instead of trying to be like, oh, am I good enough, right? So kind of just switching that mindset because once you take the ego out of it, I think it's a lot easier, at least for me. So I always think about what is best for the customer? What is best for the business instead of like, oh, how am I viewed in those situations.
Mike: Right yeah. And you just said something that I'm totally going to steal, that I love, which is there is no perfect score in business. I mean, I never thought of it that way where you're like trying to get an A or something along those lines in your business. It's actually if you think about it, you probably like unless you're getting F's in some parts of your business, you're never going to be a successful business because it means you're not taking chances and learning and doing things. And a lot of people have a hard time with that.
And I think that's one of the things that's really helped me. I was never good in school. I never had a look at it because I didn’t have Chinese parents to push me. So, I just I don't have that ego part or pride part I guess where just like if I try something and it doesn't work that I'm going to be embarrassed so I'm not going to try it at all. And a lot of people, that's one of the reasons why they are afraid to take that leap and do stuff in business.
And my feeling is like you said, you got to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. And a lot of times that's one thing out of 10 is the thing that sticks. And that's the thing that actually makes you all the money and you just got to disregard the other nine.
Daisy: Yeah exactly. And Mike, I wanted to just say that I feel like I've actually noticed like the most successful entrepreneurs, a lot of them didn't go to college, right. A lot of them dropped out, or didn't have the straight A's or the perfect scores. Because I feel like when you're in this mentality of needing to be perfect all the time, it's super hard to start your own business and to make those business decisions, because it's all about being imperfect in business, right. It's all about like failing all the time and being able to get back and recover from that. And I thought that was really interesting.
When I joined EO or when I joined other masterminds that not everyone went to college or not everyone has like all the shiny degrees. And also, I actually feel like this resonates back with why there's not more women in business and in e-commerce, because I feel like women naturally were more perfectionistic. We're more like we want to appear like we have it all going for us right. And I think women, even young girls were kind of socialized to be more perfect, whereas guys are socialized to like play rough and get down and dirty and scrape their knees and break their arm and all that. Women were kind of taught to play on the side and don't cause too much trouble and don't get sent to the principal's office, all that.
And I do feel like because of that socialization, I feel like women were less — we want to be more perfectionistic, which I think really prevents us from going into business and from succeeding in business. So I would challenge all the women out there to realize you don't have to be perfect, no one's perfect. And business is so messy, but that's what's so fun. And also, I would say that going along with this women's theme, I feel like women are really good at building teams. We can use that more feminine side of our personalities to really build and nurture and have a really great team. So I think let's take our strong suits as women and apply them to business.
Mike: Yeah, I'm not sure I could add anything more. It's a perfect place to end. It's like a Mike Jackness. So thank you so much, Daisy for coming on. You've been an awesome guest. And hopefully you've inspired at least one person out there to not be perfect and go start their business. So thank you so much for coming and doing this.
Daisy: Thanks Mike.
Mike: Alright guys, that's going to wrap it up for the 263rd edition of the EcomCrew Podcast. Thanks again for your support. If you want to say hi to Daisy, leave any comments or questions for her, EcomCrew.com/263 will get you to the show notes for the episode today. I want to thank Daisy again for coming on. Because I know how busy, I know how — because I know her personally, I should say, I know how busy she is. So I really appreciate her coming on and doing this taking the time. I know that she isn't the kind of guy that does podcast typically. So thank you Daisy so much again, it's been awesome getting to know you and looking forward to catching up in person again in October when we do our next in person Mastermind along with all the other ones that we do every month.
Alright guys, that's going to do it for this episode. Thank you again so much for all your support. If you want to leave us a review over on iTunes, it is greatly appreciated. That really does help the podcast. We've actually jumped up in the rankings a little bit, thanks to those reviews. So if you do get a chance, please go over, leave us a review. Dave and I do read every one of them and we really, really appreciate them. That's going to wrap it up for this episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. Until the next one, happy selling and we'll talk to you soon.
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