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Claudia A. Hoexter is a former model that has spent the last 10 years as an Executive Assistant to CEOs and as Director of Operations for Professional Service Firms. As all women do, Claudia grew tired of not being able to retrieve all the remaining liquid located at the bottom and sides of her beauty product bottles and containers. Very frustrated, she took matters into her own hands and created the Beauty Spoon® and founded Alexa Brands, LLC.
Every year women spend billions on beauty products, but are not always able to use 100% of the products they purchase because of the design of various product bottles and containers. That’s where the Beauty Spoon® comes in. It’s designed to help extract the remaining lotions, creams and serums in bottles and containers that otherwise is almost impossible to retrieve. It’s a solution to a simple problem that also formed the mission for Claudia’s newly founded company, Alexa Brands¬—to help people solve every day problems in and around the home.
MO: How did you go about inventing the Beauty Spoon™? Did you ever invent or design anything before?
Claudia: The day the Beauty Spoon was created, I really needed it. I had purchased an expensive beauty serum and wanted to use the entire contents of the bottle. Unfortunately, I could not find a practical way to remove all the remaining liquid. So in that moment of frustration, the Beauty Spoon was born. The slogan “If you can’t get to, Beauty Spoon it” followed shortly after. I knew the process of bringing a product to market wouldn’t be easy, but I believed in the idea and moved forward quickly.
I had no previous experience inventing a product, but do have a creative side that I like to utilize and a belief that if I put my mind to something, I can figure it out. Now that I have created the Beauty Spoon, I am interested in creating additional products to help people save money and solve household problems.
MO: How were you able to bring your product to market in just 6 months? What did the process of going from inception to commercialization look like?
Claudia: The moment the Beauty Spoon was conceived in June 2011, the wheels started moving very fast. I have been busy from day. The first step was to find a graphic designer to create a 3D drawing depicting my visual idea of the Beauty Spoon. I then researched and hired a product development firm to create a prototype and assist with the packaging. The development stage took the most time because of the details and back and forth that go into creating a product from scratch. During the entire process, I had a strict timeline that I wanted to keep so that the product would launch in early 2012. I can’t stress enough the importance of establishing timelines. During the product development stage, I also established my company, Alexa Brands, LLC. Towards the end of the product development stage, I began to do research on pitching to retailers and publications. This stage of the process has been the most exciting because it has been great to hear from people regarding the idea and product.
MO: How has your background and experience helped you through the development process and helped create a business from scratch?
Claudia: I have worked as an Executive Assistant and Director of Operations for Professional Service Firms. Working in a fast paced office setting requires certain skills. Multi-tasking is one of them. You have to be able to work on multiple projects and juggle several tasks at once. I became quite good at it over the years. I am not afraid to try/learn new things. So, when the Beauty Spoon was created, I sprang into action. I have been amazed at how my background has helped me prepare for the tasks associated with bringing this product to market. I am very grateful for my experiences in maintaining websites, project management, modeling and working side by side with CEOs and presidents of established businesses. Experience is priceless!
MO: Congratulations on having a meeting with Wal-Mart in March. How were you able to secure a meeting with such a huge retailer and what steps are you taking to prepare for such a significant event?
Claudia: When my product development stage ended, I knew it was time to move forward in the marketing/pitching stage. I chose Wal-Mart first because I read about their Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative. This initiative included a goal to source $20 billion from Women-Owned Businesses in the U.S. Wal-Mart also has a supplier diversity outlet for minority and women-owned businesses, which I utilized. The online submission process is detailed on their website. It shows the step-by-step process and what to expect and what is needed from potential suppliers to move through the process. I made it through the initial submission stage and was contacted by a buyer who requested more information about my company. I then had to submit all the necessary information to move forward in the process (product liability insurance, UPC numbers, etc). After supplying all the paperwork, I had to make it through several approval departments. This process took some time. After making it through the approval groups, I secured a vendor agreement and vendor number, which was very exciting. The final step in the process was to secure an in-person meeting with a buyer. That meeting will occur in March!
I have begun advertising, and finalizing all manufacturing details (shipping/distribution, monthly product output/capacity, etc.). I am currently working on my pitch to hopefully seal the deal!
MO: Before creating the Beauty Spoon™ did you ever have any desire to become an entrepreneur?
Claudia: Yes, I have always wanted my own business. In my early 20s during my modeling days, I wanted to launch an image-consulting firm. I wanted to help young girls develop self-esteem and confidence. My goal has always been to launch my own company. I enjoy the flexibility, independence and sense of achievement that comes with being an entrepreneur. This experience has been amazing and I am convinced that I was meant to be an entrepreneur. I have been completely immersed in the creation of the Beauty Spoon and have enjoyed every minute of it.
MO: What keeps you inspired both in business and life in general?
Claudia: I want to be part of something big. I like taking an idea and turning it into reality. I love learning new skills and believe every challenge I face can be overcome. It’s an incredible feeling when I know I’ve cleared a hurdle and I’m ready for the next step.
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