Brisbane-based beauty therapists by trade, Sarah Grace (Dermal Therapist and Skin Coach) and Kiyomi Booth (Eyebrow artist), are entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of BUTT’NE, a skincare brand developed on a clinical level to specifically target butt acne. With a passion for removing the stigma commonly associated with more taboo areas of skin concern, and empowering women to love the skin they are in, Sarah & Kiyomi have leveraged their extensive experience in the industry to navigate and fill a much-needed gap in the market.
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Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: We are Brisbane based and actually met while treating each other! Sarah is Dermal Therapist and Skin Coach with a skin clinic specialising in problematic skin called “Glow Skin Studio”. Kiyomi is an expert Brow Artist with her luxe salon “The Brow Bakery” and together we are also co-founders and the creators of BUTT’NE, a skincare brand that has been developed on a clinical level for butt acne.
To get us started, Can you tell our readers what does your company solve differently in the crowded marketplace? Give an example or share a story.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: We created BUTT’NE, as even though we worked in the beauty industry and had access to all of the brands and resources, we saw nothing on the market for the problematic area of little acne-like bumps on our butts, yet so many clients over the years have suffered from it, and we do personally as well. We spent 18 months tirelessly developing our product before we finally perfected our powerful formula. One of the first real customers we sent BUTT’NE to sent us back the most incredible before and after, and it was a real moment of ‘Wow, we did that!’ – and we have continued to be blown away ever since!
It’s really a taboo area of concern that shouldn’t be something shameful to talk about and share with others in this day and age. We’re more aware and open about our lives, so we really wanted to create a brand that is all-inclusive, and brings awareness to all body shapes, sizes and concerns – no matter how ’embarrassing’ they might be.
While your company is growing, what are some of the challenges you face? Hiring? Tech development? Raising capital? Branding? Tell us more about the journey.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: It has been a tedious journey from the get-go. The easiest part for me (Sarah) was formulation! Kiyomi is absolutely the brains behind the finer details but overall, we are lucky we both have the same motivation to create something amazing and succeed. As many other people (ok, the world) faced their own challenges too, we could never have predicted that sourcing the ingredients globally and expecting pre-pandemic timeframes to happen, would be the most frustrating, yet out of our hands challenge.
We are both mums juggling family, our own existing businesses, constantly growing our education and bringing something we are so passionate about to market. So apart from the constant change that seems to be occurring around us, just finding a happy balance in life proves tricky but we seem to be managing ok! We are super excited that we are finally seeing our vision come to life – it makes it all worth it.
Everyone has a different story, what influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur, what would you have done differently?
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: S: For me, I previously worked as a therapist and in senior management working for a large-scale skin and laser clinic. The long hours, the stress and the lack of work-life balance definitely influenced my decision… I would have happily continued on that path had I not had a baby! This really forced me to create a world around my family. Being present and being able to be as much of a full-time mother as I could drove me to go out on my own!
For Kiyomi and I, we both want to support our children, create a future for them and allow our life to be full of sunshine adventure and freedom. We have worked so hard in our careers to be able to collaborate and combine our expertise, and I don’t think we would have done much differently. It’s a journey in that you make mistakes along the way and learn from them as you go. We couldn’t have predicted covid but that threw a little spanner in the works. What we both have in common is a determination for results, we are perfectionists, and we have a will to succeed. I’m very lucky to have someone who is talented in everything I’m not as a business partner – there’s no way we could or probably would have done it without each other.
K: I purely went into business so I could work around my family, still be mum, do all the things mums used to do. I fell in love with brows again & the rest is history. Any decisions I make and continue to make, are focused on my sons. And then I met Sarah and ta-da! BUTT’NE. I would do nothing differently.
Now for the main focus of this interview: what qualities or characteristics do women entrepreneurs have that make them great leaders? Please share some examples.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: S: Being a female entrepreneur or leader in a male-centric business world requires the strength and confidence to deal with every obstacle or setback. We need to be strong enough to believe in ourselves, even when people around us don’t, and inspire others to do the same. I believe women are able to make bold and wise decisions as businesswomen, leaders and entrepreneurs; this helps make the team environment less authoritative and more cooperative, bringing a family-like feel to the team. This boosts teamwork across the organisation and helps implement a fresh culture within the business.
The business world is a highly unpredictable and stressful environment. Women need to understand the fact that there is nothing within the biological gender that makes us less patient or less suitable for unpredictability. Perseverance and passion to achieve your long-term goals. Today’s business world is filled with uncertainty. And uncertainty creates distractions, stress, and obstacles. Women have the strength to thrive in the face of adversity. If we can have children and run a household, there is no reason we cannot live out our dreams as much as any man.
K: I also love the maternal, caring, loving nature of women. There is just this softness that makes women great leaders & entrepreneurs in my opinion! But that same woman could confidently put someone back in their place, nicely.
What are some of the biggest challenges you still see women face while conducting business, compared to their male counterparts? What would you like to see change, and how would you make it happen?
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: S: I think we have found the greatest barrier stopping women from starting their own businesses is having funds or attracting funding whilst balancing family life, fear of failure, and facing criticism. In our era, women are still challenged when making decisions or progressing in their lives. Kiyomi and I both want to empower our kids to be whoever they want to be, regardless of their gender by being strong, balanced, and independent humans.
We would like to see equal pay, balanced work/household life and family life. Men taking a stronger role in their kids’ lives especially if Mum wants to do something for her. We believe supportive fathers or partners are the biggest way we can endeavour to strive for equality and success. We really can do it all, but we want our kids to have present parents. That’s super important to us. We are already providing this empowerment by creating jobs that allow women to bring something to the table and feel independent in their lives. We look forward to creating an environment that is all accepting of all genders and all bodies.
K: Women are still expected to uphold all that running a household entails, as well as progress and kill it at their career. It is almost our genetic makeup to put ourselves on the back burner and make sure everyone else is thriving before we do or before we make decisions for our careers.
With all of your experience as a business leader, what is the most important thing you can tell fellow entrepreneurs that you’d like to share with aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: Get started
There is no shame in starting slowly. Just start, be consistent. The time will pass anyway! Don’t give up. We all start in the same place, and the only reason she is further ahead of you (from your assumption or otherwise) is because she has probably worked longer, maybe harder, maybe fewer mistakes, but she has definitely made mistakes & learnt from them, rather than quit. Pause for a short time, ok sure. But do not give up. Lots of us continue to work ‘background’ jobs until the entrepreneurial job pays off!
Any thoughts, ideas etc, write them down so they are physically there to keep you accountable! Write down any kind of task that you need to get done, organise priorities. Just focus on one thing at a time – create a habit of committing to what you set out to achieve by breaking it up into timelines (monthly, weekly, daily etc). It can take a while to work out when is the best time of the day for you to work, how much work you can get done & how quickly.
Listening to honest feedback and just as importantly doing something about it, is really a smart way to improve your business to be at its best. Customer feedback and reviews can be your friend by identifying any issues and fixing these can lead to further success and growth.
Most importantly make time to REST and take care of your HEALTH. Please don’t think you have to hustle all the time or be busy all the time. We value our self-care more than we ever have and we attribute prioritising our mental health to valuing ourselves more.
What do you plan on tackling during 2022? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: Having launched our brand BUTT’NE earlier this year, our main goal for 2022 is to bring out more powerful skincare! Our priority is getting BUTT’NE and the brand ethos out there and into the right hands, sharing our love for body positivity and women along the way.
How do you keep learning? Podcast? Books? Audiobooks? Videos? Share some of your greatest sources of inspiration? Share an impactful story.
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: S: I’m not one for podcasts but I love reading online and Kiyomi loves to get stuck into a good book. Networking has honestly been the most powerful source of inspiration for me personally – I’m inspired by my friends who own businesses and prioritise surrounding myself with driven, like-minded, hardworking mums that love to juggle as much as we do.
K: I will never give up sitting down and reading a fresh book. I can’t listen to audiobooks, but I do love a good podcast! I find I keep learning just by doing. I have attended so many industry-specific trainings, and business education development courses, and find so much value in continuously seeking out learning experiences. I agree, networking and asking other women for their guidance and experiences have always been my greatest resource of inspiration. I will never turn a woman away who asks for my help, whether it be business or advice.
I’m sure our readers will be very thankful for the insights you have shared. Where can our readers follow up with you?
Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth: Our best point of contact would be via our personal Instagram pages (@glowskinstudiobysarah & @_thebrowbakery) and our booty skincare range can be found at @_buttne. We also like to shake things up – so have created a separate page for all of our before and after bootys at @_buttnepics
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth for taking the time to do this interview and share their knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Sarah Grace & Kiyomi Booth or their company, you can do it through their – Instagram
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