By Pauleanna Reid
By the age of nine, young Danika Berry was already buzzing with the spirit of entrepreneurialism. When most pre-teens were watching cartoons, Berry was writing her mother contracts to negotiate household chores. As an adult, an interest in being an on-air personality led her to the world of television production. Berry’s tenacity and natural talent helped her produce shows for major networks including ABC, USA and OWN. She then went on to become Product Manager/Publicist for Music World Entertainment, the management company for world-renowned musical group, Destiny’s Child. Under the fierce tutelage of Matthew Knowles, Berry developed an impenetrable grit and self-confidence that would shape the rest of her career.
It was that grit that led her to start her own communications consulting firm almost 20 years ago. Strategist to the stars, Berry has become the go-to publicist for some of the biggest personalities in the entertainment industry, including Tami Roman, Rasheeda Frost and Quad Webb-Lunceford. Leveraging over two decades of experience in strategic communications and reputation management, Berry is now putting her expertise to work for her own product-based business, Glam Body.
Founded in 2017, Glam Body is Berry’s first foray into the beauty business and is already taking the industry by storm with its uniquely and ethically formulated coffee scrubs. After a devastating divorce, Berry fell into a deep depression, and soon noticed the effects of stress manifesting on her body. “I had to do something to take away from my skin flaring up,” says Berry. “My eczema became really, really bad, and steroids were not working. No prescribed medication helped me.” With the love and support of her mother and friends, Berry focused in on her own self-care. Wanting to steer clear of the harsh medications, she began to research more natural solutions for her skin ailments and came across the benefits of coffee scrubs. “I read about coffee scrubs and I tried them, but I didn’t like them,” says Berry. “Whether it was the smell of them or how they felt, they were too harsh on the skin. And I just said, you know what? I can just make this myself!” After eight months of diligent research and formula experimentation, that’s just what she did.
Glam Body offers a variety of luxurious cruelty-free coffee scrubs with a wide range of benefits from brightening and tightening the skin to reducing the appearance and irritation of acne, eczema, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and dark spots. A product of Berry’s own self-care journey, the brand is dedicated to helping women fall in love with themselves and feel confident in their skin. With zero outside funding, Glam Body’s success is a measure of Berry’s innate business acumen and immeasurable drive. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Berry to learn her favorite tips for launching a successful product-based business.
Collaborate With Larger Companies
Berry leverages her 20 years of experience as a publicist to build effective communication strategies for Glam Body. She states that your strategy is a practical tool that should include your ideal customer profile, distinct key messaging, the appropriate social channels or media partners you’ll collaborate with and tactics you’ll use to reach your end goal. With the understanding that most startup founders don’t have the capital to hire a publicist, Berry suggests to start by using LinkedIn, Hunter.io and Rocket Reach to research beauty editors and industry gatekeepers who can review your products on their platforms. The path will not be linear so you’ll have to be strategic in your approach. Target the right person within the brand. It doesn’t have to be the executive either. Google and find out who the assistant of the executive is and spark a relationship on a different level to work your way up. Berry recalls her co-branded partnership with Benefits Cosmetics and Kylie Skin as a result of turning a conversation into a lead. Glam Body was featured in their influencer mail outs which exposed her to thousands of new potential customers. “It all starts with a simple hello. Don’t overthink the process. If you bring a quality product to the market, you’ll get the right attention at the right time. But you have to be patient and believe in yourself. If you are not excited about the product, don’t expect anyone else to be.” New entrepreneurs are often understandably protective over their operations. They fear being taken advantage of or railroaded by bigger businesses. However, the worst thing you can do as a new or smaller business is cut off potential partnerships by isolating yourself.
Prioritize Influencer Marketing
Traditional advertisements will always be crucial, but especially for product-based businesses, influencer marketing is important. If you do not have a budget, you should either use excellent organic content or partner with micro-influencers who have a niche fanbase between 1,000-10,000 followers that is more relevant and have a higher engagement rate. Influencer marketing is a great way to build trust of a reputable name and drive clicks and sales back to your business page. And, micro-influencers have their finger on the pulse of what their audience is looking for. You can also offer products and special deals in exchange for posting. Berry suggests that business owners carefully monitor their influencer campaigns so they can track analytics and see exactly where a spike in sales is coming from. “Being that Glam Body is offered only online, it’s important that our team sets a specific goal for our campaigns. Do you want to turn the social media users into customers or do you want to boost visitors to your website? The tools I use to track analytics include social engagement, click-through rate, and sales/conversions with a coupon code and views.”
Do Your Research – Exhaustively. Perfect Your Product Experience
Starting a business is not as simple as having a great product – it’s about having a product that stands out. For Berry, that meant doing her due diligence to research other coffee scrubs in the market. By understanding what works and doesn’t work about existing products within your niche, you can refine your formula, design, packaging, and user experience to set your brand apart from the competition while assuring the best possible product for your customers. But the product experience isn’t just for service businesses. Product-based businesses need to be able to bring a consistent, impactful and signature experience to each customer in the comfort of their own home. From packaging and taglines to ingredients and scents, focus on the feelings you’re leaving your customers with after using your product. For Glam Body, the catchy tagline, “Get Dirty with Us” demonstrates a fun and relatable brand personality before customers even use the scrubs. Berry also launched another successful campaign called “The Dirtiest Clean Ever,” a play on words that got fans excited. “When the coffee scrub is used in the shower or bath, it tends to get a tad bit messy, but it’s a good messy! Once you are done washing the coffee scrub off your body, you’ll have the cleanest and softest exfoliated skin,” says Berry.
Finally, don’t try to do it all alone. Berry leans heavily on the wisdom of friends and fellow product-based entrepreneurs like Camille Rose Naturals CEO, Janelle Stephens, and Curls CEO, Mahisha Dellinger. She names Dellinger an influential mentor and credits her with helping Berry to avoid a lot of unnecessary pitfalls while navigating the launch and operations of her business. By remaining open to the expertise of others, you expand your own knowledge and scale faster.
In the coming year, Berry plans to continue Glam Body’s success with an expansion into retail. She has most recently joined 25 Black Women in Beauty, a collective helping Black woman entrepreneurs achieve equity and visibility within the beauty industry. A loving mother to three children, Berry attributes her overwhelming personal and professional excellence to the empowering example set by her mother, Brenda Berry, her grandmothers, Laura Mae Fontenot, Ardella Bonner, Alice Owens Caufield.