January 2018 - Mercedes Glasgow

Mercedes Glasgow is the perfect example of a "mompreneur." From homeschooling her little ones and running a household to starting and running her own business her story is nothing short of inspiring. When I first met her I knew I wanted to feature her as Entrepreneur of the Month, and I am so happy she accepted the offer!

Check out Mercedes' interview below: 

What made you decide to start your own business?

Even as a child I was business minded. I guess you can say I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I remember making neat key chains by hand, using beads by the bucket from craft stores and selling them at my mom’s nail salon in a flea mall. I made animals, flags, and cute little creations. I also made jewelry sets using jewelry kits from craft stores and sold them from my mom’s salon as an add-on to the purchased service.

I began working legally as an employee as early as I could while in high school. From my very first job, I always had a strong work ethic and took every job I had very seriously. I saw my jobs as a way to build myself and whatever company I was working for at the time. As I grew older, I found myself wearing multiple hats albeit with one title, doing all I could to add to the businesses I worked for.

As much as I enjoyed building others and helping others fulfill their own business endeavors, I realized if I used my gifts and acquired skills to build myself up in the same way I would no longer have to work for someone else, but could instead be my fully creative self, continue helping others, and still get paid for it in the process. 

How did you get started making hair and skin products?

Honestly, it was a complete accident. I have operated service-based businesses in the past. However, I never really saw myself starting a product-based business before IXXI was born, let alone creating hair care and skin care products.

My husband and two year-old son suffer from eczema. My son’s eczema began to worsen and his flare-ups were turning red. We tried different store-bought creams, from Aveeno and other baby creams especially made for eczema to hydrocortisone, and you name it. None of it worked.

I began to research natural remedies and found that Shea Butter has great healing properties for dry skin and eczema, among other natural oils and butters I currently use in my products. I started playing with recipes and eventually perfected a formula, making sure to keep all the butters unrefined for the best results. I loved the end product, even for myself and I don’t happen to suffer from dry skin. A little under a month of consistent exclusive usage, I noticed I could no longer even find my son’s eczema. It was invisible. I could not feel it either. The same occurred with my husband. His eczema just went away.

At this point, it made sense to replace my family’s store-bought lotions with my body butter. It’s all we used – my husband, two kids, and I. I felt much more comfortable knowing every single ingredient that went into what we were putting on our bodies than not even being able to pronounce many of the ingredients on our former creams and lotions. After about three months of making this change for my own family, I noticed my skin was so soft and silky. It literally felt like a baby’s bottom and I started to get compliments from friends and family.

I really enjoyed the scent, as well. My first blends included coconut and vanilla essential oils. I started thinking, “If my friends and family are giving me compliments and they want to try it, then I should make it available to others, as well.” And so began the birth of IXXI.

Just this week, we added Luxe Natural Hair Butter to our online shop. It was a natural next step to take, as we are all about promoting self-care here at IXXI. It only seemed right to add hair care to our skin care products. Still, it began in much the same way as my creation of our Luxe Natural Whipped Body Butter. I figured if I was able to create an all-natural product to make my skin glow and feel silky smooth, surely I could do the same for my hair and my daughter’s hair.

Additionally, a few customers sent me messages about how well our body butter worked on their hair, as well as their skin. This pushed me to do some research on what oils and butters are great for moisturizing the hair, are rich in vitamins, promote hair growth and are great for the scalp, as well as making the hair feel silky smooth. My research resulted in the perfect combination of butters and oils, and so became Luxe Natural Hair Butter.

As was the case with our body butter, our hair butter is currently the sole product I use in my daughter’s and my hair for styling. After receiving tons of compliments about how healthy our hair looks and how soft it feels, I knew it would be the perfect addition to our online shop. After all, confidence is beautiful, and our products definitely add to our customer’s confidence and self-care regimens. 

What motivates you?

My number one motivation is my faith. It motivates and drives me knowing that a greater purpose was placed in me and I am called to bring that to fruition. Everything I do is grounded in my understanding of that and my desire to carry it out.

My family certainly motivates me, as well. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who is and always has been a great provider and works tirelessly to make sure our family has all we could want and need. I would love nothing more than to be able to say to him one day, “Relax, take a month off. I’ve got this.” My children look up to me. They’re with me all day long. For those who do not know, I am a homeschooling mom. As a firm believer of leading by example, I want to show them there are no limits to what we can achieve other than the limits we place on ourselves.

Last but most certainly not least, my customers motivate me. Knowing there’s a need that I fulfill every time someone purchases a product that I’ve created brings me joy, whether it’s something a bit more serious like eczema or simply the need to indulge in luxe skin care to feel good after a long hot bath at the end of a long work day. I have learned that every gift given to me by my Creator is not for me to keep to myself, but to share with others. If only one person found value in my products and benefited from it, I’d be happy knowing I contributed to that and that I found joy in doing so.

What is one thing you’ve learned so far on your entrepreneurial journey?

LOL. I have to laugh because the learning curve has been so real that I could write a book in answer to this question, and maybe I will one day soon. *Insert wink* For the sake of choosing one to discuss here today, I’d have to say my most important lesson thus far has been to get out of my own way. Just do it; just take that leap!

I stopped myself for years, talking in circles in my own head about how X, Y, Z was not yet where I wanted it to be. Another thing I’ve experienced since a young child is perfectionism. It’s both my strength and my weakness, depending on how I choose to apply it and when. In this case, I let it hold me back for far too long because I kept telling myself I could not do this or that or launch this business without the perfect website and the perfect marketing strategy and the best social media strategies in place, and perfect to-die-for labels and packaging, and so on and so forth.

Let me tell you what made me snap out of that one, besides my older sister who stayed on top of me and kept pushing me to just begin. I realized one of my own qualities I’ve always admired about myself was my transparency. It has aided me in being relatable to others, and it is oftentimes what makes others feel comfortable to be themselves around me, which often leads to them confiding in me and eventually seeking advice from me.

I should add that I am a writer, and I have a personal blog that touches on various different topics from lifestyle to business, etc. My blog is titled Take a Ride in My Mercedes. I came up with this title as an obvious play on my name, but even more so because I wanted to bring my followers along with me on my journey in life, as well as in business. I felt it extremely important, in order for anyone to understand my heart and to find value in whatever I share with them, that they would also have to witness my growth firsthand.

That cannot happen if you only show the pretty angles and the victories, but are too afraid to show the speed bumps and obstacles you may have had to overcome to get where you are now, not to mention the ones still ahead. So I chose to adopt this mindset with IXXI, as well. I decided if I was waiting for everything to be perfect before beginning, I was never going to begin.

It is important to me that my current customers and future customers be able to witness the growth of IXXI in real-time. Let everyone see that it was more important for me to make our products available to them and provide a seamless shopping experience, rather than getting hung up on all the bells and whistles and eventually losing sight of IXXI altogether. There’s a high chance if I had gone that route, IXXI would have never been.

What is one goal you have set for 2018?

My goal for 2018 is to acquire wholesale contracts with a few retail stores, raise awareness about the importance of self-care and confidence in today’s world, and to continue creating without thinking twice, from new products to my writing. If nothing else, I can say I put my best foot forward and did not stand in my own way. I can only go forward from there.

Links to website and social media sites:

www.ixxibody.com

FB: www.facebook.com/ixxiluxebodybutter

IG: @ixxiluxebodybutter

Personal Blog: http://mercedesglas.wixsite.com/blog