We kicked things off last week at our first ever in-person event for Naturally San Diego!
Launching this organization right at the start of the pandemic, we have seen success and solid attendance at our virtual events, and now we are thrilled to bring the community together in real life. Jaime Schmidt, Founder of Schmidt’s Naturals was our guest on our regular Founder Series Programming. Our Founder Series is an opportunity for our network to hear from inspiring leaders in the community on the stories and experiences that got them where they are today – all in a candid and captivating interview hosted by Matt Clifford, CEO of KetoKrisp.
Jaime’s entrepreneurial story began in 2010 when she became pregnant with her son, Oliver. It was then that she really started to research her food and personal-care products. She found many inadequacies with the then-selection of natural deodorants and started making batches in her kitchen and gave them away to friends and family. Everyone gave her rave reviews and she continued to make deodorant for the local farmers market. Before she knew it, Jaime was at multiple farmers markets, and in talks with local, independent retailers.
From her home kitchen, to a commercial kitchen, to eventually a full-blown manufacturing facility with 150 employees, Schmidt’s Naturals became a force of nature in the deodorant category. Today, the product is in Walmart, Target, Costco and 30,000+ other retailers across the country and sold internationally – all without taking a single cent from investors.
She told our group of natural products folks the hilarious and truthful stories of what it’s actually like behind the scenes to build a major brand from her kitchen through acquisition. In 2017, Schmidt’s Naturals was acquired by Unilever, a consumer goods giant – and she still remains very active in the business.
What is on her plate today? For starters, the family moved to San Diego and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome them to our community. Jaime and her husband, Chris started an investment firm, Color Capital. Color Capital invests primarily in Seed to Series A, and specializes in the consumer product industry, retail and emerging commerce platforms. AND last Fall she wrote a book about her journey, Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms. She is staying busy, to say the least!
Here are five things we learned from Jaime Schmidt on being an entrepreneur:
- One step at a time: While you should definitely plan for the future, focus on what’s on your plate and deliver in the short term. Do not get too far ahead of yourself.
- Embrace naivety and live in the moment: The only thing she thought about was that she was going to succeed. She wasn’t jaded by failure and had a high tolerance for risk.
- Take photos at every stage of your company: You can never have too many photos of your version of the “home kitchen” stage, or photos of your first few employees. You’ll look back with nostalgia in years to come.
- Bring in your children into the business: Her young son, Oliver, has always been an active member of the business, so much so that he carried around a product development notebook and took notes whenever he was inspired.
- Believe in your product and yourself: We asked when she knew she was going to be successful, she answered “day one.” And elaborated to say, “I knew my product was needed and I pushed it to as many people as I could. If they didn’t believe it in the same way I did, that was on them.” She never wavered on her ability to succeed, or her products’ ability to be sold at mass quantities.
Learn more about Jaime here.
ABOUT Naturally San Diego:
Naturally San Diego is the collaborative community that advances and champions the ecosystem that makes up the natural and organic products industry. We are a community and home to natural and organic products makers and the organizations that enable and support them.
NSD was founded in 2019 and is part of the Naturally Network Organization, under which other affiliates — Austin, Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and North Bay — also sit. We represent San Diego and show unique local culture, while also being able to share in the greater, national community. Together we advance conscious business practices for the natural and organic products industry. We’re changing our industry for good.