We had the good fortune of connecting with Erinne Lester and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erinne, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Ever since I was young I had a knack for smell. From humble beginnings of mixing my mother’s perfumes, to owning a business that supports my family, the only major stepping stones were a friend’s suggestion, and giving up all my spare time! The business began for me just out of college and fresh from my seasonal job at Lush Cosmetics. They hired me on the spot because I did my homework, studying the industry inside and out before even attending their job fair. Even though I had all of this knowledge about the cosmetics industry, making my own bath bombs never occurred to me as an option. That is, until a good friend of mine suggested in passing that I should try to make my own bath bombs. With that suggestion, I had an idea just crazy enough to work. My idea was to mix my knowledge of the cosmetics industry with my passion for video games, pop culture and Japanese animation. I attended comic cons for fun in the past, and I desperately wanted to be able to attend every one I possibly could, so I decided I would travel to conventions locally. They say innovation is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. This is especially true when trying to make bath bombs in a hot, humid area like southern Louisiana. It took months of prototyping my bath bomb recipe in my parents’ computer room on my minimum wage salary, but before long I finally had a working prototype of the Pokemon Egg bath bomb. Some of the oldest Twootie Tarte fans will remember when I launched my first big hit, the Pokemon Egg bath bomb. Due to its popularity I eventually began getting offers from the conventions themselves to sell my products, and have since been blessed to travel all across the southern US to spread good hygiene to people who need it most- gamers. Just a few years later and it is now my primary income source, allowing me and my husband to work safely through the pandemic. It’s astounding to think that something my friend said casually would eventually lead to changing my entire life for the better.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think it’s inspiring to look back and see how much more motivated I have become- in regards to doing my business for a living. Most people will see where I am, but not the struggle within that it took to get there. Days of researching social media trends, mold-making techniques, packaging, wholesale pricing, and many more aspects go into making just one single successful product. With a business model like mine, having several new concepts be made every month, it is a constant burden worth carrying. I have had a fair share of hardships, but I’m incredibly thankful for the support my family gave me when I was just starting out. I made a difficult leap of faith quitting my job, but my parents embraced my decision with open arms. In addition, my grandfather loaned me some money so I could begin making my own designs in order to make truly custom bath products. That made a huge difference for me, giving me an edge above those who are new to my business’s space. I was raised to value the importance that others have in shaping and impacting your life. Without those life lessons, as well as the emotional and financial support, I would not have grown the business nearly as quickly as I have managed to do. Having a business has also helped me learn a lot about myself. I am often so dedicated to keep my business running smoothly I will go beyond my physical limits to make it happen. I should clarify that when your work is something you truly love, you don’t even realize you’re behind on your own personal life. I’ve also learned that running a business means you get to make your own schedule, but if you’re successful it means you have no free time. Most days I take 30 minutes to wake up, then work tirelessly, only stopping to eat, until I’m ready to sleep. I then take a bath and do it all again the next day (If it weren’t for me taking a relaxing bath at the end of the day, I definitely couldn’t do it.). I’d say the one thing that really sets Twootie Tarte apart from other companies is my personal dedication to my fans. When I sold at events you could talk to me for hours about how much I love what I do. Even those I roomed with when I was away from the sales floor got to hear an earful of banter about the business. Setting up a relationship with my fans is my primary focus at those events, especially understanding they are the catalyst for my success. I’m always thinking of my top fans when considering new products, ways to improve, and sometimes even discounts! I’ve learned outreach is invaluable to growing a brand, and having fans that are as passionate as I am just naturally grows the business organically. A few unwavering lessons in my industry is to be yourself, create your business around your supporters, and if you are willing to sacrifice every fiber of your being to see yourself succeed, you probably will succeed. A lot of people around me say I’m the hardest working person they know. I put in 90+ hours a week for a purpose, to avoid working 40 hours for a paycheck.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve had the pleasure of living in Texas for a year and a few days, and during that year I learned some great spots to eat and shop near me. Unfortunately, any plans I had to explore new things outside of my general place of residence were halted by Covid19. I’d love to explore some theme parks in the state with my friends, whether it be Six Flags Over Texas or Fiesta. I also have heard great things about the Nexus gaming Cafe in Waco, and once things open up you bet your bottom dollar I’ll be going there for my next mini-vacation! One of my favorite stores in the Houston area I like to visit is Kuroshiro Kawaii. It’s located in Katy and the shop owners are absolutely amazing. They actually carry a few Twootie Tarte products there, so it’s always nice to stop by.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To name a few, my husband; Sean, my loving parents, family and every Twootie Tarte fan that has supported me with their hard-earned money. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t the rock solid support of every single person who believed in me, and for that I am utterly grateful.
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@twootietarte
Rex Oculus Photography