Milking it: How I Built an E-Commerce Empire
A Thought Leader is an innovator, someone who has experienced a hardship or a challenge and has invented the solution to eradicate that problem. Some of the world’s best innovations have been born out of frustration and pain, and this story is no different.
Feeling inspired after giving birth to her first child, Tu-Hien Le, with the help of her husband, started BeauGen to address the pain and alleviate struggle of breastfeeding. Since launching in 2016, BeauGen has helped tens of thousands of women find success with their breastfeeding journey. Indeed, in the space of a year, BeauGen rocketed from an income of $5k per month to an incredible $65k per month. BeauGen is all about 'making mommying feel good' and raising awareness of issues moms face in the early days of motherhood, while Tu-Hien has built an incredible community of moms who are all prepared to face the challenge together.
Having changed the lives of thousands of moms across the world, Tu-Hien has built her own coaching business as she coaches business owners on how to build, scale, and make money in their own product-based online business.
Liv: Tell me about where the idea for BeauGen came from.
Tu-Hien: The idea for BeauGen came after I had my daughter. I was struggling with my breastfeeding journey while we lived in New York. It was terrible and I always wondered how other women were able to do it, seemingly so effortlessly, and I couldn’t. My husband suggested that I couldn’t be the only woman having this problem, so I done a little research and of course found out that other women were in fact struggling like me.
We spoke to hundreds of women to figure out what their pain point was and what they needed help with.
We wanted to help people, and we ended up creating the breast pump cushion. It's a simple idea and no one had come up with an idea like it at that point, and there's a little bit of beauty in the simplicity of it too. We created over 40 different prototypes of the product, and finally launched version 41 into the market.
With a lot of word of mouth and promotion, we’ve got to where we are today.
Liv: How did you go about starting the business?
Tu-Hien: I started talking to people who I thought would be my ideal customers. I talked to a lot of moms who I knew were breastfeeding and tried to figure out exactly what their issue with the pain was.
We came up with a few designs and hired people to create the product for us. We didn’t have the perfect product, but I was once told you shouldn’t wait to launch something until it's perfect. If you don't launch something that you're a little bit unsure and embarrassed about then you've waited too long. The longer you wait to launch, the more time you’re losing, and you’re missing the opportunity to receive feedback and make both your product and your service better. The quicker you launch, the quicker you can get money and most importantly, you get given the feedback to refine your ideas.
Liv: I love that you have created such an amazing community online. You constantly blog in the hope of helping mums with any of a myriad of problems that they could have. How important has community been for you and your business?
Tu-Hien: It’s been massive. In the beginning we launched our cushion, which is our flagship product, and that was our entryway into building this community. The mom community was the one that really helped me figure out what the problem with breastfeeding was and helped guide me through delivering this product to them, so it was important for me to also build a brand that supported moms.
We want moms to feel like we’re their best friends through the entirety of their journey.
Liv: Was there a turning point for BeauGen when you really started to take things to the next level? What were the steps to scaling your business? After all, you went from $5k per month to $65k per month in just over a year!
Tu-Hien: I was really unsure in the beginning about how long we could last for and I was considering going back to pursue a job in corporate America.
I spoke to my friend and he pointed out that I was making money while putting very little effort into the business and suggested that, if I put more effort and time in, I could make more money.
It was a bit of a lightbulb moment; so I went for it. That’s when I started hiring a team and investing in marketing & advertising. The biggest change, however, was the mental work I undertook on changing my mindset; it really was life changing.
I started listening to motivational speeches and reading a lot about business and how you should look at things differently. I joined a mastermind course and was immediately surrounded and motivated by other likeminded, successful businesswomen who had been there and done it.
Being a CEO and entrepreneur can be lonely, and it can sometimes feel like nobody understands what you're doing and why you’re doing. Being around other women who know exactly what you're going through is extremely comforting and having that group to both support each other and share ideas has been amazing.
Liv: I absolutely love that your team is made up of stay at home mums and it is so inspiring. What is that they bring to the table that others can’t? Has it always been a goal of yours to get more women involved in business?
Tu-Hien: When I started building my team, I never intended to only hire moms; it just happened.
I stumbled upon this market of amazing, talented, smart women who wanted to work and to show what they can do, but couldn't sacrifice leaving their kids at home alone.
They had a certain amount of time that they want to dedicate to moving their career forward but at the same time, they still wanted family life.
The funny thing is, because we're moms, we have to be more efficient with our time and we end up getting so much more done as a result. I always tell my team that they're the one that makes the company so great.
Liv: Five years later, with over 30,000 moms impacted, it’s safe to say that you have achieved your goal. What’s the next aim for BeauGen and what does the future hold? I heard your goal is to help 100,000 moms on their journey!
Tu-Hien: It’s really exciting and I want to keep propelling the business forward. Right now, we're predominantly in North America, but I would love to get the product right across Europe and the rest of the world.
I want to become a global lifestyle brand. I know there's millions of women out there who could benefit from having BeauGen in their lives. BeauGen is not just about us helping moms; it’s about moms helping their babies. I want BeauGen to be a brand that women can go to and find comfort in; we want to be their best friend.
Motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster and we want to be the company that supports mothers. That’s the dream.
Liv: Having built a successful business, Tuhien, you now offer coaching services which is amazing! Tell me about what you are offering.
Tu-Hien: Through building BeauGen, I've learned so much about entrepreneurship and I've learned so much about business. I feel like it's my duty to help and share this knowledge with other entrepreneurs who are building product based e commerce businesses.
We start at the beginning of the journey and figure out how I can help you. I want to know what your goals for the business are. Is it a side hustle or is it a full time enterprise? Do you want to go alone or do you want to build a team?
It's hard to get somewhere when you don't know where you're going. Once we figure that out, then we can walk through the business processes to do with supply chains and different types of marketing. I’ll walk you through everything and help you every step of the way.