We had the good fortune of connecting with Phoenix Gonzalez and Sandra McCurdy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phoenix & Sandra, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Our thought process was very organic! Silked was born out of necessity. As two diverse women of color silk was never a beauty secret in our lives, it was in fact a constant nightly ritual that our mothers and grandmothers performed to promote healthy hair and smooth, moisture-rich skin. For centuries, women have incorporated silk or satin scarves around their head or over their eyes to promote the integrity of their hair, face and skin; we wanted to create an easy and accessible way to share this age-old, age-defying secret with the world and in April 2017 they established Silked in Los Angeles, California. Driven by a desire to share a more environmentally responsible, innovative, and travel-friendly pillowcase that would offer a convenient and versatile way to boost beauty sleep; we invented the Silked Pillow Sleeve. The next steps we took were all gut instincts, we made prototypes and gave them to our girlfriends and their little girls to test out for 4 weeks. What came next was crowdfunding, our girlfriends all told us if we launched a campaign they would support us, so we did in the summer of 2017! After 60 days through friends and family, we had raised $4000 which gave us the funds needed to work with a manufacturing company in LA where we built our pattern and produced 128 units that we then delivered to all of our funders for Christmas of 2017! In early 2018 having the product in hand, we decided to launch a direct-to-consumer website. Over the past three years, Silked has refined and enhanced our beauty product line from Silk and Satin Pillow Sleeves, continuing with our tradition of offering naturals ways to preserve our skin and hair and added Silk Eye Masks, Face Masks, and Hair Scrunchies helping our customers boost their beauty, day and night! With self-care at the top of our minds, our brand’s products stand out in today’s world where more people are working from home, enjoying simple luxuries, and creating their own sanctuaries. To date, Silked has had the great honor of reaching over half a million women across the World!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As two female founders we decided to not take investment instead, we choose the path of slow and steady wins the race. We had been offered the opportunity early on to take investment for 50% of our business but when we evaluated what investment would mean to us we quickly realized it wasn’t the way we would want to grow. Our key to success was to produce small units to start and keep reinvesting in the business. Because both founders came from entertainment in front of the camera and behind we capitalized on our skillset, with the idea that if we built a strong brand presence and stayed consistent with our homegrown marketing eventually we hit a turning point in the market where our brand would become established. This truly worked for us so much so that in our 3rd year of operating we found ourselves being approached by TJX Company who has taken us across the USA inside of Marshall’s, TJMaxx, and now into Canada inside of Winner another one of their stores. One of our biggest lessons learned building this business is that it’s okay to say NO when big brands coming knocking if you’re not ready. Saying no is not a definitive thing if you keep the door open and nurture the relationship with complete honesty, eventually the day comes when you can take advantage of these opportunities!
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?
Well, that’s pretty easy! First off we would start with a Breakfast and a Hike in Topanga Canyon to visit the Labyrinth in Tuna Park Canyon that overlooks the Valley and Malibu it truly is breathtaking. Next up we would take them down the coast to visit the beach towns like Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Newport, and Laguna to take in the food, shopping, and beach life! From there we would have to visit some of our favorite Museums like The Getty and LACMA. For dining, we would definitely want to make sure we take them out to The Ace Hotel, as well as Perch for dinner. For breakfast, we would visit The Penthouse and Herringbone. For sure we would want to make sure our friend gets in a good amount of sightseeing at places like Lake Hollywood, The Hollywood Sign, Griffth Observatory, and out to Ventura county!
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?
Wow, we are so grateful for so many people who have lifted us up along the way. If we had to pick just one we would have to say Elycia Rubin Lifestyle Expert, Content Creator, and Published Children’s Author of the book “No Biggy!”, for helping us get the Pillow Sleeve under the heads of half a million women to date. It took us 2 years of many baby steps but with her guidance, we were given the opportunity of a lifetime to work with an amazing brand Fab Fit Fun that has a built-in audience of over 2 Million female customers. Peer mentorship is truly one of the biggest keys to success!
Photo’s By Silked LLC.