Today we have our second spotlight in the Brains and Beauty Behind the Brand series, featuring Alter Ego Body Care Products. Cynthia will be joining us in June at the premiere of Indie Expo Canada, from Wisconsin and sharing her amazing selection of nail polish, soaps, lotions, and even puppy shampoo! (which is amazing by the way)
Indie Expo Canada: How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, and goals.
Alter Ego: I went public with alter ego nail enamels in April 2012 but had been formally testing about 1 year before that. I am way older than most, I will be 62 this summer, that means I have been “doing mah nails” since I started high school in 1969! My mission is selfish, I need a creative outlet that can vary with ease and on my say-so :) as I am aging with a lifelong back issue, I also needed something that is lightweight and that I can handle it alone. My goal is to help finance my retirement and give me something to do during the life phase.
Indie Expo Canada: Tell us about your brand. What sets you apart?
Alter Ego: Because there is a color and a finish everyone, up until the last two releases, I always try to include an assortment of both color and finish in every collection I release.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your workspace like? Do you have any employees? Do you have plans to expand in the future?
Alter Ego: The “lab” is an extra bedroom. This house is small and while it has a basement it is a true basement-dank, damp, smelly and with gas fed appliances it is safer for me to be as far away from the intake as I can. I do not have employees, if I truly think I need help I put hubby in a full nelson and make him help lol! There may be expansion but I also would need total control over the quality of the products, I would not make it so big that I cannot oversee, spot check and train each and every person to produce products to my specification.
Indie Expo Canada: What are some of your business or creative goals for the next year? Three years? Five years?
Alter Ego: My goals are not etched in stone. The only goal is to make the business self sufficient, that it pays for itself. I will always be looking for new colors, new body care products, different ingredients.
Indie Expo Canada: What have you found to be the most rewarding? Challenging?
Alter Ego: Rewarding is when something is finished, whether it is a nail polish, a soap or a scent and it is exactly what I saw in my mind! The challenge is when I have tried to create a product and it doesn’t finish out to what I thought it would. I then try to discern if it is just my mind’s eye that is wrong or did I add the wrong ingredient or not mix it in the right order.
Indie Expo Canada: What can we expect to see from you in the next few years?
Alter Ego: Nail polish is my flagship and I will always release new colors. The body products I hope to continuously expand into new products. At this time I am in the process of testing lippies, for example. I also have thoughts to release perfume oils and expand the mens line to include lotions and creams. I would like to add more scents to puppegos as well. Because dogs systems can be so different than humans, that involves some painstaking and thorough research, I do not want to harm the furbebbehs! I would like to create a cats line of something as well but finding those products is proving to be the most difficult.
Indie Expo Canada: What inspires you in your creative process?
Alter Ego: That I can do it! I have been making things ever since I can remember and I think back to those other things and draw from those accomplishments and figure out how I can adapt those processes into what I do now. I have done embroidery- I prefer thread to crewel, sew, I prefer crochet to knitting, ceramics-I had a business for that back in IL in the late 80's, and have dabbled in a myriad of other crafts.
Indie Expo Canada: Do you have a favourite product or collection that you have created?
Alter Ego: Like children of all species, I have no faves 😊 If I don’t love it I don’t release it, that is all there is to that!
Indie Expo Canada: Tell me about how and why you chose your brand name.
Alter Ego: I chose alter ego because who doesn’t have one or two😊 ? we always talk of the many hats we wear, this is another name for that! when I decided to go public, a lot of indies were naming polishes with all the branches of media as inspiration-songs, movies, and television. I knew I needed something to set me apart so I thought of all the hopes, the dreams, the wishes of i-wish-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now. I name the polishes and some of the other body care products after functions people did/do/plan to do/want to do, such as jobs and hobbies.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your favourite season in relation to your brand?Alter Ego: I do not have a fave season for the brand. Egos are not much defined by seasons or holidays, It is actually hard to come up with a collex based on seasons or holidays for my theme, with so many other fabulous makers covering those I have a tendency to release my collex’s when I have them ready to go. I have tried to release a collex here and there around the seasons, but it is not a "have to" or me.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your favourite nail polish finish?
Alter Ego: It is not so much a fave as it is a matter of taste, they all have their place depending on the color.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your favourite type of nail art?
Alter Ego: I admire all art done by nail artists. I will be the first to tell you I can barely pain mah nails neatly never mind trying any kind of art!
Indie Expo Canada: What are your favourite scents?
Alter Ego: I prefer light musk and light floral. Nothing too heavy. I was taught scent is meant for up close and persona, not to announce you 20 feet away
Indie Expo Canada: What has been your biggest struggle? Your biggest accomplishment?
Alter Ego: The biggest struggle is getting noticed. The FT job pays for the bennies it supplies, I must honor that first. I work FT Monday thru Friday, I cannot maintain a constant presence in social media. I am also like a toddler that if I do anything in the evening I can't sleep, and I need to be well rested to do my FT job to the best ability I can do, or I will lose it. There is so much to do on the weekends when I have the time that sometimes I have set an alarm to stop one thing and start something else. The biggest accomplishment is being noticed- A kind comment on social media, a sale of any size, every shout out of any kind is just as thrilling and justifies that I am worthy of other people's time and effort. 😊
Indie Expo Canada: Is Alter Ego Body Care Products a full time job, or do you have another job as well?
Alter Ego: I do have a FT job. I am union, I must do a certain amount of work that is averaged over the business month and if I do not do that, I will lose my job. With unions there is no “looking the other way” or “we like you, we will make an exception”, everyone is treated exactly the same. It is my goal to make alter ego body care products self sufficient so I can leave the ft job and concentrate solely on AE, this is taking longer because I cannot devote all my energies to AE at the moment.
Indie Expo Canada: What has been most surprising in this journey?
Alter Ego: That my peers, other makers, make me feel as if I do belong in their company, that I am one of them. I had another maker sum it up perfectly-“we are in competition with each other but we are tight with each other”. I cannot begin to describe how much that means, what an honor it is to be included in such an amazing, magnificent and spectacular group of people!
Indie Expo Canada: Tell us about you. What other hobbies, talents, or passions do you have? What do you do in your spare time?
Alter Ego: I have no spare time, every minute not working the ft job is spent working on alter ego. Hubby thinks I am on the desktop or the phone playing, chatting, gaming-I cannot make the man understand maybe 1% is perusing the news!
Indie Expo Canada: Is there anything about you that people would be surprised to know?
Alter Ego: A lady-even an old one like me-never tells her secrets!
Indie Expo Canada: What is your current best selling product?
Alter Ego: That depends on who is looking for what. Of course the nail polish is most popular online because I am in this world online. When I do the local shows, people’s interest vary by whatever is their want at the moment.
Indie Expo Canada: Looking back to the beginning, what’s the one thing you wish you would have known?
Alter Ego: That suppliers that will sell to indies might stop, that they discontinue needed supplies as regularly as clothing manufacturers do!
Indie Expo Canada: Any spoilers or sneak peeks of upcoming products or projects?
Alter Ego: I am hoping to bring some samples of products in the works [to IEC] 😊 we had a little setback personally that affects the business so I may not be able to, but I will do everything I can to do this!
Indie Expo Canada: Describe yourself in 5 words.
Alter Ego: Quiet, absorbent, accepting, understanding, thoughtful
Indie Expo Canada: How do you come up with the names your polishes/products?
Alter Ego: The theme I chose is so much harder than I thought it would ever be! I always get suggestions for “reader”, “cat lady” and ‘dancer”-these are far too vague! Trying to define functions is such a way to not lock up a title has become quite the challenge 😊
Indie Expo Canada: Tell us about your creative process.
Alter Ego: It is a combination of seeing a color and finding a name for it or seeing the color, whether in my minds eye or in person, and finding a way to create it good enough to be make a attractive product out if it.
Indie Expo Canada: What does ‘Indie’ mean to you?
Alter Ego: Independent, not encumbered or beholden to another entity for any reason. This can be including but not limited to financial, ingredients or needing permission/approval to release products.
Indie Expo Canada: If you were an animal or a superhero, what would you be and why?
Alter Ego: There are too many to define only one! I want to not need sleep, to not have time to eat, xray vision, faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, faster than a cheetah, as forgiving as a dog and un-caring as cat amongst other super powers 😊
Indie Expo Canada: Are you morning person or a night owl?
Alter Ego: The ft job requires a morning person, hubby would love a night person, I think my best time for alertness and productivity is mid-morning to mid-evening 😊 I do my best if I have time to ‘relax” awake and to de-compress for sleep.
That sums up every single question that was sent to Cynthia to answer. Hopefully it has given you little insight into the Brains and the Beauty Behind Alter Ego Body Care Products.
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