Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mary Spinelli, Founder of Hyssop Beauty Apothecary, located in Nutley, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Hyssop Beauty Apothecary creates gender-neutral, small-batch, handcrafted skincare and beauty products using all-natural ingredients. We also use sustainable ingredients, packaging materials & manufacturing methods. A cruelty-free company, we never test on animals. We serve the local Nutley, NJ community from our retail store and anyone seeking truly natural skincare through our website. Our products are also available to customers in over 30 boutiques, spas, and refill shops throughout the United States.

Tell us about yourself

Having always practiced a natural and clean lifestyle, I became frustrated trying to locate skincare products that were as clean as implied on the label. I am inspired daily to provide people with skin care products that are good for them, our environment and free from animal testing. Many of our customers have skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It is the most satisfying moment when a customer tries our products and returns to the store to show me their progress.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

After two years of making and selling my skincare line at farmers' markets, craft fairs, and holiday events, I opened a retail store. Three months later, the world was confronted with a global pandemic and everything shut down. After making some quick swaps on my production timeline, I launched my hand sanitizer. I added local delivery to my website and increased the production of my handmade soap. These three small changes enabled me to operate my new business solo through the COVID-19 pandemic. And the local delivery was so well received by the local community that it is now a standard delivery option.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Letting go! A new business takes a lot of hard work, and it's so difficult for a business owner to allow others to take the reins. But, once a team is in place, your business can grow exponentially. And trust me, you'll be so grateful to have some help!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Just start your business. If you're going to sell something, then either make it or get it fabricated and sell it right away. Don't worry about the little details like business cards, logos, and your website. Start by generating an income, and the rest will fall into place.
  2. Run your business lean. Especially in the beginning, when you're just starting to make an income, be extremely discerning about every single purchase. Spend your money on the things that will make your business grow.
  3. And lastly, do what you love! Many people think that starting a business gives you lots of free time, but it's quite the opposite! You will work longer and harder than you've ever imagined, so you should love what you're doing! As your business matures, your time will become a little more flexible.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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