Owner, Komfort Zone
Owner, Komfort Zone
Yvonne Oxley wasn’t at all comfortable with what the dermatologist told her. The expensive steroid cream that could help her young son’s eczema would thin the boy’s skin out leaving him susceptible to bruising and scarring. “I knew there had to be a better way,” she said, “so I did some research and found that natural soap could help. The relief was almost immediate.”
After months of purchasing the bars online, Yvonne was struck with an idea. “I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make the soap myself. I developed three recipes and started giving bars to family and friends. It wasn’t long until people wanted to buy more. And that’s when I realized I didn’t want this to be a hobby … I wanted this to be a business.”
Today, more than eight years after launching Komfort Zone, Yvonne has expanded her merchandise line to include 30 different varieties of natural soap along with lotions, beard oils, sugar scrubs and body butters. In addition to her full-time job as an executive assistant, she spends her evenings and weekends hand-making batches of products, fulfilling online and wholesale orders, promoting her goods on social media, and working on her product packaging and image. “I’ve sold well over 25,000 bars of soap alone at this point,” she said.
Despite her established success and marketing expertise, Yvonne enrolled in the Women’s Business Development Council’s “GPS: A Guide to Plan for Success” program for entrepreneurs. The course, she said, was “an eye-opener.”
“I sat down with advisors Carol (Cheswick) and Janet (Siegenthaler) and ran the numbers. They let me see which products were selling, which were profitable, which we needed to push a little more and which I should consider discontinuing. We also discussed things such as marketing strategy, overhead and markup.”
“Hearing (CEO) Fran (Pastore) speak about all of the grants and loans for women that aren’t being used simply because we don’t know about them was remarkable,” she said. “It inspired me to think about where I can take my own business.”
The marketing-savvy Bridgeport resident is busily refining Komfort Zone’s business plan which she will use (with the Women’s Business Development Council’s help) to access the grants and other funding she needs to expand her home business into a functional working space for additional employees. It’s the first step in her five-year plan that she expects will ultimately conclude with her devoting 100% of her energies to her business.
“I would tell any woman that the Women’s Business Development Council truly believes in us. They are there to help you grow your business out of this world!”
For more information visit www.komfort-zone.net.