S2 E12: Jennifer McKay Newton & Hannah Toporoff (DefineMe Fragrances): Replicating an in-person buying experience online


On today’s episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Jennifer McKay Newton, Founder & CEO, and Hannah Toporoff, Social Media + Marketing Coordinator, at DefineMe Fragrances. DefineMe Fragrances is a clean, every-day fragrance brand all about bringing out your emotions through fragrance. On this episode we chat about;

  • the founder story of DefineMe,
  • the science behind fragrance and emotion,
  • hidden easter eggs in each butterfly logo,
  • evoking what a scent smells like online,
  • how DefineMe’s crystal infused perfumes are paired with scents,
  • the launch of their hair fragrances and educating customers around products that go into your hair,
  • the DefineMe Goddess Gang,
  • TikTok learnings and #perfumetok,
  • using the post-purchase experience to retain customers,
  • as well as preparing for BFCM with email and SMS messages, gift guides, and bundles.

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


fragrance, people, scent, crystals, brand, butterfly, candles, feel, perfume, started, hair, tick tock, buy, kahana, goddess, product, instagram, tik tok, alicia, hannah


Hannah Toporoff, Mariah Parsons, Jennifer McKay Newton, Alicia Gaba

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. So hello, everyone. Today we have a very exciting episode here with Hannah and Jennifer at define me fragrance. And we're also joined by Alicia who is our head of strategy here at Malomo. So we are going to first dive in Hannah and Jennifer, I'm going to have both you say hi and just give a little bit, you know, top the level background on who both of you are and what to find me is.

Jennifer McKay Newton 01:23

Hi, I'm Jennifer McKay Newton, I'm the founder and CEO to find me, I launched to find me back in 2015. sort of as a way to it's kind of there's kind of a long story behind it, I can go into that. But um, you know, I had a background in interior design, and I just ended up being a fragrance founders. So it's kind of an interesting journey, and story.

Mariah Parsons 01:50

Yeah, we love that. We'll definitely want to get into that deeper. But beforehand, if you want to say hi, and give your background Hi,

Hannah Toporoff 01:56

I'm Hannah. I'm the Marketing Coordinator here at define me. I'm from Massachusetts, originally, I went to school for marketing and Hampshire. I've been out in LA for about seven years now. And I've been able to find me for a year and a half.

Mariah Parsons 02:12

Wow. Okay, perfect. So this is a perfect lead up to tell us all about to find me, Jennifer, you mentioned it, your background lit a little bit, and how you turn that into a fragrance brand. So can you tell us like the founder story of defining the fragrance? And you know, kind of how you found yourself going from interior design to founding your own brand?

Jennifer McKay Newton 02:32

Yeah, sure. So I was a designer as around 2008 2009, I was really burnt out. The economy was in like the pits and people weren't looking to design their houses, they were losing their houses. And I was just really kind of frustrated and felt a little lost at this time. And so I was like, I'm just gonna go back to my roots. In industrial design, I had studied interior and product design, industrial design. And, but I was like, I want to do something that's meaningful. And that creates well being that people really connect to not something that you would just throw away when you're done with it. And so one of the first I launched this, this line called is another brand called pure science for living. And the first product that he launched are these boxes, and they were, they were called blessings boxes. And they work for special occasions like baby showers and weddings, birthdays and things like that. And it was essentially this kit that you would lay out and then you would write notes to the you know, if the baby shower, the wedding wishes, blessings, things like that. And then you would keep it was a keepsake. One of the components had to be a candle, right? So I started to light the candle. And when I I had never worked with scent before or made candles before. And so I was working with a candle maker in Northern California and I asked her you know, what do you got? What kind of sense do you have I need something for birthday, I need something for wedding and she sent me a box full of tea lights and they were all really OneNote so there was like vanilla or lavender or pomegranate. And I thought they were all kind of boring and weren't exactly what I wanted. So I ended up literally melting candles and doing my own little concoctions with the material she had sent me and then I would send her back a note and say oh you for the baby box I need 10% of this and 20% of this and 30 You know and so I began kind of connecting sent to an inspiration or a special a word or meaning. And so then that that turned into its own line of candles because people really resonated with the the emotional connection to the candle because scent is very connected to your the limbic system of your brain when you smell something that goes directly there, which is the emotional center of your brain and that's where Yeah, and at the time, there were studies out on it, but it's just kind of starting. And so throughout the years, it's gotten more, you know, more studies are out how sent really does affect you and does connect to well being. And then that company, I was like, doing a million different products, and it was just kind of, I don't know, a little bit all over the place. It was kind of my learning experience with the brands and how to build products and, and that sort of thing. And so I was like, the thing that I love the most and I'm most passionate about is the sense. So I'm going to scrap that company and the launch define me, which will be just about, you know, sense and empowering people through creating well being through science. So that's how it really started.

Mariah Parsons 05:50

Yeah, that's really cool. I so it kind of brought me back a little bit because I studied formally like neuroscience. And so the limbic system and emotional regulation is very familiar. And so I think that's such a cool background to have while you're making sense, right? Like it to have that background and candlemaking which Alicia we also did, as our like company, one of our company, holiday parties, we all like made camp candles together. It was it was really fun, but like their candles are very fragrant, like the the oils that you mix in with it. But I think that's so cool. Like, I know, when I was going through your guys's website, and like tracking pages and everything I was seeing the intentionality behind like each session. And so it's so cool to hear you talk about kind of how the founding story and candlemaking then translates into intentionally making sense and like trying to really connect like great memories with a scent. And obviously that feeds it into customer retention, which we'll talk about later. But that's super cool to hear things definitely.

Alicia Gaba 06:57

And I don't have any formal background, but I can tell you, when I wear perfume, it has to match my outfit.

Hannah Toporoff 07:06

I like to I like it's different.

Alicia Gaba 07:12

There are also scents that I cannot wear unless it's winter, or fall. Like I'm yeah, it's just like there's just something about it has to go with the mood, the outfit, everything. I've always been like that I remember my roommates in college, we thought I was crazy. Like, oh no, I need to get it to go get this perfume because it matches this outfit. And they're like, oh my gosh, well, that's

Jennifer McKay Newton 07:39

why to find these really about is is choosing you know, we have in the butterfly butterfly series in a crystal infused series. The butterfly series has seven different scents and each one really connects and taps into a different inspiration or mood, like when is self love when is gratitude. Like I'll if I'm going to, you know, a trade show or something, I'll wear the love because I want people to love me and I want to feel grateful for what I'm doing. There's also creative fear lists, in strength. So just like whatever mood you're feeling, we have a fragrance for that. But you know, it's all subjective as well, too. It's like, it just depends what you're, you know, you're feeling that day and, and that's why they call the scent wardrobe is you just have all these, you know, a variety of options you can enjoy.

Mariah Parsons 08:31

Yeah, it's also like to the, the labeling of the product and like having it be like, Oh, the association with love, like, you know, going to a trade show, you want to wear that. It's like the positive reinforcement to have like, Oh, I know, I'm wearing this perfume, which Alicia like, if it's a winter perfume, you know, this is the one that I love to wear in the winter. Like, it's just, it's, it's something that is like the extra reassurance and it goes along with like, you know, you fake it till you make it or like dress apart like it gives you that added competence. And it goes back to like the connections that you're instilling with a product and an emotion. And so you mentioned the butterfly series, and then the crystal series. So one of the things that Alicia and I wanted to ask you too about was the butterfly, like the symbolism of the butterfly. So can you walk us through why you chose the symbolism and then we also our logo is a butterfly as well. So we're gonna we're gonna share a little bit there as well.

Jennifer McKay Newton 09:33

Yeah, sure. So, the word define me is really about, you know, defining yourself through science. And when I was thinking about, like the the just having a symbol for the brand, I thought, let's do a butterfly because it's the ultimate kind of expression of transformation and growth and that was really what we were going for using butterflies are symbol. And each of the fragrances has their own graphic butterfly that has hidden symbols. Some people notice this and some people, not everyone notices it. So it's a little secret. But in each of the butterflies, they have little symbols in them. Like for example, gratitude is moons. Self love has little hearts. Wunderlist has stars. Payton has tiger stripes speaking strength. Sophia Isabel is free spirit. And there's a subtle little, like sun symbols in there. So it is really Yeah, just about that about connecting to your transformation, whether it's like on a subconscious level or just, you know, hey, I'm wearing this fragrance and it makes me feel good. And you know, so that's really what the butterfly is about.

Mariah Parsons 10:53

Yeah, I love those little easter eggs. Like I am such a love of like, I have such a love of like mysteries or like tying things together. So like I, Alicia, you already know this, but I'm a big Taylor Swift Fan. And I also love like the Marvel Universe because they're so good at putting in these little easter eggs. Yeah, yeah. Now that I know this, I'm going to go look in every single butterfly

Hannah Toporoff 11:20

out to people because if someone like doesn't notice it, I remember I did like an Instagram post. I was like, Hey, you guys know, like, look closely. And they're like, Oh, I hadn't seen that before.

Mariah Parsons 11:30

Yeah, no, I mean, it's great. It it's like a little it's like a little bit of FOMO marketing too, because you get to see like you're on the inside, right of like, understanding just a little bit more about a brand or about a product are so our symbolism behind the butterfly has two different meanings. And yes, Alicia and I, we fact checked this before the episode, so that we could get it exactly right from our founder. Yeah, so shout him out for helping us out here. So the first reason is more literal, because like a butterfly is beautiful in sight when you see it, actually flying around. And because we do shipment and order tracking. That's what we're trying to do. So it's like you are trying to beautify or personalize the tracking experience. So that when your package is in flight, like a butterfly, it's beautifully branded, and the whole experience you know, you enjoy watching it and seeing it. And then the like, second more symbolic reasoning is that like every butterfly wing is unique. And so that really speaks to our like core value of wanting to be relationship obsessed and like be there for our merchants. Because each you know each Merson each each merchant and each customer is unique. So like we want to show up no matter what and make that experience unique for you know, our customers and then your customers as well. So that's a symbolism with our butterflies. That's great. Yeah. Alicia, would you have anything to add there as well? No, you

Alicia Gaba 13:12

did amazing. Yeah, hired.

Mariah Parsons 13:17

That's really just what I wanted.

Alicia Gaba 13:20

Yeah, no, I love it. So I actually I own the Kahana hopefully I'm saying that correctly. And it is one of it is one of to go back to the topic of the crystals. Crystal infuse. First of all I wear all the time living in Florida because I feel like I am at the beach when I'm wearing it. It's just like it's so summery. And like you just think of sunshine. You're like immersed and I don't know, Oasis. So anyway, I love it. Love it. But yeah, I would love to know more about the crystal infusion and where that concept came from because you don't see that very often in perfumes.

Jennifer McKay Newton 13:58

Yeah, it's it's really it's kind of complicated when it comes to manufacturing with like a, you know, a crystal and just the little pieces of it getting like stucked in the tubes and things like that, but we're just like it anyway. But a little background on Kahana actually we launched Kahana in 2021 and it was our US yes seven cents in the butterfly series. And we also transitioned it into the crystal and few stories too because it was just so loved. And we I was like thinking like people were you know, stuck, we couldn't travel we couldn't see our family and friends and I felt like people needed something to help them escape so to feel like they're on vacation or going to the beach and just to feel good so called hugs like looking just to create like this beautiful beach sense. And then in terms of the crystals I love crystals I you know if you don't love crystals or belief in the metaphysical attributes of crystals they're just really pretty to look at and people are really drawn to them. There's I have cotton right here actually

Alicia Gaba 15:15

look Oh, and by the way you nailed what you are going for it in a bottle.

Mariah Parsons 15:22

I was gonna say someone who lives in Florida to like you that is five star review right there.

Jennifer McKay Newton 15:28

Yeah, awesome. Yeah. Well, so the crystals in con are Aquamarine and Aquamarine. The, it helps evoke calm serenity, it really kind of like connects it's like a connector to water. And so we felt like with the beachy, really ethereal sense of Ghana, that would be the perfect match those two. And then for the other crystals. Sofia Isabel is one of our best selling scents from the original butterfly series. And it's just warm, citrusy, it's like golden sunshine and what better so crystal to go with that then Citrine which is like, attracts abundance, it helps us creativity, it just they kind of just like are made for each other. And then the last, the most recent fragrance, which is our newest launch called Rami and we were looking for a scent that would work with like the different than the others in the collection just so people would have like, you know, you could choose you know, something different for for whatever mood you're in. And that's really like warm and normal and I feel like it's like this Moroccan kind of like sultry scent, and that has their quartz and clear quartz is for clarity, it's got a high vibration to it. It also helps with attracting like you know abundance and help helping with your goals setting and, and those types of things. So, you know, that the chrysalis to they actually changed the chemistry of the sense they we've noticed that the fragrance is out crystals smell a little bit different than after you have crystals in them for a couple days. I've noticed it smells kind of like kind of creamier and like I don't know how to explain it, it's like just more kind of smooth. Melina most almost like helps these breaks the acidity away of the alcohol they like the sharpness of the alcohol. So because they're little living there living little you know, creature that were there creatures that their their crystals are living so they do change the chemistry of the scent, just like it would change on your skin chemistry on your skin. So, you know, we're expanding the crystal line just because people really love it. It feels very spa like, it just feels good. So we're transitioning into like, scent diffusers, we have this little mood prism scent diffuser, you put in your car or in a bathroom. They're so cute. I wish I had one in my hand but and then we're going to be doing like candles and things like that as we approach 2023. And hopefully we're going to be expanding the four into I mean, we're going to have the hat getting a fourth fragrance out and we're looking to design something very different than the other three. So there are options for every taste. I have to ask

Mariah Parsons 18:25

candles Yeah, I love it in the candles without were is the plan to have crystals in them as well. Yes.

Jennifer McKay Newton 18:35

We're trying to figure it out. We're not candle manufacturers. So we're working with the candle manufactured, trying to figure out like how that all works together with the missiles inside and we want to make sure we do it right.

Mariah Parsons 18:48

Yeah, that's so I feel like it I mean, it's full circle, right, like having defined me having been started out of candlemaking. Now, coming back to I love that. But in terms of the crystals like playing around with the type of crystals, was there any like any back and forth or any worry about, like, or any trials between different crystals with different scents? Or did you just kind of know like, I'm very fascinated with this. So I'm gonna I'm gonna keep asking questions about it. So like, did you just was it just kind of like a feeling of the pairing of which perfumes would be with crystals? Like you were explaining how to kind of what they symbolize and or was it like a little was there sometimes like trial and error?

Jennifer McKay Newton 19:34

There wasn't there's only three so far. So we it you know, intuitively Kahana when I saw aquamarine crystals, it looked like the color of a beautiful ocean like a light blue. And so it just felt right but they were hard to source. So I was like, oh, and they're like really expensive. So they're not as common as like the Citrine meaning clear quartz and like you would have Amethyst or Rose Quartz are not as popular but I was like we have to do that like so and so there was a little bit of a struggle finding those but it just because of the meaning it had to go with it in my opinion and then in for Sophia Isabel because it was just the scent itself just really worked with the Citrine and the there's hits right here I've got this one too that you have happened and the costumes are golden so it just in the fragrance is golden. So it just had to it had to be the match and then the you know more recently the Rami clear quartz I wanted to clear quartz I was experimenting a while back with this the different scents and the scent Ramiz. So, so good. And I was like I have to find something to you know, I had to do something with that eventually. And when this crystal mine came to be, I remembered this sentence that we had experimented with the sun before and I was like, I have to go back to that. And it's going to be clear for it's going to be about like, clarity, and in the name Rami is Arabic. And it means like pointed direction. And then clerk courts is clarity. So I was like, I thought that those two went well together. They have to kind of like go together. No, it's almost like a like you have to It's a match. Yeah. There really

Hannah Toporoff 21:27

wasn't much back and forth on her deciding like what crystal is gonna go with which pregnancy? Like it seems pretty obvious, like from the from the get go.

Alicia Gaba 21:36

Just like how your perfume has to match your outfit.

Mariah Parsons 21:41

Exactly. actly. Yeah,

Alicia Gaba 21:42

it just goes,

Jennifer McKay Newton 21:43

Just go and use it. I find that like, if it makes sense, then people just get it. And there's not like a lot of people that go on or no, there's no like, I don't think that goes with that. It's almost like yeah, that goes with that. So it's kind of just flows. Yeah, on a good first date, you know, just you know, and it works. And you know, when it doesn't

Mariah Parsons 22:04

quite literally the chemistry. Ya know that that's amazing. I love I love just like going into the product, because I feel like this is, you know, not necessarily what you get to see a lot. So like the behind the scenes. But that also like, the point that you make Jennifer about, it just makes sense to the consumer, that also goes that like very hand in hand with marketing really resonating with your consumers, because you're allowed to like, you don't even have to put in that extra effort, it seems like because, you know, they just see the product. And I'm like, yeah, like I'm totally on board. There's no convincing that needs to be done. And I also know, I know, we've been talking about the crystals, but the hair fragrances as well. I know they're they won like an innovation award. And so can you give us this is the last question I have at least towards product and then we'll get into like marketing and retention. But can you can you give us like a little bit of a background there as well. Like, just in terms of product developing that product?

Jennifer McKay Newton 23:06

Yeah, absolutely. So when we launched in 2015, we and we started really, you know, watching Social and being more connected to our customers. They were like, Oh, I spray fragrance in my hair. And I was like, Well, you know, that has a lot of alcohol in it. It's not really good for your hair. And I know and also hair is good receptor for fragrance. It really holds it just like your skin does. So and then you're always moving your hair around. And then we're not washing our hair every day. So we're using lots of products. So I was like, we need to make something for the hair. And so at the time be in Los Angeles, we had a lot of hairstylist contacts. So we sent out we were making prototypes, and I wanted to have ingredients that were were also like, good for the hair. So one of the things we wanted to use was the main ingredient This is amazing is called panthenol and panthenol. I call it the natural silicone because I really liked how silicone would make your hair feel smooth. But silicone was on a lot of the banned ingredients lists. So I was like, Well, what can I use besides silicone? And it was the answer was panthenol. And then we also use chamomile extract which is also good for the hair and aloe vera. It just helps everything feel silky and smooth and nice. And then the last thing we did, we used as a touch of coconut oil. We didn't want to use too much because we didn't want you know the hair to get oily. And so we sent prototypes of different volumes of different ingredients to all of our you know, hair stylists friends in Los Angeles, and we just got a lot of their feedback and it was really positive. People really loved it. They're like you could have different products in your hair and it doesn't kind of like make your herbal sticky or weird and doesn't clump it or anything like that. So I was like we're onto something. And I don't think anyone else maybe they do now because they saw what we were doing. But I don't know if anyone else at that time had anything like it. It's just very unique. And yeah, just freshens up your hair and makes it silky feel good and smell great throughout the day. Yeah, last year here all day long. It's awesome. Yeah, and you can use it with inherent stenches on wigs. This woman is like, I use it on my poodle. And like, Yeah, sure. Fine. You can use it on your pet. I mean, you know, it doesn't have anything in there. That's bad for anything. So it's really interesting. And people really love it.

Alicia Gaba 25:48

It's good. So little bit of a bit of a segue into marketing because I love that I love the concept. I love perfumes and fragrances. How did you considering it was relatively new? You you clearly had a sense that this was something that there would be demand for because of all the things that you mentioned before? How did you take it to market and like the two of you work together to drive demand and make it a success? Um,

Jennifer McKay Newton 26:21

well I'll let Hannah answer the second part because she's a hard person to take it to market was really tricky because it was my first rodeo I didn't know anything about beauty and then know anything about fragrance. So I had I created five fragrance oils. And I just literally took it to market like literally I would show up at you know, unique places like unique la these little shows that they let you know, small vendors come in and sell their goods. And I started there, I started with five fragrance oils. And then in 2015 and 2016, I showed up at Cosmo prof which was bonkers when you think about it, because it's one of the biggest beauty shows in the world really out of my mind with my you know, new brands, and we got picked up by Ulta Beauty when we were there. So that was really kind of a big break for us. And then from you know, it's been ever changing even since Hannah's been here that you can speak to like, because she's like our, our genius marketing person.

Hannah Toporoff 27:32

Yeah, I think when it comes to marketing a fragrance since we're we're sold online, sometimes people are really wary of buying a scent that they've never smelled before. So I think a big part of it is like, really digging into what does the scent smell like? What are the notes and also tying it back to like, what is the scent gonna make you feel like tying it back to like, when you smell good, you feel the kind of aspect and the the intentions and the meanings behind all this sounds really resonate with people. But it really is just driving home and using really like descriptive language about what the scent actually smells like just sort of like key the picture in somebody's head, like what this is going to smell like. And if it's this kind of sympathy would go for that kind of thing. And

Alicia Gaba 28:18

the other thing that I love when you talk about like painting a picture is I feel like on your site, you have literally painted a picture of the scent with the imagery. That is like next to the bottles when you're on the website. I love it. But I would agree I love scents. And I do have that feeling of, oh my gosh, am I gonna buy something online that I've never smelled in real life? It is it is daunting. When I look at how you describe Kahana on your site and how I experience it. It is 100% on the market. That's great. Yeah, so you went

Jennifer McKay Newton 28:57

through an amazing job. Thank you. We also do quizzes and like the quiz we have. We've we've had, we've looked take it Yeah.

Hannah Toporoff 29:08

Oh my god, that's so true. We put a lot of a lot of effort into making those quizzes accurate. Like they're fun to take, like everybody loves taking an online quiz. But we really put a lot of thought and a lot of effort into being careful with it in the way that like, okay, the results that you get, we really want it to reflect what we actually think. What's that we actually think that you're going to enjoy, and a lot of people have been like, wow, this was dead. Like you told me I was an artery and I bought Audrey and I love it.

Jennifer McKay Newton 29:40

Yeah, there's very distinct, like sense like people like fresh and floral or they're like Marcin magazine. Somebody can say, Oh, I don't really I really just don't like science. I like really soft science. I'm like, I know which one, you know. instinct for us. Yeah. And we have like less than a 1% return rate. from our online business, which is how I mean we also have our kids too so you can our little discovery kits and they have all seven sons and there I've got it right here yeah

Hannah Toporoff 30:10

great for me like I don't really have a certain like category of scent that I stick to I kind of like to try everything I've had a lot of people are like that so they can't let's see just try whole butterfly series until people like you can mix them and match and come up with your own unique blend.

Mariah Parsons 30:31

I have to admit, I did take that quiz and I got oh yeah, so Sofia, Isabel I love like warm scents like warm vanilla and you love it.

Hannah Toporoff 30:44

A lot of people have said to Sophia Isabel is a good blind buy. Like we've heard that like several occasions. People like this is a this is the head this is the best seller to buy it sight unseen. Providing your customers with educational resources before they buy can also be incredibly helpful. Yeah, long smells.

Jennifer McKay Newton 30:58

You'll not want me to Yeah, I really like warm Vermont. It's really yummy. It's got like fig golden Benza one. Almonds, salted Carmel. So it starts to sound if my you know, we both have our like our favorites. It's not our favorite. Like I can't choose a favorite. It's like choosing a favorite child. For certain ones at certain times, like, especially new fragrances, like because it's like the new kid on the block, you know, kind of reached for it a lot. And the summer I was reaching for Kahan all the time. And then Ronnie, and just like, Ana, it just makes me feel good. Like, it makes me happy when I went so.

Mariah Parsons 31:41

Yeah. So I'm curious with that, because you said like when there's a new fragrance like Romney, you're reaching, like, reaching for it just because it's like new and you're like, you know, you want to see what it's all like so, but you also have the starter kits. So do you tend to see, like consistently people their first buy is going with a starter kit? Or do you really see like people were like I like from this quiz, or from what I've been told, or like the marketing, whatever it is, whatever makes that decision for them, they go with, like, just one of the scents.

Hannah Toporoff 32:12

We do have a lot of people I would say, maybe a majority, like their first purchase will be the kit, they buy the kit, they kind of see what they like, some people write in, they're like, oh my god, I bought the kit and I loved every single one, I can't just buy the kids, I'll kind of have the ones that they gravitate towards. And then they'll come back and buy like travelsphere The hair fragrance with the full size one and really gravitate towards the one that they like the best out of all seven. But like when we do a new launch like Rami, I noticed that we have a lot of like, we've learned to find these super fans out there that like if we release a cent, they are going to buy it and they're gonna love it, which is what we saw with the Rami launch, which was really cool, but really cool to see because they'd never saw that before. And they were just very sure about like, I'm gonna love this. I'm gonna buy this and they did.

Jennifer McKay Newton 33:00

Yeah, people are trusting us, which is really amazing. Yeah.

Hannah Toporoff 33:04

Policy to good stuff.

Mariah Parsons 33:05

Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure very reassuring as well, like you said, to have, you know, your, like VIP are really, really huge fans of define me and be like, okay, new scent just dropped like I need to go by I need to spell it. Like sure it feels good.

Hannah Toporoff 33:23

Well, that right into like our contact form on our website, just to be like, Oh my god, I bought this site, and I'm obsessed with it. Like, every time I wear I get compliments. And it's really, really heartwarming, like reading those

Jennifer McKay Newton 33:32

messages. It's really nice. And we do have a goddess gang. So they're called our goddess gang. And they literally,

Hannah Toporoff 33:39

that's our program. Yeah, so that kind of ties into our post purchase journey. But also like we encourage people that join with us. They're kind of like our VIPs. Like, we give them early access to sales. We do special giveaways with them. Yeah, there

Alicia Gaba 33:53

are a little community.

Jennifer McKay Newton 33:54

We'd like to spoil them. Yeah.

Alicia Gaba 33:58

Well, they're goddesses.

Jennifer McKay Newton 34:00

They are they deserve it. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 34:03

Yeah. No, that's, I would love to go into that deeper like so both I'd love to ask Yes. About like post purchase and how because Hannah, you just mentioned like that is I'm imagining you're driving people to that experience. Once they, of course, show up to be like a VIP are a huge fan of defy me. And I'd also like to talk about social media after that, because I think they play in together. But can you walk us through kind of how you really like, expand or grow that goddess, the goddess gang or like what you're looking to do with them kind of have retention plays in there.

Hannah Toporoff 34:42

Yeah, I mean, I have a post purchase journey set up. So when someone makes a purchase, they get a message from us that seemed like hey, did you know that if you join our goddess gang, you get all these special perks, you get points for every, like X amount of dollars you spend and then you can cache those points and four Were like coupons and like really good, like, offer codes for our site to come back and like keep purchasing. And like I said, We also do these like really special exclusive giveaways in early access. And like we said, kind of treat them like our VIP. So it's kind of an incentive to like, hey, like, stick with us, like, we're gonna, we're gonna do that.

Mariah Parsons 35:21

Yeah, that's amazing. Do you find does that tie into, like UGC and stuff like that, like, like any reviews, or like, I know, you'd said people will reach out and just be like customers. Like,

Hannah Toporoff 35:37

that kind of plays back into the whole thing about trying to evoke, like, what the set smells like online when you can't smell it. And a lot of, we've seen a lot of people resonate with us sharing real like customer reviews, because it's like, oh, it's just our customers. They just, they're the reviews, they leave, but they're very thoughtful. They're not just like, Yeah, this is great. This was good. They really come in, they go into detail about like, what they loved about it, and sharing those with our like, online community has been really successful for

Jennifer McKay Newton 36:06

us. Yeah, the review processes like somebody, you'll say, oh, Cheryl, for example, about 10 reviews, you know, because she's getting all those points for the goddess, you know, through the goddess, gang community. And so then she gets to, you know, buy more product and get discounts on products and things like that. So yeah, that

Hannah Toporoff 36:27

really ties together.

Mariah Parsons 36:29

Yeah, that's great, because it adds to the flywheel. Right, like it's a win win situation. Yeah. That's, that's great. So if I'm hearing you correctly, like writing reviews, and sharing feedback is one way to like earn points. What are some other ways for the goddess getting to earn some of those points

Hannah Toporoff 36:47

and get points for purchases, they get points for like celebrating a birthday points for reviews, points for reviews with photos, as long as some social, I think they have like the anniversary of when they first signed up, they get points, we have a lot of ways to earn voice. Pretty easy. So

Mariah Parsons 37:06

I love that I asked because I was curious, or I am curious to see if I've seen on one of our other brands proper good like it on their package, it's like you share on your story, like your Instagram story or whatever platform. And they'll they'll add points to your, you know, VIP account. So I was I was curious if you said someone like follows you on social media. And this is kind of leading into my question, to learn more about social media and marketing plays that you have there. So if someone follows you on Instagram that like leads, obviously to more of that, like brand awareness, you obviously get a following and it's still a win win with them. So yeah, what, what other, I guess, what other things have you been seeing on your guys's social media? And because I, obviously as a marketer, as well, I'm curious to hear about the strategies and how they play into retention and like brand awareness and the goddess gang as well.

Hannah Toporoff 38:09

Yeah, I mean, the goddess gang, I feel like in the beginning kind of really built up our Instagram like they were the most engaged on there, or Instagram really has been a big like cultivator of that community for us. And more recently, now tick tock, which was a bit of a learning curve for me, I'm not really a Gen Z. So get the hang of that. But we've been really spending a lot of time and energy and focus into our tick tock and growing our community there. And like, we I feel like they're like our friends. And we've made so many connections, like just scrolling through perfume talk and like, working with these influencers and like, sending them products and like getting their real, like honest reviews. And they're it's really spectacular, because we've made so many connections that way, and people were like, oh, yeah, we saw your Sophia is supposed to train on tick tock. I'm like, that's incredible that that's, like, circulated like that. It's really cool. Yeah.

Alicia Gaba 39:06

Do you identify the influencers that you want to work with? Or want to send sense to? Or does it happen more organically, like through your practice game?

Hannah Toporoff 39:17

Um, sometimes it kind of just happens more organically. I mean, if we, it's kind of just like, we're scrolling through our feed and like, we see someone we're like, oh my god, I bet they would love this. It's kind of like that. Sometimes people reach out to us and this just feels like a good fit.

Jennifer McKay Newton 39:34

Especially for tick tock, but we're especially we're focused on the perfume community for sure. We haven't even expanded out because we've been so busy just with hashtag perfume talk. It's

Hannah Toporoff 39:45

big. You guys have a

Jennifer McKay Newton 39:47

big thing. But I got to check this out. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 39:54

I was gonna say Alicia, that sounds like right up your alley.

Alicia Gaba 39:58

I can see you on there. Yeah, although I'm like Hannah, like not Yeah, fully on the tic tac. But I will be.

Jennifer McKay Newton 40:09

I mean, one of the one of the brands that I look at is the Bobby Brown. What is it called? Jones road? I guess it's her bitch. Bobby Brown has earned Tiktok that I think doesn't matter is I think they're just looking for authenticity, you know, and kind of just, that's what we really like, felt more comfortable about let's talk ourselves is even though I'm not, you know, of the Tick Tock page or kind of appropriate, but at the same time, I'm like, okay, you know, I mean, you just be yourself. And it doesn't have to be so perfect.

Hannah Toporoff 40:44

Yeah. Instagram, we are used to having to like take these really nice photos and make it really looked super buttoned up and very, like you need your grid to look a certain way. And I love that tiktoks more to kind of just like, loose and free you can just kind of hop on and it can be a little more like scrappy, so to speak then the Instagram.

Mariah Parsons 41:07

Yeah, I'll be the first to say all of you can and should be on Tik Tok is

Alicia Gaba 41:13

I have to count I am just not

Hannah Toporoff 41:17

your tech talk. But being on the other side of it. It's been it's been it's been a champ. But I've learned a lot. And now I'm way more comfortable getting in front of the other side. So

Mariah Parsons 41:29

yeah, I feel like that's the biggest hurdle.

Hannah Toporoff 41:31

Yeah, you just kind of do it and see what works and keep trying different things. And yeah,

Mariah Parsons 41:37

and then discoverability on the app to like, I'm very pro Tik Tok, just because of the discoverability. And handle, like you mentioned, the lower level of production that people expect on the app like Instagram. It was more of a like, created, or curated experience. And this is like, no, drop the curtain. Like, be honest, just show us ensure there's like,

Hannah Toporoff 42:03

you know, it doesn't have to be this like perfect, perfectly produced thing. I can kind of see. Okay, this is us. This is our team. Like, this is what we're doing.

Mariah Parsons 42:11

Exactly. Yeah. And I know. So as a company, too. We're like starting to dip our toes in the tic toc which Alicia I'm gonna pull you in. I said I went in there. i The company, I'm starting to lay the the seeds for people just coming into the office and making fun tiktoks. And it's, it plays into that brand, right? Like, the brand awareness and just, I think define me the messaging and the intentionality of Authenticity. Authenticity lends itself really well to a platform like tick tock from our experience to with our branding of just being like, at the forefront, the relationship is the most important thing. And so that's what excites me personally. About Tiktok, but I'm happy that you shared like some of those learnings. And I think one part that I want to emphasize is that I feel like everyone at the beginning trying something new is like oh, I don't know how it's gonna

Hannah Toporoff 43:11

go or awkward about it. And more comfortable as you do it. And like like you said, I feel like it really gives you can kind of see our brand's personality better through Tik Tok because like Jennifer's hopping on they're doing like storytime. That's how she started to find me. People can actually like see her hear her story that way. I'll get on there and being a tick tock like, it's easy to just show a bottle or pretty perfume bottle and be like, hey, look, here it is. Make it more interesting.

Mariah Parsons 43:38

Yes. Yeah, I completely agree. And to anyone who's listening like I feel like to it is sometimes very much pitched is like Gen Z app. But I have in this we talked about in other episodes, other podcasts episodes as well. But like even like AARP, like older brands are still finding their way through Tik Tok. And so I'm I share that knowledge however and whenever I can. Because it definitely I think it's a common worry sometimes for sure. Yeah.

Jennifer McKay Newton 44:13

place to be.

Alicia Gaba 44:15

So I'm truly a late adopter if I'm coming in after AARP. That's a little faster.

Jennifer McKay Newton 44:27

started we knew about tick tock but it was like one of those things like carving out the time, you know, figuring it out, how does this thing work? What do you do is a brand like what do people want to see? And then we're just like, around spring, I think we had like 400 followers, and you're just like, Screw it. Let's just do it. You know, and we're not like 12.7 1000 Yeah, I think it's slow down before he could jump up super quickly. But as a brand I think it's a little bit more challenging because you know, then an individual but we're I'm currently in our way into it and we like it a lot. Yeah, but the best perfume influencers on Tik Tok? So,

Hannah Toporoff 45:11

yeah, we have really good bonds with these with these people. And yeah, like she was gonna say we actually are doing an Instagram Live later today with this girl stuff that we actually like met Tiktok Yeah, we just like have cultivated that relationship with her and she feels like

Jennifer McKay Newton 45:26

our friend, which is really cool. Yeah, that's awesome.

Mariah Parsons 45:29

I think I might have seen have you done Instagram lives with stuff this woman before or similar ones?

Jennifer McKay Newton 45:36

Today will be our first line of insert. Yeah, we had this little moment. I love it.

Mariah Parsons 45:43

You know, I was all up in

Hannah Toporoff 45:47

like a kick, and then things will just come up and fall. But we're trying to

Jennifer McKay Newton 45:52

you have to try things. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 45:53

Yeah, yeah, I love that. And in the effort of like, you know, things being busy and some other things having to take priority over, you know, Instagram lives or prioritizing, you know, certain videos or claps social media platforms. As we know, holidays are coming up. So an effort of talking about strategy, can you guys tell us just a little bit about, you know, what you're doing to plan what you're excited for what trends you're gonna see, really just any insights about around the holiday season would be super interesting to hear.

Hannah Toporoff 46:26

I was gonna say, I feel like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has been on my radar for like, a couple months. Now. I feel like I've been like watching webinars and like how to prep for Black Friday. But yeah, I started just like drafting out like a checklist of everything I need to do kind of getting all my ducks in a row when it comes to our SMS campaigns or email campaigns. All the goddess gang stuff like treating them like the VIPs. They aren't giving them that early access and giving them a little something extra. I'm creating segments of people who shopped last year and people who different segments, send them different messaging to making sure all the post purchase stuff isn't aligned and ready to go. Yeah, it's kind of a never ending to do lists, updating the website and taking the team photos and all that stuff is going to be on the docket for the next few weeks. Yeah,

Alicia Gaba 47:23

you just make the assumption that it's always going to be a mad dash up until Black Friday.

Hannah Toporoff 47:32

To be super prepared, but I feel like I'm I always tend to, like still carry these guys last minute, but it's all good.

Jennifer McKay Newton 47:39

Yeah, you can try and probably you probably,

Alicia Gaba 47:42

like cool ideas and things that other brands are doing. And it's like, oh, let's throw that in. Like, I'm sure that happens, too. So best laid plans? Right. A little bit of room to shake things up?

Jennifer McKay Newton 47:57

Yeah, I mean, one of the things we're like, let's add is like, let's do some gifting bundles. You know, especially with people with the economy and everything like that, we're just trying to like go, Hey, you can buy this one. But you can buy this too, with this really cool bag. And then you have a second fragrance that you could blend together and things like that we're just really trying to give, without being we're not a discounted brand in the way you know, we don't have a ton of discounts. We are doing discounts for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but we're trying to just offer like value because we really our goal is to be like go to everyday fragrance, you know, because it is affordable. You know, it's like you're not reaching for your $350 when you have that $350 bottle of fragrance, you know, on your shelf, you kind of like oh, I'll just wear it for you know, dinner once a month. But like our stuff is like wear this every day. It's just as good. It's made amazingly, you know, the ingredients are beautiful, it's clean, natural, and you can wear it everyday and I feel bad about it. Yeah, and we've got your back, you know, we were everyday girls, that's our goal. But we do the bundling. And I don't know like, like you said, it's like we we always have things in the mix. Sometimes they don't work out, you know, like, we try to do different collaborations with things you know, like different brands and stuff like that. And sometimes it's like herding cats for oh my god, they sleep on emailing me back and you know, things like that. But we'll always we're always looking for like new ways and creative collaboration. A lot of a lot

Hannah Toporoff 49:35

of like my prep and figure out what we're gonna do this year kind of involved just kind of looking back at campaigns that I did last year and seeing what worked and looking back even before I was doing it and see what was going on in previous years and what people resonated with. I kind of just looking to like the previous years of defining needs, like the customer's resume.

Mariah Parsons 49:56

Yeah, that's amazing. If it gives any comfort. I've been asking that question to a couple like as we've been approaching the holidays, and it seems pretty consistently, like everyone has the same hurdles, they're just like, it's a mad dash. We're doing everything we can.

Hannah Toporoff 50:14

Like people are shopping earlier and earlier. And people I'm already getting messages about like holiday shopping. It's already done in October, believe it or not, but yeah. Yeah, well, it's

Alicia Gaba 50:27

basically Thanksgiving, which means it's basically present time.

Hannah Toporoff 50:30

I know. My brain I'm already like the end of December.

Alicia Gaba 50:34

Yeah, and we're recording this like days before Halloween, but we're already thinking about holiday shopping.

Jennifer McKay Newton 50:41

Yeah. And the other the other thing too, that we besides the goddess gang is we have our signup. So if you sign up for you know, SMS SMS, then you get a discount on that too. And then I was trying to go to scan and get additional ways of getting fabulous stuff and getting like extra special gifts and things like that. So there's that we're always doing something especially for people that you know our customers and our goddess gang that are dedicated to us we want to be just as dedicated to them right and we're always talking about what can we do for nothing that's extra special that's kind of how we think about it. I love it.

Hannah Toporoff 51:20

I have two

Alicia Gaba 51:21

new life goals goddess gang member and perfume influencer

Jennifer McKay Newton 51:29

we could be your first brand you talk about

Alicia Gaba 51:31

Yeah. Oh my god. Well, I'll be keeping an eye out for the holiday deals. My sister she she needs some crystal infused perfume she loves like crystals. All the things super into it.

Hannah Toporoff 51:47

Yeah. To that effect. I'm also working on like making specific landing pages and gifting guides and just very holiday themed. Like, like here's what you can get your best friend here's we can get for your mom like here. This would make a good stocking stuffer. Like you're on a budget, these ones are under $50. That kind of thing to make it super easy for people to figure out like what they want to get a gift for somebody or just by themself a tree.

Mariah Parsons 52:13

Yeah, I will be reading those gift cards. This has been so wonderful, though. I think that's a great note to end on of just we're very excited for the holiday season. Obviously wish you all the best. But I know just from having talked to having spoken with both of you and the define me brand. It's going to go very well. So thank you for making the time today for coming on the podcast sharing some strategies with you all.

Jennifer McKay Newton 52:42

This was so great. Yeah, it was so fun. Thank you. Yeah, I

Alicia Gaba 52:45

love this topic. If you can tell Mariah and I are big fans. We love it learned a lot. You guys are awesome. Yeah. Thank

Jennifer McKay Newton 52:53

you guys. Thank you