For Business

Founder story: Minimo Skin Essentials

Tapping into customer passions to build brand affinity and drive sales.

Image of Mary Hayes, founder of Minimo skincare

Mary Hayes didn’t start out wanting to become a skincare entrepreneur. The first product she ever crafted, a facial scrub, was to address her own beauty concerns. Hormonal changes after giving birth had wreaked havoc on her skin, and she wanted a natural way to restore the glow she once had.

“I never had the idea to start a business. I just had a passion to create something that could solve a problem,” says Mary, founder of Minimo Skin Essentials.

“That’s how I ended up developing the scrub. I was nursing at the time and knew I didn’t want to put any chemicals on my body. So, I looked into organic ingredients like turmeric powder and raw honey.”

After some experimentation, she landed on a formula that effectively brightened and restored her skin after sustained use.

“I loved the way my skin looked. I began to wonder if this could help other women.”

Growing a natural skincare line by staying close to customers

Mary named the brand Minimo as a nod to its use of minimal ingredients. She decided to list her turmeric scrub on Etsy, and soon had her first sale. Then another sale. And another after that.

That was seven years ago. Minimo, which started out a side project, is now a multimillion-dollar business and going strong. It has become a wide-ranging skincare line, including products like the honeydew moisturizer and the candy lip scrub. But that turmeric scrub she crafted all those years ago is still her number one bestselling product with a search of the product on social media bringing up numerous posts from devoted fans.

“I want our customers to feel how I felt when I first used the products. I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin,” says Mary. “Customers are always shocked to have found something that works, is natural, and doesn’t break the bank.”

When she first launched Minimo, Mary didn’t even have a website. She now has multiple points of selling her products, with a presence on Amazon.com, her own brand website, and a brick-and-mortar presence in her hometown of Houston, Texas.

Mary’s goal is to always be close to her customers and understand their skincare journey. Much of her growth strategy is focused on building relationships with shoppers, wherever they may be.

Social proof for the win!

A factor that Mary credits to much of her success is user-generated content from Minimo’s fans, specifically those on social media. She doesn’t do elaborate photo shoots with models or mega-influencers to market her products. Her customers are her best marketing asset. For Minimo, the reviews and experiences that customers share on Instagram, often captured as “glowing selfies,” showcase the importance of social proof as a way to drive brand affinity.

“Not everything that the bigger brands do is going to work. We tried producing professional videos for Minimo, but our audience didn’t engage with that. They want to see people actually using our products. The content doesn’t need to be polished or perfect. It just needs to be real. So, we let our customers be our spokespeople,” says Mary.

The skin transformations of people who have used Minimo products are the foundation of her brand story, and the experiences captured on her website bring that story to life. There’s a “Before and Afters” section where nearly 200 customers have uploaded photos of how Minimo products have changed their lives. The reviews often boast of faded acne scars, sun spots, and discoloration.

Proudly, Mary noted, “We get new submissions all the time. Customers can’t wait to showcase their results.”

Mary wanted to continue to build relationships with her online customers. For her, that meant reinforcing the power of her direct-to-consumer sales channel.

Streamlining the path to purchase and attracting new shoppers

To make purchasing Minimo products simpler, Mary added Buy with Prime to her website. The Buy with Prime checkout button can be found on some of the bestsellers such as the dark spot corrector, the brightening moisturizer, the watermelon eye cream, and of course, the turmeric scrub.

With Buy with Prime, Prime members that shop Minimo get a Prime shopping experience that includes fast, free delivery, a trusted checkout, and easy returns. And on the backend, Minimo can use Buy with Prime order and customer information, including email addresses, to build and strengthen relationships with her loyal fan base. (Learn more about Buy with Prime information handling.)

For a brand like Minimo that relies on customer testimonials, being able to remarket to customers in a personalized way is crucial. After someone purchases a product, they can later be prompted via email to upload a review with photos or check out an online sales event. The availability of return information also gives Mary an opportunity to elevate the way she provides support for customers that use Buy with Prime to purchase products on her site.

The chance to receive fast, free delivery beyond Amazon.com is a major selling point for Minimo’s customers. For non-Buy with Prime orders, customers need to meet a minimum order value of $100 to receive free standard shipping, which can take up to five days. Removing the guesswork of shipping fees and delivery timing, Buy with Prime makes it easier for Prime members to complete purchases on the Minimo website.

“People want that convenience. They want to be able to order it and have it on their porch quickly. So, having Buy with Prime as a checkout option is a game-changer for us,” says Mary.

“We have our own 8000-square-foot warehouse, but it’s nice to have another inventory pool located at an Amazon warehouse that can be used to get products out the door. Customers know that Amazon will get their order to them in a timely manner.”

Mary shares that longtime customers of Minimo have been using Buy with Prime, but noted that offering Buy with Prime as a checkout option is having an impact on new customer acquisition as well.

“Since implementing Buy with Prime, we’ve had an increase in first-time orders. If a Prime member arrives on the site to look at the turmeric scrub, they’ll notice they can get it with the trust of Prime. It streamlines the buying process and simplifies the whole transaction.”

What’s next for Minimo?

When asked about the future, Mary has her eyes set on a global market as Minimo grows its ecommerce reach.

“I’m very excited about continuing to grow internationally. My goal is to have Minimo as visible in other countries as it is here.”

She also cares deeply about creating a legacy.

“When I think of the hurdles that my parents, my grandparents, and great-grandparents had to overcome, it’s amazing to see what I’m able to accomplish now because of them. I want to do the same for my own kids,” says Mary.

“Every time I think of the future, I first think of my kids. In many ways, I’m building Minimo for them. I want to leave something that matters for the generations that will come after me.”

Nourish your skin with natural products from Minimo Skin Essentials.

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Anita Little