Nicole and Amanda are two sisters separated by 2,000 miles: Nicole in Alpharetta and Amanda in Irvine, California. But distance doesn’t prevent them from running their own cosmetic business, Tulips Apothecary. The sisters started the company in 2013 as a hobby, but since it has expanded to offer 20 different Pucker Pots, their version of lip balm; Body Lotion Pots, thick lotions; and Body Scrub Pots, exfoliating treatments.
Both sisters originated in Chicago, but through husbands, job opportunities, and an urge to escape the cold, they ended up on opposite coasts. Nicole’s husband is the creative mind who created their logo, Amanda’s husband is the businessman and CFO of the company.
Here, Alpharetta Lifestyle chats with Amanda and Nicole about Tulips Apothecary, from Etsy to selling in brick and mortar stores in more than 10 states.
AL: What have been your biggest accomplishments?
TA: 2015 was the year we decided this was either going to be a fun hobby or a real business- we made the commitment. It turned out that with some real focus and hard work, we turned Tulips Apothecary into something to be proud of. Our biggest accomplishments were expanding our assortment of products in brick and mortar stores. We are growing our presence within our respective communities through participating in many fall and holiday maker shows; and we decided if we were going to do this as a business, we had to be able to make a difference along the way. This past Christmas, we donated 10% of our sales from Thanksgiving through Christmas to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
AL: What’s your business model?
TA: Our mantra is “less is more!” As a mother with three kids, Amanda wanted all-natural: ingredients must be readable and easily understood with no preservatives and no unnecessary fillers, using the least amount of ingredients necessary to make our products perform to our standards. Nicole is an animal lover, so we never test on animals. We keep very little inventory on hand, because we try to make everything to order.
AL: Talk about the “natural ingredients” in your products.
TA: One of our favorite ingredients for our Pucker Pots is the natural unrefined Shea from Ghana. It is incredibly soft and absorbs easily into the skin/lips to moisturize without leaving a sticky texture. We also use more than 10 essential oils in our products. Not only do they smell fantastic and are all-natural, but the therapeutic benefits are endless.
AL: What do you look for when creating a product?
TA: We believe that look, texture and smell are so important in creating the experience that we want for our customers. Scents are huge for us because often a scent triggers memories for people. The experience with Tulips Apothecary is like peeling though different layers: We want your purchase to have elements ranging from the way it is presented to you with packaging to the feel of the tin in your hand.
AL: Why do you love Alpharetta?
TA: The neighbors in the Windward Community have been the biggest supporters, acting as product testers, giving exceptional feedback, and being some of our best customers. The very first brick and mortar store that sold our products, Sis and Moon’s, is in downtown Alpharetta. We continue to sell there and this shop is a gem! It is a must stop if you are looking for unique gifts and gorgeous art.
AL: What is it like working together as sisters?
TA: We are sisters first and business partners second. We agree to be open and honest and it turns out we are blunt and agree to not have hurt feelings when we provide feedback to each other’s idea. Somehow it all works out in the end!