Olympia entrepreneurs nail it with continued SBDC advising

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Ana Seidel had been experimenting with developing and selling nail care products since 2012. When her husband, Cory Seidel, got laid off from his IT job a few months after she started selling her homemade nail oil, the two decided their best opportunity for supporting themselves and their four children, then ages 14, 11, 9 and 6, was to grow Bliss Kiss™ from a hobby business into a business of value.

With the help of the Washington SBDC, they have done just that and are continuing to grow. Bliss Kiss now supports 8 jobs, they are beginning to outgrow a 2,000 square-foot production facility and have annual revenues around $1 million. They are currently working with SBDC advisors to explore growing their wholesale business and possibly expand sales into China and other foreign markets.

The nail care industry is huge in the U.S., with total spending on nail salon services topping 8.36 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Bliss Kiss has a full product line of nail and skin care products along with manicure tools and Ana Seidel has become a recognized expert in the field. Her NailCareHQ website promises, “No Hype…No Lies. The Truth is Here.”

She is currently writing a nail care book with her mentor, Doug Schoon, who is an internationally recognized scientist, author, and educator with over 30 years’ experience in the cosmetic, beauty, and personal care industry. Doug has entrusted Ana to proofread and edit some of his nail care articles knowing that Ana can write to the general public in a way that is easy to understand.

The Seidels began meeting with an SBDC advisor when they were averaging $3,000 in sales each month, which wasn’t enough to meet living expenses. Their advisor at the time, Ron Nielson, didn’t sugar-coat anything, Ana said, but his ability to analyze financial statements and point out promising trajectories enabled them to stay positive and focused.

Ana’s social media and marketing experience combined with Cory’s background in IT has enabled them to fully embrace the potential of online marketing. Their Facebook page for Bliss Kiss (https://www.facebook.com/MyBlissKiss/) has more than 100,000 “likes”. Their Instagram account has more than 139,000 followers and they’ve produced over 150 videos for their YouTube channel.

“I can say without a doubt that if we did not have the SBDC, both Cory and I would have had to go back to working for other people,” Ana said. “With the help of the SBDC, we have been able to build something that makes us proud.”