Keep it simple. This particularly goes for the young and new entrepreneur. I have a whole line of devices and complimentary products that I want to develop. I even went as far as getting patents on them but, the reason that I began with the FasciaBlaster, and I’m so glad that I did, was because it had a low cost of goods sold and it had a very simple message. One thing I learned a long time ago was that if you can’t explain your product in three seconds then you’re going to lose the attention of your audience. I took that to heart, and I can say “rub this stick on your body and you will look and feel better” in 3 seconds. So, I think that your product or service needs to be very simple to make, to manufacture and to explain. When you can keep it really tight and narrowly focused that is the best way to launch a business. Once you get that message solid with your customer base then you can branch out. I definitely see young entrepreneurs making the mistake of coming to the market with a whole line of products and a whole bunch of messaging. So, my advice is to keep the ideas simple. It only takes one simple idea to become a millionaire.
As part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Black. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at a young age, and was told she would need a wheelchair by age 25. Determined this would not be her fate, she developed and enacted intuitive therapies to control her flare-ups. She learned that the structural limitations in her body were due to constrictions in the “sheets” of connective tissue — fascia — that connect, penetrate, envelope, and surround every organ, joint, muscle, and system of the body. Utilizing her background in engineering and her education as a fitness instructor, Black created treatment methods for her new realm of science: Fasciology™ — the study of fascia.
Because her treatment methods were so effective, Black began working on Olympic and professional athletes, celebrities, models and actors who came to rely on her to treat their injuries in order to win a playoff season, walk the runway, or film a major production. It became clear that she also needed a tool that would not only allow her to more quickly and effectively access the muscles and joints beneath the layers of fascia, but also so her clients could self-treat between sessions to keep their pain at bay. She invented the FasciaBlaster®.
Black took the FasciaBlaster to market in March of 2015 and her following exploded as users began experiencing life-changing results in aesthetics, pain management, and overall health and started spreading the word. She started a private Facebook group in February 2016 that has organically grown to be one of the largest women’s only groups on that platform with more than 330,000 members. In the group, women can see real time results and testimonies from other users while receiving education and support from Black and her team about posture, proper alignment, “cellulite” and fascia. Their thirst for knowledge about fascia inspired Black to write her #1 national best-selling book, The Cellulite Myth (It’s Not Fat, It’s Fascia!) published in February 2017.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
My career has been so insane that it’s very hard to narrow it down to the one most interesting thing. But something that I really enjoyed and that definitely stands out in my memory is when I was called in by the movie The Revenant. Leonardo DiCaprio had been my client for many years at that point. The bear mauling scene was just so physically demanding on Leo, and his body was overworked to the point that he could barely move. He flew me all the way to British Columbia, Canada to restore his physical tissue and mobility so that he could continue with the movie. It was amazing because while I was there I was able to work with Alejandro, the famous Oscar winning director, and also Tom Hardy. I love working with those clients during a moment of real need. It was really a joy for me. It’s very rewarding when people of that level have so much gratitude for the work that I do so.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
In terms of a tipping point with my business it’s so bizarre because I certainly have been called an overnight success. The reality is that I’ve had the same level of intensity, passion, and work ethic since the very beginning. When the money starts to come it’s actually kind of strange. It’s kind of like ‘how did this even start to happen right now’. There isn’t something that I could really pinpoint other than something not so sexy, which is that the digital ads just started working. I lost 80k dollars in ads that didn’t produce a profitable ROI, and with sheer intention and will power, I stayed the course and started refining and refining until I started to lose less, then break even, then profit. Here’s some perspective, it took seven years for me to sell the first 1000 FasciaBlasters, and then in 2016 we sold 40 million dollars worth. It was strictly a result of momentum and perseverance. So, I believe that the tipping point, financially, is almost like a wave. It comes all the way across the ocean, swells up and swells up and swells up, and with some tenacity it eventually crashes and breaks — and that is certainly what happened in my business.
Did I start doing anything different?
I spent many years figuring out how to launch my business. I thought about going to QVC, I thought about doing infomercials, I thought about doing reality TV, but what I started doing differently was getting very scientific with internet and digital marketing. The takeaway from that is the predictability of knowing if it’s going to work. It’s measurable and dependable, even when things change and you shift on a dime. You don’t feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall, you can see the money in and the money out, which is pretty unique to this form of advertising. Additionally, digital ads lead to long term customers if you do it right, and build your community in social media and your email database.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have two groups of people that I am particularly grateful for. The first group is my family. We are a family business and my children were teenagers when I was building the business. All of them, my three biological children and my two honorary children, jumped in the game and stepped up. They worked for the business, and they gave me the space and the support that I needed. We just rolled with it as a family, and that is a huge blessing that I am infinitely grateful for.
Then anyone you know who has built an executive team has probably been through some serious bumps and bruises, and in my business I had some executives that really injured the business. So I have a stark contrast for what it’s like to have a very, very good team of executives. So I would say rather than looking outside for somebody who mentored me, I’m looking inside to the people who’ve been in the trenches with me, such as my CEO LeeAnne, CFO Brandy and CTI Joel. For that you really can’t even put a price on. It’s one of those things — having that cohesive team is invaluable to any business
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
I’m so happy that you asked the question about leading the half a trillion dollar beauty industry. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I was named a Stevie Award winner in the Entrepreneur of the Year — Health Products & Services category in 2020 American Business Awards. I know that I was recognized because of the innovations that I’m bringing relative to skin and other soft tissue regeneration. We are doing something that the beauty industry has wanted to do since the dawn of time and no one has been able to figure it out. I think that’s because it’s just a lot simpler than we all thought. By doing the simple action of FasciaBlasting with the FasciaBlasting tools, we’re seeing tissue and skin regeneration in our million and a half customers who post their results on social media. We’re also seeing it in validated peer reviewed and published science. So bringing tissue regeneration and skin regeneration to the industry is huge because our products can complement every other product. They’re not a competition, they are the magic bullet so to speak and I’m very excited about that. It’s all natural using the body’s own healing mechanisms, it’s not a bandage, it is a fix. Why wouldn’t every person on the planet FasciaBlast? If you want to regenerate or reverse age your cellular tissue, you can do this now.
And in terms of how I think it will help people? My whole career has been based around helping people, that’s the driving factor, it’s the passion. Coming from being a disabled child and then suffering again in my late twenties with a bone eating infection, it was really important to me personally to regenerate my own tissue, so being able to do this for others and provide the tools and techniques that they need to be empowered is the Alpha and Omega in my career. It’s been amazing to do this on such a mass scale and have people, particularly women, have new solutions not only for their beauty that they didn’t think was possible, but also just for their health and their overall wellbeing. So I feel like in the industry I’m positioned in the most beautiful spot someone could ever be in because my products are affordable and they’re easy to use and they genuinely are life changing.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
1 — Number one for me would be that women are really not looking for the quick fix anymore. It feels like women are definitely wanting things that get to the root cause of age related or health related issues. So I’m really excited to see people not looking for something like a quick little laser treatment. Those will always be there, but people are actually looking for something that changes their whole beauty and health paradigm from the inside out, and at the most cellular level. So I’m really happy and excited to see that.
2 — I’m also super happy that people are beginning to steer towards more natural products and things that are organic and sustainable. That is a huge part of why I feel like I’m here on this planet, to not pillage the earth but contribute to it. I’m really excited that the consumers are starting to drive this more holistic, organic, sustainable beauty market.
3 — Women are empowered with the ‘less is more’ concept and I think COVID-19 brought a lot of that to the forefront because we couldn’t be so complicated. I live in a tropical country of Costa Rica, and it’s hot, so it’s not really feasible to do lashes and wear a lot of makeup and things like that. For me, personally I want beauty trends that bring out the natural beauty rather than the more fake look and I think that’s definitely something that we’re seeing worldwide. It’s thrilling because women are so gorgeous without trying to look like a cartoon. I’m all about products and services that really promote that natural physical beauty.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1 — As part of my blogging and my own research, I really believe in the science and the white papers, and I see some of our beauty manufacturers finding natural ways in their research to positively affect our beauty and then they state, “We’re so excited to develop drugs or chemicals to address this.” So, I really hope that the beauty industry will take their own research and actually develop products and technologies that piggyback off what they’re finding, and not introduce drugs or chemicals into the equation.
2 — Another thing that I’d like to see, and it really feels like we’re turning the corner, is that I don’t ever want to see a plastic type look where all the girls start to look the same, or that there’s a look that’s completely unachievable naturally becoming the trend of what’s considered beautiful. For instance, I am okay with lip injections if they’re done to just give a little bit of a fuller lip or address a frayed lip line, but I think having lips that are two times the size of someone’s normal structure could lead to dependency on things like that. So my only concern is that the industry might glorify that type of look and then particularly young women will feel the pressure to attain something that’s not attainable naturally.
3 — And last but not least, again going back to my passion for the environment, I believe that all beings deserve a chance, and I would hope that the beauty industry steers away from unethical treatment of animals or the environment.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
I honestly believe that women feel beautiful when they feel that they have control over their body and their skin. I think that that control and empowerment, and coming from a place of calmness and peace and acceptance, really comes from within. I know it’s cliché to say ‘beauty from within’, but I think when women really focus on their spirituality and become balanced they have a better idea of what being beautiful or feeling beautiful is. Then when they walk down the path of taking care of themselves spiritually, emotionally, with the way that they eat, workout and take care of their skin, they are practicing self-care. I think that is what makes us feel beautiful. Then the outward expression is simply that, it’s just an outward expression of what we already feel in our hearts and soul as well as our beauty routines.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
1 — Know your customer. An example of a story is that I thought I was really catering to my audience by trying to give them more techniques, more advanced knowledge while also mixing in other types of holistic care. Then, I slowed down long enough to do a really intensive survey and deep dive on our customers. What I found out is that I was confusing them. Even though I was giving better information and more best practices for how to FasciaBlast, I still had a lot of new people that maybe haven’t even read directions. Having this surplus of information was actually a barrier to them beginning. I was causing analysis paralysis. If I had polled everyone in our company, they would’ve said yes, this is so great what we’re doing, customers are asking all these intense questions, but it was our customers that said hey, let’s slow your roll basically, and just give me the five minute version. People don’t read, and so sometimes less is absolutely more. You truly don’t know your customers, even if you’re interacting with them every single day like I was, if you’re not polling them on more of a mass scale. Ask your buyers, your non-buyers, and your fans who haven’t yet become buyers. I think it’s super important to make sure that you’re not trying to guess what your customer needs and wants, but that you’re finding out from them, and then providing them with exactly what they need.
2 — To develop a genuine relationship with your customers. There are so many CEO’s or founders that want to just stay behind the scenes and they don’t want their pictures, videos, or their voice out there. The reality is that every successful company goes back to the drive and vision of the founder. In a business like Uber or an investment fund, maybe it’s not so important, but in the beauty business people will buy from you if they believe what you believe. So the most important thing, I think, that can get out there is for my customers to know what I believe. If they’re if they’re aligned then that’s going to be a customer for life, and they can’t know what you believe if you don’t talk about what you believe. I’m so passionate about holistic care for the face and the body, and it comes from a very real and authentic place for me. I do live feeds every single week, and I’m constantly interacting with my customers to the point that I know many of them by name even though we have over a million customers. I think that those relationships are absolutely invaluable. These are the people that will take it to the mat for your product and they are completely invested in your brand. It’s probably the most important things that I do.
3 — Science, science, science. We are in an age where people are so over the BS and not only are they over the BS, they’re over spending time on products that don’t work and investing money in things that don’t work. So for me, since the very beginning, I wanted to be as science based as possible. I spent over 2 million dollars of my own money to invest in a very comprehensive study about the FasciaBlaster products and it’s probably the most valuable thing that I’ve ever done. So, when people are putting together their projections and RND numbers, this is where I think we need to spend a lot more time. There are so many products out there that can’t even make any claims because they don’t have the scientific data to back up what they really want to talk about. So for us, if I want to publish that 100% of the participants of our peer reviewed and published study saw a reduction in cellulite, then I can say that, because it’s true. I can also say that we saw a reduction in fat pockets because we saw that in ultrasound images. I can say that we increase collagen production because we saw that in the blood results. So I think if you truly believe in your product then you have to go to the science, and you have to be able to put your money where your mouth is. It also makes me so confident that my products will work for anyone that is willing to use them consistently. It makes me confident to tell customers to “ keep going, you got this”, because it’s not my opinion, it’s unbiased data.
4 — Keep it simple. This particularly goes for the young and new entrepreneur. I have a whole line of devices and complimentary products that I want to develop. I even went as far as getting patents on them but, the reason that I began with the FasciaBlaster, and I’m so glad that I did, was because it had a low cost of goods sold and it had a very simple message. One thing I learned a long time ago was that if you can’t explain your product in three seconds then you’re going to lose the attention of your audience. I took that to heart, and I can say “rub this stick on your body and you will look and feel better” in 3 seconds. So, I think that your product or service needs to be very simple to make, to manufacture and to explain. When you can keep it really tight and narrowly focused that is the best way to launch a business. Once you get that message solid with your customer base then you can branch out. I definitely see young entrepreneurs making the mistake of coming to the market with a whole line of products and a whole bunch of messaging. So, my advice is to keep the ideas simple. It only takes one simple idea to become a millionaire.
5 — Last but not least, this is kind of just Ashley advice, but I am a huge fan of not having competition. I’m constantly asked “who are your competitors?” and I feel that I developed products that really are ‘blue ocean’ meaning there is no one in the space. The fascia industry is new, myofascial tools have never really made it to mass market before, so I don’t ever feel like I’m in competition. It’s great because that comes with a different energy and a different momentum when you don’t feel that you have competitors and need to look over your shoulder. It’s just a really beautiful thing to just be creative and develop products, technologies, or services that fill a hole or gap in the market space because you don’t have to devote any energy to being better or more competitive than the other guy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love this question about inspiring a moment for other people, particularly in the business world. One of my big passions right now is the female entrepreneur. So much so that I am writing a book that’s about this very issue. I have two co-writers who have been through the ringer in business to become very successful and happy. WE want to bring a guidebook to the ladies that want to bring their passions and ideas to life, and that is what the book is about. It’s called “Be… from Passion and Purpose, to Products and Prosperity” and the whole quintessential idea of the book is that you already 100% have every single thing that you need to be a successful entrepreneur inside of you. It’s all about wiping away limiting beliefs. Things that we’ve carried, that negative self-talk, etc. Shedding all of that so that you can be exactly who you are. Every human being is a brand, they just have to be able to go inside themselves and truly figure out who they are. When you can present your authenticity to the world in a passionate way, it absolutely will resonate with the customer base. From there it’s just as simple as parlaying whatever you are, whoever you are, and whatever you believe into products, technologies, or services. So don’t ever morph yourself in anyway, in fact, be as raw and authentic as you can, and for sure success will follow.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My ‘Life Lesson Quote’ is from Maya Angelou, and she says “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”. I think that just goes back to the previous question, which is that we are all here, we all have a story to tell, and we all have something to contribute to the world. Our lives are way more beautiful than sometimes we perceive them. I believe each life, each story is beautiful in its own unique way. Each story can contribute to the greater collective and each personal experience has the opportunity to become a product or service. I tell my story as often as I can, and I hope that it can serve as an inspiration to not only people who are suffering in pain or struggling with beauty aspects, but also to business people, entrepreneurs, and just in life in general. We all have the ability to overcome insurmountable obstacles and function in a higher vibrational state of being.
How can our readers follow you online? Yes.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.