Community//

Tips From the Top: Conversation With Kristina Velkova and Sara Douglas

I spoke to Kristina Velkova and Sara Douglas, co-founders of Vitaclean, about their journey and their best advice

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?

Sara: I am Australian and Icelantic and blind in one eye! I worked with a lot of apps which I helped launch in Australia, London and US. My experience in tech and business development gave me the foundations to build Vitaclean to what it is today.

Sara: I am Australian and Icelandic and blind in one eye! I worked with a lot of apps which I helped launch in Australia, London and US. My experience in tech and business development gave me the foundations to build Vitaclean to what it is today.

Kristina: I am originally from Bulgaria and immigrated to America at age 9. I studied product development and marketing and worked as an international fashion model. Living in different countries and working for numerous brands helped me learn international business and branding. My constant exposure to top industry creatives laid the foundation for my knowledge in content creation and execution.

Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Kristina: When we met in London we noticed we had a lot of things in common. At the time we were working at a content production company together and learned we had complementary skills. In addition, we bonded over our interest in health, wellness, fitness, and beauty. Given we had a combined background in social media, tech, marketing and fashion we saw an opportunity for a good partnership. After numerous discussion on the frustration we experienced with the effects of hard water on our skin and hair – such as dry scalp, brittle hair, and eczema- we set out to find a solution!

Sara: I had already come across a product from Korea that worked very well. After spending some time sourcing the internet for water softeners we quickly realized that there was a gap in the market for a simple, cool cosmetic shower head. Most available items didn’t really work, they were expensive, hard to install and not renter friendly. This is when the idea of Vitaclean was born!

Kristina: We didn’t go into it full speed at first. We were unsure how to market the shower head. “How do we make a shower head cool?!”- “It’s easy, let’s get beautiful models to do our ad campaign.” Well that didn’t work out so well, but our friends and family were still supportive, so we made some sales and got great feedback. After a few months of consistent traction in sales and numerous rebrandings efforts, we finally achieved a cohesive look and feel and knew we had a golden product.

Sara: A lot of our setbacks and challenges came with the territory of any new business. Getting the right website was difficult and cost us tons. We were working with a lot of freelancers who would come in and out for each project which didn’t help as it deterred the consistency of the brand. We also had to learn a lot of things on our own such as international shipping, working with foreign suppliers- hoping they will complete orders on time and won’t cheat us, creating a cohesive product assortment, finding the right fabricators for visual merchandising displays, ensuring PO’s can be fulfilled, the list goes on!

Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?

Kristina: To be a good leader it’s important to have integrity and courage. An effective leader is one that takes an initiative and thinks through problems logically. Most people are too fearful to take on big decisions, but most underestimate their capabilities and natural knowledge. People spend a lifetime collecting experiences and don’t value the power of that knowledge. You can read all the books and watch all the videos, but it’s not until you take action that you really learn how to deal with stuff as it comes! So for us, a leader is one that dives into things and works through whatever challenge arises.

Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?

Sara:

  1. We all come across new things every day, so it’s okay not to know everything!
  2. Things take time and doing things well is important in order to avoid diluting your work. So don’t rush yourself crazy, as we say at Vitaclean “Trust the process and enjoy the journey!” There’s so much beauty in every step.
  3. Look at what other companies you admire and see what they are doing. Create a mood board/ series of points and take the best things and structure it into your own brand.  This could be the GIF’s they use to the easy flow of their website to their social media strategy. Put your own twist on it but there is so much information available and so many people who do things well these days that it is great to get inspo!

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

Kristina: “Be persistent and resilient”- it’s the key to anything in life. We also make extra effort to be mindful and present in anything we do. It’s not easy, as our inboxes are full, we constantly have to make big decisions, and both our personal and professional lives are busy. Practicing being present a little bit a day can go a long way!

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?

Sara: Look at how you can get involved in your local communities and charities and find ways you can collaborate. This doesn’t need to be monetarily, a helping hand and using your voice can go a long way!

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Kristina: Both of us love fitness, tech, beauty products and travelling. So we wanted to make Vitaclean a collection of our hobbies. These are the few of our passions that helped us bond! Thinking back, we remember we both went to the same yoga studio in East London and that’s when we first exchanged our phone numbers. All of our friends would independently call us entrepreneurs at heart. Having a similar drive and goal in life helped us create Vitaclean’s core values. We are passionate to create a life we love, building a business which supports us financially and at the same time makes a difference in the world. We can’t describe the feeling we get when we receive hundreds of reviews from customers that no longer struggle with dry skin and brittle hair thanks to Vitaclean.

Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Sara: Thank you for creating a platform that gave us the opportunity to share a bit of our story!

Kristina: I am originally from Bulgarian and immigrated to America at age 9. I studied product development and marketing and worked as an international fashion model. Living in different countries and working for numerous brands helped me learn international business and branding. My constant exposure to top industry creatives laid the foundation for my knowledge in content creation and execution.

Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Kristina: When we met in London we noticed we had a lot of things in common. At the time we were working at a content production company together and learned we had complementary skills. In addition, we bonded over our interest in health, wellness, fitness, and beauty. Given we had a combined background in social media, tech, marketing and fashion we saw an opportunity for a good partnership. After numerous discussion on the frustration we experienced with the effects of hard water on our skin and hair – such as dry scalp, brittle hair, and eczema- we set out to find a solution!

Sara: I had already come across a product from Korea that worked very well. After spending some time sourcing the internet for water softeners we quickly realized that there was a gap in the market for a simple, cool cosmetic shower head. Most available items didn’t really work, they were expensive, hard to install and not renter friendly. This is when the idea of Vitaclean was born!

Kristina: We didn’t go into it full speed at first. We were unsure how to market the shower head. “How do we make a shower head cool?!”- “It’s easy, let’s get beautiful models to do our ad campaign.” Well that didn’t work out so well, but our friends and family were still supportive, so we made some sales and got great feedback. After a few months of consistent traction in sales and numerous rebrandings efforts, we finally achieved a cohesive look and feel and knew we had a golden product.

Sara: A lot of our setbacks and challenges came with the territory of any new business. Getting the right website was difficult and cost us tons. We were working with a lot of freelancers who would come in and out for each project which didn’t help as it deterred the consistency of the brand. We also had to learn a lot of things on our own such as international shipping, working with foreign suppliers- hoping they will complete orders on time and won’t cheat us, creating a cohesive product assortment, finding the right fabricators for visual merchandising displays, ensuring PO’s can be fulfilled, the list goes on!

Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?

Kristina: To be a good leader it’s important to have integrity and courage. An effective leader is one that takes an initiative and thinks through problems logically. Most people are too fearful to take on big decisions, but most underestimate their capabilities and natural knowledge. People spend a lifetime collecting experiences and don’t value the power of that knowledge. You can read all the books and watch all the video, but it’s not until you take action that you really learn how to deal with stuff as it comes! So for us, a leader is one that dives into things and works through whatever challenge arises.

Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?

Sara:

  1. We all come across new things every day, so it’s okay not to know everything!
  2. Things take time and doing things well is important in order to avoid diluting your work. So don’t rush yourself crazy, as we say at Vitaclean “Trust the process and enjoy the journey!” There’s so much beauty in every step.
  3. Look at what other companies you admire and see what they are doing. Create a mood board/ series of points and take the best things and structure it into your own brand.  This could be the GIF’s they use to the easy flow of their website to their social media strategy. Put your own twist on it but there is so much information available and so many people who do things well these days that it is great to get inspo!

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

Kristina: “Be persistent and resilient”- it’s the key to anything in life. We also make extra effort to be mindful and present in anything we do. It’s not easy, as our inboxes are full, we constantly have to make big decisions, and both our personal and professional lives are busy. Practicing being present a little bit a day can go a long way!

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?

Sara: Look at how you can get involved in your local communities and charities and find ways you can collaborate. This doesn’t need to be monetarily, a helping hand and using your voice can go a long way!

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Kristina: Both of us love fitness, tech, beauty products and travelling. So we wanted to make Vitaclean a collection of our hobbies. These are the few of our passions that helped us bond! Thinking back, we remember we both went to the same yoga studio in East London and that’s when we first exchanged our phone numbers. All of our friends would independently call us entrepreneurs at heart. Having a similar drive and goal in life helped us create Vitaclean’s core values. We are passionate to create a life we love, building a business which supports us financially and at the same time makes a difference in the world. We can’t describe the feeling we get when we receive hundreds of reviews from customers that no longer struggle with dry skin and brittle hair thanks to Vitaclean.

Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Sara: Thank you for creating a platform that gave us the opportunity to share a bit of our story!

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