Alumni Spotlight: Essance LLC
Jasmine Tran always had a keen interest in skincare, having spent five years working in natural cosmetic laboratories. In 2011 she turned those years of experience into a business venture, Essance. Essance allows Jasmine to create and sell her handmade organic skincare products to retail and wholesale clients in her local community of Portland, Oregon. As a growing supply of organic products crowds out the market in Portland, however, Jasmine hopes to widen her client base.
In 2016, Jasmine completed Portland Development Commission’s Increase Project, a capacity building program for small businesses powered by Interise’s StreetWise 'MBA'™. Increase Project provided her with valuable relationships, business know-how, and a growth plan to improve her business.
Jasmine formed a relationship through the program with a local barbershop, which as a result trialed and now uses her products. Jasmine notes this is not only good for her but “a really major thing for them because for barbershops in the past they had always used conventional products which are traditionally made of alcohol. To move to organic product is a big step.”
During the program, Jasmine came to realize not all large clients are good clients. Her second largest client, for example, had so many requirements Jasmine spent more time trying to meet them than focusing on expanding her business. “[The program] provided a tool for me to analyze what part of my business I need to look at closely and which part of the business I can let go and focus more attention to.”
"I think the motivation going into the program lies in having the supportive network, meaning that other colleagues are also in the same position as you are. You feel that you are not alone and that you are exactly where you need to be in terms of business."
Now Jasmine has a strong growth plan forward that will help Essance grow. What is essential is that business owners understand “the growth plan is a constant living documentation of your business. It’s constantly changing.”