We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest #ReBelleBoss is Lisa Schoeman, the owner and creative mind behind South African body care and homeware brand Bed Bath Body.
Last year, I stumbled across a new little shop called Bed Bath Body in Johannesburg. One thing led to another and shortly after my visit, I ended up sitting with the young owner Lisa Schoeman over a cup of coffee to hear more about her charming brand and the family business. Since then, I’ve popped into the shop almost every time I’ve been in the area and Bed Bath Body products are tucked away in various corners of my home – hand wash and lotion by the kitchen sink, a diffuser in the bedroom, another diffuser in the bathroom, a sugar polish in the shower.
I’ve also kept in touch with Lisa, even though she’s constantly flitting between her three stores spread out across as many provinces, and have watched her grow into a surefooted businesswoman over the course of the year. She has embraced her role and handled everything from navigating employee relations to expanding locations with grace and a positive spirit. When I found out that Bed Bath Body turned one last month (a significant milestone!), I thought it was the perfect time to 1) do a follow-up to see how the first year in business has gone and 2) give Lisa her own #ReBelleBoss status with a proper Q&A.
(If you want to read more of the story behind Bed Bath Body and how it all came to be, you can find it here!)
So how has the last year been for you? Update us!
This last year has been a rollercoaster! An incredible year of business and personal growth. A year ago, off by a couple of days, I started Bed Bath Body with the incredible support of my family and now fiancé. A year ago, I started with the humble idea, of a small-medium online store selling all things Bed Bath Body, a simple body care range. It quickly grew into so much more than that and we opened the first two Concept Stores in less than a month with the third store following very quickly end of June in Hilton, KZN (KwaZulu-Natal).
It has been a year of finding balance – I absolutely love what I do but rest is an absolute must. I want to be the best for my business. In between the mix of great business growth, I also became a bride-to-be, another exciting new adventure happening the end of September.
What has been the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself as a woman in business?
The biggest change I have noticed is all the incredible women in business.
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to being a small business owner and why?
My parents, or rather my business muses – Jan and Elize Schoeman. They have been such an integral part of Bed Bath Body. A family-run business guided and directed me, but it wouldn’t be where it is today without their support.
What’s been the biggest reward to date since starting the Bed Bath Body adventure?
There have been so many I could write a book but being in-store and receiving the most incredible feedback from clients who didn’t know I was the owner when they walked in. So just raw honesty of how amazing the Bed Bath Body products are. Also, having the most incredible people working for me: two full-time shop managers and part-time ladies. Providing them with a happy, motivating environment to work in brings me such happiness!
And the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me, which I still work on every day, is to set boundaries. I am a happy-go-lucky person 99% of the time and give it my all. So, it’s challenging for me to say “no” sometimes, especially when it comes to downtime.
The biggest learning lesson to date?
You can’t please everybody – somebody won’t agree with the products or the vision and it doesn’t matter what you do or say, you can’t please them. But there are heaps and heaps of customers who rave and love Bed Bath Body. That is the focus!
How do you measure success?
For me personally, I measure my success with the happy customers and incredible positive feedback, firstly. This for me is one of the most rewarding parts of being on the Bed Bath Body journey. It’s waking up in the morning, making my first cup of coffee and reading all the feedback emails from online customers and messages from my fabulous shop managers. Feedback when I work in the store or that I receive from the shop managers when I pop in for stock, makes me feel like I am making the world a better place one body care product at a time.
The goal of Bed Bath Body, besides job creation, uplifting the community, and producing affordable high-quality products, is to make customers feel GOLDEN! To walk out the store or receive your online order and just have a spring in your step.
What has surprised you the most since opening BBB?
How far the business has grown in just a year! Really that simple.
What do you do to get/stay inspired?
There are so many things. Simple ways I get inspired every day when I’m down (in KwaZulu-Natal) working in the hub of creativity is having early morning coffee with my parents where we discuss new ideas, a new approach, or anything that has inspired us. Coffee and inspiring ideas – pretty much the perfect way to start the day. I also love love love to visit markets/shows like Kamers Vol Geskenke and beautiful spaces around the country, whether eating or browsing in a relaxed environment.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or their own business?
It has become a little mantra for everybody who asks me this question or a similar question. A support system is what women looking to succeed in the workplace or in their own business need. Can I say, girls, unite…support fellow #girlsbosses / #rebellebosses, pop positive comments, collaborate, give useful feedback and insight.
Then, a crucial one for me is to believe in yourself and LOVE what you do. Strive to wake up 9/10 days (because everybody has the odd down day) and actually get so excited for the day ahead.
In 24 months’ time, Bed Bath Body will look like this…
In 24 months (or even a year from now), Bed Bath Body will have the same products, maybe a sneaky range extension of the Body Spa range, but with new uplifted European-inspired shelving. There is always something new and exciting happening with Bed Bath Body and focus for a year’s time is a stronger brand awareness and just fine-tuning and making everything better and better.
When the going gets tough, you…
Take a moment and have a cup of tea.
What’s your one piece of advice on how to achieve a good work/life balance?
Take time to rest, take a moment of pause. This is such a crucial part of work/life balance. If you are overworked and tired, how can you put your best out in your business?
3 words to describe your clientele
Cosmopolitan, sophisticated, joyful
3 words to describe you (as an individual or as the brand)
Passionate, creative, go-getter
One woman in business who deserves a shout-out and why
Elize Schoeman, my business muse and mom. She successfully runs, together with my dad Jan Schoeman, JE Living – wholesale body care and homeware collection of ranges. I sat for quite some time thinking about this question and couldn’t really think of anybody else. She has been an incredible support, motivator and business travel companion.
She is my mentor and somebody I strive to be like in business one day.
Your motivational quote
“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.” Goethe
Your business mantra
“If you spot an opportunity and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you’ve got.” Richard Branson
Your life mantra
Bloom where you are planted. Choose to be the bloom, the happiness in the world pretty much.
Any new developments or projects in the works that we should look out for?
In the next month or two, a new look for our 44 Stanley store. We are super excited about this, so keep a lookout and the introduction of our no. 8 fragrance in the Bed Bath Body range. There are so many developments and projects over here at Bed Bath Body, we could write a book! We are blessed busy so the best is to keep in touch with us to see what’s next.
Johannesburg: 44 Stanley, Milpark
Parys: En-Style, 100 Bree Street
Hilton: The Quarry Centre, Shop 11, 57 Hilton Avenue