Today we’d like to introduce you to DeJan Toney.
DeJan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2017, I was deployed in the Middle East and I developed extremely dry skin. I became very frustrated because I’ve never had an issue with my skin. Nothing I tried was working. I started researching the possible causes and learned that a lot of my go-to products had harmful chemicals and alcohols which aided in the drying of my skin. I switched up my soap and all seemed well until I was sent to Afghanistan. A different country with completely different issues. I just remember saying “enough is enough! I need something that’s natural, LIKE ME!”
We were very limited to what we had access to, but I needed something. We used the oils we brought with us and whatever we could find in the Post Xchange to make an exfoliating scrub. I felt like it was helping however, I was still using it with the same soap and water that was breaking me out to begin with. I couldn’t wait to get home and try out some of the natural remedies I had researched. I experimented with different scrubs and body butters for about five months until I was satisfied with my products. I noticed a difference in my own skin after just a few days. I went back work and a few of my battle buddies were still complaining of their skin issues. Everyone asked me what I was using because my skin cleared up. When I told them I made my own products, they wanted to try. Excited to help, I whipped up more products and took back to work with me.
Later that week, I went back to my hometown to visit family and I took the remaining products along with me. When I noticed everyone had positive results like me, I knew I had something. It was never my intention to have a business. I was only going to do this as a hobby and get some extra cash when needed. However, the demand for my products grew so rapidly I had no choice but to turn my hobby into a business. Since I started Like Me, I have been featured in two magazines, two blogs, two podcast and two YouTube vlogs. This past November, I had the opportunity to attend my first hair show as a vendor and shared the main stage with other amazing entrepreneurs. At the end of 2019, I am proud to say I was able to get my products in the hands of many celebrities/influencers most of which I was fortunate enough to meet.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think it’s ever a smooth road but when you have a good product the business kind of builds itself. The hardest part for me was time management. When I started Like Me, I was working two full-time jobs, a full-time student and still in the United States Army Reserve. I barely had time to eat let alone hand-make products and get them shipped. I was on a tight schedule, but I made it work. One of the biggest headaches was finding materials. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was doing it all alone. I made my website, my labels, my logo and I felt like I could do it all. But I didn’t know the first thing about running a business. I had to figure it out as I went. Luckily for me I have amazing friends and family that have been so supportive of my business. My unit at the time was away from all my family so I depended on my military family. My COO, Jessica Pulley, is a friend who stepped up to help because she saw me becoming overwhelmed. I would get last minute invites to events and she was always ready to go no matter where it was. All of this was new to me, so I did not know how to prepare for these things, but my friends and family continued to encourage me. No one I knew was doing skincare when I started so I didn’t have a mentor I could go to. I had to learn everything on my own while working 80-hour weeks, trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA and fulfilling my military duties. Exhausted is an understatement! Everyone would ask me how I did it and the answer is I DON’T KNOW! lol, I was in autopilot for most of 2019 but I got it done. I owe a lot of that to my support system.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Like Me Natural Skincare LLC – what should we know?
Like Me is a natural skincare company that focuses on natural ingredients for healthier skin. I make everything by hand with natural ingredients, with the exception of our black soap and any of the tools or merchandise. Our most popular products are our Face and Body Scrubs and our Whipped Body Butters. Everyone loves our Brown Sugar Honey Scrub. I can’t tell you how many times I have to say “Do not eat it” when referring to this scrub lol. Every customer says to smell good enough to eat however there are no added fragrance oils.
I have so much to be proud of to be honest. This is my baby! I started this from the bottom up. Literally from scratch! So every like, every share, every review, every post, every new customer, every order, every invite, every shout out I AM PROUD!
What sets Like Me apart from others is our honesty! Once we started to take off, I wanted our business to be authentic. I call my company Like Me because all I could think of during deployment was “I need something natural LIKE ME”. But as time went on, I realized there was more to it than just me. My products were helping many people that were nothing like me. Real people with Real issues. When you look at other skincare companies, all their advertisement is full of models with makeup or perfect skin. And that’s just not real. Our motto is “Real people, Real results, Real reviews”. Anyone we post is a real customer who uses our products. We do not pay for reviews, we do not pay for models, we do not pay for fake advertisement. We want our customers to know our products work. No gimmicks just natural skincare!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think my ability to be personable and transparent with customers has helped me the most. I’ve been on both ends of sales and I can honestly say I don’t like either lol. When I am speaking to a potential customer, I am not selling anything. My main goal is to educate and inform. I like to crack jokes; I open up about my issues and try to make them comfortable. I don’t want to be pushy I want to make sure they know I want to help. And I am always honest. If I don’t know, I will tell you I don’t know.
I also listen to my customers. Occasionally I would make post asking, “What kind of products would you like to see on our website?” and people would answer. I would write down. Research a few and get into the lab. That’s how I got all of my soaps. The key is to make your customers feel appreciated. When a customer mentions, they have a specific skin issue then months later you message them with a link to a new product, you have a loyal customer for life. My customers trust me and that means everything to me. That’s what fuels my desire to learn more.
- Natural skincare is always so expensive. Our goal is to provide a natural skincare at an affordable price. None of our hand made products are over $20
- Face and Body Scrubs $10-$17
- Whipped Body Butter $10-$14
- Soaps $7-$10
- Hair Care $15
- Yoni Steam $12
- Website: https://likemeskincare.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org