Kimberly Morgan is the brain behind Akima Botanicals. Focusing on all-natural ingredients and original scent combinations, Kimberly created her own small business and ran with it. She took time from her busy schedule to talk to FangirlNation.com regarding her company and what it takes to be an Entrepreneur.
FGN: Where does the name Akima come from?
Kimberly Morgan: Akima was my professional name when I used to belly dance. For about 7 years I performed at local restaurants, halfas, private parties, and events all along the East Coast. Though I’ve since stopped dancing, I miss it terribly and try to incorporate my love of it into my products (i.e. my Hafla Perfume).
FGN: What got you started making your own products? What do you think is the biggest difference between you and other scent makers?
Kimberly Morgan: I began creating lip balm and perfume as a way to save money and keep to my handmade, green, and natural lifestyle. First I gave them away as gifts on holidays and birthdays, then friends and family began to request custom products and scents. After the tragic loss of a close friend, I realized life is short and I should stop worrying about the What If’s in my head and start on the path to entrepreneurship.
I think the biggest difference between myself and other perfume artists is… well, me! Every scent I create represents a memory, a time, a place, a person, or something wonderful I’ve yet to experience. I maintain a high standard of quality for each ingredient I use – no phthalates, parabens, artificial colors, chemical preservatives, or other industry standard “nasties” go into my products. Nature got it right the first time, after all!
FGN: What is the process of making your own scents?
Kimberly Morgan:Creating a scent can be a lot of trial and error. I usually start with fragrances I enjoy, then I mix a bit here, a bit there, and drop the combined scent onto a piece of paper towel. I record my impressions of the scent immediately, after 1 hour, 2 hours, and the next day to see how it combines and changes over time. If I don’t care for it, I’ll go back to the drawing board, eliminating some notes, adding others, starting the whole process over again. If I like it, I will wear it for a few days, give samples to friends and family to try, and attempt to collect a good general impression of the scent, its wear time, and what it reminds people of. Finally the naming process begins. I try to name the scent based on what it reminds me of, again representing something cherished in my life and memories.
FGN:Many of your scents are named after rituals or mystical creatures. Where do you draw your inspiration for naming your scents?
Kimberly Morgan: I draw inspiration from My world, by which I mean the people and places around me, my own memories and experiences, and my subjective view of the world around me, whether it’s something I’ve experienced or that which I desire to experience.
FGN: Recently Gothic model Wednesday Mourning from Oddities San Francisco promoted your scent “Cemetery” on her Facebook page. What was the experience like for you?
Kimberly Morgan: This was by far the most exciting thing to happen to Akima Botanicals since I started it 3 years ago. I’ve admired Wednesday Mourning since her early work as a gothic model. Seeing her work in magazines was inspiring to me as a young goth girl, myself. We share a love of all things dark and strange, including antiques and oddities. You can imagine how excited I was to see her on Oddites: SF! My social media sites blew up, as did sales for the next 72 hours.
Honestly I wasn’t ready for this kind of exposure and had to quickly order a ton of supplies to get my orders out as quickly as possible. It was such a thrill to have a door opened to the kind of niche customer Wednesday’s posts draw – many of who share similar interests with me. I’d like to personally thank Wednesday for her kind shout-out, and all the wonderful new customers and friends I’ve met through this experience!
FGN: Other than scents, what products do you offer?
Kimberly Morgan: My products include lip balm and tints, lotion bars, skin care, incense, soap, aromatherapy oils, body scrubs, and more. With my keen interest and love of effective all natural skin care, I plan on creating a whole line of products designed to care for the face, hair, and body with nourishing ingredients to keep you looking young, healthy, and happy.
FGN: What is your most popular product?
Kimberly Morgan:My perfume oils are by far the most popular category, Cemetery being my #1 selling scent. And if you think only goth folks are buying it, you’d be wrong! I’ve participated in many local farmers markets and find the scent to be just as popular with everyone from soccer moms and professionals to folks looking for an unusual or novelty gift for themselves or a friend.
FGN: Do you have any advice for women who want to start their own small business?
Kimberly Morgan: Don’t be afraid of risk! Just be smart about it. Research your market, local business laws, and tools you’ll need to maintain proper bookkeeping (the best free sites I’ve found for this are Stitchlabs and GoDaddy Bookkeeping). Keep your business in compliance with local, state, and federal laws – this means reporting income, paying taxes, and obtaining proper permits and licenses. Have multiple streams of income, or a nice chunk of savings to get you by the slow start-up times. It’s OK to start out small! I tell people all the time not to go into debt or purchase too much inventory or supplies – keep your expenses minimal until you begin to gain revenue. As long as you put all your business income back into the business, it will grow and grow. Be confident in yourself and your product! Get your name out there by reaching out to your target audience on social media, local markets, and other free advertising and networking venues. Make an appointment with your local SCORE organization: http://www.score.org/. It’s free business advice from successful, retired entrepreneurs, business and financial professionals. Their knowledge is priceless.
FGN: Where can our readers find your products?
Kimberly Morgan: The best and easiest place to view and purchase from my entire collection would be my website – http://www.akimabotanicals.com. You can also find my products around the web on Etsy and GoreyDetails.com.
I’ve recently been asked to sell my products on RebelsMarket.com and WearItNaturally.com – they’ll be available for sale at both websites very soon! If you live in the areas you can shop Akima Botanicals products at 8 different retail locations around the country, all listed on my website at http://www.akimabotanicals.com/wholesale