Amy Cazin was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, who with $100 started a personal products company that quickly gained momentum — and even the attention of Wal-Mart.
While many small business owners may dream of making it big and sometimes even rush the process, this entrepreneur turned down an offer by Wal-Mart to sell her organic and natural deodorant products because it was too soon to supply such a big retailer.
"You get really tempted in an opportunity like that because you see a great opportunity" for brand awareness, the CEO of Primal Pit Paste told CNBC recently.
"We had Wal-Mart call like six months when I was out of my house and, of course, we weren't ready for volumes like that. We knew we were not ready to scale in that way at that time," she said.
But Cazin was no stranger to the idea of organic growth. When the P3 Organics CEO started she was looking to solve a family problem and before she knew it, in May 2012, she had started a profitable business. Cazin told CNBC that she bootstrapped the company with an initial $100 and in the first 18 months the company rang up more than $800,000 in sales.
"Our sales have doubled every year since and we are on track to continue this pace of growth. We have grown a huge community of almost 80,000 loyal fans and received 1,000s of 4 and 5-star online reviews on our website and Amazon," she wrote in an email.
It all started when Cazin researched family owned products and "found a lot of evidence and articles linking the aluminum and parabens in personal care (in deodorant specifically)" to what is "found in the outer quadrant breast tissue" of breast cancer patients.
The issue encouraged her to stop wearing conventional products, so when it was time for her daughter to wear deodorant, Cazin began seeking alternative options. Due to little success, the entrepreneur began to make her own concoctions.
"I went to the stores and I looked at every ingredient that was in the toxic antiperspirants and then in the natural ones and I would just research them one by one," Cazin recalled. After scouring the web for recipes, she would make the deodorant in her kitchen and give away the leftover batches.
"Then they would call me like a month later: 'that stuff was amazing, do you have anymore?' and that's how it kind of organically happened," she said.
As Primal Pit Paste scaled, Cazin was faced with many challenges, including state regulations that caused her to take her company from Florida to Texas.
"In a sense I felt like it was kind of a failure, but it was actually the biggest success we have had thus far," she said.
She told CNBC that in four years, the company has created and sold over 75 different products.
The keys for success, according to Cazin are to sell your story, stay true to your passion and go with the gut feeling.
While Cazin wasn't ready to scale at one point, her products are now available at Whole Foods Market stores.
"The majority of our customers find us online, however our products are carried in Whole Foods globally and nationally across thousands of independent retailers," she said. "We are on a mission to disrupt an industry and make a significant impact on how people choose, use, and value beauty products in their lives."