Maya Mia the startup with a Latin flavour

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“It was scary to launch the business but I wanted to give it a try so I don’t have regrets in the future”

Merichel and I met through an entrepreneur group and though her business idea is not a new one, I’m sure you’ll like her story as much as I did. She decided to turn her passion for soap making into a business. So she started a brand new natural cosmetic company called Maya Mia. I like the name because it has been chosen carefully (you’ll understand why in few lines).

Of course, she is not the only one in this industry and the competition is very fierce. Knowing that a startup which goes against big players without a much better product is doomed to fail, she decided to differentiate herself. So what makes her products different (in addition to the love she puts in them) is a secret ingredient she adds in the soaps (which actually is not that secret).

Differentiation strategy

Merichel uses only natural products to produce her soaps which make them healthier than the ones you’ll find in the usual stores. Being a Mexican she wanted to add a bit of her origins in her cosmetics. Knowing the benefits of Mayan Honey for the skin and wanting to do fair trade with Mayan Beekeepers she decided to add this ingredient to the recipe. This is her way of giving back to her community while giving her clients the opportunity to benefit from the virtues of her products.

Product/market fit

Five years ago Merichel came to Montreal as an immigrant. She started producing soaps as a hobby while working for a logistics company. Quickly her friends and colleagues got interested in her products, so she sold most of her production to them under her name (Savon Meritxell). Seeing all this enthusiasm she decided to quit her safe job and start her own business.

One of the things she did most startups fail to do is to find the product/market fit early. She then did more market research on her buyers’ persona and spent four months building her business.

A new branding

Most of Merichel clients knew her products under the name of Savon Meritxell. However, she decided to be forward thinking and build a new brand which emphasizes on her origins. Therefore, she created a new logo and changed the name to Maya Mia.

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Distribution channel

You can have the best product on earth if it does not reach your customers you have a hobby not a business.

In order to offer premium quality soaps at a fair price, Merichel has built an online boutique. The soaps will also be distributed through organic stores, hotels and SPA.

This strategy helps decrease the overhead costs of renting a store. However, it requires much more money and efforts in building brand awareness.

Merichel has put time and energy in preparing for the launch of her business without neglecting the feedback from potential customers along the process. Many startups forget that at the end of the day their work should serve someone.

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