In 2016 David Gaylord was a Shopify employee looking for a side hustle. Then he came up with a funky idea: skincare lotions for hair removal along bikini lines. The business name was even funkier: Bushbalm.
Fast forward to 2023, and Bushbalm is booming, selling lotions and trimmers directly to thousands of consumers and wholesale to Ulta Beauty and 3,000 waxing salons. It spends a whopping $200,000 per month on Facebook ads.
In our recent conversation, I asked Gaylord about sales channels, marketing, and, yes, the name. The audio for the entire discussion is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us what you do.
David Gaylord: I’m the co-founder and CEO of Bushbalm. We focus on bikini line skincare — below-the-belt products for ingrown hairs for razor burn. We also have a trimmer for down there. Our primary business is skincare, whether oils, exfoliants, or serums. We have a hydrogel mask called The Vajacial, which is quite popular.
We launched in 2016. Before, I worked in my family business in Canada selling hardwood flooring. When I was in university, my dad wanted to try ecommerce. I thought it was ridiculous. But I did what he said and looked at platforms such as BigCommerce and Magento. We chose Shopify because it was Canadian.
Four years later, I graduated from university and got a job at Shopify. From there, my partners and I started Bushbalm as a funky idea. It took us four years to gain traction. We didn’t quit our jobs until 2021. We were entirely bootstrapped and remain that way today.
During the four years, we spent very little on marketing. We did an Etsy show, which was good for talking to folks and learning what they wanted to say about us. When we spoke about “pubic oil,” they said, “That’s disgusting.” We tried “bush oil,” and they didn’t like that either. We got more into skincare and asked questions like, “Do you get waxed? You probably have…
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