In Conversation with Courtney Somer of Lake & Skye

Courtney Somer1_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Lake & Skye is a modern and conscious beauty brand consisting of a line of  natural fragrances, candles and body products. 

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I always knew I wanted to start my own business but it took me a long time to find the right idea for the brand. My father and husband are both entrepreneurs and it was always a matter of when not if I would start my own company. After I had my first daughter, I started to form the ideas for the products and what started as a creative outlet as a new mother formed into L&S. 

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I worked in fashion, branding and production working various jobs from an assistant at Vogue to my own production company for photo shoots and eventually handling account management for a branding agency. I also studied various forms of natural healing techniques including kundalini yoga, prenatal yoga, aromatherapy, meditation, reiki and nutrition. 

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

When I first launched, I wanted to see if I had a product that would be of interest to people. I started selling in Warm a boutique in Soho that I loved and it was apparent pretty quickly that 11 11 was selling fast. I also took out a small loan and test drove that scent with BirchBox and it was very successful, one of their most highly converted indie fragrances to date. 

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned to fail fast and pivot. You have to be able to keep going after let downs or challenges. Some examples are flying across the country for a one hour meeting with a large retailer that rejected me because I have no pink in my packaging or the time I ordered 5000 units of packaging before I had an office and thought I could store it in my NYC apartment. 

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Our 11 11 products won 3 beauty awards from Allure’s Best of Beauty, New Beauty and Mind Body Green. 

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience? 

I love when people have had experience doing jobs like production, account management or even waitressing. I’ve done all three and it teaches you how to handle multiple things at the same time, work with a range of people and see things through from start to finish. 

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The industry has seen a pivot in direct to consumer sales when retailers lost foot traffic. Luckily, we had a strong DTC business so could really ramp this up. We also did some sampling efforts to allow people to test the products. 

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Retail expansion, new and exciting products and a focus around wellness practices based on my background. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Make the most of challenges, and be able to pivot quickly. 

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business? 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint and you have to really love what you’re doing because it takes a lot of time and energy to grow and nurture a business. 

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

For me this has been meditation, it’s my go-to tool that keeps me balanced and sane. I think in a year like this everyone needs something to help them. I also make it a priority to do things that make me happy, I’ve found if I run my battery too low it doesn’t work for my business or family. 

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I try to find the balance but it is not easy! I try to set up my day so I can be the most productive, for example I know there are certain work tasks I am better with in the morning so try to get those done first thing. 

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

A health crisis in my 20’s is what led me on the path to start my business. 

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Find what you need to be productive i.e. a certain time of day to work or if you prefer quiet and set yourself up for success that way. 
  • Find the time to do something you enjoy and that fills you up every day so when you have to get work done you’re not burnt out.
  • Get enough sleep!

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I feel so lucky to be able to do work that I love while balancing motherhood and family. 

Share it!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

How to achieve a life of financial freedom with Alisha Pennington of ATvantage Athletic Training

Describe your business in a few words? Empowering, Dynamic, and Comprehensive. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been a business owner in a very niche industry (athletic training) for almost 10 years, so I have experienced the freedom and flexibility that comes with being a business owner. My…

How Jenny Strebe used positive affirmations and crystal healing to create her modern haircare brand AIIR Professional

Describe AIIR Professional in a few words? A modern haircare brand that is focused on well being through positive affirmations & crystal healing. What made you take the leap to start your own business? As I was driving every aspect of my stylist business and social media facets, the peace and relief I found in…

How FLyQuest CEO Tricia Sugita is using the esport platform to affect real change and make people happy

Describe your business in a few words? FlyQuest is an esports organization competing in the franchised League of Legends League Championship Series (LCS). What made you take the leap to help transform FlyQuest into the organization it is today? One of my primary goals throughout my career in esports has been to create a community…

Lauren Montgomery, founder of Monty’s, on making simplicity the new sophistication through her line of plant-based dairy products

Describe your business in a few words? Monty’s makes clean and craveable plant-Based essentials like cream cheese and butter that nourish your mind & body. With simplicity and nutrition at the core of the brand, Monty’s selection of cream cheeses and butter are made from real-food ingredients and crafted using time-honored techniques like fermentation. What…

How Maradith Frenkel turned bamboo into pajamas for the whole family with Little Sleepies

Describe Little Sleepies in a few words? We make buttery soft bamboo sleepwear that your whole family will love. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I saw a white space in the market after I had my son. I absolutely could not find a sleeper that checked all of the…

Erin Coles couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for in a band for her wedding so she launched her own — The Metropolitan Players

Describe your business in a few words? The Metropolitan Players is a wedding band collective based out of NYC – so we provide incredible music for weddings! What made you take the leap to start your own business? When my husband and I were planning our own wedding, we couldn’t find exactly what we were…

Azora Zoe Paknad on creating a new entry point to sustainability with Goldune

Describe Goldune in a few words? We make sustainability less beige! What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was into the sustainability world, personally and professionally, but I didn’t see myself in any of the dominant narratives I saw on Instagram or online in general. On one end of the…

Elisa Marshall on creating warm, French-inspired spaces with Maman, a collection of NYC-based cafés and venues

Describe your business in a few words? Maman is a New York City-based collection of cafés and event venues, offering family inspired recipes with French influences in a warm and welcoming home like environment  What made you take the leap to start your own business? Before I opened Maman, I had many passions and there…

Kim Hehir, co-founder of Brutus Broth, on enhancing your dog’s health through specially formulated bone broth

Describe your business in a few words? Brutus Broth is the latest innovation in pet health, made with human-grade bone broth that has been specially formulated to enhance any dog’s existing diet by adding beneficial nutrients, amino acids, and joint protecting supplements. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Sue’s dog…

How a lack of female empowerment in the real estate industry lead Marina Shiferman to create her business, The Real Estate Academy

Describe your business in a few words? I teach women how to buy and own real estate correctly so they can be the bad ass queens of their own lives. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was a realtor for 10 years, I loved it but something was missing.…

Carla Olivia on revolutionizing the beauty bar experience with DashBar

Describe your business in a few words? DashBar is beauty made efficient! We are one stop beauty and wellness for the modern woman. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been an entrepreneur since I was 22 years old. I started my first business because a great opportunity was…

Christina Matteucci (a.k.a TeucciMama) on her 19-year tenure as the ultimate Number Two

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Christina Matteucci, Executive Director of David Beahm Experiences and proud “Number Two” to celebrity event designer David Beahm. I’ve produced legendary soirées all around the globe, but it’s my unique, 19-year tenure as the ultimate Number Two that qualifies me as a sought-after speaker and coach. In…

Niki Shadrow Snyder on coining the term “givefluencer” and making an impact with the Project Pop Drop foundation

Describe your business in a few words? My husband and I started the idea for the Project Pop Drop foundation on our first date. Our business sponsors a monthly drop off at a different homeless shelter each month. We spearhead these donation events with our children, and with local businesses and schools. We call this…

How Natasha Case of Coolhaus is disrupting the dessert space with cutting-edge ice cream creations

Describe Coolhaus in a few words? We are an innovative dessert company, specializing (for the time being) in ice cream/ice cream novelties. We are known for thinking outside the box, super unique partnerships, a truly cutting-edge brand identity and an inventive way of entering the marketplace with our trucks, brick and mortars, and now national…

How Jennifer Jolorte Doro used strategic partnerships to build Nouri from the ground up

Describe Nouri in a few words? Supporting people to feel their best. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I wanted something of my own. I’ve worked for many successful entrepreneurs and I knew I could do “it” my way and really enjoy it. What was your background prior to starting…