Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to DelRae Cicinelli. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, DelRae thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Do you think folks should manage their own social media or hire a professional? What do you do?
Managing our social media is still something I manage. As the herbalist and sole maker, I want to share our products on a personal level. It’s a personal experience each time I forage an herb, create an oil infusion, charged and cleanse the crystals that go in our products, and I want to relay that on social media. It is important that people who come to Loil Life feel that the interaction is the same whether they are connecting with us online or in person.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
From my teen years into my early twenties, skincare seemed to be a struggle. I always struck out when looking for products that were natural, worked and didn’t leave my skin in a rash-y disaster. After becoming involved in the essential oil community, and dipping my toe into the DIYs, I decided to begin making my own skincare.
Those first few attempts were awful; nothing more than a castille soap concoction I had learned from the numerous MLM make-and-take parties. Although those parties did inspire me to get creative in the kitchen, they just left me with decent solutions. I didn’t realize at the time, because it was an improvement from what was available in stores, but looking back, it was merely a stepping stone to where we are now.
I was first introduced to essential oils because I was searching for a natural alternative to medication for a recent Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Not only did the oils improve my health, they opened my eyes to the world of chemical-free living. After settling on a decent skincare routine I crafted in my home kitchen, I began sharing my new products with my community. Sharing my personal solution created a doorway for a business, which turned out to be Loil Life.
After 2 years of hobby-ing around, I decided to get serious and treat it as a business. At this time it was 2018, I had created lip balms, lip scrubs, bath soaks, sugar scrubs, soaps, makeup remover, face wash, bath bombs, and just started inching my way into candles. I also went from 1 store to 12 as a consignment vendor, and worked 2-3 makers markets a weekend. I hustled, and my motivation was a new baby girl. I was proud of what I was creating, and then a PATH ALTERING opportunity arose – I stumbled into an herbalism class.
My business was more than a hobby – it started to truly become me. As I learned about herbs, how they impact the skin, and our internal body I began incorporating them into our offerings. To do that, I started over with our formulations. By this time in 2019, I had obtained my certifications as an herbalist and skincare formulator. With some education under my belt, I was able to provide a product that truly reflected my mission all along – to help others with skincare struggles.
Along the way we added a littles wellness collection because I had kids, and needed natural solutions for my pregnancy and postpartum journey. But the most recent pivot has really felt like the stars aligned and I’m walking the path I was destined.
We are far from a company that buys a pre-made product and slaps our label on it. Each week, I am scattered across AZ to forage the herbs we use in our products. After harvesting, I bring them home to my making studio and infuse them into a variety of oils used to make our skincare line. We still infuse our products with essential oils as well, but we’ve added a little extra magic. Spirituality is a huge part of my being, and Loil Life didn’t feel complete in its purpose until I started infusing crystals into our products as well as the herbs and oils. Crystals carry energy from the Earth, and I love being able to pass on the healing properties not only from plants, but from the crystals as well.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
When starting my business one thing I never wanted to do was to take a out a loan or sell off part of my company to an investor. Initially it was funded by my old 9-5 job in healthcare. I started slow with only a few products, and as they sold I would restock and expand. It wasn’t until I started becoming a consignment vendor in other shops that we began drawing from personal savings. Each time we expanded it would be a personal investment to grow the brand, but we never turned to outside aide.
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
Instagram is my primary way of connecting with our Loil Customers. Brand loyalty is extremely important, but I believe we achieve it because I am (and the Loil Life team are) genuinely interested in each person who walks through our door and the stories they have to share. To us, it is about the relationship, and knowing that even though we have a mutual interest in the products on the shelf, I care more about you and your body, mind and soul than you purchasing a product – that’s just a bonus. I encourage everyone to find the solution that works for them, and even if it is not us, I like to provide them tools to take their health/skincare into their own hands.
Photo of me and photo of skincare with plant in background: Wildlings Photo All other photos taken by me and need no credit.