Victoria Roby once thought she’d be a doctor so she began as a pre-med chemistry major at Wayne State University. Then she thought marketing might be a better fit and got a degree in that. Turns out, Victoria’s business, The Natural Market, is a clever combination of both of these interests. Through experimentation, patience and a lot of time spent in her kitchen, Victoria has developed a successful line of scented candles, shea butters, soaps, and natural hair products. Victoria does not use preservatives, and all are FDA approved. Many of her products have been developed in response to customers’ preferences. In fact, Victoria often works with fellow business owners who are interested in, for instance, creating a candle that reflects their store brand. Victoria has worked with City Bird, Savvy Gents, and Burn Rubber to develop signature scented and colored candles for each of these stores. Victoria incorporates her clients’ requests for “’a clean, oceany scent – not too much,’” for instance, creates three proofs, and then asks her customers which they prefer. It’s the perfect combination of chemistry and marketing. Victoria also custom-designs labels and packaging for her products.
As a small business owner, Victoria knows that she has to work hard to get the word out about her products and that that sometimes involves getting on a plane. Victoria has had great success in Houston, Washington D.C., and Chicago, bringing her products to small business fairs, and even cold-calling businesses that might be interested in either carrying her products or developing a signature candle. However far she travels, though, Victoria is always happy to come back home and to run her business out of the Grand River WorkPlace. She’s excited to be part of the business community in Detroit and feels that having her business in Detroit is contributing to the city’s recovery. The WorkPlace’s location in a neighborhood, in Grandmont Rosedale, is of equal importance to Victoria: “The neighborhoods are where it’s at in Detroit. It’s where the people are. If more people just took a walk through some of these neighborhoods and looked around, more and more would invest.”
One of Victoria’s most original marketing ideas is to give away candles. She cold calls or emails several people all over the country each month and offers them a free candle (with free shipping), if they respond to the call or email on, say, the following Monday between 9 am and 12 noon. Victoria has given away about 100 candles this way and these respondents, in turn, often become customers. They have posted pictures of themselves with their free candle on Facebook or Instagram and thus advertise for Victoria. Many of them buy more candles and/or tell their friends about their free candle. Who wouldn’t be excited about a free, custom-made candle, no strings attached? It’s a pretty smart and fun way to get the word out.
The Natural Market is our new pop-up store at Grand River WorkPlace, 19120 Grand River! The hours are Mon. – Wed. 10 am – 6 pm and Thurs. – Sat. 10 am – 8 pm. Stop by and support our newest local business!
Victoria has also sold her products at the Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market and was a vendor at the Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 28. If you can’t wait, you can take a look at and purchase Victoria’s products by visiting her website: www.thenaturalmarketonline.com. You can also visit The Natural Market Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thenaturalmarketonline/info/?tab=overview, or simply give Victoria a call at 313.915.0533.