As an entrepreneur, getting a major retailer to carry your brand can be a challenge. Getting several top retailers to carry your brand is even harder. However, that’s exactly what UI Global Brands LLC did. We chatted with one half of the Texas-based husband and wife duo, Psyche and Vontoba Terry, to find out more about their journey and success.
SB: What inspired you to start UI Global brands?
VT: We started UI Global Brands because we wanted to give people products that would make them happier and healthier. Psyche was taking an entrepreneurship course in her MBA program and I was wrapping up an M.A. in Economics at UNLV.
Psyche was always trying different business ideas and testing her concepts on our friends in Las Vegas. We started with great-smelling body butters that were natural and made for people who were tired of dry skin. A month later we added lingerie for women who wanted fashionable products at an affordable price.
Shortly after launching, we were pregnant with our first son, and Psyche’s body changed. Psyche saw a need that wasn’t being met for women like her (she went from a B cup to a G cup) and launched a new plus-size collection for women who wanted fashionable intimates that flattered their curves.
SB: Describe the “Workshop at Macy’s” and explain how it changed the game for you?
VT: The Workshop at Macy’s was life-changing. We were a small e-commerce shop before meeting the Macy’s team. The Workshop gave us a crash course on how to sell our intimate apparel collection to a major retailer like Macy’s.
We met game changers like Lisa Price and Daymond John and learned the ins and outs of strategic retail marketing and retail math. We used that knowledge to expand our skincare business as well, and within two months of the workshop, we had our first wholesale skincare customer, TJMaxx. Psyche visits the Workshop at Macy’s regularly to share her experience and inspire new participants.
SB: What has been the most challenging experience on your entrepreneurial journey so far? What has been the most exciting?
VT: The most challenging experience has been making more people aware of the great products that we produce and where they can buy them. We make natural body products and natural hair care products that are as good as or better than a lot of products on the market.
We also produce quality bras at affordable prices and size-inclusive lingerie made with attention to detail. The most exciting aspect of our journey has been traveling around the country to Macy’s stores and Sally Beauty stores, and hearing from customers who have fallen in love with our Inspire Psyche Terry, Audrey Olivia, and Urban Hydration products.
SB: How do you handle being a business partner with your spouse?
VT: It was difficult for the first few months. We have been in business for 8 years, and for the first 6 years, I was working at a bank full-time and doing what I could in the evenings and weekends to support the business as it grew. In 2015, I left corporate and joined the company full-time.
We learned how to communicate better and “stay in our lanes” by understanding what we do best and trusting each other to handle our side of the business. We meet every day about different topics and there are no secrets. If we make a mistake, we own it, and then we grow from it. But it isn’t easy. It takes effort every day.
SB: What is the biggest business related risk you have taken?
VT: In 2015, we opened a factory within 30 days of finding out that a factory couldn’t make our natural Urban Hydration sugar scrubs for an order that was going to 3 national retailers the next month. Psyche was 35 weeks pregnant and we had no capital to finance the opening.
We received 30 day terms from our suppliers, received the first month free on a warehouse, and called every church member, friend, and relative we knew to work on the assembly line. Three weeks later, we delivered more than 15,000 units to our customers and saved those relationships.
SB: Where do you see the business in 5 years?
VT: In 5 years, we will have expanded our natural hair and bath business, Urban Hydration, into more retail doors, and we plan to grow our Audrey Olivia bra collection into more sizes and expand our Inspire Psyche Terry luxury lingerie collection into more store locations and boutiques.
SB: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
VT: Know why you want to be an entrepreneur and what makes you special. There are many products and services vying for the attention of buyers and you must stand out in a crowded marketplace. Learn your competitors and highlight what makes you different and better.
Find out more about UI Global Brands LLC here.