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Ep55 Transcript: Interview with Lori Crete
Andrea Vahl: Do you have an idea for a product that you’d like to launch but aren’t sure where to start? Then tune into today’s episode where I interview inventor of the SpaStar Get Ready Wrap, Lori Crete. She’s a beauty influencer, podcaster and esthetician, and you are going to love what she has to say about getting your product launched and why you might be uniquely qualified to do that in your fifties.
Intro: Hello Dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration mindset and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Hey Dreamers, it’s your host, Andrea Vahl, and I am joined today by the creator of SpaStar, among other things, Lori Crete, and I am super excited.
We were talking beforehand. I’m excited to dive into all she has to talk about today. So welcome, Lori.
Lori Crete: Hi, Andrea. Thanks for having me here.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, and we both have a mutual friend, and I’m so glad I’ve heard so much about you. And so now I’m so glad that I get to connect you. Our mutual friend Debbie and who is amazing also.
Let’s let’s talk. So Lori has created SpaStar. She’s also created the Get Ready Wrap. She’s a licensed esthetician, which is hard to pronounce. She’s host of the top-rated podcast, Beauty Biz Show. She’s been featured all over La Fox 11, ABC. She’s quoted as a beauty guru by extra TV and American Spa Magazine mentor of the year finalist.
I’m so excited. This is amazing.
Lori Crete: Thank you.
Andrea Vahl: So you created the SpaStar in your fifties, which first of all, she doesn’t even look like she’s 50, but we’ll just go with that…so. So tell us a little bit about what SpaStar is and what motivated you to create this.
Lori Crete: Well, I have been a licensed esthetician and a spa owner in Los Angeles for a very long time, which kind of is a city influenced by the rich and famous and driven by beauty, so to speak.
And I had an opportunity to be the esthetician to many celebrities and superstars. So having time during Covid, I couldn’t go to work. California had a shutdown for almost a year. And that gives you a lot of time to step back and reflect on things. And about six months in, I go either you’re going to have to do something that makes you feel creative or you might lose your mind.
Andrea Vahl: So first option’s probably a little better, right??
Lori Crete: Yes. Yes. I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t want to just step into anything, so I thought, how can you take your years of experience in the industry, the beauty industry? and make something custom and creative. I just didn’t want to throw my name on something that was like private labeled or already made.
I want it to be really unique and I think that’s where, you know, the gift of being in an industry for 25 years was very helpful. So I would literally take my dog outside at 4:30 every morning. I still stayed very structured during the lockdown. It wasn’t like I was sleeping till noon, 4:30 in the morning, I had my little dog outside and I would look up at the stars, and I would say, please, please give me something to make me feel human and make me feel creative and we were lucky enough to get to go to a wedding in Maui in May of 2021. And, and this was a lesson I learned from this actually, was to be patient for that creation and the right thing to hit your soul.
Not push forward and try to force something. So it was more about flowing into me than forcing something out of me. So we’re on a labyrinth. I know it sounds so woowoo and out there, but it’s true. We’re on a labyrinth.
Andrea Vahl: It’s amazing.
Lori Crete: And the wind from the ocean in Maui was blowing so hard against me. I could barely move forward.
And I thought, this is what my life has felt like for the last year. And in that moment it hit me. Okay, there’s a gap missing. You know, when you go in to get a facial or any spa treatment, you’re given a robe or a spa wrap. And it’s just something that there was a gap. Nobody had ever updated that piece of spa wear or resort wear before, and I thought, how can I make this the most beautiful, luxurious piece that fits everybody?
Because they were always kind of small and bulky. And talk about, you know, being in your forties and fifties, they made you hot in those moments where you don’t want to be hot.
Andrea Vahl: That is so true.
Lori Crete: Yeah. Some people were coming in and paying me $300 for a facial and I was giving them a $19 spa up that felt and looked awful.
And I go, how can I? , how can I change this and make it more inclusive so it fits everybody? And then I started taking it even like a dive deeper. Think about this. When we get ready for any special occasion in our life, sometimes that’s the most special moment of it is getting yourself glamorous and starting to look beautiful.
And what do we normally wear as women? A ratty t-shirt. A damp towel that keeps falling down. Or a big bulky robe that you know, you feel like you need another shower by the time you get your hair and makeup done. Cause you’re in it sweating. So that’s where it was all inspired, but I have to say stepping into this, I knew I was taking on a big challenge because it was a whole different industry.
It wasn’t the beauty industry. Now I’m stepping into creation of something in the garment world. So yeah.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. You’re taking your experience, but creating an actual product is so scary. It feels a little scary because you’ve got to design it or figure it out.
Where are you going to get it made? How is that going to actually, how is the fulfillment going to work? You had to do all of that. Right?
Lori Crete: And I knew nothing. It was like I had an idea. And everything forward facing of the idea was a blank slate.
Andrea Vahl: Wow.
Lori Crete: Yeah, I mean, for anyone wanting to create something, I think that probably is a piece that holds you back.
You have your dream, your idea, but you don’t know the steps to make it happen. And that’s the scary part. That’s the challenging part. So yes, that was actually probably the biggest obstacle in front of me is not having any idea what I was doing other than the idea itself.
Andrea Vahl: Right. How did you break that down into smaller chunks? How did you go about that whole research phase for figuring out what to do next?
Lori Crete: I think one of my superpowers in life is I connect very easily with people, and that’s probably from learning that skillset, being a flight attendant for 20 years. That was my career before I became an esthetician.
I went from traveling the world into a small dark room. And what I learned is, you know, make connections and nourish them. Nourish them. It doesn’t matter who somebody is, if they’re kind to you and they’re brought into your world and they stay in your world for a little while, nourish those relationships.
So the first thing I did, I always see, okay, what URLs are available? That’s kind of my first thing. And then I call my trademark attorney and I see if I can use the name in the URL. And then I make a list of connections that I have and pick up the phone and actually just ask, start asking.
So one of the first, third thing I did is there was a very well-respected client of mine. We were the same age. She was well-respected clothing designer in Los Angeles and I called her. I remember it was still in Maui. I was by the pool with probably a pina colada in my hand, but I go, what the heck? Liquid courage. I picked up the phone and I called her. I go, I know we haven’t talked in five or six years, and I know you’re probably way too busy and you’re too famous for this project, but could you point me in the right direction?
Right? And she said, oh my gosh, Lori, I’m home being treated with breast cancer. Let’s do this.
Andrea Vahl: Yes. Wow. Wow.
Lori Crete: We just started, I mean, she knew everybody and it’s so weird, I think when you’re on a path that you’re supposed to be on, although it’s challenging and you may not see what’s ahead of you, a lot of beautiful things divinely fall into place.
And that’s just what happened. You know, she had the right, I didn’t want a fabric that, I knew what I wanted for a fabric she actually knew overseas the fabric mill we were going to use. So right away they started putting stuff together and sending me samples. And I remember being on my living room floor with all of this stuff spread out in front of me, and the excitement of it was way more powerful than the scariness of it, like trying to make these crazy…
I didn’t know what a Pantone color was or how to get that to a fabric mill to …just, that’s it. I’d say the first step is figure out if you can get a little bit of the brand, your idea of the brand vision together, and then you reach out to your resources. And my friend Angela she’s also a beauty entrepreneur.
She has this philosophy of give, give, get. So you call your connections. Here’s what I’m asking. If you could help me with, and how can I support you? And it works every time for getting the right resources.
Andrea Vahl: Right, right. I love that. Give, give, get. That’s, that’s great because sometimes people are too much give, give, give, give, give.
And you got to be able to receive. Or the opposite extreme, it’s not get, get, get, get, get. So I like the, I like that ratio. It’s really good.
Lori Crete: Yes!
Andrea Vahl: It feels good. And I love that idea that the universe will just rise up to meet you. You don’t need to know the whole road. You just need to know that very next step.
Right. And the other thing that I think is amazing is just not being afraid to ask because you never know. If you are taking yourself out of the game by not even asking that person, I mean, you thought that your friend would be too busy, but it was perfect timing for her, so that’s amazing.
I love that.
Lori Crete: I’ve heard throughout my life more than once, you are a voracious question-asker, so I don’t know. I guess sometimes it works in your favor, but I’m definitely not afraid to ask a question when I need help.
Andrea Vahl: Right, right, right. Yeah. Yeah. And so what has been the biggest takeaway from all this as far as, you know, kind of because, so you had the idea.
I guess, let me just back up a second and talk about how long did this process take? This happened in the pandemic. You had this idea from idea to product. How long did that take and what was that like?
Lori Crete: Well, keep in mind foreign trade, which is what I was now stepping into, and getting something created and supply chain restrictions.
We’re all a piece of this puzzle. So I don’t know if that hindered me or if it did not, but I would say the idea came to me in May of 2021 and we launched July of 2022. So
Andrea Vahl: that’s incredible
Lori Crete: about, and you know what? It was crazy because. It just was a concept, I think during Covid. I didn’t know I was creating something surrounding a trend that was taking place until it was almost done.
Didn’t we all start investing more in self-care? And these beauty rituals that we were doing at home. So I got really lucky that my creation, it was coinciding with a beautiful trend that had happened during a horrible time in many of our lives. And the biggest takeaway.
Gosh, there’s so many. But I would say just you have to be patient and you have to really believe in what you’re doing. because then it doesn’t feel as scary when you are spending your whole lifelong savings on bringing something to market. And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. See, I have been an esthetician who got lucky.
They talked about me, one of the most popular news anchors on the morning News used to give my phone number out to my spa. And so I never had to do sales. I mean, I had to maintain that customer nourishment and connection and relationship when they came in. But I had been gifted PR that people would probably pay $3 million for.
What I have learned is, you don’t ever take no for an answer the first time you present something to somebody. I have found the best you know, like these luxury hotels that are now carrying the wrap. It was four, five, six, seven, eight phone calls and touchpoints and visits. That was very different.
That was a big takeaway away that you’re really not a pain, you’re not a pain if you connect with people with elegance and grace. But you also can’t shy away because people are so busy and getting bombarded. Think about right with your email inbox this past holiday season. Did it almost make you want to choke every morning when you went to your emails?
Andrea Vahl: It’s crazy.
Lori Crete: And that’s just about it. Then you go on social media and you’re getting hammered everywhere there. So this connection and really following up and acting, and not even acting genuinely and authentically caring about the person you want to carry your product.
Was something that I recognized the importance of, and how it had to be a priority and the success of my SpaStar, you know, this luxury wrap.
Andrea Vahl: Right, right. Yeah. And then how did you, so you, I mean, that is such a, it seems like such a short time. For me to think about from idea to product, and that’s awesome.
But then did you have to put a whole marketing plan, a whole sales plan, business growth plan in place? How did that all coincide and kind of overlap with what you were doing plus your regular business? Right? This is, I mean, although with Covid, that was a little bit changed and everything like that, but how did you manage it?
Lori Crete: I would say that I, gosh, how did I manage it all? I was okay with just learning the next step in front of me now. I’ve been fortunate enough, I have a podcast that I started in 2015, which is full of my ideal client for this product. So that was an easy piece to get in front of these people.
And also, I have a, it’s an entrepreneurial organization for beauty professionals. I run about 500 women a year. So that was another ideal audience. And then I work in a spa myself, so I got to, and I used the product like these spa reps. My clients would come in and I would allow them to change for their spa service.
And I didn’t tell them it was my creation. I had four wraps that were my beta testers. But I would walk back in the room and 99% of my clients would say, oh my God, I have never felt anything like this before. Where do I buy one for myself? So that was my marketing that I was putting together, listening to their feedback.
And honestly, I can thank our mutual friend Debbie, that you talked about at the beginning of our show here today. She’s been pushing me to create a product for five or six years because she does my customer service for my business. And she would say, Lori, you can tell on your podcast.
You can tell people how to make $50,000 a year or a week, let’s just say a week. She said, and they write in and they say, what lipstick did Lori have on? She kept saying, you need a product. These people want what you are showcasing. And that’s really what made me step into going, okay, what can I do for my audience?
So I guess it was kind of a reverse. from what a lot of people do, right? They create the product, look for the audience. I had the audience and was kind of gently pushed into creating a product for them.
Andrea Vahl: But I love that too because I think that is the case for a lot of people. They built a business and they, they aren’t seeing an additional opportunity that could bring in a lot of extra revenue and even get into a whole different industry really working with the hotel chains or, you know, things like that and the home users. So I think that’s so smart and it’s a great seed to plant for anyone who has an audience, even if it’s, a smaller audience. What else can you sell them, right? That they need, that they would love.
So that, that is great. So did. .
Lori Crete: Oh. I was just, you know, my clients for many, many years had been asking me, when they would change into the spa wrap, is there something like this I can purchase to wear at home? So I knew there was kind of a need for it. But I wanted to do it better.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Lori Crete: And also, you know, thinking about it, just really being aware of your surroundings when the world started opening back up again. I was really noticing every time I would walk by a Louis Vuitton store or a Gucci store, I was noticing the demand. For a luxury item, people are lining up out the door.
I’m like, this is wild. So many of us haven’t been able to work in so long and nobody cares. You still want the $700 pair of tennis shoes!
Andrea Vahl: Hey because we’ve all been through so much trauma and I think you know, that feeling like you’re caring for yourself in that way is probably a lot of things that came out of this whole pandemic, the self-care like you had talked about before as well.
So that’s great that you were able to, you know, provide that product that would fill that need. So that’s awesome. Now, along the way, did you come across any big obstacles or things that kind of felt like they were going to stop you?
Lori Crete: Yes because my fabric was stuck on a cargo ship, couldn’t even make it to Los Angeles, where my factory was waiting and, and you have these time slots for sewing machines.
Andrea Vahl: Oh, wow.
Lori Crete: So I, but there’s nothing you can do. And I’m a kind of a control freak and a micromanager, but my designer said, do you want to get a truck and go pick it up ourselves? I’m like, we can’t. There’s just, it is stuck out on a vessel with 500 other ships in the Long Beach port.
So I would say that, yes, there were times when I thought, are we ever going to be able to get this done? And how are things going to come together? That was a big piece of it. And I didn’t know fulfillment was a big thing for me. For those of you creating things, do you want to box everything up yourself?
And I thought, okay. I will at first, and then the closer it got to finish time to go time I go there’s no way. I still have room for pallets and pallets and different boxes and shipping stations, and so I was also, that was another thing that was scary to me is finding fulfillment because you really have to let go of a lot of control and trust somebody else with your baby that you’ve spent a lot of money and energy and time creating.
And again, I found my fulfillment center through a very dear friend just picking up the phone and saying, Hey, can you help me here? So thank God for, for other, and really, I mean, you can have men and women to help. For me, it was just this power force of feminine energy that came in and helped me create this.
Andrea Vahl: Right, right. And do you think, doing this at your, the middle stage of life, has that been a big help or hindrance to creating this product? Do you feel like starting this at, in the, in midlife was a good thing or anything more challenging that came out?
Lori Crete: I think it was probably good in the way that I wasn’t as afraid to take risk.
And, you know, I’ve worked so hard for so long that I had the resources where I didn’t have to go get any investors. That was the good part of it. I had a Rolodex of, you know, just packed full of these amazing people that I had collected over 20 years of being in the beauty industry and having just wonderful clients.
And you build relationships with your clients because they come in. My sister is a psychiatric chemical dependency nurse. NP, nurse practitioner. And she always says, you must have this crazy truth serum on your bed. Your people tell you everything. And I would have celebrities come in and they go, you know, more than my doctor, you know, more than my therapist.
And I just think that respecting those relationships, you could tell me something. I’ve always been a secret like lockbox, you can tell me anything. It’s never going anywhere.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome.
Lori Crete: You know, it all goes back to nourishing and respecting the connections that I’ve made. And I would say the wisdom. And also I have this, you know, since your show is kind of about this, do you want my readers digest version of what we go through in decades as women?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, I’d love that.
Lori Crete: Okay, so I think in our twenties, and I’m guilty of all of these, so you guys listening, you may relate, you may not.
But in our twenties, we’re trying to find our place in the world, and along with that comes a lot of, I don’t want to say in an aggressive way, but maybe a gentle combativeness. We’re always trying to prove ourselves in our twenties.
Then I think in your thirties, we take a smart pill, and all of a sudden who you are around starts to matter more and more and more. So you welcome different types of people into your life and let go of some people that may be a bit toxic. Thirties is when you get that awareness.
I think in your forties you actually take what I call, an I don’t give a crap pill. You start or you stop worrying so much about what other people think.
So I think that part of it, like my forties, I learned so much about not caring what others think because I did tell some people about this spa wrap and they’re like, Really, you think people are going to pay that amount of money for a spa wrap? And now they’re coming back to me saying, oh my God, how did you land 600 spas in just a few months?
And these big luxury five-star Forbes-rated hotels? So I think, yes, I could care less what other people thought. I just asked that little close circle that I know has my best interest in really good advice to give. That’s I went on a tangent. I don’t even know if I answered your question.
Andrea Vahl: No, no. That’s awesome. You did. You did.
Lori Crete: Okay, perfect.
Andrea Vahl: I mean, I definitely feel like in my fifties I’m caring less and less. I was joking, I also do standup comedy so I like to examine you know, our crazy lives here as women especially. We do a mom’s focus show and I joked that in your fifties are really the best time because you just kind of give up and don’t give a crap anymore.
It’s not totally true. I mean, obviously, you know, you, I, I think it’s like for, I’m feeling like fifties have been one of the best decades so far. So I love it. And it’s, yeah, inspiring.
Lori Crete: But here’s some craziness about the fifties though. Somebody just asked me this question, what have, what’s your takeaway?
Because I tell a lot of younger people about my decade-little assessment. Assessment of the decades. And they always said, well, what has your fifties taught you? And I don’t know the answer to that yet. Because I turned 50 at the end of 2019. So my 50th year, I was locked in my house.
Can you believe that’s coming out of my mouth? Like literally, I did not leave my house. All of my 50th year.
Andrea Vahl: You lost a year. Yeah.
Lori Crete: I dunno what fifties is going to teach me other than patience and simplicity, I guess so far.
Andrea Vahl: Yes, exactly. Yeah, definitely. And you had, you had a little statement about you know, opportunities showing up in the form of chaos.
I liked, I liked that I. idea, but so I think so far, the fifties for you personally have been all, all of us actually who are fifties in this timeframe has been chaos and yeah, chaos and patience probably.
Lori Crete: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. That’s awesome. And I think, I do think that there is a little bit more, for me, in my fifties at least, there is a little bit more tendency to take risks.
And I think it is because I don’t care as much, what other people think. And I am realizing kind of the importance of getting started with something that I want to do as soon as I can because I think it’s, yeah, you just get it going right. Get started.
Lori Crete: It’s true. I think, you know, my feeling is, and I’ve never felt this way before in my fifties, is I want to learn and I go, am I going to have enough time here on this planet to learn everything that I want to?
And I was not somebody who cared about school. I consider my education like a butterfly. I just floated around and I picked up pieces of what I needed to know where I needed to know it, but now I’m like a hawk oh my gosh, please give me the ability to learn something new every day.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. And being super selective about, now I’m going to learn dive deep into this and into creating a product, which I think is amazing and awesome.
Lori Crete: There’s, I want to go back to something that you said. You just said, because I think it’s so important for people listening in and it is that you said you don’t think you don’t, you know, like you’re just, what, how did you word it? Maybe you don’t give a crap so much about…
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I joke that you give up and you don’t care. You don’t give a crap. But that’s, you know, I don’t think, I joke that about giving up because I don’t think that most of the women I know in our fifties aren’t giving up.
They’re really laser-focused and doing things. But I think it more is about letting go of our own judgment about ourselves and what other people think. I think.
Lori Crete: Well, as you explain that, I totally relate to it, and I think I would process it and explain it as a different type of confidence, right? A different level of confidence, like, I’m doing this. Watch me.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. . Yeah. So true. So true. So great.
So let me ask this. You know, obviously, you’ve probably, during along this way, you’ve probably had times where you’ve been overwhelmed with everything, and how have you dealt with that and how have you gotten your mojo back when those moments have come up?
Lori Crete: I would say definitely, nature. If I can stop what I’m doing and go for a 3, 4, 5-mile walk and just take in the little things, whether it is watching an ant hill and they are all doing their work or going to the park and watching, kids fly a kit. Stuff like that. If you just go out and reset in nature, breathe, look at the beauty, watch what other people are doing, that helps me remove overwhelm.
I know that when I have a never-ending to-do list, which is most of the time, I will get up 45 minutes early, but I make it ritualistic. So I look forward to getting up at 45 to an hour early and I will light candles. I turn on my Big Smart TV, and I’ll put beautiful music on YouTube with a scenery behind it.
And I let that play and I put the fireplace on, and I make it a happy moment to get up early so I get more done. I would also say a brain dump, depending on whether you are a morning person or a night person. Sometimes I have to brain dump before I fall asleep, so I don’t take all of that to bed with me, but I know what I’m going to do in the morning in a productive manner.
or sometimes right when I get up that first cup of coffee is just spent making a little list of what I want to accomplish in the next hour. Those are definitely things that I do to get stuff done.
Andrea Vahl: That’s, that’s great. All good, all good advice right there. Very good. I like that. Just making it a happy moment to get up because I know some people don’t. I’m, I’m kind of a morning person, but I know some people aren’t. That’s good. Good, good. Well, this has been amazing. I feel like I could talk another like hour, but I wanted to find out from you. One of the things I always like to ask is a favorite quote or inspirational saying that motivates you.
Lori Crete: So I had one in my twenties and thirties and forties. For the longest time, and it’s recently just changed. So I’ll tell you the one, looking back was always my favorite was she believed that she could, so she did. And I would go to that when I needed that little bit of motivation. Just believe in yourself, Lori, just believe in yourself.
It doesn’t matter. If this person has more than you in knowledge or money, it, what matters is you believe it, that you can do this, you can accomplish something. But talking about that confidence in our fifties, I have a whole new saying and it’s Joan of Arc. I am not afraid I was born for this. And that is my new one that I literally tap back into that when I need that little bit of inspiration or motivation.
And I guess they kind of go hand in hand. Both of them are really about believing in yourself and feeling like you were born for something. So that’s my favorite little saying Now.
Andrea Vahl: Right. I love both of those. That’s yeah, I have that same quote. She believed she could, so she did. And you know, up somewhere.
But I love that Joan of Arc one. That’s awesome.
Lori Crete: And some people argue Joan of arc didn’t really say that. So for those of you listening, I apologize if I got it wrong. I’m not quite sure. That’s just where I, I’ve read the quote came from.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, someone said it. We’ll give it to Give it to Joan of Arch. I think she’s…
awesome. Well, Lori, thank you so much. Where can people learn more about you, about your products? We’ll have these links in our show notes for sure. But share that with our listeners.
Lori Crete: Thank you. Well, SpaStar is also, you know, it’s sold e-commerce. You can go grab your SpaStar wrap and headband at spastar.net, or you can just follow the journey.
I would love to welcome you to my Instagram page, which is SpaStar underscore l u x. L u x, like Lux.
Andrea Vahl: Yep. Yep.
Lori Crete: So that’s where you can find me.
Andrea Vahl: Great, well, we’ll have those in, like I said in the show notes, and thank you so much Lori, and definitely go check out Lori’s the spastar, of course. Check out her podcast and I feel like I need one, I’m going to go get one myself.
So yes. Thank you Lori.
Lori Crete: Thanks for having me here. Andrea, I love that you’re doing this because I think. You know, sometimes in mid to late forties and into our fifties, I’ve heard so many women say, I start to feel invisible. So I think it’s just awesome that you’re bringing light to how powerful we really are at this age.
Andrea Vahl: Absolutely. And it’s just never too late. If you had a dream, it’s never too late. If you’ve got a brand new dream, if you’ve got a dream that comes to you on Maui and a labyrinth is , it’s. Anytime is a good time to get started. Thanks, everyone. Bye.
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Andrea Vahl: Tune in. As we listen to Paul Baron talk about how he has partnered with a firm in China to bring this product to the U. S. Hello, dreamers. Welcome to the late starters club, giving you the inspiration, mindset, and tools you need to start something...