CBD For Your Butt? But Of Course
Sylwia Wiesenberg's Bawdy Beauty products promise to beautify your booty. But how do you market a product like this during a pandemic?
Among its other consequences, quarantine has left many people with uncut hair, untrimmed beards, dry skin, and maybe a few extra pounds from all the baking we’ve suddenly mastered. But what about drooping derrières? Polish entrepreneur and fitness guru, Sylwia Wiesenberg, is obsessed with butts, proudly so, and that’s the focus of Bawdy Beauty, which just introduced a CBD Butt Balm along with non-CBD Butt Sticks and Butt Sheet Masks. It’s a strange time to launch a line of butt beauty products — it’s a strange time, period — but with change comes opportunity, and we spoke to Sylwia about her experience launching a one-woman operation while most of the world is on hold.
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Tell us about your background and how Bawdy Beauty came to be.
I’m from Poland originally, and I was involved in gymnastics and dance for about 14 years. I quit gymnastics — finished high school in Australia, went to Notre Dame on an exchange program, worked in Italy, London, New York — and I started developing a workout program called Tonique, which was focused on how to get a beautiful butt. This was at a time when every woman wanted to be skinny and have a six-pack, and I was always against that. The ass was my obsession. And what do you need after a workout? You need to take care of your skin, of the exterior. It’s been in leggings or workout clothes all day long, it gets dry. I never cared about how many wrinkles I had on my face, but my ass had to be smooth and beautiful. I wanted to motivate women to look good and to feel good about that skin too.
I still do squats and lunges for two hours every day. One day I said to a friend of mine, "I think there should be butt beauty, like sheet masks for the butt." I went upstairs and cut out the shapes, and when I first called manufacturers, they thought I was joking. I had to call back and say, "No, I’m serious," and then I had to drive out to meet them. In four months, I had the product formulated and out to the first retailers.
How difficult is it to launch a butt beauty line during such an unusual time?
It’s been very challenging. It’s difficult enough to launch anytime, but it’s a very tricky situation during a crisis. When you have a pandemic, people’s minds are on wipes and toilet paper, not on, “How do I take care of my rear?” We had already launched the sheet mask in certain retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, but as the pandemic came they decided not to launch the new products — the butt sticks and the CBD — until times are better. So having thousands of units, the challenge for me was, how do you sell it? Social media is a good platform to introduce people to my story and my website — it’s a way to invite them into my home, in a way.
Has it been especially hard to get traction, or are you able to cut through the clutter?
We launched the week the pandemic was announced, and people were told to stay home. People were panicking. They wanted to make sure they were sheltering properly, and there was no traffic on the site; that gave me time to make sure it was operating properly. After sitting around for a few weeks, people are starting to need a distraction and to discover something new and fun. Our slogan is, “Butt is the new face.” The pandemic has taught me so much about what my approach should be after it’s over, bringing people to the website and educating them on butt beauty in a way that no one else can.
So people are finding time to focus on personal wellness?
Very much. They’re starting to notice the difference in their skin quality; they want to take care of themselves and now they have the time. They’re working from home, and when you’re home you can wear masks and do all sorts of things you can’t do in the office. The first week was awful, I think we had two or three sales. Today I had 55 sales, it was my best day ever, and now our CBD sticks are selling like crazy.
What kind of disruptions has the virus brought to your business?
I’m a single employee, so when it comes to fulfillment, design, and development, I come up with the concept and then work with freelancers who are becoming my team. Hopefully, when things settle down I’ll make them a proper team. But I haven’t laid off anyone—we’re in this together. The hardest part is that we have manufacturers and suppliers who are shut down, so if we’re sold out, who’s going to make our product? Some of them are reopening, but they don’t have normal staffs and they’re not doing normal runs. My fulfillment center in New Jersey is fully functional, but I don’t have big orders from retailers because the retailers are shut down too. Look, running a business is like riding a rollercoaster — one minute you’re high, and the next you feel like you want to throw up. But if you do something with passion and obsession, you can succeed. So right now it’s about survival — putting my brand out there and serving the consumer, even if we have to think in new ways and go outside our comfort zone. I’m a super positive person, and I believe that from every bad there is always some good.
Getting back to the products, how did you determine which could benefit from CBD?
I would never put CBD in a sheet mask because that’s too quick of a treatment. You can’t put in enough CBD to make it work; we want to put in something that gets results. The solution was to launch a balm that is user-friendly, easy to apply, with high-quality CBD. It helps you to recover from workouts, it beautifies the skin and makes sure it’s hydrated. The balm can stay on your skin all day till you shower at night. The stick is right next to my bed and is easy to apply; it’s like a self-massage. I’m coming out with an all-over-body treatment that’s high in CBD, and we’re also coming out with a nipple stick that’s hydrating and anti-chapping. The whole concept is “free the nipple.”
On your website, you say that Bawdy products don’t “fix” your butt, they show it more love.
I hate lying to people. I think a lot of companies make up marketing claims, and I want to stand for what I deliver, not over-promise. There are two kinds of people: the majority want to hear promises and then they end up disappointed, but there’s also a group that likes the honesty, they like that I’m not pretending the products can fix their cellulite or stretch marks. I don’t want women to feel sad about cellulite or stretch marks, I think they’re beauty marks. I want my company to celebrate self-care, and beauty, and women.