This story appears in the April 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Cat Chen

Founder and CEO: Skylar

Sales Strategy: Find Mom’s friends!

When Cat Chen launched her direct-to-consumer perfume brand, she knew she’d be in for an uphill climb. This isn’t an easy industry to break into -- especially when you’re not in a store to convince people of your quality fragrances. “Some days I didn’t have any orders,” she says. And so, about two weeks into launching, she was just desperate for some kind of validation. “My mom is retired, and she’s part of a group of ladies that basically walk and chat,” Chen says. “I asked her to show my Skylar perfumes to her friends, and she sold 16 bottles in one day.” It was just the pick-me-up Chen needed. Today she’s found validation from consumers, press (including praise from the likes of Elle and Refinery29), and investors (who pitched in $11 million in capital). But her mom’s friends still stand out, she says. “It taught me about the power of ambassadors and people who love your brand,” she says -- and she’s currently creating a formal Skylar ambassadors program to help get the word out and further boost sales.