Davies Allen, P.C. Interviews David Danzig of Cosset Bath and Body
Davies Allen is proud to sit down with one of our incredible clients, David Danzig of Cosset Bath & Body. Dave’s story embodies the Utah start-up mentality and has grown into an incredibly successful business with hundreds of their products being distributed state-wide.
Dave, can you tell me how Cosset was born?
In 2007, my wife and I went on an Alaskan cruise that left from Vancouver, British Columbia where we stopped into a Lush store and discovered bath bombs. At that time, I was working at a place called Trendwest, before it became Wyndham Vacation Resorts, selling times shares and upgrades. I was looking for something long-term and sustainable, and I thought about how cool it would be to have one as a franchise. When I got back from the cruise, I looked it up and there were no franchises, so I just started playing around with soap and making bath bombs as a hobby.
I posted some on social media and some of my friends thought they were Lush’s, and I took it as a huge compliment. At the time there was a lot going on in my life. I needed something different. I didn’t like where I was working at the time. I didn’t like what was going on in my life. I started using bath bombs just to kind of get me through. Taking a bath at night became my sanctuary, my peace, you know? As I started coming out of that, I was thinking “What can I do that is going to have an impact on the world?” Work had become untenable, and so I made the decision that I was going to pull my retirement and take a year off. I didn’t know what was happening other than I just couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. I was creating a natural sunscreen at about this time-frame. My son, George, was approaching his first birthday. When he was born he had a bad case of cradle cap that transitioned into a bad case of eczema. The sunscreen that I was working on was a solid product, and I took all the ingredients I had been working with on that, and I made a body butter. We had tried it on George, and he showed marked signs of improvement. So with the success of the sunscreen fixing his eczema and having the bath bombs, I decided we would take that money and invest it.
We applied for the Wasatch Front Farmers Market and the downtown farmer’s market, and they let us in. I have an undergrad in marketing, and by this point, I had an MBA as well. I decided to create a plan of action of what we were going to do and how we were going to go about it. I was always thinking with the end result in mind, but testing and challenging everything as well.
When we started out downtown I said, “Okay, based on how much we do will determine if we’re going to be able to support a store.” We did well enough in our first downtown market that we could support a store. Trolley Square wasn’t the best location, but had enough foot traffic, and they were willing to make a deal that worked for us. We arranged to do a test where we set up our Farmers market booth, and based on that, we determined how much I was going to invest in the store. I said if we do $1,000 our first day, we’ll gut it and do a brand-new storefront and make it look really nice. We did about $500 our first day, so we decided to scavenge and invest.
I’m always really grateful that we did Trolley first. If we didn’t feel comfortable with what we were doing there, I might not have made the push to open up the second store at Layton Hills Mall. I will tell you, opening the first store feels impossible. You feel like you will never have everything done and that you’re not going to be able to meet your deadlines and your goals. Finally, one day, you decide just to open the door even if things aren’t totally finished. When you’ve done the impossible thing twice, you discover it’s not impossible. It’s duplicable and you can keep doing it again and again and again, and that’s something that’s really good to know and understand.
What would you do differently if you had to do it all again?
That’s really almost an impossible question to say because some of the decisions that you make get you to where you went. I may have focused more on the therapeutic baths, but I don’t know that we would have gotten to all the right answers in the same time-frame if we would have done that.
A little known fact is the original name of the company what it was applied for under the farmers market was Blox Cosmetics. Everything was going to be shaped in a cube with nice rounded corners and our bath bombs were going to be in a cube. The solid sunscreen was going to be called Sun Blox.
I don’t know that I would change too much. I would probably accelerate a few products.
Today, Cosset has over 26 products.
How do you feel like your team has contributed to you growing here and how have you relied on them to make your company grow?
Knowing that I have ownership, I don’t manage the business that way at all. I never have from day one. I took all of the annoyances that bothered me when I was in business when I was working for somebody else and I’ve worked hard on trying to create a culture that hopefully eliminates most of them. One of the big things is that we’re all part of a team. We’re all working together. And so I don’t generally make unilateral decisions.
It’s about creating a community. I don’t care what your orientation is. I don’t care what your political affiliations are, so long as you don’t cause harm to anybody else.
And I love what we’ve come up with as a team. We’ve come up with for the new solid shampoo. So it’s a solid bar. There’s no packaging other than some tissue paper, so it’s not impacting the environment. A lot of people don’t know this, but a lot of plastics that you use are completely non-recyclable. PVC is one of those. A lot of shampoo bottles are made out of PVC because it’s super cheap and it’s impervious to essential oils or any of these fragrance oils. It’s a really durable product, but you can’t recycle it ever again. So for me coming up with something sustainable that our team created lends us all a little bit of immortality because it lasts after we do.
Do you believe there’s some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? What’s your personal secret?
I think that anybody who wants to successfully own their own business can, but I don’t know that a lot of people want to. I think that some people just don’t want to work for someone else. For the ones who really want to, it’s important that whatever idea you have, you test it, you challenge it, and you see if it works.
How has having an accountant helped you with your business?
I think a better question is, “How has having a good accountant helped you with your business?” [laughs] Accounting should support the needs of the business. The business should not be a slave to their accounting. Before [Davies Allen], I would say we were more slave to our accounting. With Davies Allen, it’s been very easy, and one of the things that I love about Dustin specifically is that anytime I’m thinking about doing something, I can just reach out to Dustin and say “Hey, I’m thinking about doing this. Are there any tax benefits? What’s the best way to go about this? What should I do?” He forms our accounting around what I’m trying to accomplish, not how to form my business around my accounting. That’s really been a big difference.
Any other thoughts or plug-ins we can put out there?
Hair Care is launching in stores. We have some new exciting projects coming. There’s always new things with Cosset. Right now we’re in six states. This is a huge audacious goal to have at least 500 grocery stores by the end of 2019. Right now we’re at 103, and we have 35 on the books for Fall.
Dave, thank you so much for sharing your incredible insight and knowledge. To learn more about Cosset and purchase their therapeutic bath products, visit them at https://www.cossetbathandbody.com/.