Start an Affiliate Program - How Kayshaun leverages affiliates to skyrocket her sales.

Start an Affiliate Program – How Kayshaun Leverages Affiliates to Grow Her Business

Kayshaun Brooks is the owner of Renew You Body Butters, a luxury skincare, holistic business.

She’s a Holistic Pain and Trauma Warrior, which if you’re not intrigued by that already and want to know more, well, then you’re not me. Kayshaun was able to start an affiliate program, and has partnered with 48 affiliates who want to make additional income. So this is her superpower.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the concept, Kayshaun describes an affiliate as the same as a referral person. It’s just someone that’s referring your product or service, and they’re getting something in return. That does not always have to be money. It could be product, it could be free shipping. Or it could be a consultation, something of your services. It’s just someone referring your products or services, and you’re rewarding them some type of way.

What we’re going to be focusing on from a marketing, and growing your business perspective is how she was able to grow her business so much by starting an affiliate program. I think a lot of people, when they think about affiliate marketing, think about finding something they can sell and collecting 5% on Amazon affiliates. What Kayshaun is doing, is something that I really, really recommend. She’s going to share some tips and tricks with us. With all that said, I’m going to let you, Kayshaun, introduce yourself a little better, and then I’m going to ask you 1 million questions.

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All right. Hi everyone. I am so excited to be here. I am Kayshaun Brooks. I’m a Holistic Pain and Trauma Warrior. Owner of Renew You Body Butters, a luxury skincare company. We provide skincare products for those with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, hyperpigmentation, body acne, rosacea, all things of that nature. We started an affiliate program and have partnered with 48 affiliates, plus one celebrity brand ambassador, who’s all about bringing more brand awareness to the company, using our products and services, and most importantly for each and every one of them to make money. I teach established entrepreneurs and nonprofits how to start, grow, and scale their own affiliate programs as well.

Starting a Holistic Skincare business

Ooh, I love that. I have so many questions already. How did you start this business? How did you get into this?

I come from a background in the medical field. I worked in the medical field for 20 years, 10 as a nurse. And so I’ve always just had a passion for medicine, and the holistic life, due to personal illnesses.

My youngest son was diagnosed with eczema when he was about two or three months old. I have eczema, another skin in condition called HS, and my oldest son has psoriasis. It was nothing that pure cocoa butter, or shea butter, or pure olive oil couldn’t handle, with our skin conditions.

But with my son, it was a horror story. He had multiple forms of eczema. I didn’t even know you can have that many forms of eczema at once on the human body. It was a horrifying three years, those first three years, because he was just shredding his skin, having infections. All they could do was give him steroids, and sleeping medications. I’m like, I need to do something. I can’t just sit here watching my son suffer. Plus, I remembered what I went through as a child with these skin issues.

So I was looking at it from a psychological level as well.

I didn’t want him to repeat what I did. So of course, I started using what I thought was good. The cocoa butters, and shea butters, and oils. But it would only give relief for a couple of seconds to minutes. I had to do a lot of research. Just learning about different ingredients, different products from different cultures, and watching what it does to the skin. That’s how I ended up going with all organic, non preservatives, no alcohol, no artificial dyes or colors or scents, because I saw the reaction of what it does to the skin. In the end it took me about 3 years to formulate my body butter.

I quickly learned that it wasn’t just about the products, either.

That’s where the holisticness comes in, because it’s about your stress levels. What you eat, what you drink, because his was aggressive. I had to look at it as a whole. I made products for over a decade before I decided to start my business in 2018. Actually a childhood friend of mine opened up a store, and she was providing shelf space to entrepreneurs, but you had to be a legit business and everything. I decided, okay, it’s been a decade. I’ve been helping all my friends, families, church members, coworker. I think it’s time to turn this hobby into a business.

In 2018, Renew You Body Butters was born.

Oh, that’s amazing. I think this is such a compelling story. I think most, I won’t say most but many, many successful entrepreneurs, especially wildly successful entrepreneurs, are basing their business off of: “I needed this thing that didn’t exist.”

That’s true in the coaching industry, and for bloggers who are creating courses. A lot of those courses that are really successful are, I created this because I really needed it and I couldn’t find it, and then I found the solution. That’s exactly what you did.

Getting Sales as a New Business

People already knew that you were doing this. I’m just guessing, you probably had some early success from people who were like, oh my gosh, she’s finally selling this. How did you start getting sales?

From the beginning, I was selling, even when I was in my trial and error stage.

Mixing up the different products, seeing what works and doesn’t work. I had those people around me who had skin conditions, and they knew what I was doing for my son. Even those first 10 years, they were supporting me. I was doing church events, or school events, or things like that. I always had that support. But when I stepped out into the entrepreneur world and online, that was a complete different story. I was leaving the medical field due to some injuries. The medical field is all I’ve ever known. What am I going to do? It just so happened, I was about three months of just launched my website, and was online.

A stranger approached me with this affiliate idea.

She said, “Hey, I like you. I like your business, your products. Can I be your affiliate?” I didn’t even know what it was.

One of my mentors told me, “Kayshaun, you really don’t understand what’s in front of you. You can be the holistic Avon or Mary Kay. This can go really far.”

I was like, okay, let me check it out and see. I did some research, and went back to that person and said, “If you are willing to ride with me, as I figure this out and fine tune it, let’s do it.” This is my second year anniversary actually, this month, of having it.

Finding Support

A lot of entrepreneurs, and I used to be in that same mindset, we expect family and friends, the people who know us to support us. But they don’t have to. If they’re not your target audience, or your target clients, you are getting mad at them for no reason.

I took the lack of support from those who I thought it should come from, and I went out there meeting, and networking, and collaborating, and making these relationships with strangers online, who believed in my mission and my purpose and wanted to support me.

Yeah. That’s amazing. I love that you heard about this. It’s interesting that you say that, because I’ve been a blogger since 2011, and having affiliates is very common in the blogging world.

But what I didn’t realize was that a lot of people are like you were in the beginning, where you didn’t really know what it was. You were a product creator first, and then marketer second, as opposed to the opposite. I had a blog that I have since sold. It had a couple of blog posts that were going viral, about creating minimalist wardrobes. Which is something that I didn’t really know how to teach about. I’ve just always had a minimalist wardrobe. I was looking for people who were teaching how to build capsule wardrobes.

So, I found someone who looked amazing, and I loved what she was teaching. I reached out to her to do some kind of collaboration. But because her knowledge base was so small on creating and selling products, she was just coaching people on redoing their wardrobes. There was no website, there’s no course, there’s not a lot of online components.

I think the thing that you did that made this really successful, was you’re like, oh, this sounds interesting. I’m going to learn about it so I can do it. Then I’m going to tell this person, I’m not doing this perfectly, but I’m going to figure it out. If you’re willing to come along on the journey. I love that approach.

Starting an Affiliate Program

What were some of those barriers when you first started out with your affiliate program? How did you create your first affiliate program with your products?

What I teach now to people, those who I help start their own affiliate programs, is that you can start from where you are. It does not matter. The same confidence I have today, is what I had on day one.

We started just with an agreement in the email, in the DMs, and just figuring it out as we went. I was just as confident. I’m the baddest, newest affiliate program out here. This is the team you want to join. Out of my 48 affiliates – I’ve only asked three. The other 45, they came to me.

Affiliate application process

What’s a little bit different about mine, is that I have an application process. You mentioned Amazon. Anybody can sign up and become an affiliate.

A lot of websites, they have affiliate links that you can embed into your website, and anyone can sign up. But I learned from the beginning that I don’t like when anyone just signs up, because I can’t control who they are, and what they’re going to do. I have an actual interview process. I learned that in the beginning, where I used to give out the products for free. Let anyone sign up because let’s just call it what it is. A lot of new entrepreneurs, you’re desperate for sales. That’s the first thing that you’re thinking about is sales, sales, sales. So I was letting anyone sign up. I was just giving the products away. I quickly, within about three months, was like, okay, this is not working out well.

I’m sending out products, people aren’t giving me quality content, or any content at all.

They’re just taking a product, and I never hear from them.

I had to take on that mindset of somewhat like an MLM, or network marketing, because I have a lot of experience with that. Now, I have an interview process, where I have to speak to the affiliate. A relationship with them is important –  they are not just someone that’s just going to come and make sales. So I check out the social media to make sure we’re in alignment; that way, I know their story. I want them to know my story, too.

Requiring affiliates to invest

I used to give out the products a lot, but now if you want to be an affiliate, you have to invest and buy something.

There’s no minimum. You buy whatever you want to buy. But people shopping online gravitate to those who they know authentically use the products and the services. They know you’re going to tell the good, bad and ugly, not just someone trying to push a sale.

I didn’t want a bunch of just salespeople out here pushing my product.

When they’re speaking to their potential customers, they’re like, okay, they’re using it, they’re buying it. I do offer a very steep discount. They know that I’m going to help educate their customers as well.

You mentioned earlier, you know how we take our pain and turn it into our purpose. Where was I at when I was suffering with this, with my son. It was a bunch of people just out here providing products, but there was no one given that education behind it as well. I wanted a relationship with my affiliates. I think that’s what makes me very different with my program, because I’m growing, and I want them to grow along with me.

Yeah. I think that’s really good advice too, for people who want to start their own affiliate programs.

It’s okay to be selective. And it’s also really important for you to control the story and your brand. And it’s also, I know this from my previous career. We were doing probably 40 to $60,000 a month in revenue, just from ads and affiliates, or from affiliates and joint venture partnerships. The reason why that works so well is because you weren’t just like signing up, and getting a link, and then hoping for the best, and deciding what to do with it.

Training your affiliates

Another thing that sounds like is working really well for you and your affiliates: you’re teaching them about the storytelling aspect of sales as well.

Oh yes.

That came in through trial and error of learning. I go after influencers, brand ambassadors, affiliates, everyone. That’s what I like. I kind of break the barrier where I’m like, they’re all the same thing. It is just different words. I have every last one of them on my team.

It was about six months in, someone signed up, and they hadn’t done anything. When I followed up with them, I was like, is there an issue? What’s going on? I let my affiliates promote the way they want to. Some people promote on social media, some on blogs. Others just do word of mouth.

I let them do what’s comfortable for them, until they’re ready to move to the next level.

The one affiliate told me, “I don’t know what to do.” I’m like, what do you mean you don’t know what to do? Why would you even sign up?” I just assumed everyone who signed up knew how to be an influencer, or a brand ambassador, or sell online.

So, I had to train my affiliate. She’s not going to be the only one that comes to me at this capacity, either, so I had to set up a whole training for my affiliates. There’s an onboarding training for everyone that comes in now. That helped me elevate my affiliate program to the next level, because how many affiliate programs actually train you when you sign up? They just want to give you a code, or a link, and just say, go to work.

I want them to have a high success rate.

I didn’t want it to have a high turnover of people just coming in and leaving. They’re taking my brand, and making it their business. Who wants to make all this content, all these videos, have these photo shoots, and then nothing happens. They’re going to feel like you’re taking advantage of them.

I think what helps my affiliates a lot is I don’t let them create all of that content, and just post it on their platforms. I’m like, you guys helped me get from two to seven platforms. Give it to me. Give me the copy, and I’m going to post it, and publish it as well, with your codes. They have gotten a lot of sales because I repurposed their content, because I want them to have a high success rate.

Oh, I love that. You almost found yourself in this second business.

I have a coaching program. A couple of coaching programs. That’s mostly what our company focuses on is this high ticket, boutique style of coaching. It’s been challenging for us; we have affiliates. We do get a referral every now and then. But as far as having affiliates promote us, it’s been challenging because it’s high ticket. The trust building process is longer.

I’m curious, in your work of helping other people, are there price points for accepting affiliates to sell your offers? Are there price points that you see are working the best? Or price ranges?

No, there’s no barriers of any kind.

They actually helped motivate me to go from a product based business, to also offering the service.

A lot of people were like, okay, Kayshaun. You need to start teaching us how to do what you’re doing.

I responded that I don’t know what I’m doing, to be out here trying to teach! They’re like, girl, you got 25 affiliates, a celebrity brand ambassador. You know what you’re doing!

So I waited a little while longer, but they were asking, “Where are your services? We want to promote your services.”

I’m like, y’all do?

They helped motivate me to take it to that next level, because it’s what they want. I’ve learned that along the way: listen to my affiliates.

They helped me form this program. For example, I have contests, and incentives, and things like that. I send out free products to them, and free samples, and things like that. The first one I did, I immediately just was offering money, because I thought that’s what everyone wants. But that wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted products. Some wanted products, some wanted money.

I have to listen to what they want, and not just do what I want.

If I wouldn’t have offered the product, I wouldn’t have got all those active affiliates to engage in the contest, because I wasn’t speaking to what they were desiring.

Yeah. That’s super important. When did you start this business?

I started the business in 2018, and I started the affiliate program in 2020.

Attraction Marketing

What are the main things you’re doing today for attraction marketing?

I’m on Clubhouse; that’s my main platform, because you get to talk, and you get to know people, and get to build these relationships with them. But I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn. I will be going over onto YouTube now, because a lot of my affiliates are over there making all of these videos, and just a lot of interviews that I do too.

When I first started, I was just on Instagram and Facebook. But every time I got an affiliate that was on these different platforms, they can’t be on there representing a brand, and not have me on there at all.

That’s why now I’m on all these different platforms, and now we’ll be moving to YouTube. I can’t even count how many videos of them promoting the brand. But if someone was to type but Renew You Body Butters, I’m nowhere to be found besides those videos.

Next Steps

That’s awesome. What are your next steps now?

My next steps now is recruiting more affiliates. The 48 I have, they came to me.

If this is what happened basically through attraction marketing, what’s going to happen when I go out there and search for my affiliates?

In the beginning, my title was the Holistic Pain and Trauma Warrior. I’ve been having some severe health issues, but I’m getting better now. Now that I’m getting healthier and can do a little bit more, I’m going after my affiliates.

My goal this year is to help a hundred businesses and nonprofits start, grow, and scale their own affiliate programs.

It’s so much more than just brand awareness in getting sales – you intentionally want to network, connect, collaborate, and build relationships. Every business should have this. Every nonprofit, whether or not you have products or services. We’re technically all walking referral programs, naturally – always saying, go try this or go do that.

But do those companies give you any type of compensation or reward?

No, they don’t, but we do it naturally. Why promote your business, scale your business, or grow your email list by yourself, when you don’t have to?

When you’re naturally referring things to people all the time, which was something I like admit to out loud. I tell everyone who I help, I did it backwards. But as long as you have a business, and you have current clients, you can start an affiliate program today.

A year into my affiliate program, I had only had women on my team.

Then, one of my longtime customers from way back in the day reached out. He said, “I was with you before you even had a business name. I’ve been supporting you back when you were just trying to figure everything out, the whole 10 plus years.

“I buy your products, post about your products, refer people to you, make videos for you. Why can’t I be an affiliate?”

The light bulb went off in my head.

Oh my God, I cannot believe I never asked my current clients to be affiliates.

It was a stranger that approached me. That was the mindset. I have to go out and get all of these people who I don’t know. I felt bad. Wow, he’s been doing more work than my current affiliates all these years, and I did not give him the opportunity. He was my first male affiliate. You better believe I learned from that.

All of my customers moving forward when they order stuff, they know they have the option to sign up. When they subscribe to my website, that’s part of my drip campaign series. To let them know that they have the opportunity to become an affiliate.

I did it backwards, but it was a good lesson.

Tell us what you’re working on now, and where we can find you online.

You can find me online at www.renewyoubodybutter.com.

I’m working on just recruiting more affiliates, and helping more businesses and nonprofits start, grow, and scale their own affiliate programs.

I’m on all the social media platforms, as I just mentioned. You can always DM me, or email me. I’m not one of those business owners that doesn’t respond to the DMs. If I don’t respond, someone on my team will bring it to me so that I can respond.

I’m really looking to expand my networking, and building relationships, and more joint ventures. I know the more I grow, my affiliates get to grow. I’ve even hired them, for their business services. As my company has grown and I needed something, I would go to them. Why would I go somewhere else? They’re promoting me. They’re bringing me money. I’m going to keep this money in the family, and we’re going to keep it going full circle.

Kayshaun, it’s been absolutely wonderful to talk to you. I’m going to check out your products, and I will probably message you about getting some cream for my eczema.

Yes. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure being here, sharing my story. Thank you so much for having me.

Kayshaun Brooks is an Holistic Pain & Trauma Warrior. Owner of Renew You Body Butters a luxury skincare/ holistic business. She has partnered with 45 affiliates who want to make additional income.

1 thought on “Start an Affiliate Program – How Kayshaun Leverages Affiliates to Grow Her Business”

  1. Kayshaun is a brilliant entrapneuer! I love thatheat she interviewis her affiliates. That alignment between herself, product and referral process is spot on. So much of what she offered was Valuable with a capital V. Thank you Alison.

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