How This Moorestown Mom Took Over QVC
Jersey fresh & smooth
By Sydney Kerelo

Like many moms, Moorestown’s Bernadette Finnerty suddenly had a lot of time on her hands after her youngest child graduated from high school during the pandemic. She started thinking about some of the good ideas she’d had in the past – and decided to actually do something about them.

The product idea she always thought was destined for success – if only she took the time to work on it – turned into ShaveStix, a moisturizing replacement for shaving cream in stick deodorant form. Turns out she was right. Her new product successfully launched on the QVC channel earlier this year. She sold thousands that night, even selling out in some fragrances.

“I started ShaveStix because I hated shaving my legs in the shower,” says Finnerty. “I thought it was messy and cumbersome. You would slap a glob of shaving cream on your leg only for it to fall on the floor.”

Finnerty’s sensitive skin was prone to razor burn and skin irritation, so she was going for a product that would give a close shave without those unwelcome side effects. After trying several ideas, she found coconut oil was the best solution, but it was a greasy mess. So she decided to buy empty deodorant containers from Amazon and create coconut oil-based sticks.

“I gave one to my daughter, who was 17 years old at the time, and she loved it,” says Finnerty. “I thought, well if she loved it, other girls her age will too. I shared them with my sisters, nieces and daughter’s friends, and everyone thought it was a great product.”

One person Finnerty fatefully introduced to ShaveStix was her best friend who owned a smoothie and acai bowl restaurant in Avalon. Her friend loved it, and like a true BFF, encouraged her to bring it to market. Finnerty established a website, designed labels, came up with the name and launched her own product. Shortly after, she had a pop-up sale on the sidewalk outside the acai bowl shop selling ShaveStix to passersby on the street.

Although her first day was a success, Finnerty didn’t like the ‘selling on the sidewalk aspect’ and was unsure about returning for a second day. But her husband convinced her, and it changed the entire trajectory of her business.

“It wasn’t a busy second day, but this woman came up to me and bought a ShaveStix for her daughter. We were chatting when she said, ‘Oh, this would be good on QVC,’ and I was like, I would love to be on QVC, thinking it’s just chitchat. She says, ‘Well, I am on QVC, and I can connect you with the people I work with.’”

Finnerty didn’t realize it, but that woman was Maria McCool, the founder of Calista Tools. McCool is QVC famous – she’s been selling her hair products on QVC for more than 10 years. McCool introduced Finnerty with her QVC connections, and they loved the idea.

Then things got serious.

Once QVC accepted Finnerty’s product, it took about a year of preparations and rigorous testing before ShaveStix’s launch on QVC this past March. “I had to determine what’s involved in getting this made, the quantity needed, how much it would cost to manufacture. It was months and months of leg work.”

After that, ShaveStix underwent QVC’s intense quality testing, while Finnerty got everything approved legally and had on-air training. She found an affordable container supplier, but because of shipping concerns during the pandemic, she had all 10,000 containers shipped to her South Jersey home. She remembers the 18-wheeler pulling up in front of her house and unloading all the containers into her garage. Finnerty and her husband then rented a U-Haul and delivered them to the manufacturer in Malvern, Pa.

“ShaveStix also sells through a wholesale company online, where customers all over the country order products,” says Finnerty. “We are constantly shipping to stores, and we also have our direct-to-customer business through our website where buyers can order directly from us.”

ShaveStix has various scents inspired by the Jersey Shore, like Coconut Cream – the QVC best seller – Dune Roses, Blue Water, Lavender & Sea Salt and a men’s fragrance called Barber Shop. Finnerty created Dune Roses after walking along the beach in Sea Isle City and taking in the scent coming off the roses on the dunes. Lavender & Sea Salt was inspired by pots of lavender planted along the path that led to a beloved family beach cottage. The house is just a memory, she says, but the scent of lavender and salt air brings it all back.

“The Jersey Shore is significant to our brand because it’s where we started,” she says.

Finnerty is now devoting more time to her entrepreneurial pursuits – developing new scents and other products like an exfoliating stick that helps you soften your skin without any mess.

“Something I hear all the time that is cliché is to just try it, start,” she says. “You can only take one step at a time, but as long as you’re taking a step forward every day, you’ll get somewhere. You also never know who you will meet, so if you plan for something, commit to it. Someone may come around who will change your entire life.”

Come see Bernadette in the Women’s Empowerment Series panel: “Passion, Purpose & a Paycheck: Creare a career that works for you,” on Tuesday, November 7.

Get your tickets today. 

May 2022
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