Dani, Sales Operations Manager at Melixir
Hi Dani! What is your role at Melixir?
I am in charge of daily operations and customer experience. I oversee the shipping process and ensure our products are delivered on time and without damage. In the domestic market, I am in charge of gathering orders from different sales channels and shipping them out twice a day–once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In the international market, I monitor and manage the inventories of various distributors, such as Amazon. I also maintain and communicate with B2B channels in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Europe to expand our presence overseas.
Apart from operations, customer success (CS) is also one of my key responsibilities. The main part of CS involves answering customer inquiries and maintaining customer relationships. With my deep understanding of our brand and products, I address any concerns they might have. This process allows us to identify areas of our operations that might need improvement. Once we pinpoint a specific area, we can then contact the relevant departments to make the necessary changes.
What is a regular day like for you?
Normally, I wake up at 5 in the morning and start my day off with a 16-minute stretching video on YouTube. I’ve been working on my flexibility since my body’s as stiff as a log nowadays. What motivates me is the mindset of "If I can’t do this, I’m trash" (laughs). After stretching, I take a shower. I have three different types of body washes, each with a different scent. I alternate between them depending on my mood. L:A Bruket’s body wash with the lavender and woody scent is one of my favorite ones to use, but I’m very much looking forward to Melixir’s upcoming body wash with a mix of sage, vetiver, and cedarwood aroma.
After showering, when it’s about 6 am, I make sure to eat breakfast. I really like mushrooms, so for breakfast, I cook Korean soybean paste soup “doenjang-jjigae” with lots of tofu and a variety of mushrooms. I’ve recently been using Market Kurly’s soybean soup base. My appetite is too similar to a grandma’s appetite (laughs). After eating, I get to work at around 8:05 am even though work starts at 9. This is because I’m more productive in the morning and I like preparing for work later on in the day at my own pace rather than doing it all in a hurry. In the morning, I also make sure to grab coffee on my way to the office or go to a nearby cafe with our designer Koeun.
I start shipping orders from 9 am. When I’m not shipping orders, I reply to customer inquiries, collect defective items, and deliver them to the team to fix. Recently, I’ve been working with Elena on our main U.S. distribution channel (Amazon) as well as other new ones such as Sephora and Costco. We provide these channels with the information they need to register our products in their systems as well as maintain close communication with B2B channels to ensure they have the necessary documents for the importation process.
I think your lifestyle represents what it means to be healthy and authentic. Do you have any tips for those who have a hard time waking up in the morning?
I don’t think I’m necessarily authentic or genuine towards life. However, it might seem that way because I always want to get things done as quickly as possible, finishing what I set out to do. As for waking up early, the answer to that is to sleep early. Instead of using electronics, try reading a book 30 minutes before bed. You’ll fall asleep very naturally (laughs). The reason why we can’t fall asleep is often because our mind is filled with racing thoughts. To solve this, I recommend writing things down, especially your worries. On the side of each entry or thought that you have written down, put an ‘X’ for things that cannot be solved right now, an ‘O’ for things that can be solved immediately, and a ‘Δ’ for things that can only be solved with long term effort. This way, you can clear your mind and truly relax for a good night’s sleep.
Who do you mainly work with? Can you share a little about the most important project you are currently working on?
Outside of Melixir, I communicate frequently with external logistics companies to ensure our products are delivered quickly and without damage to customers. Inside of Melixir, you can often find me working with Elena, who is in charge of Amazon sales, because we recently started selling our products on Amazon. It is important to make sure our weekly inventory forecasts are as accurate as possible, because as soon as the Amazon warehouse runs out of stock, the sales ranking of that product drops immediately. The rankings are important to us as it helps us further our goal of entering the U.S market this year. We work with Sunny, who is in charge of SCM (Supply Chain Management), to make accurate predictions and prevent stockouts.
With shipping done mainly by real people, I think the most important thing to focus on is minimizing human error. A small mistake not only leads to inconvenience on the customers’ side but also requires our team to do additional work. It’d be amazing if all of our efforts go on to help Melixir products be selected as a bestseller or even be considered for Amazon Launchpad.
What are some values you find important at work?
I think it’s important to not do the same thing twice. One way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to communicate clearly. Something I came to understand is the importance of standing in other people’s shoes. Of course, coherence is important in communication, but understanding what your listener needs to know is equally as important. Not everyone I talk to is going to be from Melixir and know exactly what I want to say. So to ensure external companies understand me, I learned how to communicate as clearly and as accurately as possible. Another value that I want to emphasize is patience. For example, there are times when we have to double-check or triple-check delivery information even if the delivery person has had plenty of experience. This is mainly because there are simply too many customers to ship to, and without the patience to be detailed and thorough, mistakes happen.
When interacting with customers, I find it important to not only communicate accurate information but also to keep a cool head. After being in customer service for a while, I noticed how hurtful some people can be with their words. Thankfully, there aren’t a lot of people like that among our customers. Even if there were, we try to not take their words personally. Instead, we use it as a stepping stone to improve. Since shipping and CS are the last steps of our business operations, I try my best to give feedback to our team, such as new directions we can take or areas of oversight.
What are some pros and cons of working at Melixir?
As a customer myself in the beginning, I could feel Melixir’s sincerity at first glance through its brand story and minimalistic package designs. When I later joined the company, I wanted to contribute to the group of people that I saw putting in so much effort towards such a valuable cause. One advantage of working at Melixir is the sense of accomplishment you get when your work in improving operations ends up providing a better shopping experience for the customer. Whenever our CEO Hana, entrusts me to make a choice, she says, “Dani will take care of it.” This environment where we trust and respect each other’s judgments has helped me grow professionally.
There are times when making decisions is burdensome, but I think it provides me with opportunities to learn and develop my skills. For example, I wasn’t confident in my communication skills at first. However, after being on the job and having to collaborate with so many different people, I was able to learn how to better express my thoughts and gain confidence in myself. Throughout this process, I’ve realized that the logical aspect of the job, whether that is weighing the pros and cons of a decision or finding alternative solutions, plays to my strengths. The downside to having the freedom to make my own decisions is the responsibility it brings. A key characteristic of startups like us is the ability for the team to make their own choices, but also take responsibility for them.
During the pandemic, staying home has become the new normal. Are there any unique ways you relieve stress when staying home?
Even before the pandemic, I liked to stay home. One thing I learned from living alone is how I can’t stand messiness, which is probably why I clean to relieve my stress. I also like shopping alone. By treating visits to pop-up stores or other brands’ stores like an art exhibition, I can learn a lot about how competitors make certain products or how they introduce themselves to the public. Even if you don’t buy anything, you can train yourself to be able to recognize good products and brands. My favorite brands are those that put the consumers first. For clothes, the material used is important, but how considerate the store is to its customers is also just as important.
I like clothes made from materials and designs that are easy to take care of. Recently, I bought clothes online from a designer brand and noticed that they had a free exchange policy because they know how difficult it is for customers to find the right size online. If you choose to exchange a product, the return courier will ship out the new one before the delivery driver even arrives to pick up your return. After I bought a shirt, I received a text message from the brand representative that said, “The purchased shirt is made of material that does not deform even after washing.” These little details are what come to mind when I think of consumer-oriented brands.
To wrap up this interview, could you share some personal goals you have for this year or describe what kind of future you want for Melixir?
Personally, I want to exercise regularly. However, every time I try to register for Pilates, I always find myself going when the teacher is in class, so I end up not being able to register. I think the goal, for now, is just to work on my flexibility (laughs). I used to relieve stress by going on vacations, but now I want to switch to exercising since it helps me create a healthy habit. As for Melixir’s future, I hope that it will grow into an honest and transparent brand. Since there are so many similar brands popping up nowadays, I want us to become a good example for others so customers can have a variety of healthy brands that they can trust.