The Great Redo 11 Successful Beauty Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Advice for Starting Over The Winter Issue ft. Halsey
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11 Successful Beauty Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Advice for Starting Over

From Bobbi Brown to Sharon Chuter.

As adolescents, we’re typically taught to pick a career path and run with it. You’re interested in medicine? Great, become a doctor. Love to cook? Sweet, go get your chef’s hat. Then again: What happens if you grow out of a job? Or find a completely new passion that fulfills you way more than your current role? The reality is, no one gives you a guidebook on how to navigate that stuff—“that stuff” being all of the nuances that come with realizing it’s time for a career shift. 

Luckily, the beauty industry is crawling with crazy-inspiring entrepreneurs—many of whom could teach a college course on how to pivot professions. Bobbi Brown, for instance, has had several different ventures since starting her namesake brand nearly three decades ago. And Jenna Lyons, well, she was the bonafide face of J.Crew before she left and got the idea for her own false lash company called LoveSeen, which launched last fall. Then there’s folks like Alisia Ford, who ditched her day job as an attorney to follow her dreams of creating a skincare line for women of color. 

Suffice it to say: We can learn a lot from these women and others who have been in the same boat. So in the spirit of starting anew, we tapped 11 successful beauty entrepreneurs—including the three powerhouse founders above—for their best advice on changing careers. Keep scrolling to find out what they had to say; plus, exclusive details on how they got to where they are today. 

Margarita Ariggada

Courtesy of Margarita Ariggada / Design by Cristina Cianci


Margarita Arriagada, founder and CEO of Valde Beauty 

Before Margarita Arriagada started Valde Beauty—a luxury brand of lipsticks inspired by her late mother—she held the elusive title of chief merchant at Sephora. “I joined the company in the early days when we had the opportunity to shape what Sephora stood for beyond being a house of brands with an open sell approach,” says Arriagada. “There was no precedent in the beauty space and I had no beauty experience; however I did have a strong merchandising background both in fashion and home, so while beauty was new, the fundamentals were the same. I loved every aspect of shaping the discovery and development of new brands... the amazing wonder of product creation, and getting customers excited about beauty.”

After losing her mother to dementia in 2014, Arriagada felt it was finally time to move on and explore a new chapter, which eventually led to the creation of Valde Beauty. “The seed of inspiration came from wanting to pay homage to my mom,” says Arriagada. “She suffered from dementia and couldn’t recognize me, but every time I took out a lipstick, she would perk up and pucker up. She would look in the mirror and, while not realizing it was her in the reflection, she would kiss the mirror because she saw a beautiful woman. I was struck by the fact that she never forgot how wearing lipstick made her feel and had a sense of missing this narrative and the deeper relationship that beauty offers.”

Currently, the brand sells two types of lip products: the Ritual Creamy Satin Lipstick, which comes in eight stunning shades with customizable packaging, and the Bespoke Luxury Lip Balm.

What’s one thing you learned through the process of switching careers?

“I learned and truly believe that we need to encourage each other as womxn to unleash our potential and soar. I am doing this for my daughter and all our daughters, biologically or not. As womxn, we still need to break glass ceilings but it begins with breaking our internal ones first. I also believe we have a responsibility to help each other out. We are a big piece of the solution. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by anything or anyone. I am someone that while considered accomplished and successful, has been plagued most of my life with insecurities, doubts, and fears. I am working through this and as I do, want to help anyone else in this process.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers?

“It’s never too late to start over—ever! And surround yourself with people who will encourage you not to give up.”

What’s been the most rewarding part of following your dreams?

“The most rewarding thing has been seeing people's reaction when they first experience unboxing the product—the reveal, touching it, feeling it, and experiencing the formulas and appreciating the intention for the creation. I would like to humbly think that in some small way I was able to surprise and delight, and sincerely hope to continue to do so.”

sharon chuter


Sharon Chuter, creative director and CEO of UOMA Beauty 

In her former life, Sharon Chuter was a corporate executive for LVHM and worked with major international beauty brands like Revlon, L'Oréal, and Benefit Cosmetics. But, all the while, she was dreaming of something bigger—she was dreaming of a brand that represented and catered to all women of color. “Growing up in Nigeria, it was hard to find brands or marketing that resonated with me and people who looked like me,” says Chuter. “It was hard to believe you were beautiful when no one looks like you in a magazine—it was all Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn as the standard of beauty and the femme fatale phenomenon.”

Chuter knew she had to take action when she found herself complaining all the time. And well, after she had that realization, it wasn’t long before UOMA Beauty—a highly inclusive makeup brand that champions diversity and individuality—was brought to life. “I’m a big believer in ‘talk is cheap,’” she says. “We all complain about the things we’re not happy with, but no one is prepared to risk it all to be part of the solution; that’s why I embarked on this journey. I’ve put it all on the line and hope that at the end of the day, I play a small part in making the world a better place; a place where women who look like me understand that they are truly beautiful and have the courage to explore that from the outside in.”

For anyone unfamiliar, Uoma Beauty offers a full gamut of products made for both beginners and experts alike. You’ll find everything from false lashes, liner, and eye shadow palettes, to brow pencils, lipsticks, and foundation—the latter of which is available in a whopping 51 shades. 


What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“Really ask yourself why. I hear a lot of people say they want to be their own boss, work their own hours, and I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? You’re not going to sleep for two years.’ So really consider if you want to start your own business, or if you just need a hobby or a holiday from work, because it's going to be really hard. It's absolutely worth the risk, but you have to understand what you’re going to be sacrificing.”

What's been the most rewarding part of changing your path and starting a brand? 

“When I started down this path, I was passionate about making people feel good. The transformative power of makeup has always amazed me and how it could make people feel—especially women. We know that women, in particular, perform at their best when they feel beautiful. Now I’m not talking about wearing makeup, I am talking about generally feeling beautiful. However, I was frustrated at the lack of inclusion for people like me. As a woman of color, the world makes you feel different and not in a good way. You doubt your beauty and generally your self-worth, which is just not fair. Everyone should be able to go into a beauty hall and feel inspired, included, and beautiful. So, I wanted to create a space for the people who feel like they’ve been overlooked, and I feel like I’ve done just that. We have lots of exciting plans and new products coming down the pipeline, and I am so excited to see our community grow and for people to see what 2021 is going to bring.”

alisia

Courtesy of Alisia Ford/Design by Cristina Cianci


Alisia Ford, founder and CEO of Glory Skincare


Alisia Ford was a licensed attorney for Apple and served in various legal roles for brands like Nike and Disney before she left to start Glory Skincare—a first-of-its-kind beauty subscription box service made exclusively with clean ingredients and POC’s complexion needs in mind.

“My background in the legal, advertising and retail industries really helped me in the early development stages of Glory,” says Ford. “The inspiration to start Glory came from my own personal struggle to find the right skincare products; after suffering from painful migraines for many years, I turned to clean beauty products as a way to remove the questionable toxins from my daily routine, but as a dark-skinned woman, I had an extremely difficult time finding products that actually worked for my skin. With every product that I tested and rejected, it became clear to me that women of color weren't even in the room when these brands were testing their products. So I began to dig a little deeper and found that so many dermatologists and chemists do not receive training for the unique needs of melanin-rich skin. I saw an opportunity to put women of color at the center of it all. And the result is Glory Skincare: the community we want, the products we need, created with experts that we trust.”

Glory allows you to customize your quarterly box with a quick-and-easy quiz about your complexion—and from there it offers you different box options to choose from based on your skin concerns. Because they make non-toxic products and minority-owned brands their top priority, you can feel genuinely good about where you're spending your dollar.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“The main piece of advice I would share with someone who is looking to start fresh and change career paths is to surround yourself with people who are doing what you aspire to do. I joined several entrepreneurship groups and programs to be around other founders that I leaned on for inspiration and support. It gave me a space to dive in and learn about what it's like to start a business, share my ideas with other dreamers, and get encouragement to take a leap of faith.”


What's been the most rewarding part of changing your path and starting a brand? 

“Funny enough, I was just having a discussion with my therapist about this. Not only is it about the personal freedom of fulfilling your dreams, but also the impact. Being able to a hire team of such talented, hard-working individuals—Black women, women of color, is truly the greatest reward. I am proud of the team I have built at Glory Skincare and proud of the work we've accomplished given all of the obstacles of the past year.”

Jenna Lyons

Courtesy of Jenna Lyons/Design by Cristina Cianci


Jenna Lyons, co-founder of LoveSeen

Jenna Lyons spent a whopping 26 years at J.Crew, where she played an integral role in developing the brand’s signature aesthetic before she left to embark on a new journey—a journey ultimately driven by her own personal desire. “I have a rare genetic disorder called Incontinentia Pigmenti, which unfortunately leaves me with no eyelashes or eyebrows,” says Lyons. “It’s made me hyper-aware of people with beautiful big lashes, whether they’re eyelash extensions, fake lashes, or natural, and that hyper-awareness made me think about how the eyelash market had a void of products that were a little more natural, that I might like or my friends might like. White space is the most interesting space to start a business; not that I’ve ever done it before, but that’s what I like to say.”

And so that’s how Lyons got the idea for LoveSeen: a line of luxury, ultra-natural-looking false lashes made with every eye shape, lash type, and skin tone in mind. She co-founded the brand last year (yes, amid the pandemic) alongside her good friend and makeup artist, Troi Ollivierre. 

How did your background at J.Crew translate into what you do now at LoveSeen?

“While our primary focus at J.Crew was making clothing, what many people don’t realize is how much time was spent focusing on the look for the girls. Not just for photoshoots, but for presentations. In addition, we really made an effort to keep Madewell, J.Crew, and Factory different. So, we were in constant dialogue around hair, makeup, and overall image. All of those things directly relate to how we approach LoveSeen.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“First of all, know your business. Do your research. The number of times I've spoken to young designers who have never worked at a clothing company or understand the process is shocking to me. If you want to be a part of that world, get some experience. Intern or get a low-level job; it will save you money and tears and you will understand how the process works.”

What would you tell yourself about changing careers if you could go back? 

“Stop being so goddamn scared. Just do it.”

Bobbi Brown

Courtesy of Bobbi Brown / Design by Cristina Cianci


Bobbi Brown, founder of Jones Road Beauty

Bobbi Brown began her career in beauty as a makeup artist and eventually launched her eponymous brand, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, in 1991. She stayed with the brand for 22 years, developing products, writing books, and sharing her beauty ethos with the world. After nearly three decades, though, she left her namesake brand in pursuit of a new path, and it ultimately led her to Jones Road Beauty.

“When I left Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in 2016, I had time on my hands and no idea what I was going to do next,” says Brown. “I was so busy at the brand that I barely knew what I was having for dinner each night, let alone thinking about creating a new brand.  The one thing I did know I’d be doing was promoting my 9th book, Beauty From the Inside Out, which was really more about nutrition and wellness than it was about beauty. Promoting that book is really what put me on my new entrepreneurial path. First, I went back to school to become a certified health coach. From there, I launched EVOLUTION_18, a line of wellness and ingestible products. Then, Masterclass called me and asked me to do a makeup masterclass, which was such an honor.  Doing the Masterclass reminded me that, before anything else, I’m a makeup artist first–I’ve been doing this for 40 years. It was then when I realized it was time for me to get back to my roots.”


What inspired you to start a completely new cosmetics brand, and how is it different? 

“With Jones Road, I wanted to create a collection of products that I wanted for myself that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I’m wearing less makeup today than I ever did, and so are the models who I’m making up in my chair. That was the inspiration: That transparent, naturally beautiful look feels more modern right now than a full face of makeup. Jones Road is an edited, indispensable collection of clean, high-grade formulations designed for all ages, skin types, and skin tones. It’s the culmination of my 40 years of experience as a makeup artist and product developer.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“One lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that if you wait for the ‘perfect time’ to do anything, nothing happens. I don’t wait. I create. I would give that advice to anyone, especially if they’re looking to make a change.”

What's been the most rewarding part of changing your path and starting a new brand?

“The most exciting thing about launching a self-funded, indie brand and selling it all direct-to-consumer on jonesroadbeauty.com is that we are 100% in control of its future.  We’re staying close to customers.  We’re going to watch what they respond to and we’re able to create new items quickly to respond to what the customer wants. We just expanded the line to include face pencils, and also we’re planning to roll out some new categories this year.”

ron robinson

Courtesy of Ron Robinson / Design by Cristina Cianci


Ron Robinson, founder and CEO of BeautyStat

Ron Robinson began his career as a cosmetic chemist for the Clinique division of Estee Lauder Companies back in the early 90s, where he formulated some of the brand’s best-selling products of all time (yes, probably that one). From there, he went on to work with more heavy-hitters like Aramis, La Mer, Revlon, Avon, and Lancome, all before finally launching his own skincare brand—BeautyStat—in 2019. 

The brand is best known for their Universal C Skin Refiner, a vitamin C serum that’s refreshingly gentle, yet still remarkably effective (hence why we’re such big fans). “BeautyStat was originally a popular beauty blog and social media agency that I started 10 years ago,” says Robinson. “During that time, I became the go-to cosmetic chemist for media journalists and beauty editors that were looking for my expertise on ingredients, and one frequently asked question was: ‘Why is vitamin C unstable?’ This got me thinking about what would happen if we could stabilize pure vitamin C, and after five years and three patents, we found a way to do it in a formula that has a great texture, too.”

After sending the formula out to be independently tested and finding out that the serum did, in fact, deliver top-notch results, Robinson felt compelled to turn BeautyStat into a brand. And as they say, the rest is history. 

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers?

“For those that want to go the entrepreneur route, my advice is that you should test your brand or product concept to make sure that it’s a market need before quitting your day job. I see too many entrepreneurs who think they have a good idea, but don’t get enough objective feedback to confirm it’s a viable and scalable idea.”

What do you wish someone had told you before starting BeautyStat?

“I wish someone told me that you have to find ways to work smarter, not harder. If you don’t, you’ll never have time to find time for yourself to recharge.”

What’s been the most rewarding part of following your dreams?

“The most rewarding part has been the feedback I get from customers who tell me how much our products have changed their skin. They tell me that they’ve regained confidence and joy because of BeautyStat products. There is no better feeling in the world than to hear that something you created really helps people. This fuels and drives me to develop more innovative products.”

Lesley Thonrton

Courtesy of Lesley Thornton / Design by Cristina Cianci

Lesley Thorton, founder of Klur

Prior to founding Klur, an eco-inclusive skincare line made from sustainable botanicals, Lesley Thorton worked in the industry as a makeup artist for major corporate brands. She then freelanced in advertising and television for well over a decade before becoming a licensed beauty therapist, which allowed her to focus her time and energy on skincare education and product development. 

“The inspiration for Klur came from my experience; I didn't feel seen or appreciated in the clean beauty space, not as an esthetician, educator, or consumer,” says Thorton. “Clean-luxury brands are notoriously un-inclusive and usually never concern themselves with the needs of Black people or people of color, so Klur is my reimagined vision of what a community-driven sustainable luxury brand could be. I was inspired to create something that I expected but never experienced.”

The luxury skincare line offers everything from hydrating cleansers and spot-fading serums, to clarifying face masks, firming body oils, and more. We’re partially partial to the Supreme Seed Cacao + Vitamin B5 Delicate Purification Mask, which launched last fall.

What was starting your own brand like, and what obstacles did you face along the way?

“My journey was slow because I didn’t have a team or a large amount of capital to start with, so it took about three years to complete Klur. The greatest obstacle was the beauty industry. In January of 2019, I launched Klur and all my efforts fell on deaf ears. It was a deeply traumatic experience. I had no interest from any retailer and the press wouldn't give me the time of day. I was very close to giving up on the brand altogether. I had to let go of the concept that industry acceptance was the key to success. I leaned into the Klur community and focused my energy on the people who embraced Klur and celebrated the same values of inclusivity, sustainability, and community.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“If you can dream it, then you can create it. Before you find your team you will have to be your own greatest cheerleader—this is difficult because we are always our own worst critic. You must persist, operate with integrity, and never waiver from your authentic self. I wished someone had told me to get started and pursue my dreams sooner!”

What's been the most rewarding part of following your dreams? 

“There are so many rewards to following your dreams. The biggest reward for me is I get to live my most authentic life. I wake up and fulfill my purpose. There is no greater reward than turning an idea into a reality. The fact that others find personal joy by me following my dreams is beyond anything I could imagine. The reward I really look forward to is one day I’ll be able to look back with great pride and say that I created something from nothing without compromising my values.”

Simedar Jackson

Courtesy of Simedar Jackson / Design by Cristina Cianci


Simedar Jackson, founder of Skin Folks

Simedar Jackson started out her career as a beauty writer after earning her degree in journalism from Northwestern University. “I had always been the kind of girl who got in trouble in elementary school for wearing colored lip gloss, so it makes sense that I immediately gravitated towards beauty writing for the luxury and glamour of it all,” she says. “But while writing, I quickly realized how little content there was catered towards Black people and POC. The stories lauding a new haircare launch never mentioned if it was suitable for kinky-coily hair, and brands specifically created for this hair type were rarely featured.” 

Frustration with the lack of inclusivity and representation is what finally prompted Jackson to take things into her own hands. “It was obvious there was a gap in the beauty and wellness space when it came to considering the perspectives and needs of individuals outside of the ‘mainstream,’ so I started going out of my way to change that by writing content women I knew spent hours scouring on YouTube for,” says Jackson. “That really laid the groundwork for getting my aesthetician license, starting Skin Folks, and making space for faces and voices like mine.”

Skin Folks features a broad range of educational content on topics that cater to the Black community and people of color, including skincare routines from fellow dark-skinned babes, product reviews, and brand spotlights. 

What was the driving force behind starting Skin Folks and becoming an aesthetician? 

“The driving force was being able to better understand the science of skin and translate that knowledge into services and education that spoke to Black folks and POC. Skincare services like facials and dermatology appointments are often inaccessible to Black people cost-wise and are just not an inherent part of our lived experience even if you have skin issues. Medical racism, misinformation, and being ignored by most skincare brands have effectively excluded us from participating in practices that don't just make you beautiful but are literally part of taking care of yourself. Skin is the largest organ in our body and my perspective is that skincare is more than beauty—it's healthcare we all deserve access to.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“Talk to as many people as you can who are doing the things you are interested in doing even if you don't know them. Write an authentic email and be respectful, the worst they can say is no. I'd also say that while having some kind of plan is the responsible thing to do, there will come a time when you will have to bet on yourself and take the leap. Take the leap— even when you're scared! Especially when the other option is to be regretful, or worse, miserable until you muster up the courage.”

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from starting your own brand?

“One of the lessons is that things will never be perfect and if you wait to launch, to post, or to speak until things are perfect, you will literally never create anything. I've also learned how to ask for help and that there is no timeline or race. I used to stress a lot about not ‘doing enough’ or being at the marker I thought I should be at, and it's been a painstaking journey to actually believe that I am exactly where I should be and as long as I continue to put one foot in front of the other and stay true to myself,  I'm going where I should be going.” 

rob akkrdige

Courtesy of Robb Akridge / Design by Cristina Cianci

Dr. Robb Akridge, founder of Opulus Beauty Labs

As a Ph.D. who specialized in immunology and infectious diseases, Dr. Robb Akridge never planned on working in beauty—but after a twist of fate led him to help develop the Clarisonic, there was no looking back. “After Clarisonic’s acquisition from L’Oréal, I was with the company for six years, and at that point, I was able to learn from both worlds: the big corporate world that was L’Oréal, and the little scrappy world that was Clarisonic,” he says. “These combined lessons are what helped me a lot in my decision-making for OPULUS Beauty Labs.” 

Due to drop later this month is Akridge’s latest invention: another skincare appliance dubbed The Opulus, which is designed to dole out single doses of freshly activated skincare ingredients at their peak potency, without the constraints of a bottle, jar, or tube. The device will cost $500–and yes, it already has a waitlist. Sign up here

What inspired you to start your own brand and what has the journey been like? 

“When I left L’Oréal, I started to dream in color again. I looked at the beauty industry and thought about innovation and let my imagination take over. I thought, ‘how can we take what we know in other industries and combine it with what we know and love in beauty and make it even better. The idea initially came to me in a chocolate shop, believe it or not. I thought, ‘Why couldn’t skincare be like this?’ The skin is changing all the time, and therefore, your needs in skincare are also changing. What if we took what we know in gastronomy and applied it to skincare to create self-contained formulas, in precise doses that contain ingredient combinations that were never possible before. This was the inspiration, but once we started developing, it became so much more than that. We literally took chemistry and flipped it on its head. We invented your own personal beauty lab to create freshly activated beauty at peak potency, without the constraints of a bottle, jar, or tube. That is what is so incredible about inventing something–it always evolves and becomes even better than what you thought it could be. That was true with Clarisonic and it is true with my new brand OPULUS Beauty Labs, and our first innovation.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“It’s definitely a challenge, but my best advice is ‘don’t give up’. I was coming from a huge company, a large team, and a big title with several resources at my fingertips, and when I left L’Oréal, I had to start all over. On one hand, it was amazing because I had the freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted, but on the other hand, it was just me and my partner at the time. We had to start from scratch, which can be overwhelming at times but also thrilling.  You have to roll up your sleeves and do whatever the business demands from you each day.”

inge theron

Courtesy of Inge Theron / Design by Cristina Cianci


Inge Theron, founder of Face Gym

Inge Theron launched Hollywood Domino—a highly successful game that debuted in 120 Walmart stores across the U.S.—in 2008. But it didn’t take long for her to feel the burnout of starting a business with little help, and her body was collapsing from the lack of sleep and stress. “I could not find balance, and at that point, I realized I needed to get away, so I booked a one-way ticket to India and decided I was going to travel the world to find out how to be both successful and healthy,” says Theron. 

While traveling, Theron ended up with her own column in the Financial Times, in which she reviewed spas and treatments all over the world. Along the way, she was introduced to the powers of facial massage, and that’s where the idea for Face Gym originated. “I regained my confidence and realized that I needed to bring this approach to the modern world of beauty, as there was a huge gap between facials that focus on skin, and injectable doctors that offer transformation. Nobody was working on the muscles in the face for a non-invasive yet effective option for glowing, toned, and lifted skin.”

And so Theron sought out to change that with Face Gym: a non-surgical and injectable-free approach to skincare that uses massage techniques and facial tools to firm, sculpt, and tone the skin. What started out as treatments administered in a workout-style studio in NYC has expanded into an international phenomenon with online classes, e-commerce, and more. 

What was the biggest lesson you learned from starting Face Gym?

“The biggest lesson was on the operations and execution side. I massively underestimated what it took to run a business that was open 70 hours a week with a sizable staff. It was something I had never managed before and it was relentless. There were days when I didn’t think I was going to get through. The only reason I kept going was because I’d taken money from people who believed in me and I wanted to prove that FaceGym was worth the investment.”

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“Do not give up, there will constantly be people who do not believe in your vision but use the doubt as fuel to succeed. When you come up with something authentically better and truly different there are very often no benchmarks so it can be lonely out there and just when you think you have come out on the other side someone will take your vision and shortcut their way in and start snapping at your heels. But never look back over your shoulder; just feel their competitive breath behind your ears and keep pushing, innovating,  if you are continuously improving and growing your brand, they will never be able to catch you.”

Amh Liu

Courtesy of Amy Liu / Design by Cristina Cianci


Amy Liu, Founder of Tower 28 Beauty


Amy Liu has been in the beauty industry for nearly 20 years now, but when she was fresh out of college, she initially took a job in management consulting because she thought it would put her on the “right path” to a successful career. “My heart was never in it though,” she says. “I was making decisions based on my resume, not my passions, so after a mini quarter-life crisis, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA at USC, where I concentrated in marketing and entrepreneurship. I grew up admiring my dad who was a passionate entrepreneur, and thought whatever I did next, I eventually was going to start my own business in the future.”

After earning her degree, Liu went on to work with founder-based indie brands like Smashbox, Kate Somerville and Josie Maran.”I got a front row seat at watching these small companies grow big, and learned what it’s like to be a founder and also work in a team,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot more time as an employee than I have as a founder, and I truly hope it makes me a better leader.”

The idea for Tower 28 was spearheaded by her own struggle to find makeup that wouldn’t irritate her eczema-prone skin. “For years I looked for products that were clean, not triggering for my sensitive skin, and didn’t make me feel like a patient,” she says. “Over time I witnessed some incredible skincare lines pop up that fit the ticket, but nothing in color cosmetics. And when you have problem skin, you want nothing more than to wear makeup to cover it up and/or distract.” So she started Tower 28 as her answer to what was missing in the market. “It’s the first makeup brand to follow both the Credo Beauty no-no list and the National Eczema Association's ingredient guidelines,” she says proudly. “Plus I wanted to flip the script on clean beauty, making it accessible and cool, too. All of our products are under $28 and super Instagrammable.”

Naturally, it’s difficult to choose just one favorite from Tower 28, but if we have to, it’d be the brand’s Milky Lip Jellies because they’re not only ultra-nourishing and great for the lips, but also come in gorgeous colors that flatter any and every skin tone. 

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to change careers? 

“Don’t let your fears get in the way. Use them to motivate you. I was always convinced that it was the wrong time, I was too old, I couldn’t do it with young kids, I needed a partner… I had every excuse but ultimately I was afraid of failure. I worked hard in my career and felt like my most valuable asset was my reputation. What if I tarnished it by failing? Instead of letting that hold me back, I used it to propel me forward. I leaned into my relationships and the good faith people had in me after all those years of working. My friends and coworkers became my investors—including my BFF!—which was both frightening because it felt like so much responsibility, but also incredibly motivating because they believed in me. I’m so grateful for my incredible team and network of friends and mentors. It takes a village and Tower 28 is the fruit of all of our labor, not just my own.”

What's been the most rewarding part of following your dreams?

To be able to wake up every single day and think, I love what I do and the people that I work with. I read every product review, DM and comment. It’s so fulfilling to create products that spread joy and have the ability to boost someone’s confidence. Additionally, last summer we launched our Clean Beauty Summer School in an effort to support small Black-owned beauty businesses through education and mentorship. Putting together this program with my network was definitely a highlight in my career.” 

What's a piece of advice that you'd give yourself if you could go back? 

“I think to just chill out a bit! I spent so many restless days and nights worrying about the future. Too many years later I realized that there was very little point in working myself up. It’s much more beneficial to try to be present in the moment instead of panicking about the things you can’t always control.”

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