From cosmetics queens like Bobbi Brown to skincare evangelists like Jennifer Yen, more women are becoming beauty entrepreneurs in the booming $500 billion-dollar beauty industry.
Whether they’re launching toxic-free skincare companies, innovative personal care franchises, transformative haircare or cosmetics lines, with so many woman-owned beauty brands cropping up, it’s becoming evident that the era of the #GirlBoss is just beginning.
To highlight several of the successful women who are currently leading and transforming the growing beauty industry, today’s #GirlBoss guide shares the stories of 12 beauty entrepreneurs on why they founded their beauty brands and what they think it means to be a #GirlBoss today.
As one of the original #GirlBoss babes to lead the beauty industry, legendary Bobbi Brown was the Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and more recently launched EVOLUTION_18, a wellness brand. She’s also the author of numerous beauty books including one of my personal faves, Bobbi Brown Beauty, which is a must-have for any woman who loves learning about makeup.
Bobbi tells us, “After leaving Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in 2016, I wanted to create another brand that empowered women from the inside, out. I launched EVOLUTION_18, a lifestyle-inspired wellness brand because I have always said that what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your face. These products are designed to help women look and feel their best.”
Another brand that I personally love and use was created by a skincare pioneer who I met at the Cosmoprof North America Beauty Convention in Las Vegas a couple years ago. Jennifer Yen is the Founder of Purlisse Beauty, a skincare and cosmetics line that is based on her grandmother’s natural herbal remedies that promote beautiful, healthy skin.
Jennifer says she developed the line because she wanted “To stick to my skin issues and help other women and to really honor my heritage”.
Relative to being a #GirlBoss in 2018, to her it means “To live life on your own terms, I get to create products for women and create jobs for women.”
Debi Lane is the Founder & CEO of LunchboxWax, a fast-growing, speed-waxing salon that was named a “2018 Top 50 New Franchise” by Entrepreneur Magazine. The company offers waxing for everybody across 40 locations in 12 states, as well as skincare products design to improve the waxing experience, before and after.
Debi says, “I created LunchboxWax after owning a successful day spa in Sun Valley, Idaho. After developing a speed-waxing technique that because the cornerstone of our business, I decided I wanted to take waxing into the spotlight, and that’s when I got to work on the concept for a salon dedicated solely to the art of waxing. I’m also passionate about the direct, confidence-inspiring nature of building a culture-first company. We prioritize collaboration and community in all we do.”
She continues, “To me, it’s important to own being a #GirlBoss in 2018 because young women need more role models in positions of leadership and power. As of 2018, there are just 25 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies—that’s way out of balance. I strive to empower everyone who works for me, including women, by ensuring LunchboxWax provides skill development and fosters a culture of “intrapreneurship” so that employees are equipped to become business owners themselves one day, should they choose that path.”
Cristina Samuels and Jennifer Isaac are not only sisters, but they’re also the Co-Founders of the woman-run beauty brand, MODE Cosmetics.
They explain the reason why they launched their beauty brand by saying, “Simply put, the need for high-performance color cosmetics with the benefits of healthy natural skincare ingredients from around the world existed and we filled the void in the market by creating MODE®, Potent Beneficial Beauty, and pioneering the concept of high-performance naturals over 25 years ago.”
“It’s all about integrity – for us that’s what it means to be a #GirlBoss in 2018. It’s imperative to be the captain of your ship, and in our case, we are co-captains with the same core philosophy – we both believe in the benefits of natural ingredients and our admiration for art, and personal style is immense.”
What began as an experiment by 12-year-old Margo Gianos five years ago, has transformed into a fledgling business that is rapidly growing across the United States. Honestly Margo‘s first product was the Aromatherapy Balms that help to relieve stress, headaches or minor sinus aches. Now, in 2018, the business has seven different paraben-free products to offer beauty consumers. Margo has help with business relations from her mother, Irene, who is co-owner and manager of Honestly Margo.
Margo says, “We launched the brand because we wanted to provide girls with a fun, pure and inspirational line of beauty products that they would feel great wearing. Each product that we introduce is inspired by nature and the women who motivate us on a daily basis to keep developing great products.”
“A #GirlBoss is a woman who pursues her business fearlessly and without apology. She is someone who empowers and supports other women, is strong and confident, and she’s a badass at whatever she’s doing. She doesn’t let things get in her way or get her down, and pushes through obstacles she’s faced with.”
Pharmacist Clarissa Shetler and NASA Scientist Christine Flasetti are the Co-Founders of C2 California Clean, a company that sells toxic-free, plant-based skin care products. They are passionate about spreading awareness of clean beauty and make it a point to educate people on the harmful substances in their products.
Clarissa shares, “Christine and I launched our company/brand due to our own personal stories. I have a childhood condition called ichthyosis (fish scale skin) and Christine’s son, unfortunately, passed away at a young age due to cancer. One day during a hike we were discussing our skin care choices, already aware of some of the harmful substances that were in the products we and others use. That day we decided we could do something better–something cleaner. And in 2016, we launched our company providing people with safer skincare products with natural ingredients.”
“Being female founders in 2018 is amazing because we have aligned with other powerful women founders – and have developed a support system to help each other. It’s a unique relationship because we share business experiences, ideas, and network contacts. We have opened new doors and have developed an ecosystem of other wellness companies and founders.”
April Peck, Founder of the new brand, SAVE ME FROM®, is striving to create hair care products that help women feel more confident, in addition to being an advocate for suicide prevention.
After overcoming a personal tragedy in her life, she was inspired to launch a company that helps to make a difference in the lives of other people. She explains that “After losing my sister to suicide, I was determined to find a way to save others from suffering the same fate. I created SAVE ME FROM to advocate suicide prevention. With our products, 10% of net income will go toward national and local suicide prevention programs.”
“I believe all people have the power and potential to accomplish great things. No matter a person’s position in a company or their prior circumstances, as long as they’re willing to work hard, persistently and resourcefully, they can feel purpose in their work.”
“As a #GirlBoss, it’s my job to help our people realize their potential, feel empowered and know they have a purpose within our company and in their lives.”
Fadela Zaoui is the Founder of Zac Von Sleek, a newly launched all-natural and organic hair care line that was “created to strengthen your hair from the root out”. The company’s motto is “Happy Healthy Hair = Happy You”.
She says, “I came up with the idea to create Zac Von Sleek when my mother began experiencing hair-loss. We would make natural remedies to keep her hair full and strong and I realized our formula actually worked. After 5 years of testing and perfecting the formula in laboratories, I saw that it was the perfect time bring it to the masses.”
Being a hard-working French entrepreneur who has learned what it takes to live the American Dream, she says, “Coming from a foster home and fighting my way to New York City from France, I understand what it means to dream and I want to share the benefits of my hard work with other children who may find themselves in similar situations as I did growing up. 10% of each purchase is used to help empower a child in the foster system. I think that’s definitely a #GirlBoss move. You have to be passionate and I plan to combine my passion for natural products of all kinds as well as my personal mission of empowering foster children around the world.”
Sally Kim is the author of a collagen-based cookbook called The Collagen Glow and the Founder of Crushed Tonic, a fast-rising anti-aging health & beauty ingestible skincare beverage brand. Gaining popularity with customers, Crushed Tonic has sold out on Sephora and Anthropologie, is distributed through Fab Fit Fun, and has been seen in Allure, W, NewBeauty, and other leading publications.
“When I discovered the power of collagen ( I got severely burnt, and had to find ways to get my skin to heal and regenerate as quickly ), I became obsessed with getting everyone around me to start taking collagen. However, there was one setback– despite how beneficial collagen was– it tasted bad for the most part, and no one around me was able to drink it as consistently as I have (and had I not been burned, I wouldn’t have stuck to it daily either). I knew I couldn’t give up– so I went to the kitchen and started flavoring the collagen powders with other superfoods to land on various formulae that worked for my family and friends. When I had the same friends call me and ask me to make another batch for them, that’s when Crushed Tonic was born!”
In regards to being a girl boss in 2018, she says, “It means being relentless, even if people think you’re being reckless. Some people— investors, partners, customers, friends, family— will NEVER understand your product, your vision or your market. Which is why you shouldn’t be spending time trying to prove to those who will never see eye to eye that you are right, or to persuade them that you are not wasting your time.
No one else is as invested in your company than you are— believe in it, and execute on it. This advice came from when I was bummed out at the start of me founding Crushed Tonic, in which many peers told me that the anti-aging supplement market is too niche of a market (to put things into perspective– anti-aging is a $300B market; supplements are over $445B. In comparison, men’s shaving market is $15B market). They tried to talk me out of quitting my full-time job at Conde Nast and advised against writing my book. I still moved forward–and woke up every day at 4 am to execute on my vision.
To be a girl boss in 2018 is to believe in yourself, and your passion– and not listening to those who try to convince you with hundreds of reasons for why you shouldn’t chase your calling.”
Nicki says, “Women are smart consumers. I started FutureDerm.com to teach women about Skincare as a medical student at Pitt. But, after 10 million website views, I also realized women wanted more. They deserve to be empowered to choose their own ingredients, have a say in their skincare preferences, and to have 24/7 access to expert Skincare specialists to help them. That’s why I started our FutureDerm Specialist Customizable Skincare Line.”
In regards to being a #GirlBoss in 2018, she says it means “Doing what needs to be done, regardless of gender. Acknowledging that most Venture Capitalists and key decision makers are still men, and knowing that they might not know a more female-oriented industry like beauty, but knowing your metrics and hitting all targets speaks volumes to savvy investors and partners. And I always live by persistence, consistency, and passion!”
For more inspiring advice on how to become a successful #GirlBoss, check out the Career section on Inspirations & Celebrations.