Team Travel Beauty has had the opportunity to speak with many fascinating women entrepreneurs. Some of them newly-minted with recently launched businesses and others 30 year industry veterans. Hearing these women’s stories of how they got their starts – the ups, the downs and the everything in between has given us invaluable perspective and inspiration.
Often, when something seems scary, we think of everything that could go wrong, everything that’s at risk…and seeing these things, we say NO WAY. Well, here are some quotes from women who went for it and not only survived, but thrived.
Liz Lange, Founder of Liz Lange Maternity
On what she attributes her success to: Luck of course, hard work and an optimistic outlook. To be a successful entrepreneur you have to not let problems deter you. I always believe that there’s a solution for everything and that anything can be accomplished. I don’t let negativity enter into my thinking.
Brenda Christian, Founder of Brenda Christian Cosmetics
On the magic of having someone champion you: Though my business is now 32 years old, it seems like yesterday that I made the decision to become a professional makeup artist. I was young and energetic, and within a few months was booked solid, traveling and doing fashion show work. Still, my greatest love was teaching a woman, one-on-one, how to apply her makeup. Regarding the development of my brow products, that is quite a story! Early on I became the go-to person for brow shaping in Houston. I adored working with my clients, but felt weak in adding to eyebrows to fill voids, or even more terrifying, creating an eyebrow where absolutely no hair existed. I could not find a product that worked well, and felt insecure about my work.
About that time, I enrolled in a three day course for experienced makeup artists offered by Maurice Stein, a well-known Hollywood makeup artist. The first day of the course, he tested each student. After the practical testing, Maurice pulled me away from the rest of the class and asked me why I was working in Houston and not California! I explained that my goal was not to become a television and cinema makeup artist, but to develop products formulated to work in extreme climatic conditions, like the heat and humidity of Houston. I told him I was working on a product to create eyebrows on women that had none.
For three days Maurice taught me separately from the rest of the class—how to create beautiful eyebrows on women that had none. At the end of the class, Maurice asked me if I would show the products that I had been working on to Harry Blake, Director of Makeup for NBC Studios. Both men were excited about the potential of the new wax I had developed and encouraged me to share the products with them upon completion. Today, I am honored that Maurice sells my eyebrow products in his Cinema Secrets store in California, and I have always been grateful for his support and artistic training.
Julia Samersova, Founder of Cast Inc.
On making the jump: I had been working as a model manager for close to 12 years. I had worked at four agencies (Elite, Ford, Company Management and Next). In 2004, I decided to make the jump to the client side and become a freelance casting director. My best friend John Pfeiffer, Casting Director legend, took me to J&R Music World and bought me my first laptop. John and my mom encouraged me to do my own thing. I jumped into the shallow pool with my eyes closed and wished for the best! I had nothing to lose. I was not operating from a place of fear, so it all fell into place! The first year was tough financially and I had to borrow money just to survive. Gradually, through networking, word of mouth and sheer perseverance I started to flourish! The better I did, the more driven I became.
Gilah Gurovitsch, Founder of GG Skin & GG Candles
On evolving her business: I have been a practicing esthetician for almost two decades. I’m known for my signature facials that incorporate my healing arts into each treatment. All my treatments have always been customized for each individual—for the needs of the skin at that moment. As a single mother of two young girls, at times I found it very difficult to provide for them. This lead me to think out of the box with my business. One day I was in a treatment, and as always, burning a random candle. I was staring at the candlelight and thought, what if I made my own candles? I could start an all natural environmentally friendly line. GG Candles was born.
Gina Antioco, Co-Founder of Lift / Next Level Floats
On making it through tough times: My journey at times has been challenging and exhausting. In the beginning, I worked at a hostel so that I had somewhere rent-free to sleep, and volunteered at a startup float center that couldn’t yet afford staff. This is how I learned the ins and outs. I worked seven days a week and my only income was unemployment. I ate at a “community dinner” and received assistance at a food kitchen. There was no easy shortcut and I was determined not to dip into my savings. It made me stronger and I learned many of the skills that would help me run a business.
Robin Shobin, Founder of Charlotte’s Book
On perspective: The hardest part is not putting too much pressure on yourself. Making mistakes is inevitable when you’re doing something completely new. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done. It can be very stressful when you’re taking so much personal and financial risk. But you have to occasionally take a step back. It’s important to find the balance of maintaining your vision, but also being flexible and able to pivot in your path, because it will likely never be what you planned.
Have a favorite piece of career wisdom you’ve received? Please share in the comments below!