Interviews
April 06, 2021
by Rose Garnett & Emily Algar

She’s The Boss: The Female Entrepreneurs Taking The Beauty World By Storm

by Rose Garnett & Emily Algar

How does that saying go...? When you can't find something you want, create it yourself. That was the mentality of these female beauty entrepreneurs; taking the world by storm one can’t-live-without-it product at a time.

Notoriously driven, unparalleled in the multi-tasking department and passionate about beauty. The three traits that make for an inspired beauty brand entrepreneur. Grabbing the new technological and environmental sphere by the lady balls, this new cohort of brand founders are connecting with their audience more directly and more effectively than ever.

And shoppers are intrigued. Often forgoing the larger heritage beauty brands for a dabble in the niche, consumers are savvier than ever. It’s this dedication to discovering what’s new and exciting that keeps the wheels turning and the industry fresh. And with a shift in rhetoric to focus on not only the incredible formulas and chic branding but also on the business’ environmental footprint and commitment to sustainability and inclusion, these female founders’ ability to pivot hasn’t gone unnoticed.

As a celebration of the female’s dominating the beauty space and demanding we pay attention, we sat down with some of our favourite founders to ask them one important question: why?

Bee Shapiro

Founder, Ellis Brooklyn

Columnist and author Bee Shapiro spent her early days writing about beauty, until a particular interest in scent led her to create Ellis Brooklyn: a clean, small-batch, luxurious fragrance company that’s since gone on to occupy shelf space at Mecca Cosmetica. Here, Bee outlines her love affair with fragrance, finding inspiration in a pandemic and the realities of founding a brand. 

GRITTY PRETTY: What sparked your interest in fragrance?

Bee Shapiro: I’ve always loved scent, but didn’t truly nerd out until I started writing for the New York Times as a beauty columnist. I loved that scent was so difficult to describe yet so powerful in relation to our sense of wellbeing. There’s a reason why the saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ is so poignant. 

I actually started Ellis Brooklyn when I was pregnant with my daughter Ellis and living in Brooklyn! I became more aware of myself, both inside and out — something about the whole experience made me feel like I could do it. 

GRITTY PRETTY: Was there a moment you felt success for the first time? 

Bee Shapiro: Sometimes as creators, we can live in dream worlds. I made MYTH, our best selling fragrance, for myself. There were no market tests or meetings. So when it became our hero product one year in, I felt pretty incredible.

GRITTY PRETTY: Creatively, what does building a new scent look like, especially during a pandemic? 

Bee Shapiro: The pandemic has been difficult because I’m typically inspired by travel. But I’ve been focusing on little experiences instead, whether that’s a new hiking trail or cooking up some crazy recipe. I’ve learned that you can look inside yourself for inspiration too. That’s why our big scent launch this year is inspired by self-love.  

GRITTY PRETTY: What’s one brand founder myth that surprises people? 

Bee Shapiro: That we are doing pretty things all the time! The founders I know are glamorous on first take, but they’ve all packed press kits in their living rooms, hauled boxes to FedEx and generally been scrappy to make these beautiful dreams happen.

– Emily Algar

Nancy Twine

Founder, Briogeo

Founded in 2013, Nancy Twine’s clean hair care brand, Briogeo, was a welcomed addition to the beauty market. Giving up a successful career in finance after the sudden passing of her mother, Twine realised that true success lies in doing what you’re passionate about. After identifying the need for a clean hair care brand that respects and nurtures natural texture, the Chicago-native was adamant that her brand could fill that gap.

GRITTY PRETTY: What inspired you to start Briogeo?

Nancy Twine: It’s so important that we align our careers with our passions, because we spend so much of our lives working. It took me a long time to realise that my passion was in clean hair care but when you know, you know.

GRITTY PRETTY: Going from finance to beauty is quite a jump! How did you go about taking that leap of faith?

Nancy Twine: I think a lot of people take a leap and quit their day jobs before having a real secure confidence in their new business venture. I worked for four years while I was getting Briogeo off the ground. I didn’t leave my day job until I had a contract with Sephora.

GRITTY PRETTY: What was the main goal you wanted to achieve with the creation of Briogeo?

Nancy Twine: No matter your ethnicity, hair texture or background, I wanted Briogeo to be applicable to you. I also wanted to create products that leverage the antioxidants, natural oils and vitamins found in skincare and put them into hair care. So much our of look is defined by our hair and I wanted to celebrate and champion that.

GRITTY PRETTY: Now that you’re eight years into the business, how do you plan on continuing to grow?

Nancy Twine: I took on an investor partner last year which has really helped me to leverage the business and helped me build out the right team with the right people to ensure we’re keeping up a really robust innovation pipeline. I think once you get the entrepreneurial itch, you can’t stop so we’re very much focused on expanding the brand into the future.

– Rose Garnett

 

To read the full story, click here to view the latest issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine

Bee Shapiro

Founder, Ellis Brooklyn

Columnist and author Bee Shapiro spent her early days writing about beauty, until a particular interest in scent led her to create Ellis Brooklyn: a clean, small-batch, luxurious fragrance company that’s since gone on to occupy shelf space at Mecca Cosmetica. Here, Bee outlines her love affair with fragrance, finding inspiration in a pandemic and the realities of founding a brand. 

GRITTY PRETTY: What sparked your interest in fragrance?

Bee Shapiro: I’ve always loved scent, but didn’t truly nerd out until I started writing for the New York Times as a beauty columnist. I loved that scent was so difficult to describe yet so powerful in relation to our sense of wellbeing. There’s a reason why the saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ is so poignant. 

I actually started Ellis Brooklyn when I was pregnant with my daughter Ellis and living in Brooklyn! I became more aware of myself, both inside and out — something about the whole experience made me feel like I could do it. 

GRITTY PRETTY: Was there a moment you felt success for the first time? 

Bee Shapiro: Sometimes as creators, we can live in dream worlds. I made MYTH, our best selling fragrance, for myself. There were no market tests or meetings. So when it became our hero product one year in, I felt pretty incredible.

GRITTY PRETTY: Creatively, what does building a new scent look like, especially during a pandemic? 

Bee Shapiro: The pandemic has been difficult because I’m typically inspired by travel. But I’ve been focusing on little experiences instead, whether that’s a new hiking trail or cooking up some crazy recipe. I’ve learned that you can look inside yourself for inspiration too. That’s why our big scent launch this year is inspired by self-love.  

GRITTY PRETTY: What’s one brand founder myth that surprises people? 

Bee Shapiro: That we are doing pretty things all the time! The founders I know are glamorous on first take, but they’ve all packed press kits in their living rooms, hauled boxes to FedEx and generally been scrappy to make these beautiful dreams happen.

– Emily Algar

Nancy Twine

Founder, Briogeo

Founded in 2013, Nancy Twine’s clean hair care brand, Briogeo, was a welcomed addition to the beauty market. Giving up a successful career in finance after the sudden passing of her mother, Twine realised that true success lies in doing what you’re passionate about. After identifying the need for a clean hair care brand that respects and nurtures natural texture, the Chicago-native was adamant that her brand could fill that gap.

GRITTY PRETTY: What inspired you to start Briogeo?

Nancy Twine: It’s so important that we align our careers with our passions, because we spend so much of our lives working. It took me a long time to realise that my passion was in clean hair care but when you know, you know.

GRITTY PRETTY: Going from finance to beauty is quite a jump! How did you go about taking that leap of faith?

Nancy Twine: I think a lot of people take a leap and quit their day jobs before having a real secure confidence in their new business venture. I worked for four years while I was getting Briogeo off the ground. I didn’t leave my day job until I had a contract with Sephora.

GRITTY PRETTY: What was the main goal you wanted to achieve with the creation of Briogeo?

Nancy Twine: No matter your ethnicity, hair texture or background, I wanted Briogeo to be applicable to you. I also wanted to create products that leverage the antioxidants, natural oils and vitamins found in skincare and put them into hair care. So much our of look is defined by our hair and I wanted to celebrate and champion that.

GRITTY PRETTY: Now that you’re eight years into the business, how do you plan on continuing to grow?

Nancy Twine: I took on an investor partner last year which has really helped me to leverage the business and helped me build out the right team with the right people to ensure we’re keeping up a really robust innovation pipeline. I think once you get the entrepreneurial itch, you can’t stop so we’re very much focused on expanding the brand into the future.

– Rose Garnett

 

To read the full story, click here to view the latest issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine

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