Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs
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Maureen Kelly, CEO and Founder of Tarte Cosmetics
How did Tarte and your vision all begin?
Before I started Tarte I was a total beauty addict, but I quickly became frustrated when I couldn’t find pure, powerful cosmetics. Everything on the market was full of unhealthy, icky stuff, and whether it was from a department store or one of the very few “healthy” makeup lines I could find, the packaging was so unglamorous that I hardly wanted to buy it let alone take it out of my purse in public! So, in 1999 from my one bedroom apartment in New York City, I set out with a vision to create a cosmetics line that would prove that glamour can be good for you. At tarte, we’ve really pioneered the use of high-performance naturals and have successfully created gorgeous beauty products at the same time. Next year we are celebrating our 15th anniversary as a leader in healthy, eco-chic beauty!
What would you suggest for a girl trying to keep her makeup glam at the beach?
I live at the beach so I spend much of my time there with my two boys, Sully and Finn. A typical summer day will include surfing, paddle boarding, and some sort of sand sport – which means that waterproof makeup is a must! Beach makeup is usually minimal but you can still look glam—the key is budgeproof, waterproof, sweatproof formulas that won’t run down your face in the middle of the day…and you can’t forget SPF! For glam beach makeup, I’d suggest our lights, camera, splashes™ 4-in-1 waterproof mascara. It will give you these dramatic, thick and sexy lashes that are guaranteed to stay put – even after a full day at the beach. Glowing, protected skin is must, so I’d also recommend our BB tinted treatment 12-hour primer SPF 30. It’s the ultimate multi-tasker that works as a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, treatment and sunscreen for an all-over, youthful-looking glow.
What is your advice for anyone building a brand from scratch?
Don’t shy away from competition. Looking back, I realize I was entering an industry with huge competition— big companies that had millions of dollars in advertising budgets. Because I was very green, I thought, “Why should they be able to do it, and I can’t?”
Jenny Fleiss, Co-Founder and Head of Business Development at Rent the Runway
How immersed were you in the fashion world when you and Jennifer came up with the idea for RTR?
I have always been interested in fashion but wouldn’t consider myself super immersed in the industry until we started Rent the Runway. I actually think that not knowing too much about the fashion industry helped my co-founder Jenn Hyman and me dare to take a fresh approach to fashion and break some of its long-standing rules.
How has the demand for the latest fashion trends on the runway changed your business? Are you constantly looking for the latest designers? Renting collections not yet available?
What’s fun about Rent the Runway is that our customers are more apt to experiment with the newest trends than they might be if they were purchasing the item, since they know they’re only going to wear it once. They’re renting the high-fashion jumpsuit with cutouts rather than the LBD, so we’re always looking for those standout pieces that will make women feel extraordinary and confident.
What is a travel must-have packable item to always ensure you’re looking chic?
Versatile outerwear, like a black leather jacket, is key. You can wear it on the plane to save room in your suitcase and dress it up or down for day and night.
Katie Schloss, Founder and Designer of ThreeJane
When and why did you begin your dream of being a jewelry designer?
I started making jewelry after I left my first job out of college. I worked for a fashion PR company, which was a wonderful experience, but ultimately, I knew that I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial; I just didn’t know what. I ended up taking every accessories class at FIT, dropping them as I figured out what I did & did not like, while freelancing for social media campaigns. During that time, my sister was studying abroad in Europe, and I made a Map Necklace for her of our house in Connecticut, that way she could have a little piece of home wherever she went. From there, it really snowballed, and now we’re about to launch a licensing partnership with A. Jaffe, a high-end and well-established engagement ring company. I couldn’t be more excited!
You travel a lot – how are your pieces inspired by your destinations?
My first hit product, The Map Necklace, was highly inspired by the different locations near & dear to my heart, from my boarding school to my college to Nantucket to Palm Beach and everything in between. The best thing about the Map Necklace is that it isn’t as much about the place as it is about the milestone: Where you got engaged, where you got married, where you had your first child, and the like. Now, as the collection evolves, you’ll start to see stones from all around the world, refurbished Art Deco pieces found from tiny antique stores all across the country, etc. We’ll be re-launching our website in the weeks to come, so definitely stay tuned!