Starting at the age of 25, Tai Beauchamp made history in the fashion industry as the youngest and first African American beauty director for Seventeen Magazine. Beauchamp has then become a spirited media personality, moving seamlessly with the changing landscape. She later went on to be an editor for Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Teen Vogue. Whether it is being a style expert, public speaker, entrepreneur, or media persona, Beauchamp is always making a name for herself.
In 2015, Beauchamp launched her own website called The Tai Life, which aims to inspire women to be their full selves while holistically connecting style and empowerment. We talked to the multi-faceted media personality about femaile empowerment, entrepreneurship, and celebrating your inner and outer beauty.
According to Beauchamp, landing the job at Seventeen Magazine happened almost entirely because of her dedication and hard work. “I landed that role because I interned, which is pretty standard and expected for the media industry now,” she says, underscoring the importance of interning when seeking a dream job. As we all know succeeding in the media industry relies on much more than interning experience, and Beauchamp advises it comes in the form of work ethic. “Not only was I working really hard and showing up on time, but I also had this incredible and insatiable desire to learn, which I made known to the people I worked with and my bosses,” she says. As the beauty director, Beauchamp was working 16-hour days and running between two departments. Talk about a busy day!
Because Beauchamp graduated college with such a clear-cut vision for her future, she gives some advice for college students who might need guidance in finding their passion. “I think that interning is very important because it is not solely about discovering exactly what you want to do, but it gives you the opportunity to do process of elimination and find out what you don’t want to do as well,” she says
Courtesy of Essence
Another important aspect of succeeding, whether it is after college or while working, is surrounding yourself with mentors and like-minded peers.
“Building relationships is very pivotal because at the end of the day, those relationships will help guide where you want to be and can help you get there,” says Beauchamp.
To succeed in the media industry, one of the main goals is to connect with your audience. Beauchamp emphasizes this multiple times, because in today’s society, people are constantly relying on media.
“It is all about your ability to authentically connect to the audience,” Beauchamp states, “And as a media person, I recognize the responsibility I have to connect to consumers and audiences.”
While building her company and brand, Beauchamp realized that her goal is to help young women see themselves in the best light possible.
"I gave up trying to be like anyone else a long time ago," says Beauchamp. "I realized not being me was not only too hard but too great a risk and lost to the world. The same goes for you. This isn't vanity, it's truth! You are more than enough."
“My empowerment is rooted in the fact that I went to an all woman’s high school and college, was raised by my mother and grandmother, and through my philanthropic work,” she says.
Beauchamp on YouTube
To wit, Beauchamp’s website celebrates and nurtures all sides of women. Not only does she aim to provide inspiration, but also tools and resources empower women to live their life fully. “The goal of The Tai Life is to become a destination that takes women to another level- in that it meets you where you are, but also inspires you to another level,” Beauchamp says.
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!