It all started on a Saturday evening. I was in the shower and thought to myself "do I have time to wash my hair AND glue on my lashes? Ugh, why do lashes have to take so much time?"
I had a demanding career and two young children who I wanted to hang out with before our dinner party. Lashes instantly enhance your overall look. I wanted amazing lashes in seconds, at home, and I didn't want to deal with the time or mess of glue. I thought that lashes should be just like your other go-to accessories…. Two seconds to put on and two seconds to take off, just like earrings or a watch.
The concept of the magnetic lash was born, right then and there – in my shower!
I knew if I wanted glamorous lashes in two seconds, other women would as well. If you've ever glued on false lashes – even once – you understand.
Thus began my two-year research and development phase as well as business development journey. I had a cushy real estate development sales career, but six months into R&D, I decided I needed to commit all of my bandwidth to One Two Lash. Yes, I was established, married and in my late 30s, but it was still very scary to make such a change. Now, I look back on that moment with pride – making the decision to become an entrepreneur was a huge moment of conquering fear (once you start doing it becomes addictive, by the way).
Many interviews commenced with chemists, engineers, and scientists. I had many trips to craft stores, Home Depot, and spoke to anyone I could reach via online searches that had knowledge on magnets. All the while I was looking for someone who would "get it" - and no one did. My patent attorney even recently confessed that during our first meeting he thought my idea was crazy. Most men do not understand the lengths women go to get great lashes.
I was an outsider to the beauty industry so I just relied on what I intrinsically thought it would take to create the product. It took every bit of grit I have to create the product and build a startup company around it. Pay attention to whatever inspires you! One Two Lash all started from my personal desire to improve a product I had used for years.
I will vividly remember the day my first magnetic lash prototype arrived for the rest of my life. It was clunky, but it worked! I knew I had something. A few iterations later, I was ready to share the One Two Lash you know today. Having an end goal is so huge for maintaining your motivation day in and day out on any venture.
When I launched sales of One Two Lash, all of the positive press was exciting. Not only did people get it, they were buying and loving them! After selling through the initial stock immediately, we now have tremendous U.S. production capabilities and ship worldwide. With success and demand comes a challenge many companies, especially in the fashion and beauty industries, are faced with – copycat, knockoff products. The prevalence and accessibility of e-commerce and social media have multiplied the effects of counterfeit products.
Meditation is part of my daily ritual and key, more than ever… After meditating, I check on social media – One Two Lash and my personal account. I see questions, confusion, and complaints from people who have been duped into ordering knockoffs of the product I worked so hard to create. It's heartbreaking because the motivation that inspired One Two Lash was to make false lashes easier! I always knew knockoffs would follow my innovation. I was as prepared as I could have been by advisors who had gone through similar experiences with their own startups. But I actually can't believe the extent of the copying – some imposters have gone so far as to use some of the first images and videos shot in my own home.
As the inventor of the Magnetic Lash, Making Beauty Effortless is more than a tagline. I know women are loving One Two Lash for how it enables them to enhance their natural beauty and simplify their routine. But as a leader, I'm also committed to making the One Two Lash difference clear. As sales have grown, so has our team. Everyone at One Two Cosmetics is devoted to premium materials, customer service, a warranty, and safety. I commissioned an independent consumer research study (long before knockoffs started popping up in my Instagram feed) to ensure the safety of One Two Lash.
Amidst the copying, I've learned that if you are continuously improving your product and have the desire to be a leader in your industry, copycats will fall to the wayside.
Despite imitations, our sales continue to grow. It's also refreshing that the major retailers we are in talks with are committed to working with only the original, official, patented product.
I love life as an entrepreneur. I start each day by waking up to the phrase “thank you" and then no two days are alike. Coffee and an intense workout are each essential. And I take a few minutes to call at least one customer – or as I prefer to say, Lash Lover – every day.
As with anything in life, I did not get to this point on my own - I have the support of friends, family, and the One Two Cosmetics team. My children's presence keeps me motivated in the many proverbial fires that burn daily in the entrepreneurial world. Most importantly, the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from doing something you're passionate about can't be knocked off by anyone.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.