People 20 February 2017
Heading to the gym with a face free of makeup has long been a grievance of many a fashionable young women. On one hand we know it's not right as it bespeaks a focus on appearance rather than on fitness, but on the other, it's hard to feel fully comfortable in a bare face.
Struggle no more.
According to five energetic professional athletes women no longer have to choose between clogging their pores, and rocking a perfect complexion while hitting the treadmill. The hard-working group of women behind Sweat Cosmetics has introduced what might possibly be the holy grail of beauty products; sweat-proof foundations and bronzers that won't make you breakout from a workout.
Another problem women face? Wearing sun protection every day. We've all heard the risks, we all know we should wake up and slather on the SPF, but not everyone has time for this extra step, or for that matter, even remembers it.
There had to be a way for fitness-minded women looking for proper coverage as well as SPF protection to have it all, conveniently in a company on-the-go package right?
According to these five ladies, there was.
Following collegiate soccer careers, Olympics and strenuous work outs - Taryn Hemmings, Emily Hines, Courtney Jones, Lindsay Tarpley and Leslie Osbourne began their journey toward sweat-proof and sun protection make-up back in 2015 taking the beauty industry to task, and challenging the idea that wearing make-up while working out will clog your pores and make you actually look worse. Having accumulated capital through investors interested because of the girls' prestigious background in sports, but also because of their very definite and concrete business plan from the outset, they began to work.
"After five years of not being able to forget this idea and knowing there was a space for us, the first step we took was trying to write a business plan" - Taryn
Emily and Taryn met in college while studying at the University of Denver, where the concept for the product was born. Having met with the constant struggle of sun protection and make-up while working out, the girls formulated an idea for the product in their formative college years. When the concept was still lingering heavy on their minds after they had graduated and were working professionally - Emily in finance and Taryn playing soccer for the Boston Breakers, they decided to pursue it, along with the help of a few friends Taryn had made in Boston.
Lindsay, a two time Olympian and the team's most decorated athlete met Taryn while she was playing soccer professionally in Boston. This is also where Taryn met Boston Breaker teammates Leslie and Courtney.
Having a VC as one of the owners of the Boston Breakers proved to be a lucrative relationship for the girls who utilized that connection to put significant investment toward research for the product. After finding their chemist and a reliable marketing guru, the girls spent months in R&D pouring over chemical nuances and the focus for the product. They asked themselves “what did we want out of our product? What was the active woman looking for?"
They knew from the outset that protection from the sun was a priority and so they set up based on the premise that the make up would be every woman's best friend, from sun protection right through to its lasting capabilities. Would the make up contain oil based, or powder based sun screen - how could they produce the best and most workable product that would help active women like them throughout the country?
"We spent so much time making sure this was a custom product, specifically made for women like us - who are active, who have sensitive skin" - Courtney Jones, CEO
Their's is an innate but much needed product - for the women that are active but care, not only about the condition of their skin during a workout, but their appearance also. There's always the chance you'll meet your next business partner, or dinner date at a pilates class - right? The products - there are four current shades of the foundation- are all hypoallergenic and contain SPF 30. Most interestingly perhaps though is that the components are all refillable (refills go for $24). Once you buy the 'twist brush', the container is easily (and reasonably) refilled and more importantly easily applied. Sweat, which ranges between $18 for a cleansing wipe to $42 for a bronzer) is very much in line with the beauty trends of late that lean towards easy and quick application - for the woman on the go.
"Knowing what people wanted, what people liked and didn't like, we went through so many months of testing and making sure we compiled the best product" - Courtney
Sweat's promise to last you throughout a standard workout and not interfere with your pores while protecting you from the nefarious glare of the sun is unrivalled in its mission and outlook. Where other make-up brands pledge an SPF 15, this one commands an SPF 30.
The winning combination of athleticism and drive has produced a product we can all use for those days when blotchiness and sun burn threatens an outdoor yoga class or a jog.
"Sweat Cosmetics to me is all about embracing and empowering the everyday woman. Sweat was developed to provide products for women like me, that protect and enhance our bodies for active beauty." - Emily Hines, CFO
Having been picked up by Sephora in June of 2016, the product continues to gain consumers and grow in size. With five more shades in the mineral foundation expected to roll out in the coming months, as well as a possible a lip line, Sweat is poised to become a gym bag staple in the coming years. With another round of investment on the horizon and the prospect of going into another VC firm for further R&D investment, 2017 looks like it could be an equally prosperous one for this group of women who are certainly comfortable with winning.
1. What app do you most use?
Leslie: Groupme. Sweat Cosmetics chats all day.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
Lindsay: Coffee, Sweat Cosmetic's Twist brush on my face, illuminator on my checks, mascara and I'm out the door.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Courtney: Sophia Amoruso
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
Taryn: Harry Potter
5. What is your spirit animal?
Leslie: Definitely a wolf.
6. What is your life motto?
Emily: Don't stop until you get what you deserve.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
Courtney: Peanut butter pretzels.
8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful?
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Leslie: Japan and South Korea.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
Taryn: Sweat sunscreen, my Nook, my boyfriend.
3 Min Read
"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.
Find A Need And Fill It
I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.
Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.
Have Working Capital And Credit
There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.
I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.
Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.
My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.
Know Your Product Thoroughly
I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?
My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.
My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!
More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.
Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth
I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.
I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.
Delegate From The Bottom Up
I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.
In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.