This March ORLY is celebrating Women’s History Month by featuring twelve women who inspire us.
Each day we’ll be posting a Q&A and a New Woman’s History Month polish trio hand selected by each of our featured women.
The celebration doesn’t stop there - 10% of sales from all Women’s History Month trios will be donated to Downtown Women's Center.
Trios will only be available through March 31, 2020.
Click here to shop.
Founder & Co-President, Barefoot Scientist
How did you know you had the right idea? How much did this idea change from initial concept to launching your brand?
In the later stages of formulating our blister prevention spray before launching our PreHeels product & brand, I remember finally being able to talk to friends about the innovation and it was really rewarding to get positive feedback that they also had the same issue of getting blisters from shoes that rub on their feet and that they hadn’t figured out a way to prevent it. However, when you’re investing in the creation of something new and launching something that didn’t exist, it isn’t enough for your family and friends to want the product. It was probably after we officially launched and started to get interest from press and retail buyers that I could breathe a quick and short sigh of relief. And now as a company, we want to offer the best, most effective products to our customers, so continued research and development, including formulation improvements, is just part of what we do. To get specific, before we even launched that first PreHeels product, my partner and I had tested hundreds of formulations over the course of several years.
How do you handle adversity and doubt? What about self-doubt?
I remind myself that self-doubt is just a part of life and most people experience it at some point in their careers (if not regularly). So it’s just a matter of reminding yourself that the feeling is normal, understanding if the doubt is warranted or not, and then moving forward. Moving forward means either doing more research and becoming more knowledgeable about whatever is causing the doubt, or simply proceeding without looking back. For me, dwelling on a feeling is never going to help anyone progress.
What has been your biggest set-back or road block and how did you handle that situation?
Where to start? I could write a book of nothing but roadblocks! Entrepreneurship is an ongoing series of failures and wins. As I like to say, it’s the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s important to me to try to learn from both the good and the bad, and then apply those learnings when possible.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Hmmm… a ballet dancer, a lawyer, an Oscar-winning actor, Oprah Winfrey, an inventor, a dermatologist, a mom… to name a few. I did love mixing my own nail polish colors as a kid and felt inspired to one day make products for beauty lovers like me, so when I finally got to officially create my own nail polish with ORLY, it was LITERALLY a dream come true.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
I’d say to myself, “what are the potential jobs that you might want to pursue? And who exactly in each field do you think that you could learn something valuable from?” I’d recommend doing research on each person’s resume and life, and then I’d advise to proactively reach out to each person to see if it’d be possible to shadow him or her for a day, learn practical skills and hear words of wisdom, ask specific questions, etc. People are usually happy to help teenagers, so be smart and take advantage of the opportunity to learn!! I’d also tell myself to take the time to ask life questions to my parents. You can learn a lot of invaluable life skills from smart, hardworking, good-hearted people who are in your everyday life (and different industries) too! Oh and I’d say, “you’re your worst critic, so stop being so hard on yourself,” and “drink more water.”
What was your dream job before building your brand?
I grew up watching The Today Show with my mom while getting ready for school. I wanted to be a journalist on that show or to become an Oprah Winfrey protege – in order to have the opportunity to assist in telling other people’s stories. I believe that the world can be a better, kinder place when we all know a bit more about each other, including daily struggles, inspirations, goals and more.
What inspired you when you were younger? What inspires or motivates you now?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to do things in the most efficient way possible, so even as an adult, I’m highly motivated by optimizing routines and I still get super excited when I come up with a new idea (mostly in the consumer products space). I keep a running list of inventions that I can’t wait to tackle.
What piece of advice would you give to young women today?
As a young person, I recommend exploring all interests to become a “master of none.” Even in this highly specialized world, I do think that this can be super valuable because a broad breadth of experience can lead to more creative and unique thinking – a skill that is essential, in my opinion, to creating products, launching a new brand and entrepreneurship, in general. That being said, once you figure out the ultimate career choice, then it’s important to hone the skills specific to the industry of choice.
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