Julie Fredrickson + Chelsa Crowley I STOWAWAY COSMETICS
"There is real power in just starting something and seeing where it goes. If we had spent a lot of time debating to do Stowaway we never would have started Stowaway. We just slowly waded into the waters of starting the business and developing the line and it took on a bit of its own momentum and before you knew it we had a launched "
Answers by Julie --
What were you two doing before you created Stowaway?
Chelsa and I have very different backgrounds. She started her career as a makeup artist (even starting behind the counter at Clinique in Indiana) whereas I have always been in the e-commerce and retailing business (I even spent a few years at Ann Taylor). We like to think of ourselves as the being a perfect pair for the business. The ying to each other’s yang. We combine both the direct to customer retail and beauty experience that has allowed us to bring the business to life. It takes a unique combination of talents to take on the challenges of entering the beauty business.
How did you two meet?
Oh gosh, I don’t even think we remember! Gosh I’m not even sure we would remember the first time we met! We’ve had so many girlfriends and colleagues in common over the years it would be hard to pinpoint as we’ve always been in each other’s social circle. A pair of my college girlfriends (who also happen to be an amazing duo of female entrepreneurs that founded ofA Kind) probably introduced us!
How did Stowaway come to be? Was there a particular moment when you knew it was what you wanted to pursue?
We met up over a year ago to catch up over breakfast which is where the idea of Stowaway really began to develop. We were comparing our makeup bags, frustrated about never finding the cosmetics that fit into our on-the-go lifestyles.
What makes Stowaway unique?
Lipstick and mascaras have stayed the same size since the 50’s. Packaging rather than product represent the majority of the cost to a consumer today. But women’s lifestyles have changed dramatically since the 50’s. On the move and on the go, juggling work and family, they are looking for new solutions to beauty that are compatible with an active lifestyle.
From the office, to the gym, to drinks to dinner, women want flexibility and portability built into their cosmetics, without sacrificing quality for size. Not to mention 75% of women don’t finish their makeup, not just before it expires, BUT AT ALL. Which is a terrible consumer value. You should be able to have makeup you love in sizes you can carry AND actually finish.
How did you decide on the ingredients, colors and shades that you use?
Product development is a long and involved process! There are a lot of rounds of revisions from formulation to color to packaging. So you do a lot of testing. Add more slip, make it 10% more matte, balance the reds and blues. Chelsa’s experience in beauty, first as a makeup artists then in education, made her just particular enough to make sure the products were just right--from ingredient lists (making sure everything was EU compliant, safe, and only adding ingredients that actually do something for your skin--didn’t want all the smoke and mirror marketing fluffy stuff in there) to texture and color perfection.
What motivates to you to do what you do?
I’m really motivated by our customers. Our goal is to make women’s lives just a little bit easier. If we can save you just a few minutes in your day or give you even a little bit of mental space we’ve done our jobs. Every time we get an email from a woman telling us about how she uses Stowaway I get really fired up!
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken that you feel has paid off?
Starting Stowaway! We had no idea if we would be able to pull off any of this when we first started developing the line. We knew we were solving a big problem but entrepreneurship isn’t a field of dreams. If you build it they won’t necessarily come.
What are your biggest challenges? Do you have an achilles heel?
I honestly have no idea! I probably have thousands but I try not to dwell on them.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
There is real power in just starting something and seeing where it goes. If we had spent a lot of time debating to do Stowaway we never would have started Stowaway. We just slowly waded into the waters of starting the business and developing the line and it took on a bit of its own momentum and before you knew it we had a launched -- well ok that took a full year!
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of making a product that thousands of women genuinely love and find useful in their day.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start their own business?
Just start! Seriously no one has any idea if they are going to be good, and you won’t be when you first start, but if you put one foot in front of the other you might find yourself on an amazing path. Never in a million years did I think I’d own a cosmetics line.
What does the word authentic mean to you? How does your work allow you to live authentically?
For me being authentic is about not being afraid to embarrass myself. If you are doing something new you are going to embarrass yourself constantly. But learning to embrace it and using it to make your work better is really powerful.
Do you have any morning rituals to you get you ready for the day? or maybe a way to find balance in your day/life?
Actually not having morning rituals is probably one of the biggest features of my day and one of the reasons Stowaway is so important to me. I never have any idea where my day will take me so being able to leap into the action of the day is my biggest ritual.
Do you have a favorite beauty ritual? or any DIY beauty tips you’d like to share?
Chelsa introduced me to hyaluronic acid. It helps your skin hold onto its moisture. It is one of the ingredients in our BB cream. I love it so much I bought it as a raw ingredient and drop some of it on top of my evening moisturizer every night now.
Choose one woman, dead or alive, that you would want to have dinner with..
Right now I’d say my grandmother. She passed away before I started Stowaway and I know she would have been so proud to see it thriving. She loved beauty. Makeup and cosmetics were really important to her and I have really strong memories of her introducing me to many beauty rituals.