Wake up. Kick Butt. Repeat.
This is a direct quote from my interview with Genie Reese, who is a co-founder of the beauty company Red Aspen. It’s been like a mantra in my head since I read it a few weeks ago.
I was reminded of it last night when my husband shared some advice about not giving up. He said, “just because something doesn’t work out or if you slip up, you can try again tomorrow.” I think that’s where a lot of us struggle.
When things don’t work, we give up rather than looking at tomorrow as a fresh start. We have another chance to start again, to try again, and to stay at it.
As I read through Genie’s interview, she used words such as consistency & persistence. Which told me that she’s dedicated herself to this mantra of wake up, kick butt and repeat in her own professional and personal life. While reading through it I was reminded of Allison Katz’s feature about patience and the time it took to both launch her business but the steps it took to grow it. Having patience and staying the course even when it gets challenging or lonely is key to your success.
Anything worthwhile in life takes time, takes dedication, takes consistency. If you are just getting started on your journey, DO NOT GIVE UP when it gets hard, or when you hit a stop sign, or you get a no. KEEP TRYING. Pivot, take another chance, give it all you got. We all have to start somewhere and the beginning can be such a great process if we let it. I learned through Angela Buckner’s feature that allowing ourselves grace during the entrepreneurial process is vital for us to keep going!
That’s precisely what Genie and her co-founders did when creating Red Aspen. This social selling beauty company launched a line of false lashes, and have since expanded into pop on nails and a full-color cosmetics line! Crushing it! Their mission is to inspire women to stand up, stand out, and stand together by uniting passion + purpose.
SO MANY JUICY TAKEAWAYS from my interview with Genie. I can’t wait for you to dive in.
What is YOUR story!? Tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.
I am originally from Boise, Idaho, and moved back to the area after 10 years in Denver. I attended the University of Denver for undergrad and the University of Colorado for grad school. I previously worked in healthcare, first as a business analyst for DaVita and later as a Sales Rep for Stryker. I quit my job, moved to Boise, and cofounded Red Aspen, a social selling beauty company, in October of 2017 and never looked back!
How did you get your idea or concept for your business?
My business partner and sister (Jesse McKinney) had been considering starting her own business, and I ended up spending Christmas of 2016 with her and her family in Boise. It was during that time that the concept of Red Aspen started to come to fruition. She had been on the corporate side of another direct sales company for a decade, and knew this was the business model she wanted to emulate. We ended up dreaming up Red Aspen, and 4 months later I quit my job and moved to Boise to begin working on the business!
Tell us more about your business and what you do!
Red Aspen is a social selling beauty company. Our mission is to inspire women to stand up, stand out and stand together by uniting passion + purpose. Our Brand Ambassadors are independent business owners, selling Red Aspen beauty products and sharing the Red Aspen mission. We combine e-commerce, social networks and social selling with playful, fun and imaginative products and marketing. We launched with a line of false lashes, and have since expanded into pop on nails and a full color cosmetics line.
Looking back would you do anything different?
I wouldn't have listened so much to advice from others who had never been in a startup environment before, and trusted my gut a little bit more! I also would have waited to expand the product line until we had a little more market research.
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
I love coming up with and testing ideas, and being able to quickly take an idea from inception to execution.
Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.
So many! The day we launched, we all sat in our first office (which doubled as my apartment, it was a work-live space) and had to manually enroll our Brand Ambassadors over the phone because the IT platform wasn't working as anticipated. We had 80 people enroll on the first day, and over 500 in the first 6 weeks. It was such a surreal experience, recognizing that this might actually work! I also loved our first event, where we got to meet 40 of our top leaders in person on a leadership retreat. Hearing why they decided to become a Red Aspen Brand Ambassador, how much they believed in our mission and in Jesse, Amanda and myself was so humbling. A top moment was also the first time I paid out commissions to the field - the outpouring of thank-you's and love from the field definitely made all the hard work worth it.
What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?
Never-ending work, having to know a little bit about EVERYTHING, learning entirely new skill sets, transitioning from doing all the work to building systems and departments to managing employees
What about some of the challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?
Work-life balance has been one of the biggest challenges, especially in our first year. Two of our cofounders are moms to small children, and being able to spend quality time with them was so challenging. Luckily, both have incredibly supportive husbands - but the reality is, there is no way we could have done this without that support.
Advice for other other female entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?
Never be afraid to be smart.
Surround yourself with people that inspire you.
Participate in life.
Make your own luck.
Know that girl power is about teamwork, not competition.
When someone says "you can't" the best response is "watch me."
And finally- wake up, kick butt, repeat.
What is your favorite quote?
"I don't have experience on my side, but I have persistence." - Ty Haney, Founder and CEO of Outdoor Voices
How do you avoid burnout?
Staying consistent at the gym, fitting in a few hours for friends and family every week, listening to podcasts, talking to the field and reading books to continue getting creative ideas
We know all entrepreneurs work differently. How do you schedule your day?
I run errands and get my workout in the morning. I know I'll most likely end up staying at the office until 8 or 9pm some nights, or traveling, and if I don't fit these things in first thing they won't happen!
What are your MUST have tools?! (things like organization, calendars, social media, payment platforms, business development sources...etc.)
social media, committed IT partners/platform, Google Drive, Squarespace, QuickBooks, a flexible merchant account, an incredible marketing and customer service team, external creative vendors (Photography, packaging design, web design)
How do you advertise your brand?
social media, word of mouth
Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?
Red Aspen is the best decision I ever made - I can't imagine anything more rewarding or fulfilling!
Thank you for sharing your incredible insight Genie. Your inspirational words empowered me to keep going especially when it feels overwhelming.
Do you have inspirational words to share to the LOTP community? We’d love to hear them! Drop us a line and comment below!