This past weekend I visited NYC for the Girl Boss rally hosted and created by Sophia Amourso. If you have never heard of girl boss or Sophia, let me introduce you
This is Sophia. We are the same age and have similar hustle backgrounds. She is a major success on many levels but what makes her stand out most to me is her authentic journey, vulnerability, and will to keep pushing regardless of what comes her way. She was the founder of Nasty Gal, a vintage fashion online store and author of #GirlBoss, a #1 New York Time's bestseller, and host of the podcast Girlboss that interviews a myriad of other girl bosses.
I first learned of Sophia at a Hubspot event. Hubspot is a marketing software company that I was navigating after making a significant decision to grow Beauty Entourage. The day was jam-packed with speakers throughout the day with ONE woman on the list. Just the one. I read her bio on the packet and learned of her book the night before, so I downloaded to discover who this person was. I began reading her story and was immediately inspired by who she was and how she started because I too owned an eBay store and sold clothes out of the trunk of my car. It helped me survive and led me to my journey of starting Beauty Entourage. I didn't finish the book that night, so I had no idea where the rest of the story was going, and the next day I never got to see her. Sophia was at the end of the day as one of the closing speakers. My son had his first flag football game, and my mom guilt kicked in around 3 pm. I struggled to decide to leave the event the hour before to get to it in time. I decided to go to my son's game and trek the 2 hours back to CT from Boston but, I was hell bent to learn more about this woman and finish her book.
There were so many reasons why I loved #GirlBoss but, the one that stuck out most was the fire it put in me and the will to keep pushing even when I heard the word no. I heard that word all too often. I'm just a hairdresser with a neat idea but, it's also risky for anyone to believe in.. Even the bank when I needed help. I have always said Beauty Entourage had a life of its own. It's a living and breathing thing that I am just keeping tamed. We grew every year and my constant effort, and attention to detail was often the part clients raved about and kept the new client referrals always coming. I was so grateful for the growth but, I was burning out. I knew there were opportunities to keep up with the growth and even fuel it so we could tend to all women that inquired for our services. We had hundreds of bridal clients and artists wanting to work for us.
I wanted to create a way that we could continue to grow but, maintain our reputation for a stress-free and stellar experience. At the time, our all-cash process and writing down everything in binders and stacks of notebooks was just a bit overwhelming. Also not realistic by the time we were doing 300 weddings a year. I wanted to create a better process and technology that could cater to our clients and our artists to streamline all that we do so we could take on more. Every bank denial letter was defeating and deflating me. But, reading #Girlboss changed my perspective. It helped me not get discouraged by the no's and pushed me to find ways that would eventually lead to yes. To see another woman that shared her journey, made her way to the only woman on a panel of all men, and pushed back when life tried pushing her down, it was a breath of fresh air that gave me hope. I was a Girl Boss too. With that, anything is possible.
Flash forward two and a half years later; we have grown from 8 artists to 37! We have since catered to over 20,000 clients. I invested back into my company and launched the software we desperately needed to maintain and grow. It didn't come without sacrifice and life hurdles but, I knew with growth would come new challenges. That is why the Girl Boss rally came at a perfect time! A time I was in need of inspiration on a personal level and to be surrounded in a room of women that were fearlessly chasing and making their dreams come true. It was a great way to kick off my off wedding season where I work on new ideas for the company.
Time to check in!! Everywhere you went, there were words of wisdom, girl power, and encouragement. The rooms were buzzing, and intros made. There was not a single moment you were standing too long alone before another woman in the room started to chat with you. Eager to learn your name and what do you do was always the starting point. I found myself unsure. What do I do!? Where shall I start!? lol
Women from all walks of life and different stages in their journey. Some reminded me of myself when I first started and others I could only hope to be one day. It was amazing to see so many women come together and not just share but, embrace each other.
Bumble Bizz is a great app to meet other women in business. Sometimes when your girlbossin' you don't have the time to connect with people or it's hard to figure out where to begin. I just recently learned of this company from a friend, and it's great! They also provided new headshots, and with my latest hair chop, I was all in to jump in front of the camera for an updated one.
There was so much to see at every turn. But, I was here for the speakers who had no shortage of powerhouse females. I was most looking forward to learning and soaking in all of this wisdom in the room so I could return home with the fire under me for this next chapter of BE.
So many of the women I had never known before. The day was filled with stories, laughter, and at times a tear or two. The topics covered ranged from self-care, business, activism, body positivity, empowerment, and defining your meaning of success. WOW, right!?
Women Who Lead was one of my favorite panel discussions where they interviewed Linda Wells. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Allure magazine and also the chief creative officer at Revlon. My heart was beating out of my chest, to say the least. She has created and taken part of amazing accomplishments for the beauty industry. As a mother and woman, I was in awe of her accomplishments.
I tend to have an innate love for editors with magazines I either grew up with or has anything to do with the beauty industry. They had the voice and ability to shape what women see, talk about, and learn from every week, every month, or every year. Magazines were all I had growing up that spoke to someone that looks and thinks like me. Now, we have books, shows, and even events like the Girl Boss rally that give a voice that my daughter can take part in and have. I am so proud to be at this event!
Next up, the all inspiring Ashley Graham. I had never heard of her but, after looking her up, I realize, yep I live under a rock. Lol. She has been taking the modeling world by storm and making women love and embrace their curves. Her personality in person was the most prominent, kick ass; I am here kind of vibe. I knew I had to follow everything she does after this event. She is a plus-size model that has been on the judging panel of America's Next Top Model and last year, honored with Women Of The year by GlamourMagazine. Her body positive activism is admirable, and her conviction and love for herself is something we all can learn. I loved listening to her speak and likely could all day!!
The stories of all these women goes without saying, ignited something in everyone in the room.
Amani founder of @muslimgirl
"How To Fix A Broken World" Panel. Activism and how you can get involved.
Tess Holiday posing it up with Sophia Amouruso. #effyourbeautystandards
After all the inspiring talks I was ready to hit the workshops so I can learn how to apply the best skills to my businesses. Google Chrome hosted classes with some of the best women and businesses that were able to grow using their tools and google business hacks.
We not only learned from the speakers but, we got to put their advice into action with the google Chromebooks they supplied! Pairing up in teams to use all of the tools and get to know better what Google Apps has to offer. I am a big fan of google apps. They have been imperative to our organization along with a few other tools. I was excited to get home and implement some easy tricks to our social media strategy and our business tools. It's all about getting better and being better for our BE clients and artists.
On my way out, I made sure to snag Sophia's next book for my daughter to read one day. She will also love going through this fantastic swag bag!
In closing out this amazing blog, I want to thank all of the women that put this together and also took part. Sophia is an inspiration but, I know, she didn't do it alone. A team of people came together and created something that inspired and likely helped so many women, and I am awe of the possibilities for the future.
I almost didn't push myself to attend this event. I am so glad that in the end, I did. I am never afraid to take risks because I know what can ultimately be lost if I don't. I wouldn't be where I am today if I wasn't always pushing to gain more knowledge, listen to our clients, and staying on the cusp of providing the best solutions. Beauty Entourage has a life of it's own that has taken part in so many amazing experiences for women. I am so honored to be at the helm and growing our company so more women can experience. As a person, I hope to always do my part in making a difference in some way whether it's inspiring other women in business, taking part of a smooth experience on your wedding day, building your confidence, or offering an opportunity for artists to focus on their craft.
Are you building your beauty empire? We would love to hear from any other #GirlBoss to see if we can feature what you do in the beauty industry or maybe even work together!