From an early age Jessica was drawn into the entrepreneurial world after watching her dad run his plastic surgery practice, she knew that she wanted to start her own company one day.
It dint take long before she started implementing all her ideas, as a young child she was always interested in cosmetics, and makeup application, she was eager to be a part of the beauty industry.
As a teen, she did a lot of freelancing jobs for different people and events in her hometown Greensboro, North Carolina. Now Jessica is the Founder/CEO of True You Cosmetics - a vintage inspired makeup line focusing on women as icons throughout history.
This is the full story.
Hi Jessica, Thanks for taking the time to do this with me, How are you doing?
I'm great, I hope you're doing well!
Yes I’m fine thank you
Tell us a bit about your background, how did you get involved in the make-up market?
Beauty is very important to me. When I was young I always was intrigued with cosmetics, and makeup application. I started creating cosmetic palette kits when I was a kid and knew that I wanted to be a part of the beauty industry for my professional career. I first started off as a freelance makeup artist when I was a teenager, doing makeup artistry for various people and events in Greensboro, North Carolina where I'm from.
How did you go from doing make-ups to launching your own collection? What inspired you to start "True You Cosmetics"? What is the story behind it?
I always wanted to have my own product line since I was a little girl. I thought it would be a perfect incorporation for my makeup clients as well. True You Cosmetics is a vintage inspired makeup line focusing on women as icons throughout history. All products are filled with antioxidants and in our newer collections all products are mineral based. Our first collection, the Iconic Lip Collection debuted in October 2010.
Talk us through the planning/development process of launching your own product under True You Cosmetics?
It took me a couple of years to plan True You financially, but in high school I created the initial business plan for my company. It's important to map everything out. I kept that original plan and did a second version to add on to what I already had. The initial planning/development phase focused on sales, our target market and building our social media networks, publicity, marketing, and word of mouth plans.
What would you say was your biggest challenge in setting up the business?
I took a risk starting True You at such a young age. A lot of people ask why, or how? I wanted to start at a young age because I knew it was going to be a process and it would take time for the business to grow.
How have you been able to balance school and running a business so far?
It's definitely a challenge but the way I get everything done is by waking up very early and going to bed really late. Yea, I may have missed a lot of the college scene type of activities by living my life like this, but my focus is building a strong foundation for my future beauty empire.
What do you love the most about what you do?
Building. I love seeing visions come to reality and progressing from them.
Most importantly, How has the journey been so far since starting the business?
With every business there are ups and downs. True You Cosmetics has gown tremendously since October 2010. We have received great publicity for such a short amount of time, from post from major beauty bloggers, major publications as well as TV Segments. Our customer base has grown a lot, and with such great testimonials we have been receiving youtube vlogger requests to show their users how to actually use the products. Everyday is different and I love seeing the growth.
What is an average workday like for you?
I start off around 5. This is a major time for me because I get out all tasks for the day and respond to all of my business mail. Everyday is different. One day I may have product photoshoot, another day I may focus on future collection. One day may be all about the design of the products. II usually have at least 7 meetings throughout the business week pertaining to True You.
What plans do you have now to expand your business further?
Within the next two years major changes will occur with True You. I start a medical dermatology aesthetic program in the fall and when I am done with school I will be opening up an affordable unisex skincare facial studio/flagship store where True You Cosmetics will be sold and applied. A skincare line will be incorporated with True You Cosmetics as well.
What would you has been the most memorable moment since starting the company?
Each of my products are personally named and influenced after a certain icon or a family member of mine. My grandmother (and best friend), Florence Baker Sample passed away in November 2009, and before she passed she got to try her signature Florence lipstick that I created for her. I never saw her without red lipstick and she was so excited about the launch of my company. Tragically, she died exactly one month later.
What are your 3 tips for running a successful company?
Be brave, don't take no for an answer, and carry on.
Is the business profitable?
True You has now expanded not only online, but into international retail stores. We also have our direct seller program that will launch in the fall for anyone who would like to make money on the side selling True You Cosmetics.
So what's next for you?
I graduate from college in May and will be going to dermatology school starting in the fall. As far as True You Cosmetics, we have three collections launching between now and October and will be launching a four step clinical restoring skin care line.
Any tips for female entrepreneurs looking to start-up their business, especially those that are currently in school?
You're young and smart and some people will see that as a weakness or a strength. Know your brand and believe it. Use your college as a networking base for you business. See college students as your potential consumers. You never know when you may bump into them in the future or you may never know what they can do for you after college.
Thanks for your time Jessica.