Every month, Madison Reed spotlights phenomenal women who are making a positive impact on the world. Let’s celebrate their accomplishments and the possibility for all of us to make a difference!
Meet Julie Fredrickson and Chelsa Crowley, founders of Stowaway, a cosmetics brand creating portable makeup in modern minimalist packaging. It’s a thoughtful idea whose time has come.
What inspired you to start Stowaway?
Chelsa & Julie: Out of our own frustration with the beauty industry not providing us with makeup we loved in sizes we could carry and actually finish before the expiration date.
Being women is a tremendous advantage in our business.
How did you start working in the startup industry?
Julie: I was lucky enough to be born into a family that really loves engineering and technology. Both my grandfathers were engineers (one for 3M and the other for NASA), and I was born in the Bay Area in the 80s. Thanks to that excellent timing I grew up around a lot of gadgets and computer guts as my parents were part of a lot of the early home brew clubs and some really terrific early startups.
A lot of that early acculturation meant that I saw working in startups as a fun and normal thing to do. Even when it was risky or didn’t turn out great (my family actually went bankrupt in the Web 1 bust), I was taught that big chances are part of what makes startup life so rewarding. So when I graduated from college I went straight into beginning my first company!
Chelsa: I have worked for a few different startups in the past as either an employee or consultant/advisor. I’ve always liked working in smaller environments that enabled me use an array of skillsets.
Do you encounter any difficulties as a woman in that environment?
Chelsa & Julie: Being women is a tremendous advantage in our business. We are first and foremost the customer base of Stowaway, so being women provides us insight across development, production, retail, and marketing. We also believe that the diversity of our company is a strength as operators.
What were the main challenges of building your own business?
Chelsa & Julie: Doing something new is always a challenge! Any business or industry has a set of assumptions about what success looks like and challenging those assumptions (smaller is better) can sometimes be very scary. You also are faced with the reality that you are the last line of defense. There are no other departments, no bosses, and no big teams to rely on. Every success and every failure rides on your shoulders.
What keeps you motivated and excited?
Chelsa & Julie: Our customers! We get the most inspiring emails from women just like us who are thrilled to finally have a beauty option that fits into their lives.
What advice would you give other women who are changing or building their own careers?
Chelsa: Make sure you love what you are doing. Life is too short to spend your most valuable resource (your time) on something that doesn't inspire you.
Julie: Never be ashamed or feel embarrassed! When you are doing something new a lot of it will be unfamiliar and you will fail a lot. But not being embarrassed by your many shortcomings is the first step overcoming them!
What’s something recent thing that made you smile or laugh out loud?
Chelsa: Probably a cat video on the internet.
Julie: My fiancé Alex! He is always making dumb jokes and I love laughing at every one of them.
What makes you feel beautiful?
Julie: I actually don’t like to think about myself in those terms. I care about feeling like my most powerful self, and I find that happens when I’ve put myself out on the line and achieved something. And I imagine when I feel my most “me” is when others can see me most clearly.
Time to get tips from the makeup experts! Do you have secret tricks to look polished when short on time?
Cream blush! A little bit of color on your cheeks changes your whole look.
What are your tips for beauty on the go?
Don’t compromise! Carry everything. Nothing cuts down on anxiety like having a change of lipstick.
What are your quick & easy travel tips to look and feel good?
Hydrate! Sleep! Don’t wear makeup on your flight. Just touch up when you land (don’t worry Stowaway is very carry-on friendly).
Thanks for the inspiration and gorgeous line of makeup, ladies!
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