Women in Business Feature

Can't get enough of these Women in Business Features I've been doing for Women's History Month? Let me know by dropping a comment below!

I chose three (3) women owned businesses to be featured for today - women's equal pay day. These women paved their own way in their field: beauty and chose clean above all else. They're wise in years of experience, research, and knowledge.

Check out Curb Appeal, PYT Beauty, and Journ for yourself!

Why is it important to buy from women?!?

Now more than ever its important to buy from small businesses, especially women-owned businesses. White women make .83 cents to every man's dollar and its even less for women of color. Black women make on average .72 while hispanic women make even less at .57.


Who: Tesla Welch and Christi Hortin, Founders of Curb Appeal

What is It: a clean sunless tanning line of products and accessories

1. What inspired your business?

We were frustrated consumers that knew there had to be a better way to get a sunless glow. Everything on the market felt like an after thought. We wanted luxurious intentional products that combined cutting edge technology and results driven ingredients, without harmful dyes, parabens, sulfate, or artificial fragrance.

It has always been imperative to us to stand for what is important and that is why we are also PETA certified cruelty free and vegan.

We wanted to create a business that encouraged women to take time for self-care and also provide an easy way to level up your everyday look. As women age they tend to start caring more about every day skin care and also sun safety practices (wearing an SPF, staying out the sun, etc.) However, a sun kissed glow takes years off your age and gives an added boost of confidence.

Thus, Curb Appeal Beauty was born. A sunless tanning system that both acted more like and anti-aging serum and also provided a safe way to get your sun kissed glow.

As a female founded company, we also wanted to create a product we were passionate about, helped other women and would allow us the financial means to help other women-owned businesses and causes. We firmly believe that when women lift other women, we all rise together.

2. What made you go into business yourself rather than work for or with someone else?

Christi started her first business at 8 years of age. She would make homemade bread and sell it door to door out of her little red wagon. At age 12 she took out her first business loan to start her successful lawncare company. Entrepreneurship is in her blood.

Tesla has experience in both beauty PR and marketing. She used to work for Nu Skin and her favorite part of the job was planning events around the launch of a new beauty product. She also ran and managed an event planning company and loves all the details that make an event or product special. Christi and Tesla are the definition of synergy!!

3. What do you believe the #1 trait of an entrepreneur is?

GRIT - Never giving up! Realize that you are planting seeds every day. They will grow and when they do you will see the fruits of your labor.

4. What is one truth of your industry for women and one way to overcome it.

Women are often told that to be successful they have to look a certain way, work a certain amount of hours each day, choose between hands-on mothering and working, etc. During this pandemic, many women have seen their day-to-day tasks increased along with other demands on their time.

Curb Appeal Beauty believes that by taking time once a week to take a “Me-Moment” and do something nice for yourself, you will be rejuvenated and better able to serve everyone around you. When your cup is empty, you can’t fill other’s cups. Your Me-Moment can be anything from applying a sunless tanner, taking a nap, hiding in the car while drinking a favorite drink, taking a walk in nature – anything! Just take a few minutes to give yourself a hug and do something you enjoy.

5. Describe a failure you learned greatly from.

We look at every failure as a chance to both learn and try again. Our patent pending Tan Stick took over 5 years in formulations and had many different chemists working on it. We were told it couldn’t be done several times. We kept learning, trying different techniques and finally arrived at a formulation that exceeded expectations.


Owner: Mary Schulman

What Is It: A Clean Cosmetics Company for lips, eyes, and face

1. What inspired your business?

Mary – Going back to our reason for creating PYT Beauty in the first place, my teen daughter wanted to wear makeup and it was the first time that I took a closer look at the ingredients. It’s so cliché but I think we can all relate to doing better for our children (and animals in many cases) than we do for ourselves. It hadn’t occurred to me to scrutinize the products this closely until my beloved daughter was involved. It then made me realize not only did I not want her using these products, I didn’t want my family or friends to either. When we formulate, we hold ourselves to these quality ingredient standards constantly asking ourselves, “does this product deliver on our mission of clean and sustainable beauty that looks damn good at a fair price?” If we can answer “yes” to these questions we know we are staying true to our mission.

2. What made you go into business yourself rather than work for or with someone else?

Mary - It’s not easy making the leap from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur. I think from the the outside it may look glamorous with the idea of setting your own schedule and “not answering to anyone” but the truth is that it takes hard work, grit and determination. For us it’s working long hours to make sure we are able to delivery on our mission of clean beauty in sustainable packaging for all those that seek it.

3. What do you believe the #1 trait of an entrepreneur is?

Having an open mind. We have always been willing to adapt and learn. A good example of this is when we first started developing our sustainable packaging, we had a notion that bio-degradable would be the way to go. As we researched, listened and learned we determined there were better, more honest eco-conscious solutions and we didn’t think twice about doing what was right rather than stick with our original thinking.

4. What is one truth of your industry for women and one way to overcome it.

The beauty industry is incredibly competitive. There are some amazing products on the market and to be able to provide the consumer with unique products that they really need while also being differentiated is challenging. Our unique position at PYT Beauty is clean makeup with sustainable packaging and affordable prices that looks damn good!


Owner: Sara Shah

What Is It: skincare-focused-cosmetic that will conceal specific skin concerns experienced by all but predominantly impact people with medium to deeper skin tones

1. What inspired your business?

As an attorney, I was constantly in and out of court and client meetings and as someone with cystic acne, was frustrated with layering multiple skincare and cosmetic products. Even after all the effort, I still looked cakey and far from natural. I wanted a product that would simplify my beauty routine (and reduce the time spent doing it) as well as one that didn't look like I layered a ton of products on my face. All I wanted was to look natural and that I simply had good skin. I went to every store I could think of and couldn't really find anything that worked. In my quest to find the perfect products, I learned that though brands in most recent years have started to create inclusive shades, but no one was focusing on the underlying skin concerns of people with medium to deeper tones. Once I realized this big gap in the cosmetics market - I thought, Why isn't anyone doing this already?

2. What made you go into business yourself rather than work for or with someone else?

I didn't originally set out to start a business - I was just trying to solve a problem for myself. Once I identified this gap in the market that no one was filling, did extensive research being the lawyer at heart that I am, set out to create products that will do two things (1) simplify routines and (2) focus on concerns that everyone may experience but most predominantly impact people of color. It never came from the standpoint of ever thinking of, "how am I going to grow this idea?" It was more of a “this is a big problem for a lot of women and I'm going to be the one to solve it.” Once I realized how big a problem this was, I decided to leave behind the legal profession and focus on Journ full-time.

3. What do you believe the #1 trait of an entrepreneur is?

Resilience. When you start a business, there are a lot of "no's" and maybe a few "yes's. There will be many things that just don’t work out at first, if at all (and not for a lack of trying!). You’ve got to be able to pick yourself up and get back in action again. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t let them get you down. Take it one day at a time, keeping your end goal in mind and visualize your success.

4. What is one truth of your industry for women and one way to overcome it.

Currently we’re working on scaling the business, and looking at bringing on investors in order to help us do that. However, most people who are investing at this point are white men who don’t quite understand the beauty industry or why it's important to change it. We’re seeing the problems with representation first hand — there’s a disconnect from those who are using beauty products and those that are investing in it. When you’re not experiencing the issue in your day to day — it’s harder to understand why this is such an important need. At the end of the day, this company came out of a need — to help so many individuals whose voices aren’t currently being addressed. But again, it's about being resilience — you have to be resilient and take these experiences and apply it to your pitches. 5. Describe a failure you learned greatly from.

The first time I took the New York Bar exam, I failed by one (1) point. In layman's terms, of the hundreds of questions I answered, had I got one more correct, I would have passed. There was no appeal process and as the test is only given twice a year, I essentially had to sit out on life as I knew it (or, rather expected it to be) for 6 months and just try again. It was really hard mentally to overcome that failure, but looking back, it has been one of those experiences that has helped me grow into the person I am today. It has taught me to be resilient, and embrace a new perspective. It showed me that though in that moment I felt like a failure, however it was my ability to pick myself up and try again (second time's a charm - I passed!) which was truly my strength and superpower!

From that failure, I learned a few key lessons:

  • Perspective is key;

  • Resiliency is vital;

  • How to recover mentally; and

  • How to see failure as a stepping stone.

Let me know what your favorite answer is by dropping a comment below. These women are all heroes in my book!

If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at trtomanka@gmail.com or drop a comment below!