Find your passion: Self-tanner has always been my #1 go-to beauty product. I’ve created products I truly love and built a brand with a mission that I genuinely believe in.
This real passion is what has made the brand so successful, as the beauty industry is very competitive, and I live and breathe the brand every single day.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsay Hirsch, a business woman, expecting mother and the Founder of award winning self tanning mousse Get Into The Limelight.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I am a passionate product developer who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and I am inspired by my dad who bravely came out as gay in the 1990s. After traveling solo out of a backpack for four years, I’ve recently become a proud wife and mama. My story is anything but traditional, but I am so proud of it as it’s gotten me to where I am today.
In my senior year of high school, I had taken over 8 years of Spanish language and I got accepted into my dream college, Washington University in St. Louis, to study pre-med and become a doctor. My path was set, and I wanted to take some fun classes during my last year in high school so I signed up for Mandarin Chinese. I thought it would be interesting to learn the complex characters and be able to read tattoos on random passers-by.
I quickly became head-over-heels in love with the Chinese language and its intricacies and — much to my parents’ dismay — I realized that my heart wasn’t in the medical field. I ended up changing from pre-med to majors in Chinese, international business, and marketing. I studied abroad in Beijing and interned for a company based in both the US and China. After college, I was offered a position with this company in Dongguan, China and lived there for almost 2 years.
In this role, I sourced all kinds of products for major brands and retailers: everything from leather sofas for JCPenney, stuffed animals for Edible Arrangements, and trampolines for HSN and QVC.
My parents had come around to my international expat lifestyle and had planned trips to visit me in Asia. Unfortunately, my dad never made it as he died by suicide in November of 2012.
Although I was completely heartbroken, I truly felt like I was being taught a huge lesson: that tomorrow is never promised and to live every day to the fullest. Just like that, I quit my job but I made sure to take my procurement skills with me. I started my own company sourcing products for smaller entrepreneurial businesses that were focused on developing products geared towards millennials. Over the next three years, I had sourced all kinds of products for companies including Zappos, Electric Family, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, The Wing, and Common.
I was in and out of factories constantly and I noticed there were amazing beauty tools and accessories that just weren’t making it to the States. Enter: Get Into The Limelight. With just 500 dollars, passion, and persistence, I introduced and trademarked the Limelight, a high-quality selfie light that clips onto the back of your phone. My first order of Limelights sold out and I was already on to developing glitter-infused silicone sponges and neon-colored disposable cell phone chargers, building out my line of unique products one after the next. Things were going great!
I was working hard! It was well beyond the traditional 9–5, as I was chatting with factories all over the world into the wee hours of my nights. But no matter how much I worked, I’ve always tried to maintain a lifestyle of self-care which for me included going to the gym, cooking healthy food, and applying my go-to beauty product: self-tanner. One layer of self-tanner made me feel unstoppable, and I remember looking at my collection of self-tanning bottles at the time thinking that I had a love-hate relationship with each of them. I pointed to one bottle and thought: “I love this stuff but I cannot stand the smell!” I pointed to another bottle and thought, “This color is my favorite, but it’s super sticky!” and another: “Expensive and stains
EVERYTHING!” Nothing I used had exactly what I was looking for in 1 magical bottle.
Sure, at the time I specialized in sourcing furniture, promotional items, and jewelry in China, but as I’ve learned throughout my life, whenever I’ve taken a leap, there has been a net to catch my fall. Why would this be any different? Why couldn’t I take my product development expertise and find a source in the US to help me create the best self-tanning mousse out there? Challenge accepted!
I experimented with different ingredients, shades, and scents, tweaking the product until I got the perfect sulfate-free, paraben-free, and 100% vegan self-tanning product that smells like chocolate! The rest is history in the making.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
After my dad passed away, I was determined to rebuild my world by traveling. I spent four years traveling the world out of a backpack, and I would carefully ration my self-tanner bottles until the next time I was in the US to order more on Amazon. (Yes, I really do love self-tanner THAT much!)
It was on my trek to Everest Base Camp in 2018, where I decided that creating the only inclusive self-tanning brand was the next challenge I wanted to conquer.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
When I transitioned the business from a side hustle to a brand built on a meaningful message, featuring a product I am sincerely passionate about, I believe that was a “tipping point” in my career. It makes me so proud to hear genuine feedback from customers and influencers! I’ve had women with vitiligo and acne issues tell me that nothing works for them like our self-tanners, and when ambassadors and influencers directly message me to say, ‘I genuinely am obsessed with your tanning formula’ I know I am doing something right.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Family is such a big part of my life. Without my family, there is no way this business would be successful. My mom has helped me pack up thousands of orders while I lived abroad and does it with 100% accuracy while working a kick-ass full-time job. My uncle, who suffers from Muscular
Dystrophy, says his favourite part of the day is when he gets to pick up the orders from my mom and drive them to the local post office. My entire family has been an integral part of the brand’s growth and success and I could not have gotten to this point without their support.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion-dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
I definitely didn’t invent self-tanner. I simply redesigned, redefined, and improved upon what’s out there. Get Into The Limelight’s formulas are infused with hydrating, nourishing ingredients and EcoCert approved DHA, and because it’s streak-free, quick-drying, smells amazing, and is dermatologist approved for sensitive skin, it sets it apart from the rest.
But our differentiator extends far beyond the product. As the daughter of a parent in an underrepresented group, diversity and inclusion has always been a huge part of my life. The sudden loss of my dad is the reason why I started this journey and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it’d lead me to grow Get Into The Limelight into what it is today.
Get Into The Limelight is the only inclusive self-tanning brand and promotes beauty and confidence through inclusion of underrepresented groups. GITL self-tanner provides a perfect tan on all skin tones and body types, generating conversation across diverse communities and underrepresented demographics who are thrilled to find a transformative product that helps reduce uneven skin pigmentation.
GITL removes the stigma that beauty equals society-approved perfection and creates community around a product that delivers confidence and inspires personal growth because everyone has a spot in the limelight.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
1. The thing that excites me most about the modern beauty industry is to see how many small businesses have emerged in the beauty space. I love connecting with other Boss Babes who are passionate about helping others feel better about themselves, and I hope to inspire other young entrepreneurs to follow their passion and dreams.
2. Because of COVID-19 and the rise in online shopping, I love that people are looking on social media for new brands and trusting social media influencers for product recommendations. This helps small businesses like Get Into The Limelight gain exposure and grow.
3. The shift into clean beauty is super important to me! All Get Into The Limelight products are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. Plant-based products are the future and I am so excited to offer our customers healthy, ethically-sourced products!
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. I definitely am concerned with the amount of airbrushing, filters, and presets that mask natural beauty in the industry. Brands should lead by example and begin posting unedited photos and content that embraces butt dimples and tiger stripes. I love following accounts like @glitterstretchmarks on Instagram that add a pop of gold or silver to celebrate stretch marks!
2. I am concerned with the amount of brands that claim their products have effects and/or ingredients they don’t. It’s so important that brands share accurate product information and honest intended results with their customers so they can have realistic expectations about the products they are using.
3. The beauty industry is diverse and I love seeing brands that embrace inclusivity! Get Into The Limelight features both customers and influencers with varying body compositions, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those with skin conditions. These are only some of the many demographics completely missing from brands on social media and across other marketing channels.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
I am a huge believer that to feel beautiful and to feel happy comes from within. It is whatever makes YOU feel good and for each person, that could be something different. Sometimes it’s a beauty product like a self-tanner or a fresh set of eyelashes. For others, it could be an activity
like a bubble bath or going for a run. I’m a huge believer in listening to yourself and your body and doing what is best for your own self-care.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
1. Find your passion: Self-tanner has always been my #1 go-to beauty product. I’ve created products I truly love and built a brand with a mission that I genuinely believe in.
This real passion is what has made the brand so successful, as the beauty industry is very competitive, and I live and breathe the brand every single day.
2. Build connections & listen to your customers: I created self-tanning formulas for use on both body and face. While I may not personally use tanning face drops, I’ve learned that my customers would like that option in the GITL product line. I’ve been developing this new product and I hope to introduce it within the next month or two.
3. Be ethical & promote clean beauty: We hear about it all the time, but offering customers not only healthy ingredients, but also sustainably sourcing those ingredients, is the true sign of ethical brands. Get Into The Limelight chooses the health and safety of people as well as our planet and animals over profit every time.
4. Embrace diversity & inclusion: Beauty must be inclusive! This is super important to both my personal values as well as the brand’s mission: to create the first self-tanning brand that shares the love of a healthy glow and instant confidence boost by featuring real customers and building an inclusive community. Brands have a responsibility to feature and encourage individual beauty rather than promote an impossible standard of perfection with filters and unrealistic photo edits.
5. Don’t be afraid &; say hello!: I was scared to put myself on GITL’s social media channels for the longest time. I love featuring my customers and their results and I kept thinking, “Why would anyone want to see me or hear about what I’m doing?” but the truth is: customers love to hear about what the brand is up to behind the scenes. I’ve built so many connections with other brands as well as customers and influencers on social media, that I’m convinced that making appearances on Instagram and sharing what the brand is up to is one of the most important ways to establish trust and gain customer loyalty.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
While scrolling through famous self-tanning brands on Instagram, I realized the well-known self-tanning brands at major retailers primarily and consistently marketed to what is referred to as a “beach body.” On social media, these brands are almost always posting photoshopped photos of thin and fit women standing perfectly posed in a dreamy location. For an industry that is all about self-confidence, the promoted image of beauty is highly selective, edited, and fictitious rather than inclusive, genuine, and real. The industry ignores so many demographics: plus size or those with varying body compositions, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with skin conditions. These are only some of the many demographics completely missing from tanning brands on social media and across other marketing channels.
Not only has self-tanner empowered me personally to gain confidence (I’ve previously felt self- conscious about my skin), but it is also important to me to create self-confidence within a large and diverse community, a community which the tanning industry has the opportunity to support. In changing the messaging of the self-tanning industry to become the only healthy tanning choice for all, my goal is to create a community centered around the love of a beautiful bronze tan into a worldwide movement. Get Into The Limelight delivers confidence and inspires personal growth to all because everyone has a spot in the limelight.
Can you please give us your Favorite Life Lesson & Quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Since losing my dad, “live every day to the fullest” has been my favorite life lesson quote. I quit my job and spent years traveling the world while building Get Into The Limelight.
I am proud of how much Get Into The Limelight has grown and while it may have taken awhile, I’ve learned to embrace my story and who I am along the way. I call this brand my first baby, and now more than ever, I’m ready to take on my second. Cue my most important role yet:
How can our readers follow you online?
Please visit our website getintothelimelight.com and follow us on social media:
Reach out and say hey! I’d love to hear from you!!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.