…Beauty starts inside and radiates outward. That is the single most important thing to remember about feeling beautiful. Also, make sure you love yourself, take care of yourself, and be kind to yourself. Self talk is very important and it’s important to always tell yourself how beautiful you are whether you feel that way at the time or not. I have found that eating healthy and working out helps so much in bringing you inner peace. I also really love taking care of myself by getting my hair done in addition to getting facials for my skin.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Peterson, a devoted wife, mother and entrepreneur from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Ashley is the Founder and CEO of Elizabella Cosmetics — a luxury lip bar designed to stimulate your vivaciousness, release and uplift your inner confidence, while still serving individuality. Through Elizabella Cosmetics, Ashley is committed to helping young women discover and create their own individual beauty inside and out. The organization she recently founded alongside her husband, Adrian & Ashley Peterson Family Foundation, plans to form initiatives focused on transforming the lives of young people who lack economic and educational resources.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Ashley! 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?
Absolutely!! I’ve always had a passion for all things beauty. I knew from a very young age that I would be in this industry. When I was a girl, I would write down my dreams and goals. I was interested in all aspects of beauty. I wanted to model and own my own cosmetics company. I was in awe and fascinated by everything. I started my journey at the age of 21 as a model for Ford Models and Abrams Artists agency in Los Angeles, California. I worked and lived there for several years prior to becoming a wife and mother. I took some time off to be a full-time stay-at-home mom to my two sons for a few years. Once my youngest son got a little older, I decided to go back to work and once again begin pursuing my career goals. I felt it was a perfect time to work on the cosmetics brand I had always dreamed of owning.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I’d have to take it back to my modeling career days. I would probably say the most interesting story I have is the time I met Beyoncé. It was 2013 and my husband and I went to the 2 Kings Dinner during All Star weekend in Houston. My husband and I were sitting not too far from the table where Beyoncé was sitting. I knew I had to meet her before she walked out of that dinner. I saw her get up to leave and told my husband “We have to catch her, I have to meet her!” So my husband catches up to Jay Z and is like “Hi Jay, my girl wants to meet your wife really badly”, and Jay says, “Of course!” So we all get on the elevator together and I’m just staring at her in amazement. She says “Hi, I’m Beyoncé” and I’m like, “Hi, I’m Ashley”. She says, “I love your dress” and I say, “Oh my gosh, thank you, I love your outfit!” After that, I literally sit there smiling the goofiest smile until we reach the lobby. I have no idea why I froze like that but I always think, man, if I ever meet her again I’m going to talk her ear off! Of course, I feel like we have a lot to talk about! Maybe not the most interesting story ever, but it was definitely the highlight of my 2013.
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?
I still have not reached the level of success that I would like, however, I did see a huge success with our nude liquid velvet lipstick collection launch. I think that particular launch provided key missing products. Those products were what our customers wanted and needed. A very valuable lesson on learning and responding to the needs of your customers to the very best of your ability. I listened to feedback from my customers and delivered a nude liquid velvet lipstick collection that has been our best selling yet. Although I had really great success with that launch, I still feel I’ve yet to reach the “tipping point” in my career where I feel my company is super successful. When I’m consistently hitting my monthly and yearly goals, that is when I will consider myself having reached the “tipping point” in my career.
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?
First and foremost, it’s my Mother. I’m eternally grateful to her for being my first example of a strong black woman. I am also beyond thankful to my mentor, Pageant Ferriabough. She is a long time family-friend who is basically family. She has helped me tremendously, not just with my business and our foundation, but also with life in general. She has so much wisdom that she shares with me and I absolutely would not be where I am without her guidance. Pageant taught me so much in every conversation and has aided my growth as a businesswoman in many different ways. It’s important to understand the significance of great mentors in your life. If you don’t have one, I would highly suggest finding someone that you respect and asking for their advice. There are so many lessons that you can learn in so many let downs that you can avoid by taking the time to listen to someone who has done what you are trying to do.
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?
In addition to our long wear liquid velvet lipstick formula that lasts for hours, one of my favorite products is our diamond dust liquid lipstick. I love this formula because it provides so much versatility. I love being able to carry one product that I can use as an eyeshadow, highlighter on my face or body, as well as on my lips. That’s what people need. Accessibility and convenience. We are in such a fast-paced world, it’s so important to create a product that is versatile in use as well as in look. This product can be worn alone or on top of our liquid velvet lipstick and vinyl lacquer formulas. It can be mixed in with oils to create a beautiful highlight oil for décolletage and can also be worn without oil as a highlight. There are so many different uses for one product and I absolutely love that the customer has the ability to decide how they would like to use this product.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
Three things that excite me most about the modern beauty industry is the growing diversity and inclusion of women of color, the limitless growth and expansion potential, and the constant change and evolution. Those three things are what make it so much fun to be a part of the beauty industry. I love how the beauty industry is ever evolving but remains constant.
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?
Three things that concern me about the industry are:
Number One — The lack of diversity. That was a huge driving factor for me wanting to start Elizabella Cosmetics. I wanted young women to be able to see themselves in our products. I want to be the change and include a diverse range of models.
Number Two — Market saturation. The beauty industry is rapidly expanding and business is booming. It’s an amazing time for us, however, it also provides challenges to those individuals that are currently in it and those wanting to join. There is so much competition and you constantly have to be on your game or you will get lost in a sea of others.
Number Three: How many celebrities are creating their own beauty brands? I’m not going to lie, going up against a beauty company headed by an A-list celebrity can be intimidating. But that’s when you find out what you’re made of and just how dedicated you are to your company and brand.
If I could implement three ways to improve the industry I would vastly diversify, which I’m currently doing for Elizabella Cosmetics, ban animal testing, and provide funding for companies to do endless studies on all natural ingredients. I love the idea of all natural alternatives rather than chemicals.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
First off, beauty starts inside and radiates outward. That is the single most important thing to remember about feeling beautiful. Also, make sure you love yourself, take care of yourself, and be kind to yourself. Self talk is very important and it’s important to always tell yourself how beautiful you are whether you feel that way at the time or not. I have found that eating healthy and working out helps so much in bringing you inner peace. I also really love taking care of myself by getting my hair done in addition to getting facials for my skin.
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.
The first thing you need in order to succeed in the modern beauty industry is a vision for your company. If you don’t have a vision for your company you have lost before you even started. I remember when starting Elizabella I sat down and wrote out exactly what I wanted. Huge tip: you must write your vision and make it plain and simple.
The second thing you need to know to succeed in the modern beauty industry is the rule of knowing your customer. That is the most vital information to your company. Knowing your customer and anticipating their needs allows you to effectively plan and execute. For instance, when I launched my best selling nude collection I already knew that customers would respond and purchase because that is what they had been requesting. Because I took the time to listen to my customers wants and needs. Yodit has been my best product collection launch to date.
Next, you need to know current and future trends. Knowing the trends that are on the horizon helps you adequately plan which products should be released in the near future. That’s so important because you want to be innovative as well as in trend. A good example is how big nude lipsticks are at the moment. The last thing one would want to do is release a lot of bright, vibrant colors and ignore what’s currently popular.
It’s also important to know what differentiates you from your competition. What makes you and your brand special? When I started Elizabella Cosmetics, I knew that the one thing that was most important to me as a woman of color was to celebrate diversity in our brand. I wanted all ethnicities to feel included and to feel like they could see themselves in Elizabella. I absolutely want to see more African American women of color celebrated in the beauty industry, but I also want Asian women, Latino women, Native American women to see themselves as a standard of beauty in the industry. I want those ethnicities to feel included as well. That’s one of the reasons I decided to include an Asian model in one of our Elizabella campaigns. I want to help create the change I would like to see in this industry and in the world.
Last and possibly most important, you need to know how to accept the word “no”. When I say that, I don’t mean accept it and take that as defeat. I mean accept the “no” and understand that there is already something better on the horizon.
There will also be times when that “no” is just a “not yet”. I remember reading an article about one CEO emailing a retailer for six months straight before finally getting the break that led to her products being carried in that store. That was so motivational to me. That tenacity and hustle paid off with her biggest victory to date. If I had quit after every no I would have never been a model, never started my company, and absolutely would’ve given up in the first year. Not every situation or individual is meant for your life or your path. What God has for you is for YOU! Always keep trying and always continue to have faith that it will work to your advantage in the end. You may hear a million no’s, but when you finally get that yes, it will be exactly what you need and when you need it most.
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. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement it would be a women’s empowerment movement of epic proportions. I mean where women really and truly come together with no hate, no bitterness or envy, no jealousy, just straight support of each from a genuine place. I truly believe that all women can win and we don’t have to give in to cattiness or putting each other down in order to get ahead in business or life. Women are so powerful and if we were to take time to help each other build we could truly create empires and take over the world. I think men have had their fair share of opportunity and it’s our turn now.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote at the moment is a Maya Angelou quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
That’s how I want to live. You only have one life and it sounds very cliché but the older I get the more I realize how short and precious life truly is and I don’t want to waste a moment. I don’t want to just go through the motions in life. I want to thrive and enjoy my life and my family while also helping to lift up as many others as possible along my way.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.