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Audrey Napoleon: “Guessing games are not cute”

Guessing games are not cute. It’s your business, to know your business. Not just the parts that are interesting to you. Know this and you’re already ahead. Focus equals sales. Successful brands have one key element in common: consistency. Branding is more than just a logo and some fonts. It’s about entirety. The brand values, voice, […]

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Guessing games are not cute. It’s your business, to know your business. Not just the parts that are interesting to you. Know this and you’re already ahead.

Focus equals sales. Successful brands have one key element in common: consistency. Branding is more than just a logo and some fonts. It’s about entirety. The brand values, voice, personality, colors, products, services. It’s about cohesiveness. What is the message you’re trying to relay to your customer? Figure that out and stay there. Stay “on brand”. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing yourself and your customer. A confused customer doesn’t hit the “checkout” button.


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 Audrey Napoleon, a multi-platinum, award-winning Electronic Music Producer and DJ.

After over a decade of Global recognition and touring reaching top 5 female in the industry, she officially retired from music in 2018. After successfully getting out from underneath her label, she decided to pivot into a more sustainable business model citing “I wanted to create something for myself that I could own, that the Industry couldn’t take away from me”. She imagined other talents felt the same way: so she made it her mission to help talents do just that.


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?

In the career that leads me to have this conversation with you, I created a persona and career around “Audrey Napoleon”, becoming a multi-platinum, award-winning record producer and DJ. House music was my genre and I was a Top 5 female DJ globally, 3 years running.

While the fans were kind to me, the industry was not. When I made the decision to leave, I set out to create a company that supported artists in a real way, the way only an artist could. And Gostrider was born.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Becoming a person I’m proud of. That’s a more interesting story to me than any other that I could tell.

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 stopped trying to be good at everything.

Find what you are GREAT at and dial in. If you’re not good at something, that’s ok because there is someone else who is. Find that person, add them to your team and build from there.

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?

My greatest mentor has been my pain. Whether I’m unconsciously being driven by it or striving to be free from it.

My ambition and creativity are who I am as a person. It’s in my DNA and I am very grateful for that. However, that same DNA drives me on an unconscious level, to achieve success. Not because I had support or help along the way. But because I didn’t.

There are figures early on in your life, that shape who are and how you feel about yourself. Unfortunately, I was never enough. Nothing I did seemed good enough to get the kind of love a child deserves from a parent. The love I grew up with was conditional and came with strings attached.

Unconsciously, I chose the road of a famous musician. I became a top Global DJ/Producer within 3 years of touching a turntable. Music is in my soul, but I discovered that fame was a means to say “Look! Look at my Times Square billboard! Look at the thousands of people at my shows who scream my name. Do you love me now? Am I good enough now?” Unfortunately, the answer was a resounding no, and I had to face my demons head-on to move beyond that.

Without the support and help from the people closest to me, I don’t know how I would have come out on the other side. One of those people is Qveen Herby. Not only has she championed me, but launched as Gostrider’s first brand.

This transformation and discovery became one of the key drivers behind Gostrider’s DNA. We make sure our Team and our Talents know they are enough and they are supported. The team we formed has been instrumental in the success of the business, and have been my support system throughout my 15-year career.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than 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?

While we always seek to be at the forefront of formulations and technology, our greatest innovation comes from the support we offer our Talents. Gostrider is for artists, by artists. We place Talents in the driver’s seat for their future. We monetize their audiences in a way that is efficient, and easy. Our business model expands Talents’ franchises while creating sustainable revenue, and supercharging growth.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

It excites me that the old “rule” book was thrown out, and the modern beauty industry now belongs to everyone and people are starting to think outside the box.

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?

When people’s reactions are swayed by opinion, more than by fact, it deeply concerns me. There are labs all over the world that meet the highest standards, use Best in Manufacturing Practices, and are EU/FDA compliant. But we let geography determine if their product is considered best or worst when it’s the lab’s certificates, ingredients, and standards that should dictate that.

Know your facts and start challenging when everyone else gets comfortable.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

Feeling beautiful comes from an internal place. It took me years to understand that. No matter my clothes or makeup, or how beautiful others told me I should feel, if I felt like shit inside, that’s what I would ultimately exude. Mental health is the first step to feeling beautiful. Without that, nothing you do on the outside is going to heal the inner “ugly” you’re not addressing.

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. Hire horses who are willing to drink and no-one goes thirsty. Entitlement sucks. Being humble and hard-working pays off. I’ve run across my fair share of entitlement. People who think they deserve success, rewards, and respect disproportionate to their actual ability. Entitlement means just because you’re near water, you’ll drink. Hard work means you actually do.
  2. Cry in your office like an adult. When it comes to business, keep it there. Everyone has something going on personally, I mean everyone but your personal problems are just that… they are your own. Be the driving force in solving those problems, not the excuse for why you can’t get shit done.
  3. “CEO” is not a vanity title. Starting a company makes you an entrepreneur. Leading one makes you a CEO. I see “CEO” slapped on social bios everywhere. A CEO or Chief Executive Officer reports to a Board of Directors. They represent the interest of shareholders and the interest of others, at their own expense, and for the better of the company. Working for yourself does not make you a CEO. Running a company does. Earn the respect the title deserves before you use it.
  4. Guessing games are not cute. It’s your business, to know your business. Not just the parts that are interesting to you. Know this and you’re already ahead.
  5. Focus equals sales. Successful brands have one key element in common: consistency. Branding is more than just a logo and some fonts. It’s about entirety. The brand values, voice, personality, colors, products, services. It’s about cohesiveness. What is the message you’re trying to relay to your customer? Figure that out and stay there. Stay “on brand”. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing yourself and your customer. A confused customer doesn’t hit the “checkout” button.

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. 🙂

Seek to understand. Not only others but yourself.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“All that we see or seem. Is but a dream within a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe

If the reality of the mind isn’t any more real than a dream, then you are the creator of your own reality. While there are circumstances that fall outside of this, it’s a quote I frequently remind myself of when I’m having a bad day.

How can our readers follow you online?

@audreynapoleon

@gostriderbrands

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


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