Emily Jimison of Seven Seven Cosmetics: “Simply to prove that women can do or be anything they want!”

Simply to prove that women can do or be anything they want! There are so many little girls that feel limited as to what or who they can be when they grow up. It’s pretty cool that the narrative is changing and little girls are actually SEEING women succeed and achieve their dreams. It’s just […]

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Simply to prove that women can do or be anything they want! There are so many little girls that feel limited as to what or who they can be when they grow up. It’s pretty cool that the narrative is changing and little girls are actually SEEING women succeed and achieve their dreams. It’s just more proof that anything is possible when you work hard and put your mind to something.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Jimison, founder and CEO of natural skincare label, Seven Seven Cosmetics. Emily founded the brand at just 24 years old, and it has successfully flourished for over five years. Emily used her expertise as a former celebrity makeup artist to create non-toxic, minimal and affordable skincare products.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I think from a young age, making moves and getting into the beauty industry was inevitable. I was heavily “right-brained” growing up and that definitely contributed to the success. I was always getting into makeup, picking my own outfits, messing with colorful things like it was in my blood. I went to college and got my degree, but I truly feel that it was more the real-life experiences that became the best teacher. Business to me is more about hard work & relationships, so I think that was my biggest takeaway from my education. I’m so grateful for every experience because I truly believe that every adventure, win & loss has led me to where I am and taught me valuable lessons along the way.

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

Being in the middle of a pandemic is what comes to mind first. In business, I like to look at things from the bigger picture. Yes, it’s important to look at the details day to day, but I do my best to keep the big picture and long-term goals in mind — it’s definitely what has kept me going. Remembering why I started, and how I am helping people long term. From deals that fell through to opportunities I could never even imagine having — I do my best to remember that the end goal comes with highs and lows and they both make your business stronger.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I really get a good laugh and the early content that I made for Seven Seven. I look at the amateur makeup I did, or how awkward I was in front of the camera and just giggle. I thought I nailed it, or sounded great at the time, but I look back and I’m like “Wow, this is hard to watch.” But hey, I’m glad I did it because one, it’s great to look back and see how far we’ve come, and two; I was getting out of my comfort zone and showing up for the company. I learned a ton and I’m grateful for that!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely. My family & fiancé are without a doubt my biggest support system. I have a solid group of supporters that cheer me on and remind me that if other people can achieve success doing this, then so can I. I am really big on reaching out to people who have already been down the path you’re on. There are so many people and resources to help if you’re just willing to ask. I ask a million questions and pick a lot of brains to broaden my horizons and gain different perspectives. I’m SO incredibly grateful for every single person that has taken the time to talk with me. The best piece of advice from a mentor that stuck with me was “Everyone who is successful has been exactly in the same place you are before. They were just strong enough to keep moving and push through the hard stuff, so keep moving forward.” So I try to keep that in the back of my brain.

In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I would probably say uncertainty or fear of the unknown. It’s a huge jump to start a business or start even putting a plan into action, but if you believe in anything enough you’ll make it happen. For me it was about surrounding myself with the best support system. The doubt and fear is inevitable, not just for women, for ANYONE — so lifting other women up and encouraging them to just go and to keep moving forward is a huge deal for me. My mom always said “Everything is figure-out-able” and I swear by this when I get stuck or doubt creeps in. Nothing makes me happier than this shift and the support & encouragement that is being shed on women today, and with that — I think any woman could be a company founder if that’s what they wanted.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

Kind of snowballing off the last question, I really love the direction we are heading regarding female empowerment. There is always room to improve, but I really think there have been so many amazing strides to help women achieve their wildest dreams. Most people are running a business from home right now and I think this alone will change the world forever. It’s really cool that women can be whatever and whoever they want to be. Society has shifted and women can decide what future they want to have. For women now, there is more opportunity for education, home care, child care, career resources, online community & education, government funding, VC funding etc. We are not limited to one or the other, we can do it all and I think that’s pretty dang cool.

Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Simply to prove that women can do or be anything they want! There are so many little girls that feel limited as to what or who they can be when they grow up. It’s pretty cool that the narrative is changing and little girls are actually SEEING women succeed and achieve their dreams. It’s just more proof that anything is possible when you work hard and put your mind to something.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder. Can you explain what you mean?

That you’re automatically successful or make a lot of money when you’re a CEO or Founder. I struggled with this a lot in the beginning, because success really does not happen overnight. Every single penny goes back into the company and your hard work has to be driven by your passion and not the paycheck. It is tiny victories and persistence that makes you successful in my opinion. I think it is super important to share my losses just as much as my wins. Business is up and down and there is no success without a little failure.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

I don’t believe being a founder is the best path for everyone. I think if you want it, you have access and are capable of achieving anything, but to be honest, I think it is a real lifestyle choice and you have to live & breathe what you are creating. I think the best part about right now, is that the narrative is changing for women, and they have the choice to pursue what THEY want, whether that’s leading a company, raising healthy/happy humans, both and everything in between. The qualities I pride myself for are being persistent, creative, mentally resilient, and the ability to not take the word “no” personally. I know where my strengths and weaknesses are, and I am proud to bring on other creative, hard-working people to execute what I cannot. A leader is nothing without their tribe, so being able to delegate and loosen the grip in certain areas of business is half the battle in my opinion.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. “Everyone makes mistakes” — I would make such minor mistakes (still do) and get so caught up in them. I’ve learned that everyone makes mistakes and it’s really not the end of the world.

2. “You will have doubts” — I think it’s important to share that EVERY founder has had doubts. You will never get to the point when you don’t question some of your decisions. It’s just part of the game and you learn to have confidence in your decisions.

3. “No doesn’t always mean no” — Sometimes no means not right now or try harder to convince me. It’s never personal, it’s business and usually there is another approach.

4. “Trends & Business is ever-changing” — There is no formula that works for every business. You have to grow with your business and ALWAYS continue learning and educating yourself.

5. “Be a sponge” — Talk to anyone and everyone in your space. Every bit of information and every meeting is valuable. Soak up every bit of knowledge and past experiences that you possibly can.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I would like to think so! I actually had so much fun answering these questions because encouraging women and bringing support and positivity to their journeys is something I’m incredibly passionate about. There is room for everyone to win to be successful, so rooting for people on the same or different path than me — I just hope for success for every woman, whatever that may look like to them. #spreadpositivity 🙂

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

POSITIVITY! I think there is a positive spin on a lot of life’s lessons. You never know how a small word of encouragement or positive feedback could impact someone’s journey. I am a natural minimalist (hence the brand haha) and I think when it comes down to the basics, people feed on happiness and honesty. Encouraging, relating to other women and finding positivity on their journey is a way to learn and grow from the lessons that naturally come with being a business owner/founder.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

How many people can I list haha? I LOVE Kirsten Green, for obvious reasons. She has a very similar view on attracting partners that challenge industry norms. In my opinion, the beauty industry has become super “trend” based and everyone is trying to be the coolest new thing. My goal is to break the idea that you have to follow trends. To me, beauty is about feeling good and using products that make you feel confident and make self-care stress free & enjoyable. There are so many women in this world who aren’t “professionals” and my goal is to create an inclusive space where ANY type of woman can feel confident applying their skincare and taking time for themselves.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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