Write down your goals and make sure they’re measurable and actionable. I have a vision board and I look at my goals every day. Then I make a list of things to finish each day to make sure I’m setting myself up to achieve those goals. The only difference between a dream and a goal is whether or not you have a plan in place.
As a part of our series about strong women leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ilinca Sipos.
Ilinca Sipos is the CEO and Founder of RARA CLUB, a beauty lifestyle company on a mission to spread positivity and inspiration. She’s passionate about beauty, people, and leaving a positive mark on the world.
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?
Thank you so much for having me!
I’ve always loved skincare, beauty, and personal care, as well as all things self-improvement. RARA CLUB is a mission-driven beauty lifestyle brand, so when the idea “clicked” that I could combine my passion for beauty and my passion for personal growth in order to make people happier, more confident, and more inspired, I knew I had to pursue it.
My professional background is in Tech Sales and eCommerce, which helped me understand the ins-and-outs of running a DTC based business. Being in sales also helped me develop grit and I quickly learned not to take anything in business personally (I’m sure anyone who has worked in sales will understand that!). I’ve always been Entrepreneurial but didn’t want to start a business unless I believed in its positive impact, and when I was in the early stages of starting RARA CLUB I knew I had to pursue it.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I like to think that RARA CLUB is like an “anti-brand.” We’re not doing things “the typical away” according to marketing textbooks. Instead, we’re doing things our way, and it’s working! Our bottom line is our mission and we execute on that by doing things like donating all profits or sharing minority owned businesses for readers to support through our marketing channels. We’re going to keep this mentality as we scale, in an effort to change the way businesses operate.
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?
There were sooo many! Everything is a learning experience. Off the top of my head (and this was not super funny in the moment), the payment processor we were using decided to shut down the week before launch. This means we could not accept payments and no one would be able to purchase! I actually debated either giving products for free or having people Venmo (lol). But finally, we got PayPal up and running and saved the day (or month rather) until we were able to get an inline payment solution up and running.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Mentors have been critical for me. I met a handful of female mentors through work and more through a startup accelerator that RARA CLUB participated in (Create-X with my alma mater, Georgia Tech). My mentors push me to set bigger, more ambitious goals than I’d like and that has led to faster growth. It’s also incredibly helpful to have a network of other founders who can really understand the highs and lows you experience in starting a business to talk to. One of my mentors always tells me to keep going, no matter what. It’s simple, but profound advice that’s always helpful to hear.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
It’s positive because you can get a group of early adopters who are super excited and see your vision and help you share that vision. On the contrary, some people may ask you “why” you choose to do things the way you’re doing and question the feasibility of your unique business model. I think it’s human nature to want to compare you to something that already exists, but then the unique value prop of the brand gets lost. If we’re going to do things differently than how they have been done in the past, then we need to be disruptive — RARA CLUB is founded on the idea of disrupting how beauty brands typically operate.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1 — Don’t take advice from people you would not trade lives with. In business, you can get a lot of unsolicited advice. While most people have the best intentions, I’d definitely recommend filtering and really honing in on feedback you get from either your customers, your investors, your mentors, or someone who has built a successful business. No need to listen to anyone who is not in your target audience.
2 — No matter what, keep going. It’s going to be incredibly easy to get discouraged, especially at first. Spoiler alert: everything will go wrong times. I was once told that one of the biggest reasons businesses fail is because the founder gives up. So no matter what, KEEP GOING!
3 — Write down your goals and make sure they’re measurable and actionable. I have a vision board and I look at my goals every day. Then I make a list of things to finish each day to make sure I’m setting myself up to achieve those goals. The only difference between a dream and a goal is whether or not you have a plan in place.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
RARA CLUB has a long way to go! We’re going to expand into more products. We’re going to build out features on our app and change the way people interact with brands. Maybe we’ll go into retail in a few years too.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Though I am grateful for and inspired by the women who started to pave the way in business, there is still a lack of female representation in leadership and investing. It’s nice to pitch to someone who is similar to your end user and “gets” the brand.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
I love reading so I have a lot!! Shoe Dog is my favorite book of all time and completely changed my life. When reading it, I realized what an unbelievably exciting, difficult, and emotional journey starting a business can be. It also gave me incredible insights on the power of refusing to give up. I really do use the motto, “Just Do It” at least 5x a day.
Simon Sinek’s Start with Why book and TED Talk also helped me define how to create a mission-first business. I’m a big fan of Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso because she’s an incredible inspiration to female entrepreneurs and really the ultimate girl boss!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I like to say my mantra is “perpetual growth while staying grateful for what I have.” I will always have goals and strive to be better in some way, but I also think it’s important to live in the moment, enjoy the journey, and stay grateful for what I have now.
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. 🙂
Making people feel genuinely happy with themselves. The power of a happy person is limitless, and I can only imagine how our world looked if we all felt good. It’s a simple, yet significant, idea.
How can our readers follow you online?
@ilincasipos and @shopraraclub on all social platforms!