Liz Kennedy Of Beauty Magnet: “Being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster”

Being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster. You can’t get hung up on each thing that goes wrong because SO many things go wrong. It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey, that’s what makes it so special. As a part of our series called “Celebrity Inventors”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Kennedy. […]

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Being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster. You can’t get hung up on each thing that goes wrong because SO many things go wrong. It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey, that’s what makes it so special.

As a part of our series called “Celebrity Inventors”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Kennedy.

Liz Kennedy is an esthetician and beauty expert known for bringing her expertise to the masses on television. Currently host and producer of her own digital makeover series, she’s also spent time as host and producer of Steve Harvey’s makeover segment and has been the on-screen expert for RoC Skincare, among countless other appearances on TV networks across the country. On top of her work on-screen, Liz is also a member of the Citizen Cosmetic’s Advisory board and is currently developing a skincare tool called Beauty Magnet.

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 bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I don’t have the most idyllic childhood backstory, perhaps that’s why you’re asking because most successful people don’t, haha. I grew up with a single mother in upstate New York surrounded by most dual-income homes filled with both parents. My mom worked multiple jobs to make sure my sister and I had a good life and lived in a safe neighborhood. Growing up, almost everyone around me didn’t understand my passion for skincare and beauty. Where I was from it was considered silly and not what smart girls were concerned about. I come from a family where everyone has a 9–5 and there were no entrepreneurs, so I often felt stupid for having these big crazy dreams, but I knew I wanted something different. It wasn’t until I met my father at twenty-one years old that I realized I wanted a different life. It was my first time going to his home in Israel and seeing so many other entrepreneurs. Israel is filled with copious amounts of innovators and entrepreneurs, and I just knew I felt at home. That’s when it all changed for me.

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

I always admired my best friend’s parents’ relationship, A LOT. Her mother used to say to us “I hate when people say that they always have to WORK at their marriage. Marriage isn’t perfect every day, but it shouldn’t be HARD every day either. It should feel more natural and easier, not HARD every single day.” I doubt she even remembers herself saying this, but I think about it almost daily and apply it to people I choose to work with and be friends with as well.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I love the podcast “Flashbacks” by Jessica Hall and DeAnna Stagliano. Not only are they both wildly hilarious they interview women doing amazing things. I LOVE zero-filter podcasts that really highlight everything women are capable of. This podcast really resonates with me because so many of the women they interview (including myself) are often put into boxes of what people “expect them to be” and they completely break glass ceilings.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. What was the catalyst that inspired you to invent your product? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?

When I was in nursing school after getting licensed as an esthetician, I realized I was sick of always looking for the skincare tools that I became so wildly obsessed with. I realized skin tools help skincare work at its peak performance and saw that others were becoming more obsessed too. After realizing that if I had that issue other women did too and started developing what is now Beauty Magnet.

There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?

This is SUCH a great point because I have heard many people say, “I have this idea” and it’s most of the time great but they don’t see it through. You must want something badly and the first step is to get the idea patented. This makes it feel more “real” and something that you can relay to investors among other things to prove your product works. Anything you can plant seed-wise helps in others realizing how serious you are about your product. I also have great partners who can do the things I am not strong at. This is important and vital to building a business.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

Patent search first, then google search. The internet is a key resource to a product and there’s no way that if something doesn’t exist you can’t find it between a patent search and the internet.

Did you have a role model or a person who inspired you to persevere despite the hardships involved in taking the risk of selling a new product?

No, I was my own motivator and inspiration. A lot of people didn’t think I could do what I have done thus far. Even now going into global retailers and doing QVC soon I had an investor say they wouldn’t put more money in because there were a few issues. Even the people who believe in you and even INVEST in you can doubt you, you just must keep the vision alive. Being an entrepreneur is…. humorous at many times.

For the benefit of our readers, can you share the story, and outline the steps that you went through, from when you thought of the idea, until it finally landed on the store shelves? In particular we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

Once you think of your product you need to find an engineer/factory to work with to make it come to life. However, all this costs a lot of money so if you can’t pay for it yourself you need to find an investor or take out a business loan. I chose investors because I wanted strategic partners in beauty and manufacturing. In order to source a good manufacturer, you need to ask the people that already are successful in your space. Most successful people are happy to share their relationships because they don’t have a fear of competition. For anyone who isn’t willing to share that’s ok, they just don’t understand that everyone can win. Starting a business is a numbers game, nine out of ten will say no, but the tenth will say yes. Multiply that by potentially a hundred because you never know who will see your vision as you do. The way I found retailers to distribute my tool was through my partner, Nudestix. Nudestix already has global distribution so when they wanted to do a distributing deal I naturally said, yes. If you don’t have a deal as I did (which to be honest is rare) you need to connect with the buyers directly. Buyers are ALWAYS looking for new innovative products so don’t be nervous; a no is always a maybe in the startup world.

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 wish I found them funny at the time, instead they were all stressful to me and made me cry myself to sleep! If I could go back, I would be kinder to myself and realize every setback is part of the process and learning curve.

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

Being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster. You can’t get hung up on each thing that goes wrong because SO many things go wrong. It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey, that’s what makes it so special.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

Ask a few people who you know if they would use your product. You need people who will keep it real with you and be completely transparent on whether the idea is great or not.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I wasn’t even aware that was a thing, crazy. I would say why not, a second opinion is always great, and they could think of something that you didn’t.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Depends on the product. I couldn’t bootstrap because the mold of the actual tool didn’t exist so it cost me a lot of financing. It just depends on what you’re creating and if you can afford to develop it by yourself.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

To be honest, there’s so much more I plan on doing. As of now, I am trying to inspire women who don’t come from money or big cities to follow their dreams and encouraging women to look and feel their best while doing it. Beauty is incredibly empowering because when a woman looks and feels like her best self, she can take over the world. Beauty Magnet will become a lifestyle brand with the mindset of magnetizing everything beautiful to yourself and your life. The give-back component is to be determined but I know it’ll be a correlation of confidence training for young women.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. 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.

Global Beauty Magnets. Women doing things to break glass ceilings that have magnetized all good things to themselves.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest 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, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I am proud to say that now investors and VC funds are coming TO ME. Don’t give up, magic doesn’t happen overnight.

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

Thank you for your time as well!

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