Samantha Cutler of Petite ‘n Pretty: “Building Employee Morale Is Not Easy and Doesn’t Happen Overnight ”

Building Employee Morale Is Not Easy and Doesn’t Happen Overnight — Building your team is easy, but building a united team is hard. It takes time for your team to get into a “groove” and all work together for a common goal. Being in a start-up, there are days that are more challenging than others. At Petite […]

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Building Employee Morale Is Not Easy and Doesn’t Happen Overnight — Building your team is easy, but building a united team is hard. It takes time for your team to get into a “groove” and all work together for a common goal. Being in a start-up, there are days that are more challenging than others. At Petite ‘n Pretty, we will do fun team dinners, order lunch on Fridays, and do fun “out of the office” activities.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Cutler.

Petite ‘n Pretty founder Samantha Cutler has used her 15-years of experience developing esteemed beauty products to create the Beverly Hills-based brand for young creatives.Becoming a mother gave her new perspective and guided her on the journey to creating a new, essential category in the beauty industry. Having been makeup-obsessed from a young age, Samantha always viewed cosmetics as an outlet for individuality and self-expression, which has inspired her to set off on a glitter revolution, developing a brand specifically for the next generation. Petite ‘n Pretty sparks the imaginations of tomorrow’s creatives through product made just for them.


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 have a 20-year career working in prestige cosmetics. I started at the make-up counter in college, and then worked in product development for the prestige beauty brands, MAC Cosmetics, Stila Cosmetics, and Smashbox. I helped conceptualize and create some of today’s best-selling products such as Stila’s Liquid Lip, Stay All Day Eyeliner, Glitter and Glow, and more.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I always knew that I wanted to start my own brand in beauty. I always felt like my brand needed to have purpose, and for a long time I could not think of something that was “missing” from the current beauty landscape. But, once I was able to identify what I wanted to develop, I was so excited to start working on my brand.

Petite ‘n Pretty is a Beverly Hills-based, prestige beauty brand on a mission to empower young creatives to sparkle outside the lines while exploring, expressing, and embracing individuality with products developed just for them. With high-quality ingredients, age-appropriate shades and tools designed for growing features, Petite ‘n Pretty takes beauty (and fun) seriously. Introducing a new essential category in beauty, Petite ‘n Pretty is here to make everyone’s first beauty experience a positive moment that will stay with them throughout their journey.

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?

My kids LOVE going on my phone. My daughter Gia loves to search on my Instagram feed. One day, she had my phone and did an Instagram Live on the Petite ‘n Pretty account. She is only 6, and I had no idea what she was saying! The biggest lesson I learned is to not leave my kids unattended with my phone!

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?

There are many role models and mentors I have in my life that have helped guide my career. Aside from my parents, who have always believed in me and helped support my dreams and goals, I am thankful for my mentor in my career, Jennifer Balbier. Jennifer is a product development guru, who has built her career working in brand and product development. She is responsible for helping grow MAC Cosmetics, as she started with Estee Lauder in 1998. Over her career at Estee, she then moved on to oversee all Artistry Brands including Smashbox, Bobbi Brown, Too Faced, Becca, etc… I truly am thankful for her teaching me product branding and development.

Working at Estee Lauder was an amazing experience and taught me the fundamentals of development from a corporate perspective. I have since worked for smaller brands, like Stila, which without my experience at MAC [which is owned by Estee Lauder] would have been a more difficult transition if I did not come from a larger, more corporate world.

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?

I think there are many things that are “accepted” today that were considered “taboo” in the past. For example, periods have been something that brands are embracing through the women’s health movement. I think that this is an example of disrupting the industry in a positive way. Tween and teen girls are not embarrassed to get their periods, as it is something that is now celebrated.

Influencer brands can oftentimes get caught up in a “not so positive” environment. Many brands today are owned by macro influencers. Sometimes that individual can get brought into “drama” which can be detrimental to their brand and their reputation.

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. You cannot predict the future.

a. Covid is a perfect example. Covid is something that no one could have ever predicted or prepared for. I believe that being nimble and flexible has helped us react and be successful during this time.

2. You WILL wear a million hats.

a. Starting a company is a time where everything you know, plus everything you never knew will be imperative to your success and ability to thrive. I feel like my expertise was really in product development and brand marketing, and since starting my brand, I have learned about all departments.

3. Building Employee Morale Is Not Easy and Doesn’t Happen Overnight.

a. Building your team is easy, but building a united team is hard. It takes time for your team to get into a “groove” and all work together for a common goal. Being in a start-up, there are days that are more challenging than others. At Petite ‘n Pretty, we will do fun team dinners, order lunch on Fridays, and do fun “out of the office” activities.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

There are many things that Petite ‘n Pretty has in store for the future! Our goal is to become the authority in the young creative [children, tween, & teen space] in personal care.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

In my opinion, women disruptors have many challenges that they are faced with. These challenges are especially evident in the capital raising process. Male founders are able to raise money [and more money] at a higher percentage.

Source:

“In 2019, less than 3% of all VC investment went to women-led companies, and only one-fifth of U.S. VC went to startups with at least one woman on the founder team. The average deal size for female-founded or female co-founded companies is less than half that of only male-founded startups,” said Tech Crunch.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

A podcast that I find extremely interesting and valuable to listen to is “How I Built This with Guy Raz” on NPR. It’s interesting to hear that founders from all industries have experienced many common issues in building their businesses. Listening to other founders helps me make sense of many issues that companies face in the early stages.

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. 🙂

Being a founder of a brand made for young creatives, there is nothing that inspires me more than supporting children, tweens, and teens to feel empowered through beauty. I think that I would love to host a young creative summit that brings boys, girls, and parents together from all over the country to connect in an environment that is inspiring, motivational, and promotes a bond between youth.

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

“Learning how to not take rejection personal, it’s so critical,” by Jamie Kern Lima, the founder of IT Cosmetics. Having a brand that falls into a white space category can be a challenge at times. I truly in my heart feel that children, tweens, and teens deserve their best experience in beauty. Petite ‘n Pretty is here to give them that.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instragram:

@samcutler8

@petitenpretty

www.petitenpretty.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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