Tara Joseph of ‘3rd Eye High’: “You don’t have to agree with everyone”

Women are incredibly organized, creative by nature and have a maternal instinct that is incredibly helpful in building a business. Running a household is not unlike running a business — you understand how to multitask and realize just how strong you are. Those qualities alone are what should push women to be entrepreneurs and businesswomen. As a […]

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Women are incredibly organized, creative by nature and have a maternal instinct that is incredibly helpful in building a business. Running a household is not unlike running a business — you understand how to multitask and realize just how strong you are. Those qualities alone are what should push women to be entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tara Joseph who serves as a co-founder and CEO of 3rd Eye High. With a background in fashion design, buying and company branding, including positions at Nordstrom and Claire’s Accessories, her passion for women’s health and wellness led her to create the CBD-focused brand.

Joseph divides her time between a number of public and private organizations and has served as president for the Illinois District 102 Parent Teacher Organization, fundraising coordinator for the Stevenson High School Foundation and is a member of the Amazing Women Entrepreneur Network.

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?

Growing up, I was enamored by the fashion and modeling industry. I gained early experience in the business as a child model. This eventually led me to a career designing earrings and accessories for Claire’s and managing Nordstrom. I think a commonality between both industries how they give women a chance to feel empowered. Unfortunately, there are numerous social factors that play a role into the perception of women which knocks them down instead of bringing them up. It was important to me to be in a business that lifts women up, especially being a mother to two daughters. I was specifically drawn towards the cannabis industry after seeing the work my husband did at Grassroots Cannabis. They had such empathy towards their patients in the dispensaries and I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. It helped me create a brand that educates, brings women together and creates empathy.

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

I think every story and experience has been a continuation of lessons learned. When we first started out pre-pandemic, we thought we could work with one vendor to oversee every aspect of the business — including social, advertising and even website build-out. We soon realized that although they specialized in certain aspects, they also lacked in others. This was a huge learning moment because we realized the importance of having a team when building a brand. It is more important to get the best person for each job than to have a small team.

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?

Being a 46-year-old woman and having worked in the fashion industry for most of my life, I was surprised to see how many times the word “content” could be used in a sentence. It was comical to see how one word could fit into all avenues of the business. If I had a dollar for how many times we use the word content in a day, I may not have had to start my own business.

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?

My husband has been my absolute rock for most of my life, being that we are high school sweethearts. No matter what project I have taken on or new experiences I have sought, he has always been my number one cheerleader. He not only encourages me but also supports me by always jumping in to help in any way he can. It is truly amazing to know we came from nothing and have built so much together. When it comes to 3rd Eye High, my daughter Sydni has been a rockstar in creating this business from the ground up. For someone that many would underestimate as a 21-year-old college student, she has been integral in creating an incredible business. Her drive and passion is really inspiring as a mother to see.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I think the main reason women are held back is simply because of fear. For so long women have been confined to a certain mold that creates a sense of fear to take the leap. A big part of 3rd Eye High’s mission is to change the mindset of women in business and to empower women to take that chance and start a business. People seem to forget that some of the most successful people out there are in fact women and we need to take back that power.

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?

First and foremost, I think equal pay between men and women needs to be commonplace. Women are working the same jobs and for some reason are being paid less. It is an issue we have been fighting for decades, but there is still so much progress to be made. Additionally, society has created this competitive nature between women, and I think we need to start supporting each other more.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder, but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women are incredibly organized, creative by nature and have a maternal instinct that is incredibly helpful in building a business. Running a household is not unlike running a business — you understand how to multitask and realize just how strong you are. Those qualities alone are what should push women to be entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

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

People seem to think that success just falls into your lap when in fact, it is quite the opposite. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to start a business. People tend to look at things on social media and underestimate the work that is required behind the scenes to make things happen. Although social media can be a wonderful thing, it also acts as a lens that blocks people out from reality. We did not just get here from pure luck, we worked hard and smart.

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 believe that the world is composed of leaders and followers and each role plays a critical role. Some individuals would rather work behind the scenes and learn from others — starting a business involves risks and not everyone wants to take those risks. You must be willing to take that challenge and understand there will be a lot of negativity before finding success. You are going to hear “no” more times than you can count but you have to be willing to pick yourself up and persevere. Risk-taking, flexibility and confidence are three vital traits to have as a successful founder. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it takes a team; everyone’s part makes a difference.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. There will be bumps in the road.

Recognize that there will be a lot of hiccups along the way when starting a business. A lot of people only see the glamour shots where it looks really fun to be an entrepreneur, but the reality is that it’s hard. A lot of hard work and determination goes into creating a business and people don’t see that side of things. It is worth it, but you have to learn how to roll with the obstacles along the way.

2. You don’t have to agree with everyone.

You’re going to work with people you agree with and those that you won’t always agree with. It’s about learning how to adjust your approach and figuring out how to work with different individuals. We are all created differently, we all think differently and approach problems differently, so learning how to be more intentional in approaching these interactions is vital.

3. You need a strong support system.

I wish someone would have told me how important it is to have a support system. You must have a support system around you to make a business successful. I’m extremely thankful for all of the support I have had throughout this journey.

4. Realize that not everyone has the same expectations or standards as you.

We all have different benchmarks, so understanding this is important to creating clear communication but also being able to give and receive constructive feedback.

5. Realize that there is more than one way to do things.

Realize that your way might not have been the most efficient or correct way of doing something. Learning other ways of benefit is a positive!

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

My passion is supporting small businesses and promoting the welfare of others. Being a natural people-person, being with people energizes me. I incorporated these aspects into the philosophy of 3rd Eye High, and that is a major driving force for the business. We separate ourselves from other subscription boxes by being part of a movement of inclusivity, building women up and empowering each other. Many of the products we use come from small businesses to show we stand in support of one another. As a founder and leader, it is important to look at other small businesses in need and ask yourself, “how can we help them succeed?”

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.

I would love to inspire women to support women’s movement. Women are hard on each other and look at each other as competitors, rather than encouragers. There needs to be a bigger push in encouraging collaboration among women especially for younger girls who are constantly surrounded by female competition. Instead of viewing each other as competition, women need to realize that we’re all on the same team. We should find happiness in each other, instead of bringing each other down.

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.

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Michelle Obama. She is an absolute rock star. I love her story and who she has become on her journey. I’m inspired by the way she stayed true to herself and her children in creating the most normal life possible for her family as the first family.

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

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