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Tracy Holland of ‘Potential to Powerhouse’: “Know your strengths and weaknesses”

Women should think about how they want to spend their time, as it is one of the few things we have control over. It is a misnomer that working for yourself means freedom — that is not necessarily true. Being a founder is very time-consuming and exacting. However, the alternative, trading time for money (an hourly wage […]

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Women should think about how they want to spend their time, as it is one of the few things we have control over. It is a misnomer that working for yourself means freedom — that is not necessarily true. Being a founder is very time-consuming and exacting. However, the alternative, trading time for money (an hourly wage job) requires one to show up every day to get paid. Lawyers, doctors, and the like get paid by the hour; they have to show up and clock in to make a living. Building a business can create residual income, allowing flexibility in work schedule and availability, but it does not necessarily mean working less. All of these things need to be taken into account and considered when determining whether building a business is the right plan. Sometimes, taking a paycheck can be a bit of a break from the pressure … there are always two sides to every coin.


As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracy Holland.

Tracy Holland is a leading innovator in the beauty and wellness industry. As the co-founder and Executive Chairman of HATCHBEAUTY Brands, she has built an international reputation as an innovator and developer of successful wellness and beauty brands with a focus on new brand development for retailers worldwide. Fueled by a passion to connect with and uplift women with entrepreneurial aspirations, Tracy has launched Potential to Powerhouse: providing women entrepreneurs access to success secrets from female leaders via the Potential to Powerhouse podcast and a digital platform.


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 always loved innovation and appreciated the ever-changing demands of women who want to feel and look good. My passion for the category began back in graduate school at Columbia University when my friend and I launched and built a business in scented nail polish, which was a first-to-market idea. I invested my student loans to underwrite the development and ended up pitching this new line to a series of retailers. It was my first taste of what would later become a passion for innovation and new brand incubation.

In 2009, I co-founded HATCHBEAUTY Brands, a revolutionary beauty and wellness incubation platform with a focus on launching innovative, trendsetting, and intellectual property-driven brands in tandem with national and global retailers, celebrities, and influencers. HATCHBEAUTY Brands was the perfect blend of leveraging creative concept development with my knack for business to cultivate to launch new brands in wellness and beauty.

Every woman’s journey is different, but for me, a good night’s sleep was hard to come by until I could see my entrepreneurial vision begin to take tangible form. Looking backon those first few years of building HATCHBEAUTY, from a start-up into the multi-million-dollar success it is today, I wished I had access to powerhouse women who could help guide me through the hills and valleys on my journey to success. This hindsight wish, combined with my passion to connect with and uplift women with entrepreneurial aspirations, is what fueled my latest venture, Potential to Powerhouse.

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

Every year in business as an entrepreneur feels like a lifetime. In the beginning, lack of time and money meant moving quickly to get new business in play. I remember being three to four weeks post the birth of my daughter and securing a business meeting with the buying team at Costco, which was a big business opportunity. Rather than postpone the meeting, I put my newborn and nanny in the car and drove to their headquarters in Issaquah, WA. I nursed my little girl in a corner in the lobby before stepping into the meeting (of the century!). I then handed my baby to our nanny and pointed to the conference room in which I would be presenting, so she would know where to find me. About 20 minutes into my presentation, I could hear my daughter fussing in the hallway. I had a choice: to stop the meeting and step out or to share my situation with the Costco buying team and ask them if I could nurse while we spoke. Knowing that we had limited time, I chose the latter, as it was my one shot. The room stopped. I could hear a pin drop. They asked me how long it had been since I had given birth, and then, they welcomed both me and my daughter with open arms. I tossed a blanket over my shoulder, latched my daughter to my breast, and kept the presentation going without skipping a beat. Needless to say, we won the business.

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?

Mistakes abound as an entrepreneur. At the time of their happening, none of them seem funny. In hindsight, though, what I realized is they are all funny, even the ones that really seem humorless. In year two, when our company was growing by double digits, we quickly outgrew our office space. It became a constrained environment in which four to five people shared a single desk (and phone!). Our office was teeming with people, and we knew we had to move to expand. One afternoon, the front door buzzer rang, and there stood the fire marshal who had stopped by to do a “walk through.” He asked to be let in. I immediately knew we were in hot water — too many people in too little space. I sent a SKYPE message out to the team that everyone and I mean EVERYONE, had to unplug their heating wall units and take a nice, long lunch. As I walked up to greet the fire marshal, my business partner helped guide the rest of the team to exit the building. Lucky for us, we were able to move to a new location within the next couple of weeks, as we knew we had already had our lucky break.

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?

Christie Hefner, former executive chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises and chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, has been a friend and mentor for several years. I was introduced to her by Mindy Grossman of WW. Both Mindy and Christie are part of a greater network of smart, focused, and strong women leaders who I consider personal friends. My advice to any entrepreneur starting out is to develop a close network of confidants and successful advisors who have “been there and done that” to broaden your perspective.

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?

Sallie Krawcheck, the founder of Ellevest and a guest on Potential to Powerhouse podcast, says it most succinctly: there is a pay gap and a money gap between men and women both in earning power and company financing. The numbers speak for themselves. We need to put money into the hands of women. Women pay our loans back more readily, create bigger profits, and grow our businesses more quickly when properly funded. The fact is, today, women-owned businesses struggle to secure the funding they need to grow. Women-owned start-ups only receive three percent of venture capital. And women are also more likely than men to be denied funding. What is the best way to change the stats? Talk about it. Sharing a “how-I-built-it” conversation is the cornerstones of Potential to Powerhouse; let’s find out how other women have done it, and replicate it.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Christie Hefner in their life like I was. Mentorship from other powerhouse female entrepreneurs isn’t always readily available. Women have been competing for a seat at the table, which has historically made female entrepreneurs view each other as competition instead of resources and collaborators.

Combine all of this with the overwhelming pressure on women in their 30’s to find a love match, have a family, and build a massive career all in the same decade. By the way, she is expected to do all of this with an effortless smile! Let’s get real, friends: we are stronger together. So let’s figure it out together. Powerhouse thinking is where it all begins.

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?

It is not a government plan. This is a one-woman-at-a-time plan, as far as I am concerned. The mission behind Potential to Powerhouse is to give every woman access to powerhouse thinkers who then share their ideas and considerations for overcoming obstacles along with how to center yourself around core, fundamental, how-to programming.

The Potential to Powerhouse podcast brings together experienced women to share their success secrets and proven business tactics — mined from tough lessons and blockbuster wins — with up-and-coming powerhouse women in an effort to make the journey more collaborative and connected.

In addition to the podcast, Potential to Powerhouse is also a digital platform. We will launch with our first LIVE POWERHOUSE SUMMIT on May 19th and 20th , during which we will showcase big thinkers who want direct access to exclusive Q&A sessions, thought leader panels, masterclasses, and 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 should think about how they want to spend their time, as it is one of the few things we have control over. It is a misnomer that working for yourself means freedom — that is not necessarily true. Being a founder is very time-consuming and exacting. However, the alternative, trading time for money (an hourly wage job) requires one to show up every day to get paid. Lawyers, doctors, and the like get paid by the hour; they have to show up and clock in to make a living. Building a business can create residual income, allowing flexibility in work schedule and availability, but it does not necessarily mean working less. All of these things need to be taken into account and considered when determining whether building a business is the right plan. Sometimes, taking a paycheck can be a bit of a break from the pressure … there are always two sides to every coin.

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

You can live your ultimate life and build your ultimate business just by shifting how you see your circumstances. It’s very possible to be extremely successful and not work all hours of the day and night. Too many women stop themselves from taking the risk because they think the cost will be too high, or that they don’t have the time to work and have children. It doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a lot of women out there who have the hustle, the smarts, and the focus … they just need help with “the how.” I had three kids, was the sole breadwinner of the family, and built a multimillion-dollar business within a couple of years. Part luck, part timing, and part tenacity and focus. The hunger to win is paramount.

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?

Not every person is cut out to be a founder. I think a successful founder is born with a vision and a hunger to create and build. Risk is an inherent part of the equation, so get used to it. If you have those traits and are willing to take risks, then step into the vision daily with both feet. I believe that more women deserve a seat at the table, and that every woman should be a millionaire if she wants to be. It comes from within — the itch, the longing to do more, be more, and achieve every dream and goal that you just know is meant to be yours. You need to be willing to push past self-imposed limits with mindset shifts, focus, and grace.

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.)

Forget you’re female. Do not let it hold you back as to why you ‘can’t do it, won’t get funded, or won’t be taken seriously.’ I have heard these excuses; remove it from the equation. It will free up your headspace to do what needs to get done verses worrying about how you are perceived while you do it.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. As teams grow, you have the benefit of bringing more senior people into your fold. It is mission-critical to hire people who help compensate for the things you do not do well. And trust me, you aren’t going to be able to do everything well. So, let it go, and delegate.

You can have children and a career. It took some time, but I eventually learned how to successfully balance life and a business. It’s very possible to be extremely successful and not work all hours of the day and night.

You don’t have to have all the answers right away. Know what you don’t know, and get really good at asking questions. Reach out to your network for guidance, expand your network by joining organizations with like-minded entrepreneurs, and look for available resources, like Potential to Powerhouse.

Mindset over matter. Push past your fears and self-limitations. Surround yourself with other women who feel and have felt the same pressures, so they can help put you in the driver’s seat of your own life. Your personal network of friends and family should consist of your biggest advocates and greatest cheerleaders. If you have critical voices around you, dragging you down or naysaying your plans, remove them from your daily life. Protect your headspace, and watch your talk track. You must speak positively to yourself, always … no hindsight critics allowed.

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

We have one life. All the money in the world will not make anyone happy, including me, if we don’t have a purpose or “why.” I’m passionate about helping women realize their own dreams and make them happen. That is the driver for the Potential to Powerhouse platform.

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.

Connectedness, vulnerability, candid compassion: these are my goals for Potential to Powerhouse. As I watch this phase of my life unfold, staying connected to my value, and my values, is imperative, and sharing this with the greatest number of people to inspire and delight feels like a movement I want to be part of.

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.

As the hostess, my table for six would be for Oprah, Michelle Obama, Christie Hefner, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift and me. It gives me chills to even think about it; a common thread of compassion, vision, and limitless resources means the possibility of creating worlds.

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

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