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Women of the C-Suite: “My first piece of advice when it comes to leadership would be to forget that you are female” with Tracy Holland and Chaya Weiner

My first piece of advice when it comes to leadership would be to forget that you are female. Remove that 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. Then, go empower your team the same way any […]


My first piece of advice when it comes to leadership would be to forget that you are female. Remove that 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. Then, go empower your team the same way any good leader would — play to their motivations, give them a voice, and make sure to tell your story along the way. It’s amazing how quickly your teams rally behind your mission when they understand and trust the journey it’s taken to get you there.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracy Holland, one of the leading innovators in the beauty and personal care industry as a key retail strategist and market development expert. As co-founder and CEO of HATCHBEAUTY, her background has led the company in both financial and business growth strategies. Offering best-in-class incubation with retailers and influencers to develop wellness and beauty brands, HATCHBEAUTY has approximately 60 employees, over 10 owned brands, with 20 retail partnerships. Holland’s expertise in the areas of national brand development and tactical sales planning have led to successful market launches for HATCH brands such as Nuance Salma Hayek, Orlando Pita Haircare, Bliss, FOUND, NatureWell, Kristopher Buckle, and Costco’s Beauty’s Most Wanted prestige beauty strategy. Prior to HATCHBEAUTY’s inception, Holland worked for a handful of beauty companies in executive leadership roles. She resided in Spain for a year while studying Flamenco and Spanish at the University of Seville. She received a Master’s Degree at Columbia University with a focus on Change Management. Tracy Holland is a member of YPO, and West Coast chairperson, as well as board member, of the beauty industry group, ICMAD. She is a member of The Committee of 200, (C200), an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders. Holland is also a member of Founders Pledge, a non-profit organization that pledges a portion of transaction related proceeds to causes passionate to the entrepreneur. In 2017, Holland received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award in the Manufacturing & Distribution category in Los Angeles. Holland is a mom of three grade school children, and resides in Los Angeles.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was in graduate school at Columbia University, a friend of mine and I came up with the idea of scented nail polish. Like the good entrepreneurs to-be we were, we hit the ground running — creating multiple formulations and a unique selling proposition along with it. I invested my student loans to underwrite the development and ended up pitching this new line to a series of retailers. It was the first time I got a taste for what would later become a passion for retail and brand incubation. In fact, our co-partnership with Spencer’s Gifts was the first time I ever brought the retailer into the product development room and asked them what they wanted. The collaboration was a huge success — driving almost two million in sales in one year. Most importantly, it opened the door to what would later become a breakthrough business idea for the beauty and retail industry — a practice we later started calling brand incubation.

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

In business (and life), everyone tells you to “fake it till you make it”. In the first few years of HatchBeauty Brands, we lived by that motto. The ability to look bigger than we were allowed us to win a few key pieces of business in those early years — to say we were creative is an understatement. 
 
 Fast forward, a few months into Hatch 2.0, and the learning curves keep coming. Reinventing a company, including some key stakeholder changes, isn’t easy, but the process has taught me a lot about staying focused and bringing your a-game at every level.

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?

Anytime you are working with product, things can get interesting fast. In the very beginning stages of the company, we had four products go to market with very similar packaging. Unfortunately, not all of the packages contained the right formulas and as I am sure you can imagine, putting an “almond scrub” into a mislabeled package can create a host of issues — legal and otherwise. At the time, I wouldn’t have described the situation as funny, but it did teach both myself and my team a lot about how to navigate sticky situations and prepared us for the days when our QA process would need to be 10 times more daunting.

The most important lesson I’ve learned in business to-date is that the problem in front of you will always be smaller than what’s coming, so get REALLY good at finding solutions and moving forward.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

While Hatch has always been innovative in what it brings to market, what makes us truly special are the people we bring into the drawing room with us. We’ve built a business by collaborating with talent and retailers at every turn.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

As the beauty & wellness spaces continue to merge, we are excited to be part of bringing luxury wellness into the mass market. When it comes to beauty, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it, and the good stuff shouldn’t be reserved for consumers who have a lot of money to spend. Some of our current brands and retail partnerships are testaments to this, and the best is yet to come. Right now, we are working on a new project that will redefine how the entire industry sees beauty and self care.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

My first piece of advice when it comes to leadership would be to forget that you are female. Remove that 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. Then, go empower your team the same way any good leader would — play to their motivations, give them a voice, and make sure to tell your story along the way. It’s amazing how quickly your teams rally behind your mission when they understand and trust the journey it’s taken to get you there.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

As teams grow, you have the benefit of bringing more senior people into your fold. It’s super important to know your strengths and weaknesses and hire people who help compensate for what you don’t do well. And trust me, you aren’t going to be able to do everything well. My team knows I can go from zero to sixty in a nano-second; they also know that once I get the ball rolling, I’m going to need their help to push it over the finish line. Hiring people with a strong desire to see a project through to completion while remaining nimble has been the secret to my success.

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?

I’ve had the pleasure of calling Christie Hefner, formerly executive chairman, Canyon Ranch Enterprises and chairman and CEO, Playboy Enterprises, a friend and mentor for several years now. I personally believe all women should make sure they have a network of other women that represent all ages and stages of the career world. It gives you perspective.

Equally so, Matt Nordby, one of our Lion Capital partners, has really come alongside me in the last 6 months to take HatchBeauty Brands to the next level. The advice and the network have been invaluable to helping us reach our goals.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Be it directly with my staff through lunch & learns or with my YPO group, I regularly seek out opportunities to mentor women in the career world. Specifically, to remind them, we only have so much time on the planet to make an impact, smile at people, engage in conversation, put yourself out there, open yourself to connect and opportunities — they are all around.

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

– You can have children and a career. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

– You don’t have to have all of the answers, but you’ve got to get really good at asking the right questions.

– If you are starting a business, use a team assessment tool. I would call Doug Kisgen from Cultural Index, fast!

– If you’ve got the opportunity to get an MBA, do it.

– Trust your gut. You are so much smarter than you realize.

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. 🙂

● Female access to education, money, funding and business opportunities

● Partnership and mentoring (globally) between seasoned and green female entrepreneurs

● Idea pitching and incubation forums that can be accessed from anywhere in the world — giving those who may be more remote or without resources a chance to pitch their ideas to people who can make them happen

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

“Apply 10X energy to everything you want to build and grow. Don’t stop, keep calling and pushing. I believe it takes 10X energy to push past mediocre results.”

This quote has inspired my entire approach to business and life. From the book The 10X Rule — read it!

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 with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Yes! Tony Robbins, Michelle Obama, Joe Dispenza and Oprah! (If you print their names REALLY big, will it make them more likely to reach out? :))

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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