At my dad & stepmom's house in Houston surrounded by women from my church who had known me since I was a baby
February is a month that always turns me back to a trip I made to Texas in 2012. After working as a makeup artist in NYC for 11 years, I had just launched Erin's Faces officially in November of 2011. I felt called to do a "Texas tour" in February to try to get the word out. I had grown up in Houston and went to TCU in Ft. Worth for college so I decided to hit those two towns to see if this thing had legs.
If memory serves I had 2 "parties", which later became Green Beauty Workshops, slated in Ft. Worth and 5 in Houston over the course of 5 days. My computer was dying - like snow on the screen/have to restart every 30 minutes dying - which didn't bode well to owning an e-commerce business. I needed to sell $2000 in products to pay for my airline tickets and buy a new computer.
My first stop was at my dear friend and college roommate, Alison's, house. She picked me up at the airport and I slept on her couch (there was no budget for car rentals or hotels). She put together a small group for me and I did my first ever Green Beauty Workshop. I sold $150. That night around 1am I laid on the made-up couch in her living room, after she and her family had gone to sleep, and began to panic. At this rate I wouldn't get anywhere close to my goal and would lose money (I am a banker's daughter so losing money is a major no-no for me). More thoughts came - "This was a terrible idea! Who did I think I was creating a beauty line?? No one needed this! They could walk into any drugstore, department store or Sephora and have a bevy of wonderful options to choose from. Why on earth would they need, or want, to buy something from me????"
I took a deep breath and a sense of quiet came over me. Previously in reading Simon Sinek's "Start with Why" I had determined that my "why" was "to love people" and I was reminded of that in that moment. My purpose wasn't to sell things, my purpose was to love people. And I had loved the women that night but I needed to keep that focus and not lose it with the pressure of a sales goal. This thought stilled my inner churning and allowed me to fall asleep.
New friend Leslie, myself, and Courtney - both of these ladies are still Erin's Faces supporters 💚
The next day at my friend Courtney's house, a group of 20 women gathered. I had set my intention to love them and center the night on that as well as gratitude that they were there. At the end of the evening I had sold over $2000.
I spent that night crying on Alison's couch but this time it was because I was so overcome with what was, to me, God's provision. I had felt led to start Erin's Faces, led to take this trip - everything with Erin's Faces felt like I had been guided from the jump. And this signaled that I was on to something. In spite of the fact that women could buy things at Target, that my products literally had label maker tape, and no one had ever heard of me, I went on to Houston and ended up selling $10,000 in product by the end of the week.
Melinda, who I had NEVER MET who hosted a party for me in Houston with the cupcakes she had made with my logo on them - I almost fell over. Melinda also still supports Erin's Faces 💚
That trip could have literally ended the whole thing! But it didn't - instead it showed that women were hungry to be heard, to understand things they were "supposed to know" about makeup/skincare but didn't, and that they valued someone normal listening to them and sharing with them. AND that focusing on the pure motive of love over money was the way I wanted to run my business.
I will say it takes recentering as we've gotten bigger and have fixed bills - rent for our space, payroll for our staff, and investments in research and development on products that hadn't even launched yet. The "money aspect" of it can feel overwhelming and stressful.
But I didn't want to just sell products. I had already done that for other people. I wanted more. I wanted to serve, to create and to have purpose. That bedrock of love is what anchors our company and I return to it often. I think of 34 year old Erin getting into a cab to go to the airport on a cold February day, headed to Texas. Dresses folded in a suitcase with so much hope in her heart and no idea of what was coming down the pike. So many lessons to be learned and so much more to come!