I’m excited to be back today with the next installment of Witty Conversation With featuring one of the co-founders of Stowaway Cosmetics: Chelsa Crowley. The cosmetics line was born from the idea that we often never really get around to finishing our cosmetics. (Seriously, do you know the last time you finished a lipstick?!) So Stowaway decided to make perfectly portable cosmetics. No more toting around loads of product. Just stash your Stowaway and go.
I personally love lines that just “get it” and Stowaway is one of those. They’ve nailed a great concept, designed beautiful packaging and found a way to make women’s lives a bit easier and less cluttered. And the best part? The product formulations are great. I’ve come to rely on my Stowaway Simple Set for long weekends whenever I’m traveling and I’m also a fan of keeping the mascara and cheek and lip tint in my work bag for on the go touchups.
Without further delay…read on to know about the conception of the brand, Chelsa’s advice for women looking to start a business (loved her tips!) and the travel essentials she can’t live without. Hope you all had a wonderful long weekend!
Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences.
Stowaway co-founder, wife, and mom to two cats and a little human. I split my time between New York City and upstate New York. I love travel, exercise, candy, and beauty products.
What is your background in?
I actually studied marketing but never really got into any proper marketing career. Instead, I began my career as a makeup artist and after college worked in-house on product education for Clinique for many years. I also spent a few years in fashion at Calvin Klein Collection, I worked as a freelance stylist, and even worked as a freelance writer before Stowaway.
How did it lead to the creation of Stowaway Cosmetics?
I always loved the beauty industry so it’s no surprise I find myself back in it. Stowaway was born out of frustration that both my co-founder Julie and I had about not finding sizes that made more sense for how we live our lives. We wanted smaller (or as we like to call them right-sized!) essentials that we love in sizes we could carry and actually finish before the expiration date. We wanted to create safe products that didn’t need all the questionable chemicals for shelf-life (which are known endocrine disruptors!). I learned a ton about products, ingredients, and expirations dates when I was with Clinique…all knowledge I could have taken for granted. Most women don’t have that insight on their products (nor should they…) but they should be able to buy their products without the worry of unsafe chemicals or feel overwhelmed by the marketing gimmicks and insanely convoluted beauty industry.
What is your role at the company?
I’m the co-founder & Chief Creative Officer!
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learned in developing your own business?
There have been thousands! The key is working through them and understanding them for the future.
What’s been the best part of starting Stowaway Cosmetics?
Our Customers. They have been so phenomenal; their support, feedback, and love for the brand has been a big boost and driver when days get rough.
You developed a brand for women on the go…where are your favorite places to visit?
Such a hard question! I have many favorites. Truthfully, I’ve found joy in all of the places I’ve traveled to, though I really enjoyed my time in Tokyo and my husband and I took our honeymoon in South Africa where we went on safari which was pretty magical. And a few years back a few friends and I went on a road trip through Portugal which is still maybe my favorite trip I’ve ever done. It was the perfect mix of adventure, beach, and city.
What are 3 travel essentials you can’t live without?
Well, Stowaway of course! But I also can’t live without my Clinique Moisturizing face spray. I buy the large ones and pour it into a small bottle I got from them from a gift with purchase. It’s wonderful when traveling and especially on flights. My 3rd would probably be my computer/phone. I can’t go very long disconnected as it makes me anxious. Some people might call that a problem but hey… 🙂
What’s your favorite product in the Stowaway line?
I can’t answer that, that’s like picking your favorite child or pet — you love them all equally! That said, the concealer is really a dream.
What advice do you have for women wanting to start a business?
I have a few that has helped me:
1. Make sure you are honest with yourself on what you are not good at and find others around you who can fill those voids.
2. My co-founder says this a lot and it’s great advice, but learn to not be embarrassed. Starting something is rough and at times can be uncomfortable (and embarrassing). As women, we are hard on ourselves, don’t be.
3. Learn to be flexible. Nothing ever goes the way you want, especially in the beginning.
4. Secure a good support system around you (friends, family, boyfriend/husband, co-founder) and when I say support system, I don’t mean people you can go to for advice but rather someone you can vent to, cry on, or just sit in silence because you don’t want to talk. Starting a business is like a roller coaster and they’re always more fun and less scary when you can take loved ones along for the ride.
What are 3 tools or apps you can’t live without?
Hmm, hard to pick only three! For our home, I love Nest, Amazon Echo, and Withings (I have the scale, watch, and now even their baby monitor). As for apps, I love Foursquare, it helps me figure out where to eat when decision fatigue kicks in or when I’m traveling and out of my element (Editor’s Disclosure: Chelsa is actually married to Foursquare’s CEO!) I also love Nike+ Running for keeping track of my runs.
Describe your morning ritual?
I shower in the evenings so I can sleep in a little more but I tend to get out of bed anytime between 7-8am (which is hard with 2 cats who beg for my attention in the morning). And then I use my morning hours to hang with my husband and chat about the day. Sometimes I love getting in a workout in the morning if I have time. I typically head into my office around 9-9:45 AM. However I’m a week away from my due date (first baby!) so ask me this again in a week and I’m sure it will change dramatically. (Editor’s note: Chelsa did have her baby – major congrats!)
Best words of wisdom ever given to you?
Make sure you love what you are doing. Life is too short to spend your most valuable resource (your time) on something that doesn’t inspire you.
Many thanks to Chelsa for being a part of the Witty Conversation series!
My Favorite Stowaway Products:
[Photos 1 & 4 by Janica Moore; Photo 2 by Bekka Palmer & remaining c/o Stowaway Cosmetics]