How Brittany Gray, founder of Fancy Face Inc, bootstrapped her way to beauty industry success

Brittany Gray_Blog Header

Brittany Gray’s background in entertainment gave her an appreciation for high-quality makeup which she was able to turn into Fancy Face Inc, a multi service salon and cosmetics line. Brittany shares with us the importance of taking leaps of faith, how she was able to pivot to her own product line during COVID-19, and why you should hire to your weaknesses.

Describe your business in a few words?

Fancy Face changes the way you see beauty, by empowering womxn to see the transformative power of beauty. We provide luxury in-home, on-site, or in-studio hair and makeup services for women who want to feel exquisitely beautiful for any occasion. We care about the details when it matters most – and that’s why we’re Canada’s most prestigious beauty team.

Our namesake cosmetics line offers products to take your signature Fancy Face experience and make it a part of your daily beauty routine to feel fancy everyday.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I always had a passion for cosmetics and for the makeup industry as a whole. I always thought that acting, singing and dancing professionally would remain my sole focus, but I also couldn’t deny my calling to pursue makeup artistry and entrepreneurship. Growing up with an entrepreneurial father, I was consistently learning from him about how to grow a business and be a leader.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Prior to launching my business in 2006, I had already pursued a performing arts career from age 15-26 yrs. My first professional job was dancing and singing in the movie Chicago with Catherine Zeta Jones. Little did I know, the first project I worked on would win an Oscar! Beyond that, I continued to work in Disney films and in TV & theatre projects. I really fell in love with how great makeup and hair could inspire my best performance in a project.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

My path to entrepreneurship grew slowly over time. Growing up, I admired how my dad always was working toward personal and professional growth. I grew up reading his collection of books that really formed the business man he is today. As time went on, I started to discover a true passion for entrepreneurship and that I had a knack for it.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

My motto has always been to let the quality of the work speak for itself. When we first launched, we didn’t enlist in any traditional forms of marketing, for the first 8 years. Instead, we relied heavily on word of mouth – from women sharing their stories on how our services made women feel. I’m proud to say I’ve bootstrapped this entire business myself, which makes our organic marketing something I’m so incredibly thankful for.  I really owe my growth to our supportive community and the talent of our incredible artists.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I would say as a business owner, there’s constant ups and downs. So, this one’s a bit difficult to pinpoint, but if I could mention one thing in particular I would say: 

We always hear about women championing and empowering other women. And while I’ve had many experiences of this, of which I am so thankful, I have also had experiences of women who have done the opposite. And as a female entrepreneur, when experiencing growth for the first time, that can be very saddening and disheartening. It’s hard to compartmentalize and know who to turn to when we really need support or someone to help us climb through difficult periods. I look at this now and recognize just how much it is our duty, as women to support and empower each other. I wholeheartedly believe there is room for all of us.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

After 15 years of growing this business to where it is now. I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t get any type of formal training in business, however I have utilized following my gut and intuition every step of the way. What I’ve learned is that there is no “one” way to drive your business, we’ve taken a unique path and it has been incredibly advantageous.  If you don’t always know what can go wrong, then you take leaps of faith blindly, and that has served me well. I am also proud to have bootstrapped this business every step of the way with no external funding. That isn’t always easy, but I’m proud to be the sole owner of my business.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I definitely think you should always focus on hiring your weaknesses. I’ve found our best hires to be those that have followed and supported the brand for sometime before applying to work with us. I usually ask where they see themselves in 3-5 years. This question almost always indicates whether they will be someone who is a team player and wants to grow with you or if their ideal scenario would be to utilize you as a stepping stone.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We have two sides of our business: the service side  & the product side. Our service side facilitates thousands of special events each year. That area of our business came to a complete halt once COVID hit. Thankfully, a few months prior to the pandemic we launched our namesake cosmetics line. Our consumers and supporters, after 15 years were very much ready for us to launch products, so our e-commerce site quite literally helped us stay above water and thankfully, we grew exponentially this past year as well.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

I see us continuing to sink our teeth into growing the cosmetics line of the business. When I think back to why I started Fancy Face, it was due to my love for everything about cosmetics – from packaging, formulas, components and all. This feels very full circle for me.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

It has truly affirmed the importance of being resilient.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

To not be concerned about slow and steady growth. If it wasn’t for this, I likely wouldn’t have built the company I have now. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

How could anyone not be grounded this year? Humbling experience to say the least.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

No. I personally don’t always strive for complete balance in my life. I am a wife and a mother of two children under 4 so, as you can imagine with also running a full-time business, I am pulled in many directions. I strive for happiness and the happiness of those I love and care about. Balance, maybe we will meet one day.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am terrible at watching movies. I have a really short attention span and usually just fall asleep if I actually have the time to sit down and watch something. Also, I am a terrible cook and I can’t catch a ball to save my life. There’s 3 things for you.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

To-Do Lists are everything to me. For me, I have my lists in my phone and write them constantly. When you become quite busy, I do think having a great assistant to keep you on track is a real bonus. Also, pre-plan your days when you can – and accomplish the most important things first, no matter how time consuming.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means inspiring generations to come to follow their dreams and not be afraid to take the path less travelled.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

1 Comments

  1. Joan Byrne on March 26, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Excellent article Britt, very proud of your accomplishments . A full time mom and full time working mom are both very realistic. 💗Aunt Joan

Leave a Comment





Natalie Ramirez Designs Impactful Spaces With Her Architecture Firm

Hi, Natalie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business. Natalie Soledad Ramírez is the Founder and Principal Architect of Natalie Ramirez Architecture + Impact Collaborative. She has worked in architecture for over 14 years. She believes that the built environment can act as a catalyst for positive change and has devoted much…

Massage Therapist Gabby Garduno Promotes Self-Care and Mental Wellness

Hi, Gabby! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hola, I’m Gabby, a Los Angeles mobile massage therapist providing massage for self care and mental wellness. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Definitely being in a community with ladies who want to help build each other up! What made…

How Leslie Roberson Became a Leader in Inclusive Beauty Retail

“I became hyper detailed on the processes and how the business should run. Any good business, this should be the baseline. Nothing else, like this is it. How does your business run without you? My team understands that everyone’s on board, so they just move through the system systematically. And so if they have any…

How Renee Parsons Innovated Golf Apparel in a Male-Dominated Industry

“Just surround yourself with people that are not necessarily better than you, but that bring something to the table you don’t—and [don’t] be intimidated by that or threatened by that. I love collaborating and I love having people on my team that bring something to the table and can teach me, and I feel like…

Laurie Arron on Her Coaching Biz for C-Suite Execs and Chiefs of Staff

Hi, Laurie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Laurie. I’m a trusted advisor and executive coach to C-Suite leaders and Chiefs of Staff. I’m also the founder of ChiefSpace Boardroom, a group coaching mastermind for Chiefs of Staff. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am…

Take a Look Inside Our Founders Weekend VIP Gift Bags

We’re still thinking about the VIP gift bags from Founders Weekend! The gift bags were filled with such innovative, useful (and luxurious!) products. Amplifying women-owned businesses is what we’re all about and we want to be sure all of the founders that featured products in our VIP Founders Weekend gift bags are discovered by all…

Dalana Lara Turned Her Passion for Baking Into a Cookie Biz

Hi, Dalana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Dalana, founder of The Cookie Mania. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I moved to the U.S. in 2015. My lifelong passion for baking was always a part of me, even though I went to college and graduated as an accountant. Beyond balancing…

Ariana Olive Helps People Reach Their Financial Goals Through Planning

Hi, Ariana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: With over fifteen years of experience in finance and business management, Ariana is a performance-driven professional who provides strategic guidance to help individuals, families, and small-business owners reach their financial goals through comprehensive financial planning. She focuses on four key areas: tax planning,…

How Marina Khidekel Made Her Business a Household Name Through Networking

“Everybody has an unfair advantage. Use it. It could be an expertise that you have, that could be contacts you have in an industry that’s adjacent to the industry of your startup or can help your startup—use that. When Marina Khidekel started her search for a solution to her nighttime anxiety, she turned to weighted…

Elsi Pacheco on Her Brand Development and Digital Design Agency

Hi, Elsi! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Elsi. I am the creative force behind Link Up Level Up, bringing over 20 years of experience in marketing, design, and website development to the digital space for business owners. I was born and raised in the vibrant hustle of New York,…

How Tisha Thompson Launched the First Black-Owned Clean Makeup Brand at Sephora

“There’s a lot of things that come with being able to support a retailer like that… If you’re not ready for those things, then go DTC first because you also have to have: Is your product merchandisable? Do you have unit cartons? Do you have UPCs? All of these kinds of operational tactical things that…

Shulamit Ber Levtov Supports Woman Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health & Well-Being

Hi, Shulamit! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, CCTP, aka The Entrepreneurs’ Therapist. I’m passionate about mitigating the entrepreneurial mental health crisis and transforming the entrepreneurial ecosystem to include the whole human in business. I do that through speaking, teaching, and consulting, as well as…

5 Tips for Planning a Seamless Event

Founders Weekend was a month ago, and we still can’t get over the impact the event made for our community. Seeing our members, in person, connecting and collaborating with each other was what it was all about.  The content that was captured truly reflects the feeling of our Founders Weekend event and we can’t wait…

Gina Caracci Does it All: Trainer, Podcaster, and Charity Founder

Hi, Gina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Gina aka GinaMarieFit. I’m a NASM personal trainer, business owner, podcaster, and charity organization founder. When I set out to become a personal trainer and online business owner, my goal was to provide more than just workouts and macros. I wanted to…

Building a 50,000+ Community While Navigating Postpartum Challenges

“I really care about people and I really care to see people thrive in communities where they feel welcomed.” Amanda Smith is the Founder & CEO of Dallas Girl Gang, a 50,000 plus global community of engaged women connecting in career, business, and life. Amanda, a former elementary music teacher, has grown Dallas Girl Gang…