In Conversation with Alicia Scott of Range Beauty
Describe your business in a few words?
Range Beauty is clean beauty for the forgotten shades, utilizing botanicals in makeup specifically formulated for acne and eczema-prone skin.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I made the leap because I was tired of not finding options for my skin tone and type. Once I noticed the extreme lack of makeup for deeper skin tones free of irritating and toxic ingredients, I knew I needed to create a solution.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I went to Virginia Tech for Fashion Merchandising and Design. After graduation, I moved to New York and worked in the fashion industry holding several different roles ranging from a designer’s assistant to an account executive for several brands. These positions sometimes had me behind the scenes checking in on models during runway shows or press shoots. I noticed a lot of Black models coming to set with their own makeup kits. After asking a model what was so special about her kit, she explained how a makeup artist once said to her, “I can’t do the look the designer is requesting because I don’t have anything in my kit for your skin tone.” Her story led me to look at my own non-existent makeup collection. With my eczema, acne, and brown skin, it was impossible to find a brand made for me. I left the fashion world to take on the beauty world!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I always dreamed of having my own fashion line and store. The dream just shifted to beauty instead!
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?
Social media and word of mouth! Both were free! I built up hype on Instagram and Twitter before officially launching. One of my tweets went viral and led to our initial sales. I also had family and friends telling everyone about the line which helped with more exposure and sales.
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?
My recent challenge came last year. The pandemic just started and shortly following was the resurgence of Black Lives Matter. There was an increase and urgency to support all things Black owned. The exposure from this caused us to sell out of 4 months of inventory in 3 weeks. With the pandemic, our manufacturer pivoted to producing hand sanitizer so all cosmetics orders were on backorder. It was such a crazy time, I had to get resourceful but we made it happen and I’m grateful for all the opportunities and exposure it brought us.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Absolutely landing the Target account. We launched our business August 2018 and launched on Target.com in October last year. I did that completely bootstrapped, no investors, no big team, everything made in house. It’s a significant milestone for me.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
My go-to question: What impact do you want to have on this brand? Biggest hiring tip as a start-up is hiring someone who truly wants to build with you. There will be times where wearing a few hats at a time is needed. Will this person turn their nose up at having to help or are they willing to roll their sleeves up and get to work? Do they genuinely believe in your mission and brand and want to see you succeed?
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The biggest impact was during the beginning of the pandemic with our manufacturer issue mentioned previously. Next came USPS. They took an enormous hit and it trickled down to each and every business who utilized them. Customers were angry, we were frustrated! It caused me to tap into another resource for our online shopping called Route which handles all shipping concerns and is free to the vendor. Customers pay a small fee think .80 cents and Route steps in to handle any package claims for lost, stolen, delayed mail. It’s been a huge weight off our shoulders and our customer service inbox is no longer flooded with package emails.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
More retail expansion! I want Range to be as easily accessible as possible. We will continue adding onto our line with more makeup meets skincare products. Next will be a skincare line in the same efforts dedicated to acne and eczema. Expect to see continued growth.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Plan big! There’s a shift that occurs from having a side hustle to becoming a CEO. I learned to plan around the bigger picture instead of thinking small.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew how many rebrands I would go through!! I tell every new founder please do not splurge on packaging and design too early.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I’m grateful everyday for what I have presently. I left my 9-5 in December 2019 to do Range full-time. I was nervous and had no idea what 2020 would bring. Whew what a year it turned out to be. But my business made it. I still have my health and a roof over my head and my loved ones are alive and well. That’s all I need to stay grounded.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! Burn-out is real! I learned that very early on while balancing a 9-5, business, and personal life. You have to make time, it’s easier said than done sometimes but it’s a need. Have fun, recovery time, you time, time with loved ones whatever it is! Step away from the work.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I lived overseas for 6 years. From 5th grade to 10th grade, my family lived in the Middle East. We spent 2 years in Kuwait, 2 in Egypt, 2 in Jordan. I finished my junior and senior years in the US.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Review your task list the day before, add/remove what you need to for the following day.
- Don’t make your to-do list too long! If there’s a major project, that’s the priority and then 2-3 small tasks.
- Make sure to take breaks instead of trying to get everything done in one sitting.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an entreprenista means being a woman business leader. We are scrappy and resourceful! We’re powerful. With this title comes responsibility though, it means we support, uplift, empower, and teach our fellow entreprenistas too.