In Conversation with Amanda McIntosh of Take My Face Off

Amanda McIntosh_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Take My Face Off replaces ugly disposables with cute reusables.

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

I kept looking for a better washcloth. I needed one for my cleansing routine and terry cloth was too rough, wipes make me break out and cotton balls are yucky. It was one of those, “well, if no one else is going to do it, I guess I have to!” 

It seemed silly that we had all of these beautiful skincare products that needed application or removal. I’m talking about masks, makeup removers, oils, cleansers, gels, toners, astringents, etc. Our only choice for the wiping action was cotton. Cotton is bulky, thirsty, and scratchy—totally unsuited to skincare. 

I didn’t know anything about sewing or fabric sourcing. However, creating something better than a cotton ball or a lumpy washcloth seemed doable. When I realized that cotton balls and wipes were awful for the planet (in addition to being bad at their jobs), it went from being a fun project to a life mission.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I started off in classical music. My first “real” job was in an orchestra in Spain. After I got married, we wanted to move back to the US, so I went to work for my mother’s business consulting firm. I wound up staying for ten years and working with some of the world’s leading companies. It taught me two important lessons:

  • If you’re practical, you can be good at business.
  • For all of its practicality, business is also creative.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I had no idea. “Entrepreneurship” always seemed so audacious. However, I was always trying to come up with novel solutions for problems. I’m glad I got past my fear of the label. It’s where I belong.

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?

I had no real plan. It’s embarrassing. I created a whole line of products, including packaging, photos, trademarks and patent applications. I created some beautiful visuals and I took it all to the world’s largest beauty trade show.

I guess I just thought people would see my booth, notice how great it was, and things would take care of themselves. That was clueless, but a lot of great things came from the event. First, it was a crash course in explaining the product and seeing how people took the information. I could constantly adjust the pitch, watch the reaction, and adjust again. It showed me what people cared about and what bored them. So helpful!

In terms of “catching on,” a third-party manufacturer noticed my eye makeup remover and thought there was an opportunity for a licensing deal with Sephora. This wound up working out, and I was able to say that my first retail relationship was Sephora. So I guess my not-a-plan worked.

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’ve made a ton of mistakes. The one that bugs me the most was a set of contractors I shouldn’t have hired. I let them convince me that they were “cooler” than I was and that they knew best. I found out the hard way to never, ever work with people who try and make you feel inferior. It’s a sign of immaturity or bad ethics, or maybe both.

I made that mistake because I wanted to learn from people who were different from me. I know it’s a cliche, but it taught me to always listen to my gut. There are people who are both trustworthy and different. Just look harder.

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

Launching on QVC this fall. When people see a demo of how my product works, they light up! However, it’s hard for new concepts to gain traction, so a platform like that is the entrepreneur’s dream. 

To be honest, it was the wildest ride of my life. That includes the way we met QVC, the negotiation process, finding a way to produce our biggest order safely in the middle of a pandemic, and going on live TV via Skype from my kids’ bathroom (because it’s bigger than mine). It’s something I dreamed of years ago, and watching it come to fruition was…surreal and great. My friends said I looked calm on air, but I was totally freaking out!

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

Beauty is all over the place. Some companies are doing great, while others are struggling. We’ve had our biggest opportunities ever and our sales have trended higher. I expect that to continue for us, especially as more people become aware of the impact of disposables on the environment. Of course, we’re a totally new category, so our experience will probably be different from the rest of beauty.

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

We’re launching our first truly unisex product next month. It’s an exfoliation product that addresses a big gap in the marketplace, especially for men. Some of our launches will continue to be replacements for disposable products, while others will just better, more functional versions of products that already exist. We are making the point that the planet and user experience can go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to choose one over the other, and we prioritize both.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

To keep your team involved in the solutions, especially when you think you’re out of options. If you get them involved, you’ll find a solution that’s better than anything you imagined possible.

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

Delegating is great, but you have to know how everything works. Give every single task a try before you hire someone else to do it.  That way, you’ll know what’s needed and you’ll choose the right people. Also, you’ll save a lot of money on mistakes you won’t make.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I remember that all of the stress is because I have options. Even when I have big problems, I get to choose and I’m not up against a wall. Recognizing you have a choice is to realize you are ultimately free.

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

I think it goes up and down, but it’s about true priorities. I’m not a sailor, but I think it’s like boating—you’re aiming for a destination, and you won’t travel in a straight line. You have to course correct a lot, and you eventually get where you want to go. Do your best to plan, chart a course, consider all of the issues, and then take it easy when things spill over. If you know your real priorities, you’ll eventually make the right choices.

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

I still perform with professional orchestras sometimes and I love Star Trek.

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

  • When it feels like a slog, or you don’t know what to do, don’t work through it. Our work ethic might say to keep going, but it’s wrong. Step back for a minute. Get some perspective and you’ll wind up making a better, more efficient choice.
  • Try to meditate a little every day. Even a few minutes in the morning before you get out of bed is better than nothing.  
  • Finish lunch with a coffee.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being different is a strength. I’m not the perfect woman, or the perfect mom, or the perfect boss, but there’s literally no one else like me, and I intend to make the most of that.

Share it!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns

Describe your business in a few words? SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a…

How Heather Ouida and her co-founders are amplifying women’s voices in the gaming industry through the*gameHERs

Describe your business in a few words? The*gameHERs is a media platform and social networking community that connects, supports and amplifies women who game and who work in the gaming industry. Our mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers who are comfortable in spaces that…

Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Describe your business in a few words? It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also…

Jen Fuller on how Etta Loves delivers both babies’ cognitive development and calmness for parents through uniquely-designed baby products

Describe your business in a few words? Etta Loves baby essentials are uniquely designed with science to support babies’ visual and cognitive development, delivering wonder for babies and calm for parents in the everyday. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had an idea that I couldn’t ignore when my…

How Jessica Jackson is achieving better sleep for both parents and their babies through The Mookabee Swaddle

Describe your business in a few words? The Mookabee Swaddle is committed to helping babies (and ultimately their parents!) achieve better sleep by utilizing the proven power of a parent’s scent. 10% of all profits are donated to Saving Mothers- a non profit dedicated to improving maternal health worldwide. What made you take the leap…

Stacie Stanley on empowering women through her swimwear brand STAYkini™

Describe your business in a few words? STAYkini™ is a swimwear revolution created to empower women through high-quality, backless, strapless swimwear that lets us move freely and soak up the sun while avoiding unwanted tan lines and accidental exposure. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had the idea for…

Healing Trauma and Getting In Touch With Your Power with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of Call Of The Wild

What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’ve always worked for myself (beside when I waited tables and a brief foray into public school teaching). But I took the leap from a calling to a career when I became a mother. What was your background prior to starting your own business?…

How Nicole Boyd used her maternity leave to create Prept, a personal style and beauty help service delivered to consumers virtually so that everyone can feel Prept

Describe your business in a few words? Prept is an on-demand style + beauty concierge that matches women in need of style/beauty help to experts that can help in an affordable, personalized, and digital way. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Having TIME OFF from my corporate job while on…

Daniela Schiliro & Heather Kamback on co-founding inBodi Swim, a swimwear brand inspired by different places of the world the duo has traveled together

Describe your business in a few words? Each collection of inBodi Swim has been thoughtfully created based on different places around the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience. Along with the environments, colors, textures, cultures of each place; we are most inspired by the unique beauty that each and every woman…

Women Making Bold Moves In Business

Your next read: Ali Kriegsman, co-founder of Bulletin, has released her debut book How To Build A Goddamn Empire. We can’t wait to check it out!  🎉 An exciting partnership: Rocksbox, founded by Meaghan Rose, was acquired by Signet Jewelers, making their $1B service business goal that much closer. 🎉 Top sellers: The Jills Zeder Group, a women-led…

Jasmine Carter on how her own obsession for engagement rings led her to create Balacia, a custom bridal jewelry brand that allows shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? Balacia is a custom bridal jewelry brand allowing shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams within their budget. We use diamonds, moissanite, and gemstones so buyers have endless options for colors, shapes, and sizes for their rings. In addition to rings, we also make…

How Julianne Fraser is creating meaningful dialogues with Dialogue New York, a global digital marketing consultancy that specializes in influencer marketing

Describe your business in a few words? Dialogue New York is a global digital marketing consultancy, that specializes in building influencer marketing strategies for luxury and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Over the last decade, I’ve watched as the Wild, Wild West of Influencer Marketing took shape,…

Tiffany Buzzatto on pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty with her brand DEW MIGHTY

Describe DEW MIGHTY in a few words? We are pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty. We plan to always deliver effective skin care products without fillers, sans water, free of nasty ingredients, and without plastic or trashy packaging to always USE LESS. DEW MORE™ What made you take the leap to start your own…

Molly Fienning on how Red Clay turned her into a hot sauce fanatic and CEO

Describe your business in a few words? Red Clay is a cold-pressed, made-for-foodies hot sauce and hot honey brand, named “Tabasco for the 21st century” by Food and Wine Magazine and “a hot honey to elevate your meal” by The New York Times. Crafted by a talented Southern chef, we focus on delicious flavor, sustainably-sourced…

Jhoanna Marissa, founder of WILLA Creative Agency, on creating her dream women-led digital creative agency in the fashion and lifestyle space

Describe WILLA Creative Agency in a few words? A digital-first creative agency working with beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Not being able to find my dream job. I wanted to work in the digital e-commerce space specifically in beauty and fashion. And back when…