In Conversation with Melodie Reynolds of Elate Cosmetics

Melodie Reynolds_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Elate Cosmetics is all about ethical sustainable beauty products that inspire joy.

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

I had always assumed I was a good and conscious environmental citizen. Until I had an experience where I purchased a lipstick product, and as I unwrapped it I created a pile of garbage in front of me. It was the first time after 10 years in the beauty industry that I had thought about the amount of waste that cosmetic companies produce. I knew I could make a difference.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I’ve been in the beauty industry for 20 years now, prior to starting Elate I worked as the director of education for North America for a large international cosmetic company. I loved all the different facets of my job, how I connected with chemists about product development as well as connecting with business owners about how our products helped improve their businesses. This gave me such a great basis to start my company.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Absolutely not! When I finished high school I wanted to be an accountant. am I glad I did not go down that road, I would have been a terrible accountant. It’s funny it seems like it was a series of fortunate events that led me to where I am today. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint of heart, and although it is like a roller coaster I love it all.

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?

When I first started Elate I had absolutely zero marketing budget. I knew that I would have to be scrappy and do things in a slightly different way. I launched an Instagram account with the intention of educating my community on what I was trying to do, sustainable Cosmetics was just something that people were starting to think about and definitely wasn’t the mainstream. I used my social media accounts to connect with people who would eventually become my customers. I believe then, and I still believe now that education leads to empowerment which leads to conscious and more ethical  choices and we still follow this philosophy today for how we interact with our community.

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?

One of my biggest mistakes from the very beginning was trying to do everything myself. Because we are an entirely self-funded company I was always trying to save money by learning the tools and doing things on my own. I learned pretty quickly that this is not the way to grow a company, and now my mandate is always recognized when I am not good at and bring somebody on board who is good at it. I wasted so much time and money in the early days, trying to save time and money.

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

I am incredibly proud of my team here at Elate. We have a team that embodies our core values in their work everyday. Everyone truly cares about each other and the work that we are doing. Our company culture is second to none, in fact when the pandemic hit earlier this year instead of having to lay anyone off everyone on the team worked reduced hours so we could stay together and keep everybody working. so special to be a part of a group of people who believe so wholeheartedly and your vision that they would sacrifice for each other and for the team and for the company.

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

My favorite interview question is: tell me about a time you failed. The ability to fail and get back up again and learn from it is such a valuable skill. when we are bringing someone on our team at a late I want to know that they have experienced failure in their life and they have been able to get up from it but here’s the secret every single person has experienced a failure the key difference is someone who’s able to recognize it and is willing to talk about it. Those are the people who truly have self-awareness and enough curiosity to explore what they did in the past and how they can make it better in the future. When it comes to hiring for us we are interested in bringing on people that have great skills, but we are more interested in bringing on people that have personality traits that mean they want to learn things and grow with our company. We look for things like kindness, curiosity, work ethic, humility and empathy. You can teach someone how to do almost anything, but you can’t teach someone how to be a great person to work with.

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

Our business looks significantly impacted as we do partner with brick and mortar stores all over the world. Our e-commerce store continues to flourish but the large part of our business that is supporting our brick and mortar partners took a big hit. Our philosophy throughout it all has been to support our partners to make sure that when they can open their doors again we are there to help.

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

We have some amazing projects that we are working on this year! our passion for moving the beauty industry forward towards a more sustainable future knows no bounds. We are working on packaging redesign, as well as using more sustainable materials and creating refillable tubes. We also have some really exciting product formulations we are working on within the waterless realm.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

My biggest lesson was definitely that although we always loved celebrating our accomplishments, during the global pandemic sometimes it was just as important to celebrate the things we decided not to do. Taking a moment to step back and look at the bigger picture is something that I need to do more often, in 2020 reminded me of that fact. That as the founder of my company it is my job to position us for the future whatever that future will bring. 

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

One of the most powerful things that I have learned during the last six years of my business is the power of collaboration. I wish I knew when I was first starting my business how many people really want to help you succeed.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I have an eight-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. They definitely keep me on the ground, I am so passionate about my work that without them waiting for me at home I would be here 24 hours a day so remembering to take time to spend for myself and with my family has helped me stay connected.

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

I believe in a flow more so than a balance and for me my tips on maintaining that flow is identifying what your priorities are and setting up boundaries around them. For me my number one priority is my self-care and my health so I make sure that the first thing that goes in my calendar every day or every week or every year is exercise time and time for me to be outside and then I schedule in time with my family and then I move everything to my business then. It may seem counterproductive to producing a successful business but adequate time for yourself scheduled in is what actually helps you have high quality thinking that helps your business be successful.

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

I love music and I play the ukulele everyday. In fact when I first started Elate I was living in the UK playing in a ukulele band.

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

I start every single day with a short meditation and journaling. Then I make a pot of tea and take 15 mins to organize my to-do’s and thoughts. I take a break to eat, and usually try to get at least a 15 min walk in. The best way to stay productive is to take time to rest.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista to me means being on the forefront of a sustainable movement and recognizing that leadership is not a benefit to yourself but an obligation to others and to the world in terms of how we leave it.

Share it!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

8 Inspiring Latinx Entreprenistas that have launched groundbreaking companies

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve put together a list of 8 incredible Latinx women founders that have launched groundbreaking companies. Check it out: Jessica Alba: The Honest Company Founded in 2011, The Honest Company makes sustainable, well-designed products that work – built on transparency, trust, and a deep sense of purpose. In…

Susan Sarit of Operations-Made Easy on achieving your goals by getting organized

Describe your business in a few words: I am a mom, daughter, sister, business owner, and more! I started my business for both financial freedom and to be a work-at-home mom. I created Operations-Made Easy to help diverse women with the Operations of their business. Deliberative, disciplined, and detail-oriented are just a few words we…

Lisa Nutt of Make Every Minute Count on personal and professional growth

Describe your business in a few words? The Make Every Minute Count ecosystem encourages us to go (do that thing), grow (personally and professionally) and give (through a membership based family to family giving circle). What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is the third time…

Connection Coach Kristjana Hillberg on trusting your intuition and having an open mind

Describe your business in a few words: I’m a Connection Coach who helps women unearth their deepest desires, move from auto pilot to intentional action and prioritize their wellbeing. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m a multipotentialite – meaning, I have tried multiple things and tested multiple careers ranging from…

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon: Finally Back to Delicious Meals For Everyone

Cuisine varies by culture, but no matter how societies segment and define themselves, certain foods show up in households across the globe — only differing in their forms. Some of a culture’s time-honored meals are created by its culinary icons.  Among America’s culinary icons, Martha Stewart is, without question, its most trusted. In 2014, Martha…

7 Entreprenista League Members share the biggest business challenge they overcame and what it taught them

Brand Photographer Brittney Guy-Atakpo of Brittney Jean Photography The biggest business challenge I have faced is sticking to a schedule that made me feel productive and good about my work ethic. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong schedule or routine that produces success. I have been more grateful for…

Courtney Spritzer of WorkRobe on her “secret sauce” for a successful product launch

Describe WorkRobe in a few words? WorkRobes are designed to have you looking your best during any video meeting, so you can go from bedroom to boardroom in seconds and in comfort. My mission is to reimagine what you wear to work (from home).  Can you pinpoint the moment you knew you wanted to create…

Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…