When it comes to shopping, I can admit to being very picky about the brands I choose. For clothing, I always want to know the history of stores I shop with — "Who's the Founder of this store? Why did they create it?" are two questions I go searching for answers for... And it's for that reason that I've become loyal to clothing brands built by Girl Bosses such as Nasty Gal and MTTM. With the way the cosmetics industry is set up though, it's more of a rarity to find a cosmetics brand run by an independent business owner... So when I was introduced to Queen Cosmetics, I jumped at the opportunity to talk to the Founder and learn more about it. Launched just this past April 2016, Queen Cosmetics was created by CEO + Founder Kristen Robinson. She has a concentration in business management and she combined her love for make-up with her knowledge of business to jump-start her plan for Queen.
What inspired me, honestly, was the book #GIRLBOSS. I had a real connection with that book because I've never really been the "school" type. My parents used to always describe me in a way that says, "She colors outside the lines; she does what she wants to do... She's not the scholarship type." And that's because school just wasn't for me. My mom would always tell me to read books and I never would, until she suggested #GIRLBOSS... And that was the book that changed my life.
Behind every good brand, is a positive purpose and message they are trying to send to their customers... And Kristen is building up Queen Cosmetics to be more than just a company; she wants it to symbolize strength and empowerment to women who may be having trouble with their confidence.
"Finding the Queen within themselves is something that a lot of girls struggle with. I used to get bullied a lot when I was younger, so I always wanted to do my make-up to feel pretty. I realized that "pretty" is not strictly all about what you look like on the outside; it reflects your insides too... So if putting on make-up is what makes you feel and act pretty then go for it! My concept behind my line is that everyone's a Queen — you've just got to find it within yourself by doing the things that make you feel empowered."
One thing I noticed about Queen's latest collection of matte lipsticks is that each one is named after a person. After trying a few out for myself, my personal favorite Queen shade is "Diana." It's the perfect shade of nude for me and I've literally been wearing it every day!
"My first collection was called the "Queen of Pop" collection, and the newest "Nubian" collection represents a pro-black, black woman empowerment. The "Nina" lipstick was named after Nina Simone because I've watched documentaries about her and in my eyes, she's a Queen. As far as the other lipstick names, "Journey" is named after my little sister, "Elaine" is my mom, "Chrissy" is my best friend... So it's like names like that; Queens in my life and in other's people's lives as well."
Small business owners quickly find that essentially, they are responsible for everything from communicating with customers to designing logos and choosing packaging for their products. With the creation of their brand, they have to create somewhat of a culture along with it... And all of that starts with a few key decisions in the start-up phase.
"Behind the brand, it's just me. All of my social media and everything from the shipping process is all me working on my own. I'm always about being classic; I wanted a logo that was non-changing and packaging that wasn't too trendy so that it would never go out of style. This is because I want longevity with my customer base. I definitely plan on expanding. I want Queen to be a household name for cosmetics. The next things that I want to launch are eyeshadow palettes. I knew that this "Nubian" collection had to be like my biggest collection because after that, I'm stopping mattes and moving on to something else."
Sometimes the biggest challenges we face in business come from internal places. How we think and how we feel often translates into the work we do so it's important for us to be able to be honest with ourselves about it all. For Kristen, she's had to overcome being impatient to be able to achieve her goals and grow as a young CEO.
"Patience for myself is a major challenge that I've faced so far. A lot of time people will say they like your stuff, but they won't want to buy your stuff, you know? So staying patient and having faith that everything is going to work out, even when it doesn't look like it's going to."
The best advice I can give anyone looking to start a business of their own is to just start. If you don't know where to start, Google. Research. You have to be passionate about what you're doing in order to be able to actually do it. A lot of times people use excuses like age for reasons of why they just won't start. But you have to just be driven and know that there's nothing that can stop you. Like, I'm 19 and I put up my own money to make it happen. There are multiple ways for you to just start and just go.
I was so happy that I had the chance to meet Kristen and learn more about Queen Cosmetics. There's a beautiful vision behind the brand and wearing their matte lipsticks will make you feel like you're rocking a crown. Spend your Sunday browsing the Queen Cosmetics site at iwearqueen.com and treat yourself!
"If I had a Sunday free of responsibilities, I'd spend it in bed! I probably wouldn't even have my phone; I'd just watch Netflix and spend time with my mom."
[these things take time.] the poetry book available on amazon.com.