Indie Beauty Brand Founders Discuss The Sacrifices They’ve Made To Be Entrepreneurs

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 15 brand founders and executives: What sacrifices have you made to be an entrepreneur?

DANIELLE CUCCIO CEO, Cuccio Somatology

Not always having a solid salary to rely on. Being an entrepreneur can be scary. You don't know if you’ll be able to sell whatever it is you are selling. You are relying 100% on yourself to create a meaningful brand, product, etc. The future is up to you. You have to sacrifice a lot of your life because you need to put in the time. If your company fails, it's because you failed. I know that may seem harsh, but it's really the truth.

I believe anything can work if you set your mind to it. The possibilities are limitless. You have to sacrifice a lot of your life because every single day you have to be on. When you work for a company as an employee, you may have less pressure of making something happen. Because if the company fails at the end of the day, you can just go get another job.  But being an entrepreneur and starting your own company, it's all on you. No pressure!

Joshua Neumann Founder, Kind Lips

I walked away from an extremely successful career that made way more money and left me with way more time at the end of the day, and there has not been one second that has gone by since that I have regretted my decision to leave.

The “sacrifice” to start a new business and take a risk has created a passion for life that I had yet to experience. The sacrifices of working long hours and not knowing if I will make enough money to pay the bills, not to mention the inability to spend time and grow with friends because of the former reasons, are all outweighed (at least for the time being) by hope that rests in creating something from nothing and learning to live life to the fullest each and every day.

Aditi M Gaur Founder, Kanai

I believe that not everyone is built for an entrepreneur's life. It takes courage, vision, conviction and hard work to be a good one, so if you're lacking any of those qualities, it's best to stay away from setting up your own enterprise.

The biggest sacrifice I feel I've made is to fund my business with my inheritance. I was strongly advised to put the money aside for a rainy day, but I decided to invest it into an idea and the conviction that there was a future for it. [It was] risky, yes, but I didn't feel comfortable starting out with other people's money, and I think, when people know and see that you've risked so much to build what you have, they tend to respect you and your enterprise more.

In addition to giving up financial security, I find it hard to split my personal life from my professional life. Because the business is new and stability is hard to find in the initial stages, one cannot help but find oneself handling a professional issue during one's personal time. Most of the time, it's because there is no one else to troubleshoot, and the onus as the owner then falls on you.

But despite the sacrifices, I love what I do and am grateful for the freedom to build something I believe in. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy and anything that is truly significant will end up costing you dearly. So, if you're planning to be an entrepreneur, be prepared to sacrifice.

DELANE MAZAHERI Co-Founder and CEO, STARE Cosmetics

In a word, I feel the only thing I have really sacrificed is normalcy. I don’t believe entrepreneurs are normal in the sense of being traditional business people. We don’t adhere to the normal rules of working 9 to 5. We are non-conforming, out-of-the-box type people. We do what is necessary to get the task at hand completed, period.

Entrepreneurs are tenacious, goal-oriented people that don’t stop at "no" or at any other obstacle. We see every challenge as an opportunity and every opportunity as an opening door. At the end of the day, I feel very fortunate to be an entrepreneur.

Jessica Jade Founder, SunKiss Organics

The greatest sacrifice I've made as an entrepreneur is definitely capital. I've foregone saving for a down payment for a home and other goals in order to invest in my skincare line. Do I have regrets? Absolutely not. When you know your product is pure gold, there's no need to fear, and I'm of the mindset that you need to invest money, to make money.

I've sacrificed my blood, sweat and tears into my skincare line because it allows me to pass down a timeless tradition of crafting nourishing skin and beauty products that I learned from my great-grandmother in the Caribbean. Being able to establish that connection with her despite distance and time means the world to me, and knowing that I get to share our families gifts with the world is an experience I wouldn't give up for anything in the world.

In an effort to expand my skincare line and continue to heal others with it, I've started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 in capital for a USDA organic certification, sourcing ingredients in bulk, manufacturing equipment and new labels. If you're interested in helping me further my dream, visit my website for more information.

Rebecca Winnicki Owner, Homemade Betty

In the first couple of years, there were many things I sacrificed: sleep, time with my family and girls nights out (during all major holidays). I had to throw everything I had into my company to make it work. Coincidentally, I also started homeschooling my three kids the same year.

In the five years of owning my business, I have now found a balance. Taking each day at a time is the most important, especially when having a young family. I now balance family, home office life and manufacturing in an easy flow. I still sacrifice all the above, but I'm blessed to have homeschooled children that wake up later, a husband that gives me time when he is home and girlfriends that book nights out before a major holiday comes around.

IDA-SOFIA KOIVUNIEMI Founder and Owner, Evil Queen

What sacrifices haven’t I made? Haha! Social life, certain friends, sleep, to name a few. In the first few years I worked 12-plus hours consistently with little to no time off for seeing friends or doing other things I loved besides working.

I was OK with this sacrifice, however, because I knew that it wouldn’t be forever and, if I could just get through the first year or so of hustling hard, I would be able to hire employees and grow my business that way. I think, if you have the right mindset going into it, things don’t feel as much like a sacrifice as they do a stepping stone to get to where you want to be.

Lynette Lovelace Founder and CEO, Lifetherapy

This is a question I get asked so often, and I guess the simple answer is many. Meaning no day is 9 to 5, there is constant worry and anxiety with all facets of owning something, and my brain literally never stops. You need a strong life partner as entrepreneurs have to be highly flexible, and things never go as planned. My husband may actually sacrifice more than me sometimes as his life is affected the most.

I have been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life and long before I even understood the definition of an entrepreneur. Prior to launching a brand in the beauty sector, I owned a boutique and bistro. Talk about full-blown sacrifice, running both a restaurant and a retail property under the same roof presented many sacrifices. [There are] endless hours, challenge after challenge, but there's just something fascinating to me about creating a space for a guest to enjoy an experiential moment that I love.  

The best answer I can give is, I consider it more of a sacrifice for myself to give up entrepreneurship than to gain all those sacrifices back and not stay in it.

PETER SCHAFRICK Founder, Schaf Skincare

It can be exceedingly difficult to find balance in your life when you are focused and committed to building a brand. And it can be lonely living in that bubble as well. I’ve sacrificed time away from my wife and kids for sure, and my friends, but I really love what I do.

Recently, I started putting alarms in my schedule to carve out time for family. Weekly date nights are mandatory. From 6 to 8 p.m., I cook dinner and enjoy some family time at the dinner table with absolutely no electronics. I hit the gym at least three times per week.

It’s interesting that many people feel more time at work equals more results. I used to think that way, too. I’ve discovered it’s just not true. Working smart means you should then have time for yourself and family, and working less hours forces you to be more focused on the goal. Less really is more!

Eugene He Founder, Ceramiracle

The choice to give up. As an employee, if you are having a bad day, you can simply walk away. An entrepreneur is like a nursing mom. You are constantly tired, multitasking and frustrated, but there is no option to give up as a life depends on you. In a way, it is a one-way street if you choose to be an entrepreneur. The good thing is that, at the end of the road, there are only two outcomes, either you make it or you don't, and I find that fairly good odds.

Deb Uhrberg President, Scandic Beauty

That is an easy question to answer. My career has consisted of blood and guts (literally) as an ER nurse. Several years ago, when I got the bug to develop and launch a skincare line, I had to give that up. Getting a company off the ground required too much time to juggle both positions. Giving up my career as a registered nurse was not the only sacrifice I have made.  

The other major sacrifice is my time. Before I started this company, my work time was nicely packaged into a specific segment. Now, I can work many hours, seven days a week. It is an amazing opportunity to own my own company and brand, but it would be impossible without multiple sacrifices.

Anne Kukkohovi Founder, Supermood

I cannot even describe what sacrifices I’ve done, since I’ve gotten so much in return as well. But to be brutally honest, there have been moments I’m thinking, "Why am I spending all days, nights, weekends working?” But Supermood is like a baby to me. It needs to be nurtured, loved, directed and taken care of. Nothing great comes easy, but following the creative flow is like a sea. Sometimes it’s stormy, other times it’s so calm and beautiful. As long as you believe in what you do, you can achieve anything.

NIMA JALALI Founder, Salt & Stone

I work all the time! It’s very hard to check out. As a small business owner, you are pretty much always working and responding to emails during nighttime or weekends. Weekends and later on in the evening are much slower, and I take that time to really get my mind off of work and try and go do fun things or watch movies, dinner with friends, etc. All things are much more fun when you have all your work done though.

Andrew Glass Founder, Non Gender Specific

The good definitely outweighs the bad, but having just finished our first year in business as a brand, I've definitely sacrificed having any down time. Running your own business is 24/7 for real. I travel a lot more than before, so spending time with family has also decreased a bit over the last year.

Jennie Fresa Founder and Owner, Copal Clean Beauty

I’m so glad you asked this question. I’m 42, and I have been in business for almost 12 years now, acting as a service provider, manager and owner. It’s a lot of work to wear all of the hats as any entrepreneur will tell you. I would like to see the business operate without me physically in-store, and I would like to develop a brand that is sustainable. I originally launched Copal to be an online store only. My intention now is to transition Copal to be a brick-and-mortar location while the Jennie Fresa brand lives on as my private consulting business.  

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to [email protected].