How Indie Beauty Brands Hire Employees

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 founders and executives: How do you add people to your team?

Nathaly Millan Co-Founder, Zue Beauty

We have taken an approach to hire people and not degrees. By this I mean we scout for talent rather than resumes. I think that, so far, we haven’t asked for one resume since we started. We work with many highly talented individuals who love the brand and what it represents. I strongly believe that you should hire people that are skillful, but that, in the end, you can feel comfortable calling them family.

David Simnick CEO and Co-Founder, Soapbox

Our team is truly an extension of our brand. We're just as thoughtful when it comes to adding a new team member as we are with our products and mission. When searching for the right candidate, we keep these key qualities in mind: humble, hungry, smart, open, honest and professional. Our team exemplifies these characteristics, and we are so blessed to have an amazing group that we all consider as extended family.

We conduct group interviews in addition to one-on-ones to give our entire team the opportunity to interact with a potential hire since we are such a close-knit group. I think it's important to surround yourself with colleagues who not only bring a new set of skills to your team, but also have personalities that inspire you to be the best version of yourself possible.

Annie Tevelin Founder, SkinOwl

Every employee and intern has contacted SkinOwl first or been introduced personally through mutual friends. We have never hired anyone who didn't contact the brand first. In hindsight, this is why there is an extreme level of contentment, ambition and excitement amongst the team. They were given a job they actually wanted, one that they chose and were rewarded. I think that is very empowering for someone looking to be hired.

Additionally, I've always believed in a four-day work week and/or [a work week that] doesn't exceed 25 hours. This gives employees a true work-life balance. When they come to the office, there is a hunger to work as well as a sense of alertness. I have found people to be more productive when you bring on less people for less hours.

Because we are a small team, I've been able to see holes in what is needed and hire from that place versus overcrowding the company with positions a company should have. At SkinOwl, each person added eventually becomes part of the overall pulse. Hiring when you know exactly what void to fill keeps the vision strong, intact and efficient.

Julia Teren Founder, Thesis Beauty

Hiring people is always such a tricky area to navigate. Corporations have entire HR departments and, in a small business, the owner must do it all and better make it right. I learned that rushing to hire people you are not 100% positive about just because the projects won't do themselves will always backfire. Even if the deadlines will slide a bit, it's best to wait until the right person comes along, and they always do. The world is full of amazing people. I learned not to shy away from outsourcing because you can still build an awesome crew, only it won't be sitting in the same office, and that's OK.

I also learned that a company's CEO must have plenty of free time to develop vision and strategy and delegate everything else. Otherwise, the ship is lost at sea. That only can happen if you have the right people and processes in place and learn to let go. I also learned that you don't have to jump on every single trend because it will become a ballast very quickly.

I am very grateful to have the people who are in this with me. I was lucky to have my husband's constant support and his family's as well. One of the greatest things about this business is that it helped bring the family together, and it's precious. We always hired people by placing ads on Craigslist and happened to meet a number of really nice folks. Some stuck around longer than others.

People may think that in the beauty industry we’re all dressed for the pageant and having glamorous days, but the reality is that it's a production facility and it's not all about glamour. We work and sometimes we have fun and do events, but we mostly are hard at work all day long. Through hiring and some turnover, we were able to distill the team down to the folks who are truly passionate about what we do and give it their all.

Alexandra Nodes Founder, Alex Carro

Building a great team is what underpins any good business. In building my team, I was looking for exceptionally positive, solid and hard-working people with a global outlook, multilingual skills and a can-do attitude. I recruited the founding team of Alex Carro by reaching out to my network, and I was lucky enough to find people who share the same values as me.

We’re a small team with diverse skill sets that support and help each other on a daily basis and, collectively, we have a great sense of humor. I would say these are some of the fundamentals of building a team that I am extremely proud of.

Christine Cameron Koehler Founder, Flora 1761

Our team is still quite small, but what has been most important to me as we grow is finding people that clearly understand our brand vision and ethos. With hard-working individuals that appreciate what you are trying to achieve, it takes much less work to onboard and train people, especially when it comes to creative and customer-facing roles. Being a female-owned brand striving to empower women, we also look to work with women whenever possible.

Deb Pereira Owner and Founder, Neon & Co. and TLW Products

I strongly believe in building a team of people who stand behind the values of the company and want to grow with us as we expand. Initially, when I started looking to grow my team, I sought people with a hunger to learn and a willingness to take risks. I always emphasize to my team that they are there to grow with the brands, and that the opportunity is there for them to do so if they are willing to jump on opportunities as they happen.

Building a strong team really does depend on making people feel that they are a part of something bigger, from marketing managers to university interns. Age and years of experience is unimportant to me. My team members are always rewarded for passion and drive regardless of seniority, which is a huge incentive to work hard and progress with us.

Janis Covey Founder, Kosmatology

I believe that team dynamics is an important part of our company health. Having like-minded individuals whose passions and goals align with mine is one of the keys to success. It is this complementary relationship that helps drive motivation and compassion to grow the brand everyday. I strive to keep the work environment open and fun to foster creativity and promote an efficient work flow. A team that has harmony keeps the work going, the laughter loud, and makes the good times memorable.

Matthew Stillman Founder, Primal Derma

Grace and mercy have come upon me in so many regards, but certainly in the employee space. Being a one-man band for Primal Derma for a good stretch, while also trying to earn money in other spaces to put into Primal Derma, meant that my team building was slow on the draw.

I thought I needed people sooner, but didn't have the time or knowhow to find somebody, and I was short on resources to pay somebody. But a dear friend, Leah Lamb, took that burden onto her capable shoulders and wrote a job description for a part-time position. Also in her write-up on, [she] spoke to our unique mission around sustainability and the relationship between the health of the earth, animals, humans as well as connecting to ancient culture. We got a few contenders but my first hire, Nicole Liddy as engagement leader, has been grand. I am lucky to have her. Early days still.

Akua Okunseinde Co-Founder, Karite

The idea for Karité started almost five years ago and was a shared passion for simple, clean, yet intensely moisturizing skincare products amongst three sisters. We are lucky that while we share this passion, we bring a breadth of previous work experience and expertise to the business, from marketing to sales to legal to medicine. As a result, we felt that we wanted to build and grow Karité as a family business.

At the outset, the three of us were all hands on deck as we often needed group consensus to ensure we agreed on the strategy for our business. Now, we have clear roles and responsibilities based on our expertise and interest in what we each like to manage on a day-to-day basis. We couldn't be where we are today without the creative work of our graphic designer as well as PR consultant, who are both an extended and integral part of the Karité team.

Becca Stevens Founder and President, Thistle Farms

Most of the employees at Thistle Farms Social Enterprises are residents and graduates of Thistle Farms's two-year program for survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution. In order to fully heal, we need not only a supportive community, but the opportunity for economic stability. It was this idea that brought about the social enterprise. Thistle Farms's national sales director, events coordinator, shipping manager, executive assistant, banker, network coordinator and outreach director are all graduates of the program. It is an honor to serve alongside this team.

Krisana Vigus Founder and CEO, Krisana Vigus

Our company stands strong in our belief of providing opportunities and creating foundations for success to all of our associates. We innovated the antiquated hierarchy native to our industry and created a hybrid structure with a strong set of core employees supported by branches of independent contractors, services and affiliates.

It remains a key part of our philosophy to invest in our community. By locally sourcing our research, development, production, and packaging in Orange County, Calif., we have created a strong foundational network that benefits our entire community. However, our goal is to spread our philosophy on an international scale. Therefore, we created a hybrid affiliate MLM system that can be expanded upon infinitely, providing opportunities to limitless people. We forewent the antiquated and unfair pyramid structure of most MLM's and introduced circle-cycle, giving everyone the opportunity to be number one. We didn't create a hierarchy. We created an idea, a team, and a family.

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