REA ANN SILVA
CREATOR & CEO, Beautyblender
When did you launch your business? What is the message behind your brand?
I created Beautyblender around 2003, but it didn't really launch as a business until about 2007 and the message behind Beautyblender originally and still today is to modernize the way you use makeup, demystify your makeup application and make makeup look like skin.
What were the defining moments in your career that taught you the biggest lessons?
I actually have two careers. My first career started as a professional makeup artist, and one of the biggest and most defining lessons that I learned as a makeup artist was that there needed to be more diversity within not only the industry of makeup artistry, but within the products that we are able to use for people of color. We are not seven tones. We are more than 100 tones, so that was a defining lesson for me because it made me really have to learn how to be an artist and know how to mix and match all kinds of different ethnicity and skin tones. As a brand founder, one of the biggest lessons I learned right away was that I am enough and that I can run and create products, while running my business on my own. I don't need a business partner. I had started out with a business partner and unfortunately that just didn't work out. That was really one of the first big lessons that I learned. I was enough. The overreaching lesson that I learned between my career as a makeup artist, and a career as a brand founder, as well as my career as a single parent is that time management is vital. It’s so important to being organized and develop this still to successfully put your plans into action.
Sometimes we're all BAD MUTHAs (as we should be). When did you go against traditional advice that propelled you forward?
Well this this question is pretty easy for me to answer. When creating Beautyblender there was never a product like Beautyblender before on the market, so I knew and was very confident in my background. I knew the type of payoff and delivery that product would give. It was very interesting when I took Beautyblender to the market and I started showing executives who kept telling me how there was no way this product was going to be successful. Some said “it was just a sponge – no one would pay $20 for a sponge and what's so different about it??” Thank God that I had the foresight and the intuition to know that this product was going to change the way people did makeup because if I would've listened to all those naysayers, we wouldn't be having this interview right now.
"Use your gut. Try to not be judgmental, and use judgement wisely. Stay focused."
We all need a champion. Who in your life has consistently supported you?
Throughout my life I've had several mentors. Different people for different reasons. Overall, a champion who has been there for me, all the time, since day one is my partner Rory. I love him very much, and he's been my partner for over 25 years. He's always supported me.
Reverse that. Who in your life do you support without judgement?
Honestly the only person that I think I could support without judgment would be my mother, but I say maybe only because I think a true friend uses judgment as a tool to give honest feedback.
Rewind. What is the best advice you’ve received throughout your life?
I think the most powerful advice that I have received throughout my life is to trust my gut and instincts. They're usually right more than not, and I would say that would be the most useful advice I've got.
Fast forward. What insight can you give to aspiring women in their careers who want to be a leader in their space?
I think the most valuable advice that I can give a young lady that is starting out would be in their entrepreneurial junior journey would be to summarize every question above this one. Use your gut. Try to not be judgmental, and use judgement wisely. Stay focused. It’s so easy in life to get distracted by life itself and the circumstances around whatever business you're trying to stay laser focused on. Don't be too hard on yourself. You know Rome wasn't built in a day. Things don't happen overnight. Take your time when making decisions, and never make a decision when you’re unsure about something. That was something my dad would always tell me. Don’t make a decision or never feel pressured to make a decision when you're confused and a lot of times people will make you feel like you need to give them an answer right now so take your time use your intuition and use good judgment.
How do you like to MUTHA yourself and ensure you still have some 'me' time?
Well it's taken me over 20 years to figure this one out because I tend to be a people pleaser, but I have learned the fine art of saying no. I have learned that in order for me to have me time and mother myself I need to carve out time first thing in the morning so I have my team and my assistants know that I don't book anything before 10 AM. I use that morning time to exercise, walk, meditate, steam, mask or do whatever I need to do to prepare myself for the day. Pre-Covid I would like to call myself a spa connoisseur because there is not a spa that I don't love and a spa that doesn't love me because I do everything.
Anything else you want to share about your story?
I think it's just really important to share that there is no one singular way to do any of these things. There is not one way to be a great mother. Not one way to be a great boss. Not one way to be a great partner. I think that as human beings, we are uniquely talented and uniquely afforded the opportunity to make mistakes and figure things out. Don't be too hard on yourself because kids don't come with instruction booklets.