At RISE by Sundara, we are dedicated to uplifting female entrepreneurs worldwide. We are proud to use our platform to highlight inspirational female entrepreneurs like Teri Young, CEO and Founder of AubriJaiel, a beauty and wellness brand dedicated to providing toxin-free skincare products for a safe and empowering self-care experience for women. Our intern, Emma Calvo, sat down with Teri to hear about her journey from make-up artist to business owner, the importance of mindset in the entrepreneurial experience, and valuable advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tell us more about how you got to where you are today - what originally inspired your entrepreneurial journey?
When I first started getting into the beauty industry I was just a makeup artist. I loved makeup, because I am an artist at heart. I realized that before you even put on your makeup your skin has to be right, which I think a lot of makeup artists actually neglect. Your skin is the foundation for the foundation, so if your foundation isn’t correct, whatever issues are underneath the foundation are going to show. And if you want your makeup to look flawless, you have to have perfect skincare.
So I decided to dig deeper into skincare and I learned that there are so many harmful toxins and harmful chemicals inside these products that can actually cause cancer and all these things. Just like we say be careful what you eat, it's also just as important to be careful with what you put onto your body, especially because your body absorbs what you’re using. That's when I realized I can formulate my own products, and have my own business, instead of focusing on building this for someone else. I feel like as a woman, so many times we’re put in these limitations and put into these boxes. We, as women, deserve the best of the best and we don’t deserve any toxins at all in our life.
So now I have a beauty and wellness brand. I have a
daughter, her name is Aubri Jaiel, so the brand is actually named after her. I know I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now if it wasn’t for my daughter, so I knew I needed to give something back to her. I always say, “this is for Aubri Jaiel.” My goal is to leave her a legacy to show her to go after her dreams and to do what she loves to do. This also inspired me to inspire other women.
Our skin products have names such as the leader, the liberator, the achiever, because those are things I believe a woman is. So when she uses our product, she will always have that constant reminder of who she is.
What is the best thing about being a female in the entrepreneurial workspace?
There are so many great things about being a female entrepreneur. One is that I can inspire others. So many people come to me now and ask me for advice and support, both men and women. But I think the best thing to me is about being able to inspire the next woman, because sometimes when you have a dream, it’ll be so hard to see yourself in that dream because you don’t see people who look like you. When you look at Beyonce and Jay Z, you almost see them as not human, they’re so far past you. Sometimes it’s cool to see somebody who is on the same level. Then you think “she’s doing it, so why can’t I.”
Seeing other people who look like you, or came from humble beginnings like you, or are into the same things you’re into, makes you think “wow I can do that too.''
People always tell me I’m inspirational, well that’s my passion. I love to inspire other women, and I put that passion into my brand. When you’re thinking of a business, don’t focus on re-creating the wheel, the wheel has already been done. In this case, there are already tons of skincare brands and makeup brands, and they’ve already figured out a lot of this stuff. All you have to do is figure out what you’re passionate about. The great thing about creating a business is that you can create that. There is no wrong way to do any of it.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur and businesswoman?
A challenge you will face as an entrepreneur is funding. You also have to be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the money to pay back loans you take out and start your business, you look for funding and grants. Look for people who want to help and who want to give to you. Also, a lot of entrepreneurs will tell you to quit your job. Don’t do that! You have to spend money to make money, you can’t get everything for free. You will have to invest. You may not be in a spot where you can get money from funding, and it will have to be from your 9-5 job. Make sure the job you have isn’t stressful on your mental health, because starting and running a business is a lot. When you get to a certain income goal from your business, you can let that 9-5 job go. When you plant the seed, it’s not the same day that you’ll see the fruit, so you have to think about if you’re okay waiting years to see a profit. Learn to trust the journey because the journey is challenging but it's preparing you for what you truly want.
I always say no one is going to believe in you the way you’re going to believe in you. If you believe in yourself, you’re already halfway there. So sometimes I think your mind can play a big role, because you’re always thinking “I don’t know this, or this, or this”, but I promise you, you’re going to figure it out. What I had to learn when I first started was that you have this whole big picture, but you have to stop trying to paint the whole picture at once. Take your time. Focus on one part at a time and give each part your all. As I put my all into each part, people started to see how much quality I had, and I started to attract more and more people. You’ll attract people who will be able to teach you what you didn’t know. It’s really about taking your time, slow and steady wins the race. Especially if you want something that’s going to build longevity.
A lot of it is mindset. You are going to go through challenges, but the challenges are just confirmations that you’re trying. You will always make it through, and every time you get through a challenge, you get stronger and stronger. Don’t let them knock you down completely.
To help me with my mindset, I have a journal, and I am really big on affirmations. I always start every entry with “Hello beautiful, I am proud of you because…” On the front of my journal it says, “I totally got this.” Every page has different positive affirmations. So that way, every time I’m writing, if I feel like I’m having a great day or a tough day, I can read the affirmations, and it’ll reassure me that I got this, that I might be a little sad right now but this too shall pass, that tomorrow is going to be a little bit better. I believe everything happens for a reason. If I am going through a hard time I think to myself “What am I supposed to learn from this?"
Who do you admire?
I am inspired by women in business, even if they’re not necessarily in the beauty industry. I am always inspired by serial entrepreneurs. Serial entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs who are women that have multiple businesses. I am inspired by them because they are the head honcho.
I’m married and people will ask my husband things like “do you like having a powerful wife?” But this is the thing, it’s not that I am necessarily leading my marriage or that he's leading our marriage. He leads the areas he’s really good at, and I lead the area’s I’m really good at. So we have a partnership. So I love seeing powerful women in positions like that. They’re creating tables instead of waiting to be invited to sit at someone’s table. I am creating my own tables, and giving others the opportunity to sit at mine too.
There is a quote I love, it goes “My mom told me to marry a CEO. I looked at her and said “mom I am a CEO.” I love that.
What advice would you give to your younger self, and to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Be true to yourself, no one has to live your life but you. Also, make sure you keep positive energy around you. Don’t feel like you always have to explain to other people why you are doing certain things, because not everyone is supposed to see your vision. If everyone could see your vision, they’d be doing it too. If they don’t understand, maybe they’re not supposed to understand. If they say it doesn’t make sense, you say “I know what I’m trying to do, and I am going to stick with it.” I used to compare myself to others a lot, but what you realize is that you don’t see what others go through, or how long they’ve been doing this. When you think of a business that “blew up overnight” it makes it seem like they’ve only been working on their business for like a year, but really it’s been at least 4-5 years. Focus on your journey and don’t compare yourself.
I also make sure I collaborate. I’ll collaborate with anybody. If I’m doing a photoshoot with an artist who makes earrings, I’ll use their earrings on some of my models, and once the pictures are submitted to magazines, they’ll get some recognition too. If I can use my platform to help you, why not? That’s not hurting me at all, it’ll just build you up. I learned to do this from people who mentored me and used their platform to bend down and pick me up and share opportunities with me. It’s like you’re passing the baton on.
Don’t think you need to go down a traditional route. A lot of people feel like to be an entrepreneur, you have to go to school for business or you need to get a degree at all. That’s not true. College is not for everyone; college is good for some people, the same way entrepreneurship is good for some people. There isn’t one way to do everything. When it comes to business, there is technically not a wrong way to do things. You just need to figure out what works for you, because what may be right, someone else may not be right for you.
Don’t be afraid to dream big. I always tell people: I want to be a global brand. I want to be huge, I want to be all over the world, I want to be a millionaire. That’s not something you hear every day. Remember, when people tell you you can’t do something, it usually comes from their own personal fear, because they can't see themself doing it. But all you have to say is, “Maybe you can’t do it, but I know I can do it, I just don’t know how to yet, and I am learning.” After a while, you’ll find yourself doing exactly what they said you couldn’t do.
Check out AubriJaiel skincare products and makeup services here: https://www.aubrijaiel.com/