I've been following Josie Maran ever since I learned she went to my (small, all-girls, not a lot of alumnae compared to the average) high school. She either left to pursue modeling or graduated then became a model, I don't remember which - but I remember she came back to campus one day and looked so petite and stylish and ahhhh! She looked like a model. At that time, I didn't realize how accomplished my peers would become, so it was kind of a starstruck moment to have "a model" from our school accomplishing things in the real world and being featured in the magazines I'd read. That idea blew my mind a little bit.
Flash forward some years later, and I saw her product line in my local Sephora! I was interested, curious, and most importantly, willing to fork over cash movies to try it. I bought her Argan moisturizer, used it a few times, and then got distracted by something else. It was that era, you know. I was in law school, I was willing to distract myself from studying by just about anything, including new cosmetics.
Flash forward again (is your head spinning?) to about a year ago when I find the moisturizer again in my pile of goodies, and decide to be a responsible purchaser and finish it up. Well, my friends, this is when I really fell in love with it.
(look at her skin!)
So, then, imagine my delight at finding an article about Ms. Josie herself recently detailing just how hard it was to get her cosmetics line off the ground when she did! It's not like today, where its considered trendy and exciting to have a model or actress or singer come out with her own beauty products - back then, she was considered "not a professional" in that area and she had to work even harder to get her company going and to be taken seriously in the industry. I loved reading this interview with her because it showed just how much work it takes, but how possible it is to get your dreams off the ground!
Here are some of my favorite bits from the interview:
When did you first become interested in a natural and holistic lifestyle? "I was born into it. My family is politically and socially active and my mom had chronic fatigue syndrome so she was always very sensitive to chemicals. I grew up in a natural, holistic environment and I'm from Northern California, where we are down with the earth."
How did you find argan oil and why did you choose that ingredient to start a business with? "While I was still modeling, I had a transformative experience with argan oil. Five years before I launched my line, I was modeling in the South of France and I met this 70-year-old woman who looked like she was 40."
What challenges did you encounter when starting your business? "I had no idea what I was doing, I just had a lot of passion for wanting to make a difference and I wanted to support my sisters with good stuff. I had to figure out how to run a business, and that was difficult, but it was a labor of love and it gets better and better. Plus, in developing the actual product, it was hard to find a formula that is high performing and high quality. That was not easy, especially 10 years ago. I went to different labs, and I would bring them fancy products and say, how can we make this without any of the bad stuff? And I was told it was impossible. I even had labs try to convince me that parabens are actually good for you. I got a lot of nos but it helped us with the innovation."
Did you find people didn't take you seriously as a businesswoman because you were a model? "Oh, yes. But I believed in myself. Early on, I met with stores and investors and I'd say, guys, this is going to be huge. Because obviously, right? But they laughed at me. And I tried to convince them but they just told me good luck. I got very little support from investors and especially people in the cosmetic business. So I ended up self-funding it and I invested every penny I had."
I find it so inspiring that she believed in herself and in her idea enough to invest all of her own life savings - which, even as a working model at that time, was probably not as much as getting help from external investors. That confidence and drive are definitely qualities to which I aspire!
(Note: Josie Maran Cosmetics did not request or compensate me for this post. These opinions are purely my own. I just love her Argan oil products!)