Welcome to my new series – “Inspiring Girl Bosses.” What sparked the series? The more woman I’ve met through blogging, the more inspired I’ve felt. Women in tech, women running their own businesses, women doing inspiring things. I truly believe that as women, our successes need to be celebrated, and we need to be given an opportunity to learn from each other. So today we’re sitting down with our first girl boss of the series – Lindsey Arnold – founder and CEO of the Vegan Beauty Box Company Velvet Report.
Why Lindsey? I met Lindsey at a blogger event earlier this year as she was launching the business side of Velvet Report. I recently attended the official launch party for the brand at one of my favorite brunch spots in Seattle – Bar Melusine. Even better? The chef made the entire brunch VEGAN. Who says you need eggs to have a fabulous brunch? It seemed like the perfect time to get the scoop on this inspiring girl boss and her new brand.
Inspiring Girl Boss: Lindsey Arnold
1. As the first “inspiring girl boss” in our series, can you tell our readers a little bit about your past life pre-Velvet Report? I hear that you’ve had quite the journey!
Thanks so much for including me in your series. I feel so honored!
Pre-Velvet Report I had started a robotics company after building a social robot companion for kids named Emobie that got second place in an international robotics competition. Before that I was a UX researcher at a consultant firm and before that I was a mental health therapist. I have degrees in Russian, Psychology, and Design & Engineering, and dropped out of Medical School, so you could say that I have a lot of interests.
2. Tell us a little about Velvet Report and the inspiration behind it.
I started exploring the idea of creating a vegan beauty and fashion business about a year ago when my robotics company was hitting some roadblocks. I’ve been vegan on and off since I was 14 and in the last couple of years I started going animal-free in my beauty and fashion items. I learned a lot in the process and wanted to teach other people and show them that they can still have fun and be stylish with vegan products. I decided to focus on beauty first because that’s where people had the most questions and confusion. So far Velvet Report has launched 2 curated beauty boxes (not subscription) and a micellar water. All the products we sell are vegan, cruelty-free, and clean/non-toxic.
3. What’s one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring business owner?
See everything you do as experiments. Don’t hold anything too precious because then you will feel really bummed when things don’t work out the way you planned. Do things as quickly and as small scale as possible to see if it’s an area you want to explore further. Then if it’s a dead end, it’s only a small loss and not one that you put a bunch of money and time into. It will also help you to learn quickly. There are lots of things in business that you can’t learn by reading books (although those help) or thinking about them, you have to try it out.
4. Is there anything over the course of your career that you didn’t do that you wish you had? Or the opposite – that you did that you wish you hadn’t done?
I wish I would have understood myself better (i.e. what I enjoyed doing and what I was good at) before I picked my careers. I went to medical school to help people only to discover that I didn’t really enjoy studying science 24/7. I studied and interned for years to become a mental health therapist only to find out that I don’t want to spend my life seeing clients all day everyday. And being a UX researcher, I realized that I would only ever truly be happy if I was working on my own projects, not someone else’s. It feels great now to wake up and be working on something I’m truly passionate about and enjoy doing.
5. Lastly, can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming to the product line and what we can expect?
Next up, Velvet Report will launch a French Beauty Set. It will include the micellar water, a moisturizer, and a floral toner. All the products are natural, cruelty-free, and vegan, of course. I have tons of products planned for the future but I’m trying to focus on one thing at a time! The overall goal of Velvet Report is to create an inclusive community to educate and share vegan beauty and fashion. So right now I’m focused on building and learning from the community on what they would like to see next.
P.S. There’s a new beauty box dropping tomorrow and you’ll get 10% off your order with the code VELVET10 !
Photography: Karya Schanilec Photography
For more Career posts, check out the career section over on the blog. One of my current favorites? 5 Books Every Aspiring Girl Boss Should Read.