Stark & Splendor exists to help visionaries materialize their big ideas. An awesome by-product of this work is that I get to meet, work with, and learn from some ridiculously savvy professionals who are about making meaning in this world. Far be it from me to keep all of this inspiration to myself! I thought it would be cool to introduce you to some of these world changers in this new Q & A series, Meet the Visionary.
Today I have the privilege of introducing you to visionary Rosalie Audoin, the founder and CEO of London-based beauty company Dielle UK.
A recent Articulation Intensive client, Ros completely blew me away with her passion for revolutionizing the beauty industry with her message of "essentialist beauty." In this interview she talks about what that means to her, and shares about her path to creative entrepreneurship.
Welcome to The Ampersand, Ros! Let's take it back to your childhood. As a girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ever since I can remember I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was 8 I lived in Puerto Rico and there was a big mango tree in my parents' backyard. Every summer the mangos would fall to the ground. I would pick the nice looking ones and take them around to my neighbours in a little basket [and sell them] for 10 cents each. Then I'd gather my friends and go to Don Mario's sweet shop, which was around the corner, and we'd have a feast!
I used to dream of being a real business woman from a very young age. My mom, who's always been my ultimate cheerleader, bought me a huge calculator once and it was definitely one of the favourite gifts I received as a child because I thought "every business women needs a calculator."
I also wanted to be a teacher because I love to share knowledge and encouragement. I lived in Haiti for a few years and saw there that education and insight literally change people's lives.
What led you to start Dielle?
A massive change in life! After having my son I went back to work when he was 6 months old, and the year that followed proved to be very difficult for me. I constantly felt torn about leaving him with nannies. Managing my very busy schedule was a real struggle. My husband travelled a lot as well, and when I had evening functions I sometimes didn't see my son for days.
One day I decided to make some changes which would make my season with a small child more effective. It was a tough decision but I quit my job (and I'm so thankful that I could do that) to start something new whilst working from home. My background was in finance and in the charity sector, but I loved the beauty industry and dreamed of creating a brand that could inspire and reshape some beliefs spread in this sector that [I believe] are damaging to women's souls. So I started Dielle and it's been the best journey I've ever embarked on.
How did you overcome the fear that comes with having your own business?
I haven't overcome that fear yet! Ha! I just do it anyway. It's a constant theme that I need to address. I was surprised to find out as I spoke to other entrepreneurs that's it's totally normal and most entrepreneurs experience fear in one way or another. Stepping into the unknown, putting yourself out there, making mistakes while the world is watching -- you don't always get to rehearse and correct your mistakes before the "show."
What's been the most challenging part of establishing a beauty brand?
Dielle was made of many pieces that, unlike a puzzle, did not really fit together easily. Initially, there was a lack of cohesiveness between different aspects of the business. The message of the brand, which is what makes Dielle unique, lacked clarity. I just couldn't seem to express it in a way that made sense. In my head it was clear but it wasn't communicated clearly to my customers.
Your new brand tagline is "Essentialist Beauty." What does this mean to you?
Essentialist beauty means: find out what is essential
, what works for you, what matters to you and stick to it and make it work for you. I means don't follow every trend. Stop comparing yourself! Practically: do you know what nail colours suit you best? Do you know what shades and textures work with your lifestyle? Narrow in on them and rock them! You don't need 50 or one in every colour! Be happy with the 3 that bring out your beauty, make your complexion pop, and enhance your everyday life. At Dielle we emphasize
quality over quantity, and meaning over matter
. We are not driven by trends and consumerism, but instead we want to remind women to pursue meaning and authenticity in their lives.
What's your vision for the beauty industry and the impact Dielle will have on women's lives?
I want Dielle to be a brand that opens women's eyes and really helps them see themselves as the beauties that they truly are. I want women to know that their lives matter and that beauty products only exist to enhance what they already have! I dream of seeing a movement of women who stand confidently, focused on things that really matter instead of being distracted by illusive beauty ideals or by the undisciplined pursuit of more or "better."
You recently went through the Articulation Intensive. How did it impact the way you are building Dielle? Did you learn anything about yourself through the experience?
This was such as turning point for us as a brand. You have a very special gift: the capacity to create cohesion and coherence. You were able to grasp what I was trying to say and make it plain with exceptional clarity. The program forced me to take some time to think and really create a visual representation of what the brand is meant to look like. I hadn't done that since the pre-start up phase and I realised that the business today, was not at all what it was before we launched. That's a good thing, but we needed to articulate what Dielle has become and where we are heading. I also learned that I can no longer hide behind the brand, which I still find challenging but I'm slowly learning that it's the only way to build Dielle with authenticity and integrity. The program taught me that people buy from people -- not just a company with a logo and a product.
Thank you, Ros! I'm elated that you can say those things about our work together! What's inspiring you creatively right now?
I'm currently working on the calendar for next year and I am particularly excited about creating more ways to spread the Dielle message through our products, services and events!
What's a piece of advice you would give to other visionary women starting out in the beauty industry?
There is a seat at the table for you, take your place and confidently bring to the table what only you can bring!