246: Alicia Scott is Pioneering Clean Beauty for the Forgotten Shades With Her Brand Range Beauty

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246: Alicia Scott is Pioneering Clean Beauty for the Forgotten Shades With Her Brand Range Beauty

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Today in the guest chair is Alicia Scott, the Founder of Range Beauty.

Fun Fact: I first met Alicia Scott, today’s Side Hustle Pro guest, in 2019 when I was a speaker at the Summit 21 conference. I invited the audience to raise their hand to come up on stage and share their side hustle with the audience. Like a true hustler, Alicia was READY and was the first hand that shot up (scroll through to see the pic of her on stage).

Fast forward 2 years and I am not the least bit surprised to see the AMAZING growth of Alicia’s brand, Range Beauty.

Alicia founded Range Beauty because she noticed the lack of shades available during photo shoots and runway shows. Instead of asking, “Why can’t there be better options for us?,” she created what she envisioned, a clean beauty brand for the forgotten shades.

In today’s episode, she gets into:

  • How she went about figuring out where to find a manufacturer
  • How she figured out how to create these actual products
  • How she is kicking down doors and raising capital for her business

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Links mentioned in this episode

Range Beauty

Summit 21 Conference

Blavity

Morgan DeBaun

Cosmetic Index

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Guest Social Media Info

Range Beauty- @Range_Beauty

Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro

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Alicia Scott 0:03

You shouldn't fear failure, but you should be terrified of regret.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:06

Work on your confidence work on being sure of yourself so that when opportunity presents itself, you go out there and you get that bag. You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host, Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started.

Hey, Hey guys, welcome. Welcome back to the show. It's Nicaila here. And today, the guest chair, I have Alicia Scott, the founder of Range Beauty. So fun facts about Alicia back in 2019. I was a speaker at the summit 21 conference put on by Blavity and Morgan to bond. And I got up on stage. And at the very beginning of my presentation, I invited someone in the audience I said, you know, raise your hand, whoever raises their hand. First, I want you to come on stage, pitch your side hustle, tell us who you are and all about your business. And the very first hand that shot up was Alicia Scott. And since that day, we have connected on Instagram, we have followed each other and I have seen the amazing growth of range beauty. And so today, I just really wanted to get down and have some time with her to discuss how her business has grown. Now, Alicia first realized that there was a huge, huge lack of shades within cosmetics when she began her career in the New York fashion industry. And she noticed the lack of shades available during photoshoots, and runway shows. So she turned to her own cosmetic collection, and realized it was lacking too because there was a limited availability of shades made with her eczema and acne prone skin in mind. So instead of continuing to ask herself, why can't there be better options for us? Alicia created range beauty, a makeup line with skincare benefits. In today's episode, she is going to share how she went about figuring out where to find a manufacturer, how she figured out how to create these actual products, and how she is going out there kicking down doors and getting capital for her business. Let's get right into it. What was your initial career path? What were you doing when you started range beauty.

Alicia Scott 2:31

So my initial career path was actually in fashion, I was a fashion obsessed, I just knew one day I was going to see my collection going down a runway in New York Fashion Week. So I went to Virginia Tech for Fashion Design and Merchandising, and post graduation, I moved to New York and really worked any fashion job that would take me. And so at the time that I came up with the idea for range, it actually came from me working behind the scenes in the fashion industry and being amongst the black models and seeing them having to bring their own makeup, good sunset. And so I was still working that while I was still coming up with the concept. And then fast forward, I picked up everything and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. And I did that so that I can actually have more flexibility in my schedule and financially just start range. And at that time I started a new career in HR.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:30

It sounds like you just had this confidence like that. I can do this. I want to start my own, you know, beauty line. What have you seen at that point? Or what experience Did you have that made you feel like this was something that you could take on and and that didn't intimidate you? Honestly, I

Alicia Scott 3:47

think my biggest experience stemmed from when I was younger. My dad started off in the army, and then he went on to work at the White House. Then he went on to other government jobs, and see him pursue his own career path. And then it actually moved us overseas. We spent six years overseas two years Kuwait, two years, Egypt, two years in Jordan. And I think that really gave me this capacity of just you can pick up and do whatever you want to do. And whenever you want to do it, you don't have to be tied down to one place. You don't have to be tied down to one thing. And I was really, really grateful to have parents who pushed me and motivated me to pursue whatever it was that I wanted. I mean, at the time, it was fashion. But even when I pivoted towards beauty, they've been so supportive. And alongside that I think just seeing spouts of entrepreneurship throughout my life that at the time I didn't know it was entrepreneurship. Like when I was younger, my mom had her own daycare out of our home. And then she went on to pursue child development and that became her career path. Further down the line once my father retired, he opened opened up his own business with a fellow partner while I was in New York. One of my roommates, she had a side hustle, curating and selling vintage clothing while she was working her full time job. So I always had this exposure to just going after whatever you want to create and do, I guess I just didn't know at the time, like, this is what true entrepreneurship is. And so I kind of had to create that path for myself. But I've always had the nudge and a push to to create a life that you are proud and happy to live.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:33

I love that that is such a benefit. And it's such an awesome, awesome experience to have, because not everyone has that. And that completely can shape a person. So I'm so glad that you had that. And you knew all the side hustling you saw the entrepreneurship. Now, tell us more about how you went about setting up your side hustle?

Alicia Scott 5:54

Yes. So once I started doing my research, and I was still living in New York, still working, my at the time I was an account executive at a fashion show room. So I was still working the job. And I had just started my initial research, I'd be like Google became my best friend day in and day in day out like I was on there figuring out how do you start your own makeup line. So all these guides would pop up, there were some videos that would pop up on YouTube at the time of like, how you make your own lip gloss at home or things like that. And I would just take little pieces here and there. And I put together my own checklist of what I needed to have in place to actually create something that it wasn't going to be perfect, but it was going to be as close to professional as possible. And so once I had this list together, you know, my manufacturer that I wanted, the how I was going to handle packaging, how was going to handle website, getting my LLC getting an Ei n, I really made sure I had everything together. And that's when I actually picked up and that's when I relocated to Georgia, because I was like, Okay, I know what I need to put together. But I want to make sure I have the funds. And so I'm looking and I'm seeing a lot of articles are talking about how much you actually need to start a cosmetics company. And it was, you know, 1000s and 1000s of dollars, which I did not have at the time. And 1000s I mean like it was like all of you know, if you're trying to do you know a lip balm line or look glass line, you'll be fine with just 1000 and then it's like if you're trying to do color cosmetics, you'll have to probably start at 10,000 Platinum sake. At that time, I'm like, where would I even get $10,000. And so I started understanding more from working in wholesale and fashion I already knew about mo q so minimum order quantity that we would pass on to our vendors. And so I realized, okay, this actually converts to a lot of different industries and cosmetics is the same. A lot of manufacturers have mo cues you have to meet and when it comes to Color Cosmetics you have to meet that usually it's per shade per skew. And so I really drilled down and I found this website I don't know if it's still around but it was this website called cosmetic index or cosmetics index or something like that. And it was it's basically the Yellow Pages for anything you could possibly need to start with cosmetics I like packaging supplies, raw material manufacturers contract manufacturing print, like everything you possibly need.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:29

So great tip right then yeah, I mean, I wasn't looking to start one right now. I know.

Alicia Scott 8:37

Yes, I like and it's so funny looking back I remember the website in my head and it wasn't this super polished, you know, modern website, half the time I would click into companies and it would just say the name and a phone number.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:49

Like Okay, and

Alicia Scott 8:50

so you really have to do your research and i i mean i went through so many I I dated a lot of manufacturers until I found the perfect match. And I found a woman owned manufacturer here in the US and her she said that the mo q at her company was only $150. And yeah, so when you think of wholesale, you're not you're not purchasing, you know this retail price, you're purchasing this at a wholesale price. So the $150 that I made that things bread, Wyden Barbies, I was like okay, I want to get towards like I want to get a statue I want to get a beaker I want to get pigments to play with. I want to get toners to play with. I want to get bases to play with everything that I needed to basically create a foundation at my house. And so that's how it really started. I remember I was in my living room in Atlanta, and the order arrived and I'm so excited. It was like a kid on Christmas Day. And I popped everything out. I laid it all out on my living room table. And I just sat there and I needed 20 at least 20 different shades of brown that asked Actually reflected the skin tones that I saw on my family and my friends wherever in the world. And it was, it was a serious aha moment because I was so shocked at myself as I the whole time, this is all it took to create these shades. You know? And I'm like, why? So then why is it that these bigger cosmetic companies aren't creating the sheet and then I really had to think about, you know, they don't see the one for it, they don't see the need, and they they don't have the desire to create for us. And so I was like, Okay, I really need to take this and run with it. and expand on these deeper shades expand on how I sat here, and I used only clean ingredients, there were no filler ingredients, and how I was able to use ingredients that take care of your skin while you're wearing the makeup. And so that's really how everything developed from there.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:56

I love that you have this focus on eczema and acne skin, you know, skin that has these kinds of issues, which you know, I can relate to as someone who suffers from eczema, and I know that it is hard to figure out what is in my foundation. What does this chemical actually mean? What will it interact with? Like, is it bad for me? Is it good when it's in a cosmetic? Because there's some things that like, if you just Google the ingredient, right? It's like super scary, but then like, if you look at the the guidelines, it's like, if it's in this particular mixture, it's safe, you know? How did you not having like a chemist background start to parse together? Okay, how can I create these products? Also keep them clean and effective? Yeah, so

Alicia Scott 11:49

I'm similar to you, I had pretty decent skin, I would say throughout, you know, probably to the end of high school. I would see my friends, you know, trying out a lot of different makeup and I never like ventured into it. I remember one time I tried out my friend's makeup. And at that time, it was this really popular product. I think it was the Maybelline It was like dream mousse or something. And he went into high school with no product.

Alicia Scott 12:19

And I was like, okay, we were going to some party or something. And I just went I was like, I want to do you know, something on my face. And I broke out so terribly. And I already knew from being a child that I had a severe allergic reaction to fragrance. One time I spread like my grandmother's lotion all over my face and was heavily scented, and I broke out very badly. And from there, my mom was like, Okay, we have to be really careful with fragrance with you. And so that was the only real, you know, allergen I knew of. And so I was like, Wow, so now I just need to avoid, you know, this product had fragrance in it. So I can't put on my face. I already couldn't, you know, everybody was using the body sprays and the scented lotions, I couldn't use those either. So I'm like, Okay, I need to avoid that ingredient. And then moving on further into college and trying, I think it was like a girlfriend's bronzer or something. And it broke me out so badly. And I'm looking at like, okay, it can only be fragrance, but I didn't know what it was. And in college is when I developed head to toe eczema. And it was so bad. Just because I didn't have any resources around me. I was making it worse. I couldn't stop scratching. My mom. I remember telling my mom but she was like, I don't know what's happening. And we finally went to a dermatologist. And she was like, Okay, I see you're developing cystic acne. And then I also see that you're developing eczema. And we found out that I have a serious talc allergen, also with fragrance also with synthetic dyes. So she broke down all these things that I need to avoid. So that was swapping out my laundry detergent, making sure you know, I wasn't washing my sheets or clothes and anything that like had you know that blue dye that usually see a detergent, making sure I was using, you know, clean things for my body wash and just really changed my routine. And so from there, it was like, Okay, I'm trying these little things that the dermatologist is giving me she's not seeing that large of an improvement. So she's like, Okay, the next step needs to be steroid treatment. And to me like ceroid it's just such it's such a heavy, serious words me and it was scary. And I opted out. And I again just did my own research and started finding like these different bombs and sounds that you could use that helped with your itchiness with your dryness, weakness, one of them being calendula flower, and so me and calendula flower besties. I remember I had this tin, I don't remember if I got it in New Jersey or if I got it in New York, but it was this a tin can and it had this yellow salvo in it and was calendulas base out, and I applied it to my patches and I started seeing this huge decrease in my eczema. And so I was like, Okay, I just remained consistent with it. And it provided such relief. And so that kind of happened with other topical agents I was using. So I was able to avoid, you know, such a strict and heavy regimen that you know, applying or taking steroids. And so fast forward to when I was making and dreaming of my makeup line. I was like, oh, that would be so cool if we could implement these type of ingredients into the makeup. So ingredients that you usually just see sitting on them sitting by themselves. And there was a way to blend them together. And again, my fairy, my fairy godmother in the form of a manufacturer, when I decided to do contract manufacturing with them, and I was telling her about these issues with my excellent acne. And she actually told me about her own personal journey where she had undergone facial surgery. And she wasn't able to use makeup because it irritated her skin. So she wanted to create something that she was able to still use whenever she wanted to, you know, make up her face, but wouldn't irritate the scars or her recovery from this facial surgery. So she also was like, yeah, calendula is amazing to treat burns, to treat scarring, etc. And I'm like, oh my gosh. So it just works out perfectly. And then her educating me about other ingredients like French clay, which a lot of people aren't familiar with. But it's also great to help with purifying and detoxifying the skin, while balancing your oiliness. And so walking me through the different ingredients that we could put into this foundation, and how it actually really did work together to take care of your skin while still giving you the fun and, and a free type of you know, enjoyment of makeup is kind of how that developed. And so that's been my purpose with every product that I've developed. And like, I know that if I can't personally use it, it's not anything that I'm going to sell. And so the big ones for me were definitely no dyes, no fragrance, no talc, no sulfates, and yeah, it just kind of

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:12

isn't, isn't that amazing? I mean, something that, you know, once I'm sure it was such a pain and probably a source of insecurity, it's now helping you to develop a product that so many people need, you know, and so many

once you've got to Atlanta, how long did it take you to get this idea off the ground.

Alicia Scott 17:39

So I will say the initial concept started in 2014. That's when the idea really came to me, I relocated to Atlanta, and in 2015 I did a soft launch and in May 2017 so about two years of research and development trying out all myself try and get out on family and friends combing through reviews on other makeup lines combing through social media comments and reactions to the the shades and the products that other brands were putting out. And really using that to develop what was initially called skinnydip Cosmetics at the time.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:18

That's a fun name.

Alicia Scott 18:22

interesting stories, I remember getting my LLC and Ei n under this name, because I was like, Oh, I want it I was trying to think of a name that was you know, kind of in within the ethos of I'm not here to cover up your skin to hide anything I want you to still feel free. And you know yourself and our makeup. And so when I'm when I was thinking about when do you feel free and all of this, I was like, okay, skinny dipping, you know, that's one of the times when you can feel the most free you're, you know, stripped down, you're with nature. And so I call this SK, NY dip cosmetics. And so one of the things that I talked to you about, like what the bond was and like always make sure you do your due diligence because at the time when I did my Ei at an LLC, and I tried to do

Nicaila Matthews Okome 19:09

it, you can be an employee employee identification. Yeah,

Alicia Scott 19:16

yeah, your business social security numbers the way I think it's like for your attacks and everything. But at the time when I did my trademark search, there wasn't anything registered to it. And this was my June 2014. And so now fast forward to 2017 when I'm launching, I wasn't like okay, now let me go back and double check and make no, I was like okay, I have my LLC am I and we're good to go. And I launched in May 2017. I think I was contacted June or July of 2017 by a company out of the UK called Skinny Dip SK II NY and they started off in the UK as just a phone and fashion accessories brand and they Eventually branched into makeup. And so they contacted me via email and told me you're infringing on our trademark, you need to basically break down everything or we're going to take you to court. I was, it was crazy, because I'm like, first of all, I mean, I think I've made probably $500. So please, please try to take me to court. You won't be I began, but but it was also, at the same time the direction skinnydip was going in and wasn't in alignment with my original purpose and mission. And so it was kind of very timely, because I already wanted to just toss everything to the side and start over. So that was pretty much like my huge red flags, like a board mission. And let's try this again.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:49

And you know, something else too. Like, it's so funny, because I think your name is just, it's simple, and it's perfect. Like, it's what you're about, right? The range, and its beauty. And I also think that it may sound simple, but putting beauty in your name when you're a beauty. Genius. I mean, if you can find a way Cincy beauty range beauty like it is. It's good. It's good. I don't know what else to say, guys, but like, and I always talk about names with people, because this is not something I want side hustlers to get hung up on. But at the same time, anytime you find yourself like coming up with something because you think it's cute and catchy. Yeah, probably going down a road where like no one else gets that thing that you have in your head like you have in your head like to rework it, it's time to run it by people who would actually be your customers not like your friends. So thank you for being transparent about this blunder along the way. Yes.

Alicia Scott 21:48

And just to even double down on that when I went back to the drawing board to rebrand and I came up with the name I was like, oh, how about range because you know, range of skin type skin tones, bank accounts, everything. We are here to serve the range. And I remember I was floating, but I was like, What do you guys think about range? And I remember my dad is like, like out on the open range. That's weird. Okay. And then one of my friends like, I think like, I think of like a like a stovetop, like you're cooking on the range. And then when I added it, I was like, Okay, what about range? vT? Everyone was like, Oh, okay.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:26

Yes, yes, yes. So women, that rebrand all comes together. So then

Alicia Scott 22:37

it was about another year later. So I think I was on market maybe for two months after May 2017 launch, and we rebranded and relaunched August end of August of 2018. And obviously, that was updated name, then completely new packaging, updated the website, I like I really went all out for the relaunch. And on top of that, when I initially launched, my focus was that I, I wanted the range to only be I think it was brown to deeper brown shades at first. So at first, I believe it was only about 16 or 14 shades that I had. And so when I rebranded and relaunched I focused in on the 21 forgotten shades, and that was from fair to deeper Brown. And my idea was, you know, it's not only bronze, deeper brown, black woman or women of color that have an issue. They're they're black woman come in all different types of shades, black people come in all different types of shades. So I wanted to make sure I was inclusive, inclusive of them. And then while I was able to prioritize black women and women of color, it was also still inclusive to groups outside of them. And so that was how I rebranded and relaunched making sure it was known that I'm still prioritizing us. But it's not only as a line.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:06

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Alicia Scott 27:41

I always whenever people ask you this, they're still so shocked. And I don't know if it was because of the year or what. But I would say my initial investment was probably around 1015 $100 and and I did I was able to keep it still very low even with our blowout because a lot of the things that I use for the rebrand I did myself. So thinking about website, like I used a $5 plan on Squarespace. And that's so easy drop in place templates and make it look cute. Without having to spend a pretty penny. And for my packaging, I found a really great designer out of LA, who was just trying to build up her own personal portfolio. And so her cost was like, Okay, yeah, I designed this for $100. You know, and so trying to keep my budget as tight as possible. And just telling myself that Alicia professional, not perfect, professional and not perfect like, and I tell this to everyone I've gone through, I think it's been a three or four different rebrands now, including my initial one with skinny dip. And so I always do not focus your money and your budget and your time on your actual branding in the front habba wherever you are, when you launch, I promise you fast forward even just a few months, and you're going to be like, No, I don't like this anymore. And so I'm always like, just make it as professional make it as sellable as possible, but it's not going to be perfect. And so that's what I just had to tell myself and I kept that mindful, especially with budget to

Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:29

speaking of branding, speaking of marketing, how did you develop your marketing plan? And how did you start to get the word out about range B? Yes,

Alicia Scott 29:38

so my initial marketing plan was non existent. I basically just started instagram and twitter before I even launched Skinny Dip or before I made it public for sale. I wanted to make sure there was some type of pipe and engagement being created before we actually went to market so that was cool. inspo images, I was posting some behind the scenes images on my instagram and twitter at the time before we even launch. And then once we launched, I remember I posted I was always very careful with how I made sure whatever it was, whether it was skinnydip, whether it's you know, fast forward to range, whatever the picture was, was intentional. And it was intentional to show off why we created this. And so I remember one of the tweets initially, when it was skinny dip was the packaging all laid out, or the bottles all laid out. And it was picked up by a major beauty account on Twitter. And she retweeted it. And she was like now this is what you call a range. And it was during a time when a lot of makeup brands were coming out with shade ranges that didn't even touch my skin tone. And so it just went crazy and it took off. And then the same thing happened fast forward with range, I did another kind of overtop shot of all the bottles laid out so you could see every single color we have. And it went crazy. And so be intentional with the product photography. And then also being intentional with whenever people would leave comments or engage on our page, actually giving them a response. And then actually using that feedback to apply it to the line, I think is really what set us up for success. And then obviously being the only line at that time. And even now, to this day that focused on skincare benefits in your makeup specially targeted for eczema and acne, while being clean and inclusive. It was just no one else was checking off those boxes. And so I think a lot of accounts, were excited to see it. And we had a lot of organic exposure and reach. And I'm really fortunate and grateful for that a lot of influencers I was reaching out to and said, Hey, you know, I would love to just give to you. I never asked them to post I never said you know, if you do this, I'll pay you it was just I would love for you to try it out. Because I love what you're doing on your page. And I would say nine out of 10 times the influencer would make a post about it because they actually enjoyed the product, which is the booth. So it's the best type of exposure you can get. Right. So and I think and it just resonated throughout press as well. We picked up a lot of press features very organically. today. People were like, Who's your publicist? I mean, I have when you're I'm so sorry. Like many press coverage, you see, it is that actual you know, a writer or blogger whomever reaching out to us directly asking if they could feature us, which is amazing again, but yeah, we I think this is our first year that I've actually said, Okay, here's our here's a true marketing plan. Here's what we wouldn't do, because now we're in scale mode. And I have larger revenue goals that I had last year in the previous year. And so I like okay, now it's the kind of basically 10 times that we need to really put a plan in place so that we're not only relying on organic reach. So yeah, and but the majority of our sales, word of mouth, everything has been very organic.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 33:06

And so Instagram played a big part of that.

Alicia Scott 33:09

Huge. Yeah, Twitter and Instagram played a huge part in us getting exposure and us getting site conversion for sure.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 33:22

How did you manage fulfilling orders, promoting your business, doing all the things in your business while you were still a side hustle,

your process. I was tired,

Alicia Scott 33:35

I don't even know I think I was asleep half the time. It's all a blur. But I just I knew that I always wanted to be my own boss that that was always in my mind whether that was in fashion, or in something else. I knew I did not want to work for someone for the rest of my life. That wasn't the life that I intended for myself. And so even when I moved into this HR role in Atlanta, very far away from fashion and even further from Beauty. I always told myself, this is temporary, this is temporary. So if I'm telling myself it's temporary, then I need to be working my butt off to make sure it is truly temporary. And so those times you know, my friends were like let's go on a trip or let's go to brunch or let's do this. I was at home, working on orders as at home responding to customer service emails, I was at home making the batches because everything was handmade at the time. I'm like I really did sacrifice a lot of free time because it's something that I believed I could create as my full time job and and create into a company. And I think initially I was moving a little bit slower. And it wasn't until target contacted me I believe it was October of 2018 so I had just relaunched and rebranded august of 2018. I had set these goals for myself and I received dm from a target buyer as a black woman, saying, Hey, I would love to talk to you about your brand. And I thought it was a spam message, I say, Okay, I talked about or whatever. And then I looked up her name and everything on LinkedIn, and she was the real deal. And so she and her assistant buyer came to Atlanta, and I did a line presentation for them. So I presented the collection to them. And just sitting in front of these two black woman buyers who were close to my age, and having them you know, excited about what I created, and having them talk about, you know, we're basically trying to get in as many black owned brands that are doing the damn thing and get them into the door before questions start being asked. And I remember that

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:50

I came across to you how they, you know, found out about your business,

Alicia Scott 35:54

it was so funny, because I asked, I was like, yeah, you know, I saw the DM and she was like, I was just scrolling on Instagram, and I saw your brand. And because she had DM me on my personal page, and at the time, and even now, in my bio on our business page I had created by and I put my personal handle and screaming it on there. And so that's how she found me. But she was like, yeah, just came up on my radar. And so when I told her, you know, I'm actually not ready, because I just launched in August. She was like, wait, I didn't know you were that new. And that was even more, it was even more like, okay, hey,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:35

you're doing the right

Alicia Scott 36:35

thing. Exactly. It was just even though you don't need your your own validation, you know, your purpose, you know, your mission, what your company, it was just that extra cherry on top of like, okay, I am doing something that could have that really has a place in the bigger market. And so I think that conversation being so transparent and so candid, and then, you know, drilling down on what it basically takes to get into target and saying, you know, we're here for you, we want to see you here and me saying, I want to see myself there, too, I'm going to make sure like I want you guys know, I'm circling back on this, that was the extra fire. Because I mean, for me, I had it on my probably like five or six year plan, I can't wait to you know, be able to present the target. And I really

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:22

was in that gap between where you were, and what would be needed to be on store shelves in target.

Alicia Scott 37:29

So the biggest thing was absolutely capital, it was just hands down capital, it was when they were talking about you know, you have to pay for your signage, it's when they're talking about there has to be marketing, you don't get to just be on the shopping, be excited and kick up your feet. And that's it, you have to make sure there's pushing towards stores in different states and locations, and you have to make sure your packaging is ready, you have to make sure you're you actually have to pay for the reviews that can't host it on the website, or wherever you do all of these little things that you have to account for that people I think don't realize how much you have to pay for upfront to be in retail, and breaking down the different costumes like Okay, so now my next goal, and my next mission is to raise additional capital to whatever I'm already bootstrapping the company with. So everything was being funded through the profits of the company, and through whatever I leftover from my nine to five. So I'm like, okay, what's the next step? Again, got on Google. And of course, there's all of these things talking about you need an investor. And I'm seeing, you know, examples of investors. And at the same time, I've been watching Shark Tank, I've been an avid watcher of shark tank. I saw, you know, Melissa Butler and the lip bars episode. And I'm just like, okay, I don't know if I'm that ready for, you know, to pitch my business like that. And so what can I do aside from an investor and that's when I found that these pitch competitions and these grant competitions, and these funds actually exist, and I just I dived headfirst into pitching.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:09

When I met you, it's funny, my team, I could see that you were on your grind. Like you were up there, like I'm going to put my business in front of as many people as possible. I'm going to apply for every opportunity. Can you talk to us about what mode you went into after that? How did you go about getting more capital? Yeah,

Alicia Scott 39:27

absolutely. So I had to tap into that. I love public speaking, I can talk about something I know about just day in and day out, honestly. And I've been that way since I was little I loved getting up and doing class presentations. I loved having to do speeches, and I love the feedback that I received from my teachers. And so I'm like, okay, who knows my brand better than me? No one. And then on top of that, I love skiing. So I think I could do a pitch competition. And so the first competition I asked applied for was, I believe it was with Jackie Iona, who's obviously a huge beauty and YouTube mogul and star, she was doing a grant at the time, it was called noir grant. And she was awarding $5,000 to a black owned business. And I applied I remember applying, and I made it through the initial round. And then I made it to the final round. And they flew us to LA. But us up in this beautiful house. You know, we did this whole talk with her and her fiance, Dennis. And then they were like, Okay, so now you're gonna have to pitch live on our YouTube. And I'm like, Okay, and so I did the pitch. And the response was just overwhelmingly great. And I was one of the $5,000 winners, it was myself and one other business owner, we got $5,000 each. And so I'm like, Okay, if I can do this, I think I can do it again.

Alicia Scott 41:02

And so I just kept on applying and my next application was at now it's called fearless fund, but I'm not sure what it was called previously, but it was headed by Ariane Simone, and she held these competitions in Atlanta. And it was for you to receive it an investment. And it was like it will usually go up to I think $100,000. And so I applied, I made it through the initial round. And I made it to the second round. The next round was we were at Spanx headquarters here in Atlanta. And we went into the separate rooms, and you had to pitch before your judge. And I pitched I had my whole thing together. And at the end of it, my judge said, that was an amazing pitch like you really know your business, you really know your sex. But what I want to know is what is your unique identifier. And at the time, I was just pitching about us being affordable, as being inclusive and as being clean. I wasn't talking about my journey with excellent acne. I wasn't talking about why I wanted these products specially formulated for acne, eczema prone skin. And though I don't even ask me why because I don't I don't even know why to this day why I left it out. But I was just like, okay, these are the three important things that I need to touch base on. And so she asked me, and she was like, I think you're really be onto something once you state your unique identifier, what is your point of differentiation? And she was like when you look at Fenty because at this time now venti had launched, and they came out, you know, with these 50 shades, and now these other brands were coming out with 50 shades. And so she's like, when you see these brands coming out, you know, you can't really lat rely on being inclusive, because they're coming out with more shades than you are, you can't really rely on being affordable because some of these brands, like the drugstore brands are now trying to expand their range. So what is it truly, aside from being clean. And so I really took her advice, and I ran with it. And that's when I drill down on my elevator pitch. That's when I drill down on our tagline clean beauty for the Forgotten shades. And that's where I drill down on I created this because of my acne, eczema prone skin. And from there, that's when I just I started snatching up

Alicia Scott 43:22

everything that I was applying for, honestly.

You're like, I'm coming for everything. I'm

Alicia Scott 43:33

kicking down doors. And I would I mean, even after I would apply for them, like there's no way they can deny me now. And that's really how it wasn't, it was not only was it helping me with capital, but it was helping me with exposure to because now I'm doing these big grant competitions and pitch competitions. So my second pitch competition with Ariane was at Facebook headquarters, and I actually made it onto stage. And from there, they picked the finalist, and which was not me. But it was nice to see my growth and my development. And at the same time I'm picking up like these 5k 10k grants, and just building from there. And at the same time I'm maintaining this relationship with target. So I went to Target headquarters in I believe it was February of 2019. Every February they do a black owned business fair, where they highlight black owned vendors that they have at Target, as well as vendors they're interested in bringing in or just vendors that they love the service that they're providing. And so I remember I made relationships and contacts there and I maintain that relationship all through 2019. And then my big competition came in December 2019. I was a vendor at the target essence, holiday market. And it was it was right. I had already told myself December 2019 is my last month at my nine to five no event ands or buts about it. And so I was a vendor at this fair, I met with a lot of the target execs that I had met at headquarters. And I was also in the pitch competition that was hosted by New Voices essence and targets. And I remember I gave my pitch and like the target exact for emailing me like, Wow, my gosh, I'm so glad I caught this, you. And it was so amazing. And I remember I when I was my goal was I just don't want to win the like runner up. I was like, I just don't want to run the runner up prize. And so I think the runner up prize is like 5000, I believe. And then I think the next tier was 15, if I'm not mistaken. And so I was in the next year. And then it just really everything just progressed. It just kept on progressing. From there, I applied for a Bumble for business pitch and I won that grants I applied for a visa grant, I won that grant. I got into target takeoff beauty last year and did their program. And then at the end of that was when you know, target gave me the green light for calm. And then all of last year I was like okay, now I need even more capital. So I started applying to the big buckets. And one, I believe it was 20 or 25k through the Brown Girl Jane Shea Moisture, Vaseline pitch competition. And then I applied it one more time to the fearless fun pitch competition. And it was here in Atlanta, and it was myself and another beauty company. There's a beauty tech company, and we pitched live. And I ended up winning, winning $100,000 investment. And thank you and it was amazing. I did my due diligence with the investors and you know, gave them my strategy of how the money, you know how I was going to use the funding. And I remember I got off the call. And then a few days later, and caught me I was like so I've been talking in all over with my partners. And we decided we want to double the award amount because we know you're going to really need the support to get to where you're trying to go. And so it was increased to 200k investment. And now I like now actually, you know, trying to be in the big leagues and actually talking to investors this year. So it's all been a really amazing, like, growth spurt for me to be honest. Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:33

And it's so dope that you are able to you know, you're working with women who are working to give money to get to give money, like it's, it's not charity, but invest in companies and they see your vision. And another thing I love about your story, Alicia is just the fact that you believe in yourself. You'd be surprised how for so many side hustlers and entrepreneurs, that missing ingredient is the confidence you work, work, work, work work, you are taking the steps to make sure you can back up what you have to say. But then when the opportunity presents itself, it shrinks. Like I remember when I got on stage, you know it was 2021 and I you know, wanted someone to come up and talk about their business. And you were the first hand like I think the hands staggered after you but you were ready for the person hand up first person I saw and it was like and I'm not gonna lie like if I was in your shoes at like a few years back like I would be the type of person who would have like a conversation with myself and by the time worked up the nerve the opportunity would have been gone. So you guys if you weren't there like work on your confidence work on being sure of yourself so that when opportunity presents itself you go out there and you get that bag just like Alicia has been going out there Oh, okay. doors and she's like y'all, you're gonna give me this money?

Yeah, let's let's make it a money. Let's talk about this right because your new business, you're not getting that for your personal bank account. You're getting that for your business bank account. So a lot of entrepreneurs they're in that stage where they it takes them a long time to be able to pull a salary table to make money. What has been your experience?

Alicia Scott 49:26

Yes, my biggest experience with this was just remembering my parents, all those supportive and although motivating, always told me never leave a job if you don't have their one lined up, or we don't have a nice fat savings account. Those were the two things and so that was my biggest thing working my nine to five I was like not only am I putting aside money for whatever I need expense wise for range, but I putting aside money for my personal expenses too. Because there's no way I was thinking, I'm going to get the same salary, or I'm getting in this position at my nine to five, that I'm going to get initially off of taking range on full time. And so I got myself to a point where I will say I was comfortable, I had a very nice cushion, for sure. But it was still a little, you know, a little person on my shoulder, like, oh, work a little bit more, work a little bit more, save a little bit more and save a little bit more. And so at the same time, I'm winning these competitions, I'm getting this amazing exposure, and I'm telling my dad, my dad is like my biggest fan, honestly. And so I'm telling him about everything that's happening. And he's like, you need to leave your home. He is I believe his job, Alicia. And I'm like, wow, your dad says, Yes, my dad was like, Alicia, it's time for you to leave your job. And I was telling him, No, I just want to save a little bit more, I want to save a little bit more. And he's like,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:51

what made him say that

Alicia Scott 50:53

he I think she was just seeing me win these competitions. He saw the initial excitement from Target. And he saw the exposure and reach I was gaining when I would loop him in on what was happening. And tell him about what what was even happening sales wise. And he was like, look at what you're able to do with this as you're, as you're working a nine to five. And he is like whatever energy and time you're putting into that nine to five, it's you're not able to put that into your business. And he's like, you just got to go great. I remember our final conversation, because I swear, anytime I was talking to him about range, it got to the point where he was like, you need to leave your job. Like, okay, and the last time? Yes, I tell him all the time, the last quiz she gave me I was just like, I don't know, I don't know, like, and he's totally shut. What is the worst thing that's going to happen? You're going to have to get another job if it doesn't work out. And I was like, he I guess he has a you have this amazing resume Now, what is that the worst thing that's going to have to happen to you? And I was like, Yeah, okay. And so I told him, I said, I'm leaving my job at the end of 2019. And I remember when I received this investment, and we were talking and he was like, I remember you telling me early 2019. Like you told me, I'm going to leave my job at the end of 2019. And he's like, now look at you. And it's just like, I don't think people understand having those type of people in your circle and in your life, especially while you're pursuing entrepreneurship, which can be Ms. Breezy. Yeah, a parent, a parent who is usually like, you know, I just want you to be safe and then protected. And you know, all of these things. But having that, especially for entrepreneurship, within it's a lonely journey, it can be it can be scary. It can be their struggles, like having those type of people in your corner. Sometimes like, like, you talk about confidence. Like I said, I'm very confident in my business. I'm very competent myself. Now. Are there moments where that wavers? Absolutely. Are there times where I just feel like, Why do I keep on getting no on this? Or, you know, why is this happening, and you have these people that are able to push you up, when you're kind of feeling yourself sinking down. I think that's so important. And I have to say, I have to touch on credit to anyone, because I remember seeing you on the lineup, I have to say I remember seeing you on the lineup, and I was so excited. And as soon as the door open. As soon as the door I was at the front of the line for when the doors open. I'm sitting on the front row because I like I don't know, I'm going to try and pull you aside and say something to you. So then being able to be on stage with you. I mean, wow, that was such a defining moment for me. So I just had to say that

Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:49

made me tear up like

that is awesome. I'm so touched and also like, Yeah, I was so impressed. Not only that you did that. But just your energy, like you could tell you how you could just tell a winner.
Thank you so much.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:11

So proud and happy to see where you are not me. We started following each other. So we you know, I've been following along. And I'm so happy that we can share your story today. And I know that you're going to inspire so many people because you You truly are a testament to what can happen when you believe in yourself. And you you literally started just where everyone can start with Google.
Yes,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:34

seriously. And from there. So at this point, before we jump in lightning round, I want to know like how big is the team? Are you able to take a salary? Are you still in the phase where you kind of like doing other hustles to pay yourself? How's it going?

Alicia Scott 54:52

Yes. So today it's myself and then I have an operations manager who is part time and then I have a A marketing team composed of three amazing black women. One is through an agency or ads, and then I had two who are freelance contractors. And then I also have my black woman owned three PL here in Atlanta as well. So I'm surrounded by this just black woman killing it, which is which has been my goal. And so as far as salary, I have not taken a salary yet. And I have just been fortunate, I mean, everything that I saved, has really, it's it's helped me over to be honest, I haven't gone outside of my expenses. Since my nine to five, I wasn't like, okay, now I'm going to buy a house or now I'm going to upgrade my car, I still drive the same car and still live in the same apartment. My expenses are pretty much the same. So I haven't made any crazy changes. And so lightning last year was really just my first year full time with range. So I've been fortunate to have my personal savings still intact and be able to pull from there and just keep the business account the business account. But I'm like, I think after seeing myself pay out, everybody for the work they're doing. I'm like, Okay, everybody else is gonna pay it, I need to start paying myself. So my goal is definitely towards the end of this year to put a salary in place for myself.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:22

So now we're going to do a quick lightning round, you know, big deal, you just answer the very first thing that comes to mind. Are you ready?

I am so ready.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:31

Okay, number one, what is a resource that has helped you in your business that you can share with the side hustle pro audience? Yeah,

Google is free.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:44

Girl, I will say they, for you.

Alicia Scott 56:48

Like, can you sponsor me. But they have been an wavering resource from start to where I am now for anything I've ever needed to look up about running a business about running a makeup brand anything. And I'm just like, please, people do not utilize Google enough.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 57:09

Like, what was the name of that cosmetic index site? You mentioned again? Yes,

Alicia Scott 57:13

it's either cosmetic or cosmetics. index.com. Okay. Number two,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 57:20

who is an entrepreneur that you admire and why?

Alicia Scott 57:24

Absolutely. Melissa Butler, I remember watching her Shark Tank episode in real time and seeing their reaction to what she created for black women. And then seeing her growth from after that. So where she is now has just been incredible. And along the journey, I've had the opportunity to talk to her. When I met her I met her at Target headquarters when I went there for the business fair. And she's like I say myself, whenever Have you ever need anything. And so fast forward to when it was time for me to go to Target. I remember I sent her a text was like, Hey, you know, just seeing if I could get if I could get some feedback or advice. And we set up a whole call. And she was like, please let me know. And so that is honestly,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:10

I just want, I think,

Alicia Scott 58:12

yeah, that's what it's all about. And like when I think of entrepreneurs that hold a special light, for me, it's the ones that I see actually uplifting and empowering us and it aren't just in it, you know, for the money or for the theme or whatever, but are actually in it to create a difference with their brand with their company with their purpose and then to bring up anyone they can along the way. So I love her down.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 58:36

Number three, what is a non negotiable part of your day?

Alicia Scott 58:41

Oh, absolutely. prayer in the morning. So I always have to start my day I am very intentional with like waking up and being so grateful that I have another day to serve and a purpose that was masterfully created for me. And so I just I have to it doesn't matter if I have to do it in the shower, and I'm still in the bed and before breakfast, wherever it is in my day. I have to do it. So that's my biggest one.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:09

Number four, what is a personal habit that you believe has helped you significantly as your side hustling?

Alicia Scott 59:16

I think just being kind and open. It's it's taken me pretty far in that not in the aspect of doing it to receive something, but I think just taking whatever I have and trying to pay it forward has honestly bought me so much more. And that's just whether it's business or personal and saying you know, oh, this is how I do this or, you know, here's a resource for you. If you guys need a reference, please put me down anything. I just I feel like it's been 10 times and what I've received so i would i guess i consider that a personal habit just trying to be kind and trying to pay it forward as many times as I can.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 59:55

And then finally, what is your parting advice for fellow black women entrepreneur Workers who want to be their own boss, but are worried about losing a steady paycheck.

Alicia Scott 1:00:05

I would say the same advice my dad gave me what is the worst that can come from this, you're going to have to get another job, you're going to have to apply and work a different job than what you were previously, like, take the time to do what you want to do to create the life you want to live. My favorite quote is you shouldn't fear failure, but you should be terrified of regret. And I say that all the time. Because it's so true. You'd never want to look back on anything and wonder, oh, I wonder what would have come from that if I would have just tried it. Just do it like Nike, do it, get it out there. It's going to happen as long as you believe in it. And as as long as you actually do the work done. Now, don't sit around thinking someone's gonna just fall in your lap. Like, as long as you are intentional and do the work, then you'll absolutely reap the benefits. So just go ahead and put yourself out there and give it a try.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:00:58

Yes, what a powerful note to end on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Alicia for being in the guest here today. You guys. Go ahead and check her out. Where can people connect with you online and on social media? Yes, thank

Alicia Scott 1:01:12

you so much for having me. It's such an honor. Like honestly recall the days of playing your podcast while I was filling orders. So it's incredible to be sitting here. But everyone can find me. My personal Instagram is Alicia a Li CIA s or our business page on Instagram is range_beauty. And you can also find us on Twitter at rangebeauty or our website rangebeauty.com and on target.com

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:01:41

Alright, and there you have it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:01:47

thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that co slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business Tip of the Week. Again that side hustle pro.co slash newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon.

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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