Brittany Lo ’14: Female Founder Stories (Part 2)
Brittany Lo ’14 is a beauty entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Beautini. Before founding her business, Brittany gained experience working for brands including L’OREAL USA, Redken 5th Ave, and Sony Music Entertainment. Beautini is a two-time winner of The Knot Best of Weddings and was named in New York Magazine’s 2017 “Best of Wedding Vendors” list. I recently spoke with Brittany to learn more about her inspiration to start the business and memorable advice she has received.
Tell me about Beautini.
Beautini is a Manhattan-based luxury beauty concierge that provides hair and makeup services for weddings and special events. We give clients a fun and memorable beauty experience, complete with champagne and silk robes!
What inspired you to start Beautini?
One morning when I was in second grade, my dad asked me the age old question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I told him that I wanted to work in the beauty industry, so he recommended that I work for Clinique or Estée Lauder. I simply responded saying that I actually wanted to have my own beauty company. That day at school I wrote in my journal that I wanted to create my own beauty company and every decision I have made since that day has been to make this dream a reality.
At Babson, I took a Service Marketing course that convinced me that offering beauty services would be more impactful than a product-based business. Understanding how many marketing dollars it takes to bring a product to life from a shelf at CVS, I figured beauty services would be a better business angle to take. My initial idea was to provide on-demand services to women before important meetings or a night out, but quickly shifted to the wedding niche to create a more meaningful for brides and their bridal parties.
Who is your role model and why?
My mom. She has four children, works a full time job, and made sure we kept straight A’s in school while managing to be at every ballet recital and basketball game- she literally never sleeps! Now that I’ve grown up, I’m so impressed by the way she and my dad handled it all. I try to emulate her can-do attitude when I have a packed schedule. And I know never to complain how busy or tired I am to her because she does it all the time with absolute grace.
My other role model is Sara Blakely. She’s the youngest female self-made billionaire, and is very real and honest (and extremely funny!!!). When successful founders talk about growing their business, I find it hard to know what the true path is they have taken to lead them to success. As a young entrepreneur, I know it isn’t always fun and easy growing a business so I appreciate Sara’s honesty with her story. I admire how down to earth she is and how open she is about her struggles to balance work and family. As my company grows, I want to keep my values and stay true to myself regardless of what happens.
What motivates you?
Having investors and a team who believes in me throughout this journey motivates me to be better. Also, seeing how happy our clients are with Beautini means the absolute world to me and makes this crazy experience 100% worth it. After all, I have this great opportunity to chase my dream, which so few people have the opportunity to do. If not now, when?!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What is the worst?
The best advice I’ve received is not to worry about what others think. When you first start as an entrepreneur, its nerve-wracking and you don’t know if you will ultimately fail or succeed so worrying about what others think can be very destructive. You should, of course, listen to feedback but if you worry too much about pleasing others you’ll never build a strong brand. Focus on yourself and your own goals one step at a step.
Years ago when I was an intern, my boss told me to know my boundaries and not to interact with upper management. Towards the end of my internship, the General Manager offered to meet with me to review my final presentation and I naturally accepted. After I presented my materials to her she gave feedback and asked to meet again. However, once my manager learned about this second meeting she told me to not meet with her. I of course listened but at the end of the day, I got a full time offer from that company because of my quality work and also because of a glowing recommendation from that GM. If I were to have listened to my manager’s advice from the start, I would have never had this opportunity and perhaps not have received the job offer. A strength of mine is my fearlessness- I just go for things. If you want to meet with someone, just try! Even if they decline the meeting, you’re no further behind than before. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!
What has been your greatest entrepreneurial achievement?
Being a young company in this industry and gaining national recognition is really exciting. We were also selected for The Knot Wed 100 list in 2017. This is a list of 100 companies nationwide that The Knot believes are leading and reinventing the wedding industry. Being recognized for this was incredibly humbling.
What has been your greatest challenge and what lessons did you take from it?
The greatest challenge I have encountered was figuring out how to grow Beautini while also providing an intimate experience for each bride. Our clients trust us to provide exceptional service during one of the most important days of their lives, and it can be challenging to scale the business at the same time, but seeing each wedding unravel perfectly proves that the extra step we take with each client is completely worth it.
What tips do you have for future female founders? What resources do you recommend?
If you are a young entrepreneur, embrace being naïve. As you get older, you become more aware of your boundaries and limitations. If you believe you can do something, you will. Be confident but also be comfortable asking for help. There is so much you don’t think of until you’re actually running a business. Find someone who is on a similar path who can support you and be your sounding board while surrounding yourself with people who help raise each other up.
Babson’s WIN Lab is amazing! I participated in the WIN Lab during my senior year when I had a vague idea of the company I wanted to create. The support I received from the Babson WIN Lab and a few professors and mentors I had the confidence to decline my full time offer and pursue my dream right out of college. I will be forever grateful and love going back to speak with women who are currently enrolled in the program.