Episode 59: Erin Williams, Founder of Erin’s Faces

Erin Williams had her heart set on Broadway, not the beauty industry. But for all her efforts, performing wasn’t panning out, and her day job as a makeup artist was. It eventually lead to the launch of her skincare brand, Erin’s Faces, and the two experiences couldn’t have been more different. “With theater, it was like I was army rolling through the dirt, let’s get this done. With [Erin’s Faces], I feel like I haven’t willed it… I feel like I’m being led on a path.” A path she shares opened up once she got in touch with her why, the deeper purpose that motivates her.

Find out how she got there on this episode.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey everybody. Welcome back to Where Brains Meet Beauty™. I am here with Erin Williams, founder of Erin's Faces.
Erin WilliamsYay. Hi.
Jodi KatzAnd this is a first for Where Brains Meet Beauty™, we are actually in Erin's home in Maplewood New Jersey, which also doubles as her fulfillment center, which also doubles as your-
Erin WilliamsWarehouse, and manufacturing plant, and you name it.
Jodi KatzThis is super cool because we actually live in the same town, and I should say that it was Amanda Thesen who introduced us.
Erin WilliamsYes. Who we love.
Jodi KatzWho's also been a guest on our podcast, so check out her episode. Amanda introduced us, connected us together, and I kind of feel strange that we haven't met before after all these years.
Erin WilliamsI agree, because I feel like we have a lot of people in common, and circles in common so I'm glad that it happened.
Jodi KatzYeah, this is cool. So this is a novel idea for the show, but we're actually at the table right now. We're going to fill and label.
Erin WilliamsWe're going to fill and label some stuff at the very official filling and labeling table, otherwise known as my dining room table, because we're very fancy over here.
Jodi KatzWhat are we bottling and labeling?
Erin WilliamsToday, I thought it would be ... This is one of our more attainable items to fill. This is a Monoi Tiare oil, and I'm obsessed with it for summer. It smells so good. It's made in Tahiti, and they take coconuts from the Tahitian beaches, which sounds like a lovely place to hang out, and they make the coconut oil, and then they have Polynesian flowers which are called Tiare flowers, which are a cousin of gardenias. They mash them up, put them in the oil, give it like a seven to ten day soak, and then pull out the flowers and throw in a little vitamin E for shelf stabilizer. And You have this… I mean stick your head in there, it smells amazing. You can use it on your body, your hair. If you're not breakout prone you can use it on your face. It's baby safe. It's just so delicious. That's what we're going to bottle today.
Jodi KatzWell, I've been to Tahiti.
Erin WilliamsWell, I have not, so-
Jodi KatzI've been to the Tahitian Islands.
Erin WilliamsThat's amazing.
Jodi KatzAnd this is what they smell like.
Erin WilliamsYeah exactly, I talked to the woman who we work with to get it over here and I was like, "Can we start up a tour of the lab, I want to go see where ..." and she was like, "Oh yes." And all my staff is like, "Great, when are we going to Tahiti, sign me up I'm coming with you." So I love this product and I love that were supportive. We do this with our Argan oil too. I love supporting small, these are small businesses in other countries, but it's fun to me to support that kind of an industry and get it over here because it's really hard to find over here. They're everywhere there but here it's not.
Jodi KatzRight. And you're owner to owner, entrepreneur to entrepreneur talking to them, and they're talking to you it's really nice.
Erin WilliamsIt's really neat so it's special, I'm grateful.
Jodi KatzWell this smells amazing. So were going to chit chat as we put on the label, so why don't you give me the instructions on what we're doing and then we'll start to chat.
Erin WilliamsOkay. So we've got our bottles, what you want to do, remove this, this will be for labeling, so we're lining our bottles up, you can hear them clink. And what you want to do is- yeah, clink away.
Jodi KatzSound effects.
Erin WilliamsThat was soundscape. So for these I'll show you how high I would like them to be, and it's definitely going to drip down the pitcher, and so that's why this is here. So just kind of bear that in mind as you go. And we've got 16 ounces. So ideally we should be able to get eight bottles done. And this is how high I would like the fill. I would recommend putting the pitcher into the bottle.
Jodi KatzOkay. So I'm painting a picture for those who can't see this teeny tiny bottle opening and this will require precision. So what's funny is you and I are going to bottle maybe eight in the next 30 minutes and it will probably usually take like five minutes for eight, right.
Erin WilliamsNo, it's fine.
Jodi KatzSo tell me again what the product is called?
Erin WilliamsThis is a Manoi Tiare oil.
Jodi KatzSo you get the essential oil, is it essential oils?
Erin WilliamsThey do the whole thing there, and we just have it.
Jodi KatzOh, you're bottling. Oh, that's awesome.
Erin WilliamsWe're just bottling it. So they make it all there, because they have the flowers. It's really just their coconut oil and their flowers and that's it. So then they send it to us and we just bottle it. This isn't a super intricate one. We have like moisturizers and cleansers and all that stuff too. But this is easy to make and bottle.
Jodi KatzSo I'm wearing cute braids today and I feel like I want to have a little in my braids.
Erin WilliamsI feel like that is absolutely appropriate. Like you need to, and you should leave with one of these bottles too.
Jodi KatzI would love to, thank you.
Erin WilliamsI think that needs to happen.
Jodi KatzOkay. So as we're filling, let's start at the beginning. How did you end up in the world of beauty?
Erin WilliamsHow did I end up in the world of beauty? I was a theater major in college. I went to Texas Christian University and I moved here to do theater and Broadway stuff as a hope. And I needed a job when I moved here. You're doing a good job.
Jodi KatzIs that good?
Erin WilliamsYeah that's good.
Jodi KatzIs that at top enough or do I fill it a little bit more?
Erin WilliamsNo, that's good, because then once you put the dropper in it's going to go up a little bit. That was an excellent fill.
Jodi KatzThank you. I think.
Erin WilliamsMy first job was for the Urban Decay counter at Bloomingdales.
Jodi KatzOkay, so you moved to the city to-
Erin WilliamsTo do theater.
Jodi KatzTo do theater. And did you get a theater gig right away?
Erin WilliamsHeck no man.
Jodi KatzSo you needed a job?
Erin WilliamsThis is little higher.
Jodi KatzThis is too high so I should put some back?
Erin WilliamsYeah you put it back, it's easy. A little more. And the one thing you want to watch is if we get oil on the bottle, it's impossible for the label to sticker.
Jodi KatzIs it okay if I put it away?
Erin WilliamsYeah.
Jodi KatzOkay, so you did not get that dream job on Broadway?
Erin WilliamsNo, I didn't land and they went, "You're here, we've been waiting, I'm so happy. Come and join our show." I did get to do some shows and have a good time over the course of years passing. But then I obviously started at makeup counters and then I went to skincare counters-
Jodi KatzBut why makeup counters, you could've become a waitress? You could've had any job.
Erin WilliamsYeah. So I think I had done makeup for a wedding photographer in Fort Worth when I was at TCU. That's good. And so I was like, I think this is what I should ... I don't know, it just kind of felt organic to me. I had more experience with that. I had no experience waitressing. The only other job I had was being a camp counselor in the summer.
Jodi KatzSo when you had this job in college of doing makeup for a photographer, you were just doing makeup as if you were doing it on yourself. Like that's all you knew or were you studying?
Erin WilliamsI mean you study like stage makeup, so I knew how to make you look old, which wasn't really helpful or give you a beard, which also wasn't super helpful. But that's a good too.
Jodi KatzThank you.
Erin WilliamsBut no, I just basically did a handful of brides my last semester of my senior year for this photographer, and I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have training. I just kind of tszujed them a little bit. And so when I got here, I got schooled on, "You don't actually know what you're doing here, sit down little girl from Texas."
Jodi KatzWho told you that?
Erin WilliamsA number of people, my manager at that counter-
Jodi KatzBut you were able to get the job at the counter without any experience?
Erin WilliamsBecause you have to be able to sell well. It's not so much, not to knock makeup counter people, but if you're just working at like a normal counter, makeup is important but they just want you to be able to sell well. That's their first bracket, and then ability I think is the second bracket, unless you're working for Mac and then you have to be able to prove yourself a bit more.
Jodi KatzSo when it comes to selling. Do you think you're good at it because you're a performer and you just got into the role?
Erin WilliamsI'm very comfortable talking to people and I think people also pick up on the fact that I don't want ... My human nature of myself is I want what's best for you. And so I'll be honest with you and be like, “this is actually going to be so good for you.” Or if I'm like, "This actually isn't it, what you should actually get is from that line over there, but don't tell anybody that I told you that because I'll lose my job." But I would rather be honest with people than make a sale. And I think that resonated for people and they liked me and then they trusted me and then they would come back to me.
Jodi KatzRight. So you're actually making the sale by underselling them?
Erin WilliamsYeah. Because it just felt more truthful because people come in and they don't know, and I don't want to take advantage of anybody.

So now we're going to put droppers in these, Jodi has filled these bottles beautifully. You're hired, if duty doesn't work out. You can come and work at my kitchen table.
Jodi KatzThat is good to know.
Erin WilliamsAnd you just want to make them really tight because the oils will move, they get shipped.
Jodi KatzI do have all these carpal tunnal-y things so you'll have to double check my tightness because I actually don't have-
Erin WilliamsBut it's not possible, that was a good one.
Jodi KatzI don't have great whatever it's called, like twisting strength.
Erin WilliamsTwisting ability. I think you're actually doing a good job.
Jodi KatzCool. Okay so someone in New York or many people in New York schooled you, and you don't know what you're doing with me now.
Erin WilliamsYeah, you don't know what you're doing and you're not good at it. And especially with Urban Decay back in the day, will and still, they had so many colors so I would come with like acid green and turquoise trying to fit in to the counter group. Maybe like let me teach you how to blend Erin.
Jodi KatzSo these are your fellow sales people?
Erin WilliamsYeah, but they were hardcore people. They were good makeup artists, I was not.
Jodi KatzSo is this like in the beginning of Urban Decay?
Erin WilliamsOctober of 2000 is when I moved here.
Jodi KatzRight. And was Wendy very involved. Did you ever see her at the counter?
Erin WilliamsShe would come to the counter more. I flipped over to the Macy's counter in January, three months later. And she came a couple of times and I met her a couple of times, but I don't think she knew who I was. But she knew who my boss was, but she was nice. Cruelty free was very novel at that point in time. I remember we had like a PETA thing and whatever. But literally no one ever asked about it. No one ever came up and said, "You guys are cruelty free, right?" They liked us for our colors.

And so I worked there and then I went over to Bergdorf’s and worked there for a while for different lines. And then I started doing editorial stuff and a woman named Elisa Flowers… I met her at a fashion week fashion show. A line I was working at, called Pout from the UK, was sponsoring the makeup, so they brought some of us in to do, and then they brought some real makeup artists to do stuff. And I started assisting her. She was one of the people who is a real makeup artist.
And I started assisting her and she really broke it down for me. She was like, "Here's what you're doing, here's what's not working, here's what I want you to do." Because I was an extension of her, so she needed me to do it all really, really, right. And these were for higher profile clients, like we were doing, magazine shoots and things like that. And she liked me and she found me teachable, but I was not nailing it when I got to her. I thought I was doing fine, but I learned that I was not.
Jodi KatzWhy do you think she took the time? Because she could have just gotten another assistant very easily.
Erin WilliamsI think it's not easy to find an assistant, someone that will show up on time. Someone that you can like give ... I remember the first time I went to go be her assistant on a gig. I was so excited I was going to do makeup, we're doing it, it's exciting and she handed me her check and her bankcard and she needed me to go make a deposit at the bank. And she needed sponges from Alcone, like the makeup store in New York City and something else. And I was like, “This is not fun, I don’t like this.” But I was like, Okay. I think an assistant is a very specific slot of someone who has very little ego and just wants what's right for the team and wants to just support but can hop in if need be. And there were times when I needed to hop in, and the first time I hopped in she talked to me afterwards and she was like, "Here's what's not working, here's what's working."
Jodi KatzOkay. So do you think that in your first time assisting her, do you think it was like a test for her?
Erin WilliamsOh, I'm sure.
Jodi KatzLike, here's these administrative things, let's see if you can even do that.
Erin Williams"Are going to steal my money, are you gonna like go buy lip gloss for yourself?" Yeah, I never thought about it, but sure, of course. And then I think she would rather hire someone who wasn't as good at makeup but was dependable.
Jodi KatzRight?
Erin WilliamsYeah. In general, she said that about someone else, when I couldn't do something, I was like, "I have other people." And she was like, "But I don't know them. I want to feel really safe with this person." So yeah.
Jodi KatzSo you ooze dependability?
Erin WilliamsI mean I would like to be a dependable person. In work I think I'm dependable. Yeah.
Jodi KatzOkay. So then she really gave you your education-
Erin WilliamsShe gave me a ton of education. And then I also, but I wasn't working for her all the time so I wasn't making all the money I needed to make for all my bills. So I was still working at counters too. And I worked at the Mallee counter. And then I started working fashion week with her and doing some QVC stuff with her and some Today's Show stuff. And she will sit you down and tell you exactly how she wants it done. She will spill all of her secrets, which is great. And so I feel like I had a really solid working knowledge at that point and was able to work fashion week shows and feel very confident and very capable. But every artist has their own set of stuff that is really useful if they're willing to share it, and some people aren't willing to share it, but she had to share it because we were doing makeup on QVC as if she had done it.
Jodi KatzRight.
Erin WilliamsAnd with her ecstatic. And so she was very specific about what she wanted and how she wanted stuff to go. So in a good way I liked it. I like it when people tell me what they want.
Jodi KatzAnd what year is this around?
Erin WilliamsOh Gosh. What year is it now? 2018. This was probably like 2010 to 2012-ish.
Jodi KatzOkay. So you've been really in the business for many years at this point.
Erin WilliamsOh yeah. I'm much more capable at this point than I was when I walked in the door.
Jodi KatzAnd you considered yourself a full time makeup artists at that point?
Erin WilliamsYeah, I would still do shows like I was still auditioning full time and I would leave and come back. And so I was a freelance makeup artist and so what I would try and do is make myself invaluable, so that you would let me go do a show. And you would miss me and want me to come back as opposed to, "Okay, you have to leave, fine, you're going to have to find a new job when you come back." So I wanted to sell really well, I wanted to clean the counter, make samples, write thank you notes, and do all the things so you missed me when I was gone.
Jodi KatzRight. Okay So you really haven't done devoted your heart and everything to beauty because you really are still pursuing performing?
Erin WilliamsCorrect. Yes. And I still sing at church and do things like that. But I don't know when the actual shift came, but I found that I was trying to get into the performance door. I was knocking on the front door and I was going around the side and then round to the back, and up in the chimney, and in the window and nothing was like, like I would get a show here and there, but it wasn't like completion and I was going to classes and really working and for whatever reason, it just wasn't unfolding that way.

Whereas with Aaron's Spaces, when I kind of soft started it, like someone called me and said, "Hey, we need a beauty expert for this TV show, do you want to come and be on it." And I was like, "Okay, sure, I've never been on TV but I'm very confident. I talk to myself in the shower all the time. I can come and talk on your TV show because I'm very chatty." And I was very comfortable and I'm just really comfortable with this, and I don't know if it's because it's not what I wanted to be when I was a little girl. So I don't have that like, "Oh, I hope they like me." I'm like, "This is it, this is what I do. If you like it, great. And if you don't, that's okay too, there's a lot of us in the world so go find who you like."
Jodi KatzSo let's talk about this, you said your soft launched Aaron Spaces, when was this and why was it soft and why'd you even consider starting your own brand?
Erin WilliamsSo there was a day at a fashion show, and we had done all of these beautiful, colorful winged eyeliners for this fashion show. And the lead makeup artist was very specific about it, he had everybody get checked. these turquoise and acid green colors and we spent so much time on these winged eyeliner. And then all the models went out on the runway and they all had sunglasses on, except for one. And I was like, "What is happening?" And this was a very fancy makeup artist who does pop stars and stuff. And I was like, "If her vision can't be expressed. What am I doing, Like this is not it, what do I really want to do with my life? I want to be of service. And I wanted purpose." So I honestly went home and prayed for purpose. I'm a churchy girl. I was like, "Lord, I don't know what we're going to do, but this is not it. And making 14-year-olds look beautiful makes me feel very talented, but I like working with normal people. So what? Tell me what we're doing?"

And so the seed got planted for this line. I was teaching a class in Manhattan, for normal women, some actors but not models and not make up artists. And in that class people would ask me, what's your favorite XYZ? And so eventually I started handing out a list of my favorite things in the class. And one of them was a brush for a line that I was a trainer for, and it was a $60 brush. It was a foundation brush, beautiful brush.
And the women in my class said, "You've lost your mind if you think I'm spending $60 on one brush." And I said, "Okay." So the seed got planted of let's find a brush that I actually like better than this brush that I can offer them for less money. And so I did that. And through that I found other brushes that I could offer them for less money that I liked more than the brushes on the list. And so I was like, "Well, what if we looked at other stuff too?" And I think if like Crunchy and there are some other direct sales companies that are cleaner, had been in existence, I probably wouldn't have created a line, I would have just kind of glommed on to that and been like, here, let's do this. But those didn't exist. And the ones that did, I didn't like enough and I felt their price points were too high.
So I slowly put together this line. The focus was not clean beauty at the time because that wasn't my background, my background was performance. Like I needed stuff that was going to stay on for my red carpet clients and for my moms that have kids pawing at their face. Like everybody needs stuff to stay and everybody needs stuff to work. In the beginning I was a super mom and pop. I knew all of my clients personally. We didn't have investors, we didn't have people like launching us in Ulta across the country. I knew everybody and if my stuff didn't work for you, we were gonna have brunch on Sunday and you were going to tell me about it. So I needed everything to do what it said it was going to do, wear really beautifully, et cetera.
Later different things happened. I had a family member get melanoma and so I flipped all of my sunscreens. They were chemical SPFs to physical SPFs.
I flipped all my lip glosses from petrochemical based to castor seed oil based. It slowly kind of cleaned up. And now our niche is as a cleaner, high performance beauty brand which is great. And there are still areas that I would like to get even cleaner. But it's a journey. And that's the story we're on.
Jodi KatzSo do you think that your customer is at ease with the fact that you say you're doing your best to make these as clean as you can and maybe they're not as clean as you want or hope, but you're not there yet?
Erin WilliamsWell, I would say our skincare is pretty darn clean, like on Think Dirty were a zero to three on like everything, for skincare and body care as well. And we had an eye gel in our line that was a one on think dirty and I wanted it cleaner and now it's a zero. So like that's what I mean by like cleaning it up. The makeup is harder to make clean and be effective, meaning long wearing. And so that's why I listed all of our line on EWG, the skin deep database and because I wanted people that found us on think dirty that were like, "Oh, everything's a zero one or two, like her whole line must be that." And if you're that client, I want you to know that maybe this item is a five. And just so you are entering into it educatedly, I really value transparency. And so was the question, do I-
Jodi KatzYeah, I mean we've had several clients from the space of green and clean, not natural because that doesn't mean anything anymore, but like specifically green and clean, and for that loyal customer, they're voracious for information and they are keeping their eye on you.
Erin WilliamsVery much so. And the challenge is. I think there's two brackets of that client. I think there's the people that make their own like food and grow their own tomatoes and they make bread out of seeds and things like that in their kitchen. And then there's the people that are trying to clean up and do better. And I think we fit on the, ‘we're just trying to clean up and do better’, we're great for them. For the super duper clean. I would say about half to 60% of our line is a great fit for them. And then the other stuff, they know what is there and isn't.
Jodi KatzRight.
Erin WilliamsThat's why I just try and be as transparent as possible so that people can see what is working for them and what would work for them and maybe what wouldn't.
Jodi KatzI appreciate that because I think I am the customer who I just want to do a little bit better, I actually don't want to take the time to read all the things that you might know. I don't have the bandwidth for it and there's a lot of people like me out there.
Erin WilliamsYeah. And I think these people that are voracious, as you say in pointing out what's wrong, are a smaller group, they're just very loud.
Jodi KatzYeah, very vocal.
Erin WilliamsAnd I think we need them because they help keep everybody on point and they help keep people accountable. But when you're someone like me, I just want to point and be like, "Did you see what we started with? Do you see where we are now?" Like we're trying, we're still making stuff in my kitchen so I can't change everything at once. But we just launched new lipsticks in the fall that are cleaner than our old lipsticks were. Our old lipsticks were actually decent. These are very clean and so I think you take it as you go and you do your best. And I felt a lot of pressure to have everything be Vegan, everything be a zero and everything be spotless. And I was like, I don't have investors and I don't know that I am looking for that right now, I'm happy being short, fat, and happy at the moment.
Jodi KatzYou're happy being what?
Erin WilliamsShort, fat and happy.
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean?
Erin WilliamsI remember I used to be a beauty editor for Beauty News NYC, which is an online thing. And I was talking with Renée Rouleau who has a skincare line out of Dallas. And I asked her, because I loved her products and I still, I think she's a wonderful person. She has tons of education. And I asked her, this was years ago, I said, "How come you're not in stores across the country?" And she was like, "Because we have a ton of skews and they don't want to carry them all and I want, if someone comes up to Renée Rouleau counter, I want them to be able to get the Renée Rouleau experience, not five top sellers." She said, "So I'm fine being short, fat, and happy here in Dallas as opposed to I'm everywhere and I'm not everything. It's not showing everything that I have." So I took that phrase from Renée.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome. Okay So I talked to a lot of people who are entrepreneurs and they get these-
Erin WilliamsYeah. I listen to them, I like podcast very much.
Jodi KatzThank you.
Erin WilliamsYou're welcome.
Jodi KatzAnd they get these opportunities, right? Maybe it's Sephora or Ulta or a department store or whatever and there's a huge risk.
Erin WilliamsIt's so scary especially if you're doing something on consignment, or like that. I feel like for me we can scale up because all of our stuff is from labs. So that's the good news. We fill it all here because I wanted to be fresh and I want it to be a small batch situation. But if we got into an account that wanted a lot of pieces, we can fill those in a lab and fulfill it without us having to do it. I like that part of my business because I have friends that are founders that make everything in their location and then it's really hard to scale. So we're not in that place. But I think it would be, just to be honest about it, it would be something where I would just have to get quiet about it and be like, is this the right decision for my company? Is this what's going to bless us and our clients the most and God is this way you want me to do?

Because I've really with Erin's faces, it's one area. This is my marriage. I feel like I have not willed it. Do you know what I mean? It's an unfoldment in my opinion. Whereas with theater I was like, let's get it done. What do you need from me, I'm army rolling through the dirt. And with this I feel like I get information, I listen and I implemented it, And not everything has gone off without a hitch. I don't mean to imply that because it hasn't, but I feel like I'm being led on a path and if one of those ... We've had big stores online contact us and I just was like, "This isn't the right fit for us because of what you need and because of what I can give, we're not there yet and I just don't know that we're the right fit."
And it felt really weird to say no to these people because you go to the Indie Beauty Expo exhibiting and you're like, "Great, I want to meet X Y and Z," and then you meet X and then you talk to them and you're like, "I'm so sorry, I thought this was what I wanted, but it's gonna not be good."
Jodi KatzI love this idea of I'm willing things to happen, what you were just saying because with the podcasts, I don't, I put it out in the world I have no idea where it's going and I don't have any-
Erin WilliamsExpectation.
Jodi KatzYeah, or anxiety around it, I just do it, I'm having fun and what people think about it I really don't think about. But with the agency which I started 11 years ago, my mindset was different then. I am totally what you're saying, I'm like elbows in the mud, crawling on my belly, pushing forward and pushing these walls away and willing. And it's frankly not as much fun to live that way as the way I'm living with the pod, which I started a year ago when I had a much different mindset. And I think that I'm able to have more joy in my life because I'm not trying to force my will on everything that I do from a work perspective. Right? The pod is like an outlet to show me that I don't need to keep jamming up against the wall again and again and again.
Erin WilliamsYeah. And it's interesting because, and I said this to you when we talked, me listening to your podcast made me go, "She's amazing, how do we work with Jodi?" And you're not trying to get clients, but I think it's just going to get you people because you're just being yourself and there's no agenda whatsoever, even if there is-
Jodi KatzNo there isn't, the agenda is actually my mental health-
Erin WilliamsYou're just sharing?
Jodi KatzI needed it from a therapeutic perspective because I felt so alone in the business that I thought I should feel like I really… I felt like I shouldn't feel like an outsider anymore in this industry. But I always felt like an outsider. So from a therapeutic perspective, talking to people and really hearing their real stories, not the things they say when they're showing their products on stage or whatever, whether it's talking about a how fabulous everything is, I just needed to hear their real stories.
Erin WilliamsI also feel like for me I've learned, and this is cheesy but I don't know if you've read the book, Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I highly recommend it, it's a very good book. And Jen Wildman a former teacher of mine introduced me to this book and in it you find out what is your purpose, what is your ‘why’? And that leads you through every aspect of your life, relationships, business, whatever. And so my ‘why’ is just blanket statement to love people. And so that has no agenda. It doesn't need anything back. It's not requiring a response. It's just literally how can I be loving? And I think that when that's your motive, whatever your truth is, that doesn't have to be. But whatever your truth is, when you're leading with your truth, I think people feel that and it takes all of ...

Like I go teach these green beauty workshops around the country, which is how I built my business. And people walk in expecting it to be like an Avon or an Arbonne or a Marie Kay kind of a thing. And they're like, Okay, and they're braced. So like, "I'll buy a lip gloss, I'll have some wine with my friends and then I'm leaving." I've learned that it can't be about the numbers, it can't be about selling stuff, it has to be about sharing and educating and loving people. And then however that falls out will work out and whoever's supposed to come and will come and whoever's supposed to buy will buy. And that's not my job. My job is to show up, give you the information, love you, and then be like, "Here's the price list. If you need anything, let me know." And then people circle over at the end and go, "Okay, so I was just going to get a lip gloss, but now I need an eye cream, a sun screen and a serum, so this is what I think I need, is that right?"
And I think when you take the pressure off of people in the beauty industry, we're so conditioned to have to buy something and you walk up to a counter, you get your makeup done. It's a hard thing so I think when you kind of remove that and at the top of the hour say, "I'm not going to ask you what you want to get, and I'm just going to let you eat cheese and crackers at the end. You have to come to me to buy something." Then I think people go, "Oh, okay." And it's because I'm trying to be loving and I'm trying to be that.
Jodi KatzI love that. Okay so since we are in a working manufacturing distribution facility, we should label.
Erin WilliamsYes we should label I'm so sorry. I get distracted? I'm a chatty Kathy. Okay so we have two, four, six, eight of these. So one, two, three, four, five.
Jodi KatzSo Erin has these really pretty colorful labels and I'm hoping not to mess anything up.
Erin WilliamsYou're not going to mess anything up.
Jodi KatzOkay, so we have our cute little glass bottles and our labels.
Erin WilliamsSo you're going to write, we have the batch here.
Jodi KatzOh my gosh I get to write on the label?
Erin WilliamsYou get to write on the labels. You're going to be a part of these labels that go out into the world.
Jodi KatzWhat batch is this?
Erin WilliamsThis is 1805, we do the year and the dates. So now if you get our products, you know what the code is, so really-
Jodi KatzI write 1805 on all of them?
Erin WilliamsAnd the focus of the label is not the batch codes. So we want it as tiny. That's fine. It's not a problem. I would actually start at the top because-
Jodi KatzRight because them I’m gonna smear.
Erin WilliamsYeah. So start at the top.
Jodi KatzSo I am using my skinny sharpie-
Erin WilliamsSkinny sharpie to write 1805 in this little tiny box.
Jodi KatzPretty bad handwriting.
Erin WilliamsNo you have good handwriting it's fine.
Jodi KatzOh I love this. Okay. So then the customer knows when it was made.
Erin WilliamsWell it also helps us if they're like this one smells different or this one ... And we can be like what batch was it? And then if it's a ... We've never actually had this happen but it's there as a guard if we need to pull a batch we can talk to whoever has that batch and then if someone has a question about it, we can send them a different batch, that all kind of helps.
Jodi KatzMy mission is complete there.
Erin WilliamsIt's complete there. So now you're going to take a label off of the paper. You're going to make sure this is tight. Put it down. We have a little hot pad
Jodi KatzIt's like a silicon. I mean I think it's like one of those things you pull pans out of the oven.
Erin WilliamsOh yeah, it's definitely a hot pad, I like to think.
Jodi KatzBut it has little dots on it. I guess it's keeping the products ready.
Erin WilliamsAnd they liked this for this. I just do them in my lap, but this is probably better. So you're going to line, there's a line down the center of the label, so you're going to use that and then you're going to use this top part of the label and you're going to eyeball it because we're very official over here. The bottle curves at the bottom and at the top. So if you get it too far up or too far down, it'll buckle. No pressure. So you're going to get it like this. And then if you're new to it, what might be good is sticking it on something and going, "Does that look straight, are you using up or down?"
Jodi KatzYou're using the table as a level?
Erin WilliamsSo you can just kind of stick it on there. And then if it looks good, you'll turn it this way and you'll do the breaststroke with your thumbs.
Jodi KatzThe breaststroke with my thumb.
Erin WilliamsYeah, because then you won't get any air pockets and then you'll get the edges down. Breaststroke, breaststroke, breaststroke, and then you kind of know. So this was not perfect because it's not even, but we look at it. It looks Okay. So when you go home tonight and look at your bathroom, you look all of your labels in a much different light. And it's interesting because we hand label most of our stuff, but occasionally our quantities are high enough that we can get them labeled in the lab.
Jodi KatzBy machine?
Erin WilliamsAnd I always assumed that those would be perfect and so much better because you know, stuff like this where it's not perfect. They're not. Yeah. And they have more air bubbles than we do. So I'm like, Okay, we're okay.
Jodi KatzWell your fingers do hard work then? So I'm going to try this. I'm putting my hot pad right here. I'm taking my bottle, and I'm making sure that it's tight, and it is, I'm going to peel off a label. What's cute about your labels is how vivid the colors are and it's so shiny.
Erin WilliamsThank you, yeah, I wanted waterproof labels because I feel like people put our stuff in the shower, and it drives me nuts when labels ... You want to check it?
Jodi KatzI didn't want to check I just wanted to do it. All right so I'm breasts-troking with my fingers. I think it might be a little cock-eyed.
Erin WilliamsIt's okay we'll see.
Jodi KatzOkay. So all these labels are waterproof.
Erin WilliamsThey're waterproof because I just, especially with oils too. Let's see. That's not bad.
Jodi KatzI did good.
Erin WilliamsSo you just want to make sure the edge is down.
Jodi KatzAll right I can see a little, go it. Cool.
Erin WilliamsGood job. I like being hands on.
Jodi KatzI do too.
Erin WilliamsYou want to do the rest while you're answering questions?
Jodi KatzI'll keep going for a little while. So. Okay I know that you want to give love out into the universe.
Erin WilliamsI do want to give love out into the universe.
Jodi KatzSo does that mean you don't have a master plan for where the brand goes or evolves into?
Erin WilliamsThe only thing that, and I hesitate to even say this out loud on a national level as your context-
Jodi KatzGlobal.
Erin WilliamsGlobal, it's a global level, but maybe it's a good thing.
Jodi KatzAnd if you go to Mars it could be there too.
Erin WilliamsGalactic level. I don't know how to say this work because we're not big enough yet, but I feel like a QVC, HSN, Evine Live, like some type of on camera shopping experience would be great. Because I'm super comfortable talking on camera and I also am very nosy about what my clients get. I want you to get what's right for you to the point that a girl I know today put an order in and I was glancing at the orders and it was for a Lennon Foundation and that's our lightest color. And she has like, olive skin tone. She's darker than you. And I was like, "Hey Jane I was just checking to see if you meant to order that because it's not your color is this for your sister?" And she was like, "Oh my gosh I didn't realize." So I want you to get the right thing. And so I liked the idea of being able to communicate directly to the client and be like, "This is who this is, right for, this is who, this isn't." Let's just take a moment because that was a good one.
Jodi KatzI know I'm good at this.
Erin WilliamsI'm telling you, times get hard.
Jodi KatzI'm actually like kind of into ... When I was younger, like college and stuff, I'd have a lot of temp jobs. In between breaks and stuff during college, and I was that powerhouse person if you'd like half that hall room to be filed like-
Erin WilliamsYou were the girl.
Jodi KatzI was the girl.
Erin WilliamsThat's me.
Jodi KatzAnd I was like, "If I had let's say seven days to get it done, I got it done in three days."
Erin WilliamsOh three. I would have done five. So good for you.
Jodi KatzNot realizing that it actually works against me to work faster. But I was a supremely awesome temp.
Erin WilliamsI understand because I was a really good assistant. That was really good. Well I think that hustle and that specificity is why you're successful business person.
Jodi KatzI guess so. But when I was driving over here, I was actually thinking to myself, I actually like, don't, I'm not great at making things happen.
Erin WilliamsI don't believe you.
Jodi KatzIt's like this small things like I have to get on the phone with the girl scouts because something's wrong in our account online and sign up to help at an event and like I'll never do it. It will never make it to, I mean I have to do it, but I-
Erin WilliamsBut there's resistance around it?
Jodi KatzYeah. I have a cloud around me that prevented me from actually picking up the phone and calling the people who manage the website and just saying, "Can you please help me so I can sign up for this event?" I'll do everything else. I'll make the bed, I'll clean up the garage before I make that phone call.
Erin WilliamsI think that's normal though. I guess I, yeah, I do.
Jodi KatzBut I really need to resolve this without you getting in my own way. So anyway I'm really digging this process.
Erin WilliamsYou're good at labels, that's what we're finding in this moment.
Jodi KatzWell okay. Let's say we've completed half the batch, so four bottles are ready for sale. We've learned so much from you. Thank you so much Erin for sharing with us.
Erin WilliamsThank you so much nice to talk to you.
Jodi KatzAnd for our listeners I hope you enjoyed this episode. Please keep posted at our podcasts. You can go to Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast. See ya.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

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