12/14/2020

Small Business Spotlight

Entrepreneurship at 18: Audacity Cosmetics

Monica Silva, who started her business at just 16 years old, shares her story of social media marketing success, and the struggles of being a young entrepreneur.

Katie Lee

Marketing Manager

We are thrilled to feature Monica Silva, owner and CEO of Audacity Cosmetics, in this Small Business Spotlight. Monica shares her journey of hard work, growth, and the audacity to take bold risks. You can find Monica and Audacity Cosmetics on her website, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok

Hatch:

Hello, and welcome to Hatch Small Business Spotlights, where small business owners share stories about getting started, lessons learned, and victories they've won along the ways of building their businesses. I'm John from Artifact and today we are joined by Monica, the creator of Audacity Cosmetics. Monica launched her business at the age of just 16 years old and now has seen her business grow through hard work and a fortuitous viral TikTok.

Monica:

My name is Monica. I am 18 years old and I've been running my business, Audacity Cosmetics, for less than a year now. Audacity Cosmetics is built on a meaning and a purpose. I feel like that's why it stands out so much because everyone sees a lot of major businesses. I don't really see a lot of meaning behind them and what makes me different is that I am a 18 year old entrepreneur and I'm the face of my business. Just to see that I want people to know that they can see that it's a real person behind the business.

Hatch:

Let's talk about that decision you made when you were 16, where you decided that you wanted to become a small business owner?

Monica:

I was taking a marketing class in high school and I feel like that class is what led me to come to a decision that I wanted to become a small business owner. Of course, I had prior knowledge to entering marketing just because my parents are small business owners as well and so was my godfather. I feel like I always just kind of grew up in that environment, just like making your own income, becoming your own boss. I really liked the energy from that . I just wanted to experience that as well. So when I became, I believe, a senior in high school, I decided to take marketing again. In my second year of marketing, I decided to start a business. At first, and the thing is in marketing I had an amazing teacher, so she helped me with a lot of paperwork.

Later on, I started understanding what it meant to be a business owner. And onto social media, like on TikTok I went viral and I feel like that's where I realized that, okay, this is a career for me. And it's not just because I went viral it's because I worked hard to get where I wanted to be and built my brand from the ground up. So when I shared my story with people, they really liked the idea. And when that video got more than 9 million views, I was crazed with excitement just because I was like, "Wow," this can actually get for me. Me being so young, I still consider myself an ordinary girl from the Bay Area. I don't feel like it has changed my personality. I really enjoy making people feel happy because not only has my brand Audacity Cosmetics helped people skincare wise, like for lips, it has motivated and inspired a lot of people to start a business of their own.

Hatch:

Can you talk a bit more about when you started compared to maybe what some of your peers were doing and what made you say I'm going to start this now, this is my time to start a business.

Monica: 

So in high school, I was in a very dark position in my life. It has taken a toll on me in so many ways. And the people around me, they were still discussing like, "Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do." Or they didn't know what they're going to do. They were talking about college. They were talking about, I don't know if this career is right for me. I already knew what I wanted to do. I'd pick up my brother after school all the time, every day, almost every day. And I work six to eight hour shifts out of a kiosk at my local mall and did that like four days a week, every single time for about a year. And I used the money I raised from my job to invest into my business, in my idea. And of course it was really risky because that's time and money.

And it did scare my parents for a while, just because they saw a lot of things were coming to our houses. A lot of packages. I was investing into my business a little by little, and that's just the position I was when starting off. I feel that it came from a lot of wanting to do something for myself and wanting to incorporate my ideas in a way where it can help others in the future. Another aspect that I was so in my head with about running my business, it's like all the legal paperwork, because when I told my teacher she was like, okay, this is getting kind of legit. A lot of people are looking at my stuff and the demand is increasing. And I was like, I kind of know what to do, but at the same time I don't know what to do. I just wanted more help. And I feel like my marketing teacher helped me so much. She was so helpful and she was explaining okay, so this is what you need.

I recommend you either consider a sole proprietorship or an LLC limited liability company or corporation the introduction to even run a business in general. I was learning so much all at once and it did impact my current academic education just because I was so invested into the idea that I really wanted to build my business and grow it and expand it. And it worked out really well.

Hatch:

Now, do you think that as someone who's experienced that mentorship, you can pass that on to other young people or other small business owners?

Monica:

Yeah, I've incorporated a lot of my knowledge into my platform because on TikTok, people see me as the girl who runs her business on a purpose, but also I love helping other people grow and prosper and love what they do career-wise and a lot of people send me messages asking me, how do you do this? How can I do this for myself? So not only did I incorporate cosmetology into my business, but also educational content, as well as digital products that can help people set up their own businesses coming from a young perspective and just tell them the easy stuff in a more straight up way where they don't have to over-complicate things and go on Google or whatever internet browser that they're using to find out how they need to properly set up a business for themselves.

Hatch:

So you've talked a little bit about your business having a purpose and a meaning. Can you dive into that more and talk about what is the purpose and meaning of Audacity Cosmetics?

Monica: 

So I built Audacity Cosmetics off of the willingness to take bold risks. And I just feel like audacity, that word is used in so many different ways. I wanted to use that word in an empowering way where people can say I had the audacity to do this for myself. Not because people mentioned or had their opinion on me and tells me otherwise. And the reason why I say that is, I share the content of me running my business, like the behind the scenes. So people know that this is real and that no one's trying to fool anybody with anything. And I just like sharing my accomplishments with people because Audacity is built on not only its own meaning, but on my journey itself, just because I pushed myself and took a lot of risks by just setting up my business. I've accomplished a lot within less than a year.

I went from buying lunch off of like sometimes my own money and my parents' money. And I was so scared because what if I wasn't able to afford my own college tuition? And that is something that scared me a lot, because I had only just started my job when I was 16 years old. And I was like, you guys passed by super quick. And it was only a matter of time before I need to pay up my college tuition. And I knew I didn't really want my parents to pay for it just because they've always done so much for me. And they're so hard working and it's on how things were running out at home. I didn't want that to stress them out specifically. So I just took a step up and prioritized my own financial stability. And so I just kept on working and something happened and I'm a patient and I'm very blessed to have this experience and this opportunity to even be in the position I am right now.

Hatch:

Can you talk more about when you were just starting and even this past year, what are some struggles you faced, maybe surprising ones you didn't expect?

Monica:

I feel like some struggling moments were learning legal side of business, because I didn't want to be in any legal trouble. I knew that this was going to start off as a hobby because before even thinking about cosmetology, I had no idea what to do for my business. And I didn't how to approach people with my business ideas. And I went from doing digital portraits to doing nails and every idea that came my way, it just ended up failing. Another struggle was the legal part of the business, I had no idea where to get my license, I had no idea where to get my permit or a trademark or patent my cosmetics. And I feel like another struggle especially was what people thought. I'm one to not always take things personal, but sometimes when I do take things personal it's because there are things that I really wouldn't do towards others.

And when people see someone succeed enormously in such a short amount of time opinions start rolling in and they affected my mentality a few times. And I just had to keep reminding myself that I got to keep up my good attitude. I got to keep up my grind. I got to keep up my hustle because I'm doing something for myself, I shouldn't have to build up that pressure or accept the pressure coming from the people around me who feel that they're obligated to have an opinion on me, even though they don't know me personally,

Hatch:

Let's talk about this moment where you went viral and how did you manage that in the right way?

Monica:

When I realized that my views were rolling up and my demand was going up really, really high, I didn't have all the resources to push out my products out to the world. And what I mean by that is ship out products. I didn't have a printer for shipping labels. I didn't have a website. I had no way of accepting payments. And so I decided to be a little bit innovative and just accept payments through social media via DM or direct messaging. That was something so time-consuming because I would have to take orders one by one and ask them for their name and their address and I'd write it down on the actual envelope and do that all day. Sometimes my productivity was so intense that I would forget to eat. So it was really difficult because I knew I had to limit myself how many orders I can take through social media.

I was still working at my employed job at my local mall. So it was really crazy and it's a lot of multitasking, but I felt that because the demand went so high when I went viral, I was very excited. I was worried, I was excited, I was overwhelmed with a lot of happiness and it was kind of scary because I'm young. And I just can't really claim that like, "Okay, I know what I'm doing," because the truth is, I didn't know what I was doing, but it was just a matter of a hobby that I wanted to really grow into an actual business. And when I shared that story on my platform on TikTok, everyone was saying, "Oh, I think it's very inspiring that you're doing this for yourself." And I was like, maybe I can do more than just sell cosmetics, but also help others.

And when I realized that my brand was growing super quick, it was also very risky for me to invest the amount of time that I did into my business because of everything happening so fast and so quick, I was not able to invest time into my job and school. So to balance out my school and my [inaudible 00:12:32], I had to actually quit my job and take the hours that I would work from my job back into my school. So that was something very risky for me as well, because I just quit my job to fulfill my dreams and my goals into my business.

Hatch:

What's the next step for you in growth and what do you have to do to get there?

Monica:

So, currently in my position, I've recently rebranded from creating my own sticker labels onto my product from actually finding a manufacturer to customize my products like my tubes for me. I'm still at a residential production, everything I'm still licensed as a residential production, but I just felt like I wanted to take another step up into how much love I put into my packaging and the work I put into my businesses itself in general. So I have my own manufacturer now and I feel like that was a really big step up into my business. And I'm currently in progress of building a new business, which still complies to my current business. So I'm actually going to start a wholesale business because people have found to really, really love my formula because it took me 13 tries to get the right formula that I liked for myself.

And of course I tested my own products on myself before selling them, but people really love the formula. And I just felt that people can use the same resources I use or the same resources that I used to make my own formula and sell that. So people can use that to build their own business of their own.

Cosmetology it's a lot of research and you have to be really careful with the ingredients that you're choosing. And I felt like the most research I've done was on cosmetology, just because I really wanted to go in depth with that research and make sure that everything was safe and make sure that I understood what components are bad and good. And just starting up my wholesale business, I feel that it would be a great idea to sell those same resources towards others so they can build up their business.

Hatch:

What advice would you give to people looking to start their own business?

Monica:

I would say the process of building your business would be to be patient. And when someone says patient, a lot of people would mean to like, okay, start it up, set it up and wait. But the thing is, in order to see growth, you have to keep working until you see something happen. Just because if you don't put in your 100%, you won't see 100%. So that's why I would always say, just get up, put in the grind, put in the hustle. I feel that a really good tip to starting up your business at a young age would be to identify your priorities, identify your responsibilities and lists and books and everything about writing things down or keeping notes is also key because whatever idea comes up in your head should be written down immediately. So something that I would say for all the young ones out there would be to just do it for yourself and just incorporate as much creativity as you can into what you want to build, because that is what's going to end out. And that is what's going to represent who you are as a person.

And if you ever find yourself stuck, it's fine, it's normal. But you just have to remember that those are the moments that is going to make you, you, and that is what going to help you in the future because it's something special because we always have to be grateful for the good and bad moments, because it's what puts us in the positions that we are now. It's only a matter of time before us, as individuals do something about it.

 


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