On the #LadyBossQuickFive series this week, we sit with Rea Ann Silva, CEO and Founder of revolutionary beauty kit, BeautyBlender. What started as an idea to get actors quickly glammed up but expertly too has birthed an innovation that has been adopted by millions of women across the world including (beauty) influencers like Kim Kardashian, Yara Shahidi etc. Rea Ann Silva discusses with LLA some entrepreneurship myths she’s had to contend with while building a global brand and some resource recommendations for entrepreneurs. Lean In!
What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship means that you don’t have the advantage of working in a predetermined structure where there are processes and rules. You have to manage yourself. At the same time, you are 100% responsible for everything that happens. You don’t get the luxury of passing the challenges off to someone else.
How did you set out with building the Beauty Blender brand? (your motivation and how you were able to forge ahead even in the face of many dissenting voices)
I was working on the makeup set for the show- ‘Girlfriends’ and it was shot in HD, so I needed something that made the actors and actresses look flawless on camera. I needed an airbrush look but I couldn’t use an airbrush machine, so I started to play around with some special effects tools and experimenting with wetting sponges/cutting them into different shapes. When people started stealing them on set, I knew I was on to something.
On dealing with dissenting voices, when you don’t really have a choice to succeed, you just don’t let that voice stay in your head. I was a single parent and taking a big chance, using all of my money and everything to start and being a resourceful person, figuring out how to overcome obstacles has always been something I enjoy doing so I just didn’t listen to the doubt. I’d just switch my focus and instead use that energy to overcome whatever my challenge was.
Can you share some entrepreneurship myths you have encountered on your journey?
The entrepreneurship myth that I debunked was that you won’t make money until year 3 of our journey. I’m here to say I didn’t make money until year 8 because I remained self-funded. I didn’t take a pay check and kept reinvesting back into my company which meant that I continued to work as a celebrity MUA to support my family and my company.
If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire, who would that be and what would you ask her?
I would love to have a lunch date with Oprah. I would ask her “how do you run a business and make business decisions that aren’t necessarily in the same space as your heart?”
Can you share 3 greatest lessons you have learned on your business journey/while building a global brand?
Trust your gut- it’s stronger than you know.
We get really caught up in the moment and wonder about all these “what if’s” but things always have a way of working themselves out, we just have to trust ourselves and the process.
Patience is a virtue
If you have an idea, have the patience to see it through. It might be scary and there are definitely going to be moments where you feel discouraged, but you have to always keep moving forward. I never took ‘no’ for an answer—even when I was putting everything on the line. It’s hard advice to take but sometimes the risk is worth the reward.
Lastly, I have learned to be aware/okay with not knowing everything. What matters is recognizing the right person for the job you need to get done.
What are 3 resources (book, podcast, website) you’d recommend for entrepreneurs?
One of the books I read early into my beautyblender journey was the “22 Immutable Laws of Branding”. I currently also listen to the podcast “How I Built This” as well as watch many episodes of Shark Tank.
About Rea Ann Silva
Rea Ann Silva approaches her brand through an artist’s lens. Her experience spans a 20+ year journey as one of the most sought-after makeup artists in Hollywood – known best for the flawless, glowing looks she created on-set and on the red carpet. She used that talent to revolutionize the makeup industry as the creative force behind the original Beautyblender, the multiple award-winning genius cosmetic sponge applicator that has taken the beauty world by storm.
Beautyblender was born in the makeup trailer of television’s first Hi-Definition shows. The constant touch-ups throughout the day required damp, hand-cut, edgeless sponges to mimic the look of skin. Soon, every celebrity that sat in Rea Ann’s chair wanted their own sponge. A lot of ingenuity and creativity later the iconic pink sponge was born.
Minimal effort, maximum results – that’s Rea Ann’s mantra! She created an easy to use, versatile tool that the professional and everyday consumer could use anytime, anywhere to achieve a beautiful, flawless complexion. Fifteen years later, Rea Ann oversees a global brand born from a simple need that is now the driving force in beauty complexion innovation.
As a Latina, mother, “glamma”, celebrity makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur, Rea Ann believes that our time in front of the mirror needs to be easy, fun and should require as little mess and fuss as possible.
She has set her sights on continuing to develop tools and makeup products that incorporate the tips and tricks she has learned throughout her makeup artist career – ones that offer seamless solutions to some of our most
common beauty dilemmas.
Today, this “category creator” has changed the way consumers around the globe “makeup” and inspired a line of color cosmetics designed to deliver, flawless, effortless results.