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Female Founders: Alexa Persico On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexa Persico.

After over a decade of knowledge and expertise, makeup artist, Alexa Persico is the founder and developer behind Alexa Persico Cosmetics Beauty Brand. Working as a Freelance Makeup Artist, Persico always knew she could build a career out of her passion for beauty. At just seventeen years old this inspired Alexa to follow her dream and develop her namesake brand, Alexa Persico Cosmetics. Since the brand’s inception in 2012, she has launched many hit products that grabbed the attention of beauty lovers + celebrities worldwide. Including the hit Brighten Me Baby Highlighter that since its initial release, the palette sold out within hours several times, has been the driving force behind the brand’s popularity and a fan-favorite in the beauty community.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Makeup has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved making people feel beautiful I remember being 12 and saying to my Mom “When I get older I really want to be a makeup artist and start my own makeup line” When I was around 16 I started working professionally as a makeup artist and actually built up a clientèle which was incredible for someone so young. I loved being a Freelance Makeup Artist but I knew I had to get serious and follow my other passion, which was developing this line. I started to sketch out packaging ideas on paper and mixed lipsticks together to find a different shade. The same sketches I had on that paper years ago are the exact logo you still see on our packaging now.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

It isn’t a particular story, but more of seeing the growth within my brand happening through social media. Instagram in particular. We have grown our page to over 700,000 followers along with an amazing customer base to top it off — just based on that app alone. It has been amazing seeing the growth of our social media in general over the last 10 years since starting APC.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I wouldn’t say it was a mistake, more of a reality of how time-consuming creating a product is. When I first started my line I didn’t realize that a product can take a year or more from inception to launch that process alone requires a lot of back and forth with labs and can be very time-consuming. I remember when I went to my first lab meeting starting the creation of our Lip Velour™ Gloss, and my chemist at the time informed me it would take 8 months for the formula to be completed. I remember how shocked I was because I had planned to launch the product the next month. I definitely laugh thinking back to that time now, setting realistic expectations has been a huge lesson in business for me. Great things take time and it’s a process but so worth it in the end!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I began this journey I was about to graduate high school. I knew from a young age I wanted to own a cosmetic line and my parents never doubted my ability to make that dream come true, they took me to every lab meeting in the beginning and never gave up on me. My husband has also been a huge support system for me and does a lot of the financial side of the business while I stick to the creative. My Family & Husband are without a doubt my biggest support system.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Well, It’s a big financial risk to start a business so of course there is fear involved in that decision. When you own your own business there is a lot of “unknown” so naturally, you have times where you think negatively and worry about every little thing. My dad always said “99 percent of what you worry about never happens”- and it’s true, most of the time the worst possible outcomes you fear usually never happen, and if that 1 percent does happen it’s usually not as bad as you thought. Also, I think there probably isn’t enough funding for women-owned businesses from large venture capital groups which is hindering women from starting because they simply don’t have the initial funds to start.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

Offering more funding for women-owned businesses would be a start because it doesn’t seem like there is enough. Also, one thing I love doing daily is listening to female founder podcasts and hearing success stories of other women who were able to make their dreams come true. I think when women hear other women talking about their road to success it pushes them to not give up.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders? Women are amazing creative thinkers and bosses. All these qualities are important in launching and running a business. I think that female founders typically have more compassion and understanding which gives them a greater ability to bring a team together toward a common goal. Also, more women founders would spark further inspiration to women who may not have considered the possibility of starting their own companies.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

It’s not as “glamorous” as it’s portrayed. Success does not happen overnight. There will be days when you wish you could press pause on the clock, but you can’t because there are always things to do and people to respond to. Remember, dreams don’t work unless you do.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Not everyone is cut out to be a founder/business owner. It requires certain personality traits like being okay with failing and having thick skin. Not everyone has those traits or wants to put themselves through that which is okay. In most jobs, you can leave the work behind when you go home, as an entrepreneur your work is never “done” for the day, it’s still on your mind 24/7.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Feel The Fear and do it anyway: Don’t let fear of failure stop you from achieving your goal.
  2. Listen to your gut: Your intuition is always right, even if several people are telling you otherwise, go with what you truly feel.
  3. Don’t Rush Things: Over the last 10 years, I’ve found that rushing a project never turns out well. Take your time, and the outcome will be better.
  4. Learn to say NO: Simple as that, not every opportunity is for you, if one door closes another will open.
  5. Be Present: Don’t look too far into the future, focus on the present moment, and get done what needs to be done today.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Being an online-based business we are able to reach such a huge demographic. I would hope the products we create are making a difference in our customers’ lives, just by helping them feel more confident. Something as small as applying lipstick before leaving the house can put you in a positive mood for the day because you feel good, and that alone can make a difference in someone’s life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I would love to see more people embrace their inner beauty. Sometimes we are so brainwashed by what we see on social media, I think sometimes we need to stop and realize that most of what is perceived as “perfect” is actually photo-shopped. Everyone has imperfections even though it may not seem that way through a camera lens. Embrace your inner beauty and love who you are.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’ve always been inspired by Bobbi Brown since I was a little girl. She has always been my inspiration and I love her story to success, she truly is an icon in the beauty world. If I ever had the privilege to sit and have lunch with her that would be a dream come true!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.



In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.