Female Founders: Mayvis Payne of LIPLOX/LASHLOX COSMETICS On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
TRUST THE PROCESS. We often get discouraged as an entrepreneur, when we believe that it’s taking longer than expected to succeed in our businesses. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is this — nothing great happens overnight. Persistent drive and goal focus will keep our eyes on the prize.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mayvis Payne.
Mayvis Payne is a New York-based Celebrity Makeup Artist with more than 15 years in the film and entertainment industry. In addition to being an artist, she is also the founder of LIPLOX/LASHLOX COSMETICS; a collection of luxury lipgloss, lipsticks and mink eyelashes. In April 2021, Mayvis became a bestselling author, with her release of “Lipgloss Chronicles; Confessions of a Celebrity Makeup Artist,” which gives a riveting account of life behind the scenes. http://mayvispayne.com
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?
Sure; I’d love to! I was an Administrative Assistant for a Fortune 500 company and I would commute to DC from our home in Maryland. At least once a week, I would receive compliments on my makeup from women on the train. That sparked an interest and I decided to research a school and the rest is history.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I attended makeup school, we often had to demonstrate on our peers. My makeup application on my fellow student was decent — until I had to apply the red lipstick that she had requested. It didn’t go well; my lip application looked like The Joker! Good thing she was a good sport. After we laughed it off (literally), I discovered that all reds are not created equal. Skin tone determines how the color would translate. I never forgot that and so when I selected colors for my cosmetic line, I was determined to have a red that looks great on any skin tone. Enter, Betty Boo!
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?
While working in retail beauty, I was approached by a young lady who needed assistance with skincare products. After listening to her concerns and suggesting products, I was surprised when she agreed to purchase all of the items (which was a hefty penny)! After completing the sale, she was so impressed with me that she asked for my card and informed me that she was a producer for a major network. She referred me to her colleagues and before I knew it, I was working as a freelance artist for that network. That single encounter propelled me into the artist (and résumé) that I am/have today. I will never forget Nichelle Newsome!
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?
I believe the biggest obstacle that women face today is the fear of failure. Society has opened up the door, from the Me Too movement to Black Lives Matter; therefore it is an opportune time to shatter the glass ceiling. Will there still be resistance in the workplace? Of course, however there are also more opportunities that weren’t available a few years ago.
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?
One, we should speak up whenever there are disparities. Oftentimes it’s not that no one hears us; it’s because we are not having the necessary discussions. Also, find a woman mentor; one who offers a safe place for dialogue and one who is also thriving in the area that you wish to pursue. After obtaining a mentor, become one to someone else.
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?
- Because we need to portray leadership roles to younger generations.
- Because society is now embracing women leadership in areas that were closed before.
- Because, why not?
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
One myth is that women do not support other women. While there is some truth to this, the reality is that there are women who will support you. The problem is that we need to broaden our scope of influence. Oftentimes, we tend to reach out to those we know for support, but there is a world of women out here who are waiting for what you have to offer.
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?
I do not believe that everyone will be a founder, because we are all individuals with our own quirks, skills and personalities. What makes a good leader is being a great follower and one who wishes to produce more leaders. Everyone does not possess the necessary skills to help pull someone else up.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- TRUST THE PROCESS. We often get discouraged as an entrepreneur, when we believe that it’s taking longer than expected to succeed in our businesses. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is this — nothing great happens overnight. Persistent drive and goal focus will keep our eyes on the prize.
- DO NOT ENTERTAIN THE SPIRIT OF COMPARISON. Although it is easy to get distracted and to measure your success by the success meter of a competitor or peer, please don’t. Do your market research abs due diligence in regards to remaining relevant, however recognize that success is a la carte, not buffet. What worked for someone else may not work for you.
- BE PROFESSIONAL. This seems to be self-explanatory, however I have been astounded by the “unprofessionalism” of so many business owners. Do not take for granted that customers have options and that although you offer a good product, customers are more inclined to return because of how they feel while with you. Being on the phone, talking badly about other customers, not having good time management skills are a few of the complaints that prohibits customer retention.
- PACK YOUR PATIENCE. With the microwave society that we live in, we unconsciously expect overnight success. Most successful business owners will dissuade such thinking. Succinctly, building a sustainable brand takes time — and patience. I’ve heard that the first 3–5 years are considered building years. Do not expect to make much money during these years, as you will basically break even. Promotional product displays, gifting products to influencers, purchasing supplies, establishing market relationships, attending trade shows, conferences, etc. are all examples of the types of expenses you should expect to incur. We often see the “overnight success stories,” but fail to delve into the backstory. Many years of trying and failing, many rejections, excess inventory, trial and errors are usually not put on display. However, they are a way of life in most entrepreneurial early years. If you have carefully researched your market and believe that you have a solid brand, continue to work it and be patient. If you do what you love, the money will come.
- SUPPORT OTHER WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS. Although this is the final point, it carries the weight of the entire article. We are now in the throes of the feminine movement and to be clear, their support and empowerment should be the norm. When we consider how long it has taken women to shatter the glass ceiling, we should be the first to congratulate and support another woman. I have never understood the innate tendencies to disparage another woman’s success. When one wins, we all do. Let’s do better — for the sake of the young women rising stars who are watching.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Although I am known as a Celebrity Makeup Artist, I have a saying that “Everyone is a star in my chair.” I endeavor to make every single person feel special. Some artists only cater their best to celebrities or high-profile clientele; however I believe that even the young prom girl deserves my very best.
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.
I would love to see each person embrace the beauty that they hold. We are so focused on the outward or looking like the models of the magazine ads, that we fail to extract beauty from within.
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.
Yes; Mary J. Bilge! I have never met her, but I follow her abs. There is something about her that draws me. Perhaps, it’s her realness, her dope style or her “rags to riches” story. She’s always been someone I’ve admired from afar.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.