Jill Rossini of Fixy: Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry
An Interview With Jilea Hemming
Be an active spokesperson for your business. I find that customers really want to know the person behind the company and what you stand for. They want to know why you are passionate about what you are doing and how you can make their life a little easier or better. With this, you have to be your true self. Show people who you are and grow a community, not just a business. Thus, a brand should be a direct reflection of those leading it.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Rossini, Founder of Fixy.
On a mission to design creative and elegant solutions for makeup users who are searching for the next best thing. Fixy helps beauty aficionados save time and money by helping them fix broken powdered makeup and create new colors vs. throwing it away.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have 15 years of experience as a graphic designer as well as 10 years of experience as a licensed esthetician. I focused on the areas that were my strengths and put all my energy into creating my indie beauty brand, FIXY Makeup. It all started years ago when I had broken my favorite MAC eyeshadow for the third time! I couldn’t believe this kept happening and I felt like I was just throwing money down the drain. After a lot of research, I wasn’t satisfied with the results you get when trying a DIY solution. I also knew that there were countless women frustrated with this same issue. I spent months experimenting and I just couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a kit I could just buy. So I decided to design a solution to this problem that would provide consistent results with very simple steps that anyone could follow, and wouldn’t change the color of the makeup. After years of testing and making numerous adjustments, I finally launched my first product, the FIXY Makeup Creation & Repair Kit. What I didn’t realize in the process was that I designed a kit that not only fixes broken makeup, but also allows you to blend unused colors to create a whole new look. There are also makeup artists using it to depot their makeup in order to better optimize space in their makeup kits.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Prior to starting production on my first run of the FIXY Makeup Creation & Repair Kit, I only had a 3D prototype of what the finished product would look like. Around this time, a friend of mine said that she heard that Shark Tank added a final stop in Denver where you could pitch your product to them. There was only a few days before the event was going to happen. I decided why not go and practice pitching the business. After hours of waiting in a line, I had just a minute or two to pitch my product. During the pitch, I demonstrated the product and showed how quickly I could fix my broken powder back to brand new. I knew it had gone well as they spent 10 minutes with me. Since they added the stop in Denver at the last minute, they quickly told me I made it to the next round, in which I had less than a week to do their endless application and to create a video. This was the next step before they were to decide if I would make it on the show. Needless to say, my rushed video wasn’t great and they said they loved the product, but wanted me to reach back out to them at a later date to discuss another season where they didn’t already have some beauty products for the show. This was honestly a relief as I never wanted to get on Shark Tank pre-sales. You are probably wondering if I ever reached back out. I haven’t, at least yet. The main reason was that I wanted to work towards improving every aspect of the business, which is an ongoing process.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I’ve had to learn so many lessons along the way while running this business. Like everyone else, the pandemic threw me for a serious loop though. In the early months, the only thing I cared about was the safety and health of my family. I still had a business to keep alive though and makeup tools were not a high priority for most. I’ve put my heart and soul into this business and I knew I would do anything to avoid becoming another failed indie beauty brand. I initially tested a lot of new marketing initiatives, but many weren’t panning out during 2020. I needed a quick reset that involved a deeper dive into all my analytics and financial statements. This involved cutting costs in any area I possibly could, immediately dropping marketing efforts that weren’t delivering worthwhile results, and investing more money and time in the areas that were showing success. This also included a more recent decision to bring PR back on, which was successful when we first launched. Since my products are unique, building brand awareness is so critical. I’m happy that the reset at the end of 2020 has set me up to be successful in 2021.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband and business partner Brad. He has been pivotal in everything we have done. He was relentless in creating our patented design. I would also like to mention our husky Sonny as he has never missed a day of work.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
My brand is built around innovation and it was no simple task creating my first product as it didn’t exist in the beauty industry. It took years of testing and retesting to develop a product that met all my expectations and of those I tested it with. The FIXY Makeup Creation & Repair Kit met the mark. It was quick and easy to use, didn’t change the color of your makeup, had a sleek design esthetic, was made in the USA, and was 100% reusable and thus made with no single-use plastic. The solution became a few simple steps of grind, bind and repress your makeup. It allows you to recycle your broken makeup which equates to cost savings, plus upcycle your unused makeup by blending them together to create a whole new shade. When I see our customers loving the product, it makes all the time and effort worth it.
I’m also excited about our most recent products. After a year of research and development, I have created the FIXY Cosmetic Glitter Binder, which allows you to press any loose biodegradable glitter into one of our empty makeup pans, using the help of the makeup press section of the FIXY kit. This makes it easy to take your favorite biodegradable loose glitter on the go and you can even apply it without glitter glue. Along with our glitter binder, we also launched our initial line of biodegradable loose glitters and we’ll be adding more beautiful colors over time. It was important to me that our customers care about the environmental impact of the products they use, as it’s always top of mind for myself.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
There are some key areas of the modern beauty industry that really excite me.
- I can’t say enough for the attention that minority owned beauty brands are getting these days. I strongly believe in equality for all and it’s imperative to acknowledge all the challenges that are faced by those in the minority.
- I love that individuals can utilize social media to become highly respected for their unique talents. We live in a different time, and you have to be grateful for the ways technology has improved our lives. Just be careful to not get sucked into the social media vortex though.
- I’m so excited to see all the non-binary makeup trends and models throughout the beauty industry. This was a necessary change that should have happened even earlier.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
If I was going to make changes to the beauty industry, I’d start with the following.
- There needs to be more regulations and oversight to the ingredients found in beauty products. My moto has always been less is more. I got this from my mother, who has always been checking the ingredients of products of food we bought growing up. It’s especially appalling what is allowed to enter the US market. I feel that strides have been made to help consumers understand the quality of products, but I also feel that some of those definitions are too loose and sometimes misused.
- I would like to see constant improvements to where products are sourced. I have put a focus on utilizing US based businesses even though the costs are higher, and it hurts my bottom line. The US is one big community and we should utilize others in our community as much as possible. That being said, it’s just as critical to understand how those sources are treating their employees and if they are utilizing ethical practices.
- The way products are shipped these days is very disturbing. I’m talking about the Amazon effect. Automation has made it so quick and easy to purchase products and even with Amazon, I think most people don’t request to have products shipped together. The other issue is that it’s rare for products you are buying to all be at the same warehouse. More thought needs to be put into what products are needed so better planning can be done for purchase in your area vs. ordering online. This change would require a serious mindshift.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
There’s a lot I could say on the topic of Beauty in general, but I do have a few specific tips that I think would be beneficial for anyone. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it should be a priority to take care of it. One of the best ways to take care of your skin is to be very focused on the foods that you consume. You can do this by keeping track of The Dirty Dozen, which helps guide you as to which foods you should definitely buy organic. It’s also incredibly helpful to avoid processed food and sugars, which is a main objective of the keto diet. As your face tends to get the most exposure to the sun, it’s really helpful to have periodic facials if you can afford them. I would also highly recommend using a good sunscreen with enough zinc oxide, but avoid any containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, homosalate, avobenzone, octyl salicylate, and ecamsule.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
In order to succeed in the modern beauty industry, I see 5 key business fundamentals that need to be an area of focus:
- Listen to your customers. This should be a priority before you develop a new product, while you are selling a current product and when you are thinking of creating a new product or service. I was a proponent of the lean startup methodology early on. I wanted constant feedback on my designs and prototypes. It helps you adapt quicker and helps you create something that others will love. Once I launch a product, I look at reviews and feedback to determine if adjustments need to be made or if a whole new product should be created. I can’t tell you how many amazing friends I have made along the way, and many of those relationships were developed by having open and honest conversations with my customers.
- Know your source commitments early on. You need to know what it is that you are promising your customers and adapt if you are not meeting their expectations. This also means that you know what your business stands for and why it’s a driving force. You can’t just be solving a problem with products or services, you need to have the compelling reasons you operate the way you do.
- Be an active spokesperson for your business. I find that customers really want to know the person behind the company and what you stand for. They want to know why you are passionate about what you are doing and how you can make their life a little easier or better. With this, you have to be your true self. Show people who you are and grow a community, not just a business. Thus, a brand should be a direct reflection of those leading it.
- Know what you are good at and continue to learn. It’s great to focus on your strengths, but when you don’t delegate to the right people, it’s easy to fail. As a business owner, you have to be knowledgeable enough to be dangerous and to hire the right people, but you have to be careful not to take on too much. With that, you have to have accountability for those you hire and you have to oversee the results being delivered. Continued learning is key as well so I like to break up my day with podcasts for learning opportunities.
- Cash flow is everything. Financials are so boring to talk about, but without them, you can’t run any business. Beauty trends come and go, but cash is one thing you don’t want disappearing when running your beauty business. This is everything from reviewing financial statements and product margins to reviewing analytics to cutting costs to negotiating agreements to checking your bank accounts for issues to managing inventory to setting financial goals. The list goes on and on and is an area that I’m constantly learning and with that, I’m constantly adapting my business as needed.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could start a movement it would be to enact a law stating that everyone 18 years old and over must vote and that there would be more options for candidates. It would be a national holiday and everyone would have the ability to vote on time and with whatever means is best for them. I would see it as a right of passage, like being the legal age to drink. I would also drive states to enact laws allowing for rank choice voting, which would also allow for more than 2 political parties. Imagine only having 2 options when choosing a beauty product. That’s insane! We only have 2 options today because of the awful laws put in place by those in government. With rank choice voting, you would have the ability to rank candidates by preference and it’s not limited to just “this Democrat or that Republican.” Also, with rank choice voting, a candidate has to win a majority of the vote, so if a majority isn’t won, then first-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots and a recount is done. This continues until a candidate has the majority to win.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a sticky note on my mirror that I see every single day. It says, “Are you happy or really happy?” Not every day is an easy day, but I try to wake up and set my attitude for the day. I constantly have gratitude for the people and things in my life. No matter how difficult of a day I might have to face, I start it by reminding myself that I’m really happy and that’s how I’d like my day to go. I’ve spent too many days in the past being hard on myself that I want to do my best at loving myself so I can be better to those around me.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me and our indie beauty brand on all social media platforms @fixymakeup and you can also find me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jill-rossini/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.