When Tara Bogna launched her lash serum startup, she felt like an imposter in the beauty industry. But her brother and co-founder, Trevor, saw something in her that she didn’t. Here, she shares her lessons from doing it differently, including why female entrepreneurs should have courage.
What inspired you to launch your own business?
My previous career was in advertising, where I worked at a few different ad agencies. While I enjoyed this work, it felt like just a job, and I didn’t feel a sense of attachment or accomplishment in this field. After becoming a mother, I spent more time focusing on my children and was always looking for ways to simplify my life and beauty routine. A lash serum felt like this secret weapon I had. A lash serum had been a part of my routine (on and off) for years, but I had never purchased the same one twice. Some worked very well, but irritated my eyes, and others were very gentle but did not give me the results I wanted. After partnering up with my cofounder and brother, Trevor, we worked with a lab to help us create Lash Spell, and it’s magical – I can’t wait for you to try it!
Starting a business takes courage. What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I agree, and it’s definitely something I’m constantly working on – building up my courage!
A big challenge I felt personally was allowing myself to be vulnerable. I wasn’t just starting a business, and telling the world about the serum we created, but I was also showing them with my own personal experience. I used social media to share our story and tell the world how our serum worked, specifically on me, and show them my own results. It can be scary to put yourself out there in that way, but I knew that it would also help everyone to not just see but to understand how our serum can also help with confidence… and courage!
What challenges have you faced running your business, and how did you resolve them?
We have faced a handful of challenges and I think that comes with the territory for new business owners. We had challenges initially getting our product shipped out in time. Due to COVID-19, we ended up being delayed by a couple weeks. At the time it felt like a very big deal, but in hindsight it likely wasn’t. Our customers were super understanding and just so eager to support our launch. To this day, we’re so grateful for the community we have. Communication and transparency with our community has been the best way we’ve found to resolve these types of issues.
What achievement/s you are most proud of and why?
I am most proud of going for it. If this business has taught me anything it’s that the “yes you can” mentality is what will get you to where you want to go. While my background is not in beauty, I have found that my day-to-day experiences as a woman and a mother give me reason to believe I can help offer so much to other women living similar lives.
My biggest achievement is my family and the life that we have created. I wouldn’t be where I am as a mother, as a wife, or as a leader without the support of my family. I’m proud of the kids that my husband and I are raising, and they have helped me to want to do and be better. Not just to build a business, but to make an impact, spread joy, and to make people feel good.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? How did you address it?
Yes! I experience this often. It helps to network with other business owners because the more people I meet helps me to realise that we are all in this together, and anyone who has started anything has been in my position at some point. Keeping close friends that are encouraging and uplifting has also helped to keep me grounded.
Who has been your biggest champion on your journey, and how did they help you?
My biggest champion is my older brother (and cofounder) Trevor. He saw something in me that I didn’t see. As I mentioned, my background is in advertising, where I previously worked in a very corporate, structured environment. I felt like an imposter to make a move into the beauty industry. By example, he taught me more than I could have ever picked up on in another start-up environment. Not only is he brilliant, he is incredibly kind, makes friends with anyone he meets and I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. I’m so grateful that I get to work with him, and raise our families together!
What skills do you believe women must have to succeed as a leader?
The women I look up in leadership positions are highly motivational, they strive to lift up others and lead by example. They create an environment of inclusion and there is effective communication between the team.
Work/life balance can be difficult. What are your ‘tricks of the trade’?
I have a lot to say on this! I don’t think that “balance” necessarily exists. I think there are times when we may be more focused on work, and times when we are more focused on life/family/self-care and I think that it’s okay to plan your days accordingly. I used to feel a lot of mom guilt and even work guilt when I’d be either with my kids thinking about work or vice versa. What I have come to realise is that nothing will ever be balanced. Do the best job you can to be present in your circumstance – at work or at home. This has helped me to feel more balanced.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
No – each mistake has been a lesson that we learned from. It’s the failures that have helped to teach us and propel us forward.
Tara Bogna’s Top 3 Leadership Lessons Learned
1. Be transparent with your community. The more you share, the more people feel like they are a part of your story, your community, and trust is cultivated both ways.
2. If problems arise, be open to viewing the issue from all sides. Often times we miss things if we keep our focus too narrow; it’s important to look outside of our current view to try to solve problems.
3. Be kind. Treat everyone how you would like to be treated! This one extends beyond leadership, but to all facets of life lessons.
© Laini Bennett, MBA