Courtney Jones - CEO & Co-Founder of Sweat Cosmetics
1. Tell us about Sweat and yourselves.
The founders of Sweat are all former collegiate, professional, and/or Olympic female soccer players. All of our soccer careers intertwined, and as we became close friends, Sweat became more of a reality. We bonded over our crazy lifestyle as athletes, and we are even closer now after realizing that our post-soccer lives are just as demanding and active.
Sweat was created out of a need for daily products that could keep up with our chaotic and busy lives. We focus on convenience because we know what it’s like to always be on-the-go. We know what type of products we needed during our playing days, and we know the products we need now; and we are doing our best to bring those necessities to active women just like us.
2. Why did you start Sweat?
If you asked each Founder individually, I bet we would all lead with a different reason. But that’s what is so great about about multiple Founders; we all wanted to solve a different problem, and we try our best to address every issue when it comes to living a very active life. I’ll touch on two reasons. First, sun protection. Our teammates were not wearing sunscreen. It seems like SPF is always talked about, but not every pays attention to the affects the sun can have on your skin and your health. One goal of Sweat is to provide multi-tasking products, so that you are covering yourself in SPF without having to take an extra step. We focus on convenience because most women are always on-the-go. The second reason we started Sweat is the one I resonate with the most. I have always felt that female athletes get a reputation for being “too strong” or “too masculine”. To me, Sweat was a way to show that you can still embrace your femininity and beauty, all while being the badass that you are.
3. What does confidence mean to you?
Confidence is obviously different for everyone. While playing professional soccer, my confidence was built by my performance on the field. I was my toughest critic, and still am to this day. But my view on confidence has had to change over the last few years. I always had some control of the way I played on the field, but there are some things in business you just can’t control, no matter how hard you try. So I had to find other ways to be confident in what we are doing. Confidence is a mental struggle, and we all deal with it. But I find the best way to build and have confidence is to celebrate the small, and even tiny, victories each day. Celebrate the days you wake up early to workout before work. Celebrate the days you eat a salad for lunch, even if you go for the burger the next day. Celebrate the days you get the laundry done (ha!). Pat yourself on the back for the little things. Self love goes a long way!
4. Who are some women that inspire you in your life and work?
In my own life, my ultimate inspiration is my mom. She is the most giving, caring, and selfless person I know. If I can be more like her every day, I’m on the right path.
As much as I try to bring my personal attitude and morals into business everyday, when it comes to Sweat and our team, our inspiration ranges a bit further. I know our first inspiration was each other. We saw Sweat as an opportunity to work together and create products that would make our own lives easier. Once our business was formed, we took a ton of inspiration from our teammates/friends. We knew if we were going to create the ultimate products for the active women, we needed more insight into what an active woman’s needs are. We try to take those needs into consideration with our products and our marketing. Now, I like to say our inspiration is our customers. Given that our background is sports, our “beauty” needs as professionally athletes differ slightly from those who are just striving to be active. Our customers have given us incredible insight on what women need on a daily basis, rather than what they need during a marathon. We want our brand to be versatile enough to attract all kinds and types of “active”.
5. What as a team are you passionate about?
As a team, we are passionate about being active! Some people might think our passion lies more in the beauty side of the business, but honestly, we want to encourage ALL women to get up and get moving. Our product was created to give women a more convenient and beneficial way to cover, protect, and care for their skin while still getting a little sweaty!
6. What's the best advice you've received?
Never be too prideful to ask for help. This is a big one for me. Especially as a female athlete, we needed to be strong and not give anyone a reason to think otherwise. Asking for help should not be viewed as weak, but as smart. Our team is not naive about the fact that we are are five professional soccer players who one day decided to enter the crazy world of beauty. We had no experience in this market, or business in general. We were forced to learn from those around us, and absorb their knowledge for the better of our brand.
7. What is your advice for women and girls?
This could be off topic, but I think this is an issue that comes up a lot these days. I feel as if society is telling women that you have two choices: you can be an “independent woman” or a “stay-at-home mom”. But reality is… YOU CAN DO BOTH! You can do and have it all, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Easier said than done, obviously, but as women, we do not need to sacrifice one to do the other. Starting a business is one of the craziest, most demanding things our team has ever done, but believe it or not, we all have a personal and social life outside of Sweat. We work hard for both business and relationships, and always strive to live the life we have always dreamed of.
8. Are there challenges you've faced specifically because you're a team of woman or as women individually? If so how did you overcome them?
A big topic of conversation these days is fundraising as a woman, and how venture capitalists are not taking women-owned businesses into consideration. I want to say up front that we have not experienced this specifically, and we have gotten quite a bit of traction of VCs over the last few years. However, fundraising has been difficult for us, not because we are women, but because we are a cosmetic company. A good investor will invest in a company they personally feel passionately about. And given that VCs are primarily men, pitching a makeup company doesn’t make them jump from their seat (through no fault of their own!). Whenever we pitch to a man, one of his first comments is “My wife would love this!”. Our job, then, is to cater our pitch to their preferences. Find out what they are most excited about besides our products; is it ROI, financials, marketing, etc. Find their sweet spot and hit it home.
9. What are your goals for the next 5 years?
For the next 5 years, we are focusing on product development and ways we can differentiate from this overpopulated beauty market. We want to find new ways to interact with our customers and bring them the best possible Sweat experience. Another goal of ours is bring our brand story to life a little more. We want to connect with customers and have them get to know the women behind their products. I feel a personal connection will take us further than any other marketing.
Sweat Cosmetics was founded by a group of women who happen to be all former collegiate, professional, and/or Olympic female soccer players. As athletes themselves they saw the need for cosmetics and sun care specifically made for active women and thus Sweat Cosmetics was born. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram #ForActiveBeauty