Summer is in full swing here in London, and lip balms are becoming a daily must have. We thought it would be the ideal time to focus on all things beauty for the next three months here at TWC. And who better to introduce us to the topic than Sara Happ, also known as: The Lip Expert.
Sara is the founder and CEO of her own beauty company which creates luxury lip products. Best known for launching their revolutionary lip scrubs back in 2005, she has since introduced us to many different ways to take care of our lips. We sat down with The Lip Expert and chatted about her inspiration to start her own company, her favourite beauty products and how she manages her work-life balance.
AG: Hi Sara! How lovely to sit down with you and chat about your wonderful products. As you might have seen from our previous beauty features, we’re huge fans of your products, especially your well known lip scrub. Could you please start by sharing what made you focus on one specific area, lips?
SH: I love hearing that! Thank you so much for the ongoing support. I’m obsessed with lips, and I believe the lip industry is empirically broken. Most lip products dehydrate. It’s why people tell me, every single day, that their lips are chapped. My thinking was: what if we went the other way? What if we made products that truly hydrate? That exfoliate instantly? That leave out the dehydrating stuff? Won’t people be equally addicted to product that actually works? So, I trademarked The Lip Expert and went to work.
AG: We’re passionate about finding out more how busy entrepreneurs spend their day to day. What would be a typical day for you and what do you like to do to unwind after a long day? We know you’re also a mom, and can imagine it’s pretty much non-stop. Do you find it difficult to manage your time at work and with your family?
SH: The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that there is no typical day. My days always start early, whether I’m at home with my little girl or traveling. No matter where I am, I’m a mom first and foremost, so it’s either preschool drop off or FaceTiming with Julia Grace to start the day, followed by meetings, conference calls, lab sample testing for new products, or going to events that support my fellow female founders.
Never a dull moment. Or if a moment does feel dull, I slide into hot yoga and clear my mind. Being a mom has made me quite careful and strategic with my time. When I’m with my little girl, I do my best to put work aside, or to involve her in it. And life becomes a puzzle that’s fun for me to solve: slotting in our life, with my work, with my friends and family, with travel… it’s a constantly evolving juggle that some days I do better than others.
AG: You started with no experience in cosmetic chemistry but still wanted to achieve your vision of creating a tasteful and successful lip scrub. Could you please tell us a bit more about how you went about creating your first product, and how you managed to do it in your own kitchen? What is your biggest tip for other inspired and young entrepreneurs to successfully achieve their own vision?
SH: I created The Lip Scrub in 2005 out of sheer necessity. I’m a magazine lover and beauty junkie who kept reading editors say “Exfoliate lips with a wet washcloth or toothbrush.” That seemed crazy to me! I have a scrub for every other part of my body, so why were there none for my lips? To my kitchen I went, and The Lip Scrub was born using mixing bowls and spatulas. I was obsessed with my formula, and had a strong sense that other girls would be, too.
My biggest tip is to enjoy the process. For years, my mindset was, “If I do X, everything will be great…” (X could be get in to Nordstrom, release this incredible product, hire this person). Along the way I learned that as an entrepreneur, there are highs and lows, ebbs and flows, and you simply have to ROLL WITH IT. And no one “thing” will do everything. So believe that all will be well. Do your best. Get really calm when awful things happen because, as an entrepreneur, no day is the same: you may get the best news of your company’s history on the same day that you have to fire someone. Embrace the journey and the destination will seem much less important.
AG: The beauty industry is, as we know, a very crowded market. How do you think you’ve managed to stand out from the crowd and what is your vision for your company?
SH: Our laser focus on perfecting lips, and only lips, has been our strength. When you commit to doing one thing perfectly, the outcome can be incredible. We never risk spreading ourselves too thin, or diluting the brand image, because we devote our energy to this one category, and we truly are the experts.
AG: And finally, we’ve been dying to find out how it feels knowing celebrities such as Katie Holmes and Gwyneth Paltrow use your products. What would you say is your most popular product today? Have you got an all-time favourite you would recommend for any beach-loving readers out there?
It’s surreal any time I see someone using our product; celebrities, people I pass by in the airport… I still pause when my best girlfriends pull The Lip Slip out of their clutch at dinner. And yes, seeing Gwyneth wearing our Pink Slip? It’s thrilling, for sure. Our hero products are always our Brown Sugar Lip Scrub and our Lip Slip, because they’re your daily go-to’s for exfoliation and hydration.
Our Dream Slip is the first of its kind “night cream for your lips,” and that has blown our minds from a sales standpoint. We can’t make it fast enough! The Lip Scrub is a must if you’re a beach lover like I am. Wind, sand, salty air… these all dehydrate your lips pretty remarkably. Sloughing off that dead skin after a day at the beach is key. Slather on The Dream Slip after that, go to sleep, and you’ll wake up to a perfect pout.
Make sure you stay up to date with Sara Happ’s beauty collections, and follow them on their social media.
Shop Sara’s collection below for sublime lips
Featured images via Sara Happ
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