Alexis Wolfer is changing the face of beauty blogs. As a recent college grad, she noticed a worrying trend: there are plenty of sites dedicated to looking good but there aren’t many that make us feel good, inside and out. She wanted to change that with TheBeautyBean.com. She has a strict no-Photoshop policy on her site and she uses regular girls as models. People are taking notice, and in 2011 Forbes named her site in its Top 10 Lifestyle Websites for Women. We caught up with Alexis on talk about her empowering platform, loving yourself and what it takes to be a #GirlBoss.
Take us back. How did you start TheBeautyBean?
After I graduated college, I spent time in East Africa working at a women’s empowerment group and I became passionate about human rights, specifically women’s rights. While in graduate school, I wrote beauty and fashion content and I realized that the ultimate human right is the right to love yourself and to treat your body with love and respect. I started TheBeautyBean in 2009 as a place for women to get their beauty and lifestyle content in a positive and empowering way. We don’t use Photoshop or airbrushing. We also use regular girls as models and we focus on being fit, healthy and strong (never on weight loss!). We gear our content towards helping women look and feel their best.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
There are three moments that really stand out for me. When TheBeautyBean launched, we held a Twitter contest for our followers. The vast majority of responses were about how positive, affirming, and empowering the site was. It was really powerful and made me realize that women really wanted the content we were producing.
The second moment was when we sold our first piece of sponsored content to Olay and I realized that the beauty world liked what we were doing. Our mission isn’t to be anti-beauty brand but rather to recognize that women are smart and capable enough to make their own decisions about products that help them look and feel their best. It was gratifying to see that the big-name brands understood and supported this message.
And then, of course, was when Forbes named us one of its Top 10 Lifestyle Websites for Women. That was a pretty awesome moment as well!
What challenges have you overcome to get to where you are?
More than anything, my own fears! I constantly worried that TheBeautyBean would become just another blog getting lost in the mix. I had to push hard every day to create the site I envisioned: a place for women, about women, by women. I also didn’t really know any female entrepreneurs, which was challenging. It’s hard to start a business from scratch without a network of supporters! Luckily, in the last seven years, women’s entrepreneurship has really come to the foreground.
Who has been helpful in supporting you?
My dad has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since I began this journey. I counted on him, rain or shine, to tell me that I could do anything I set my mind to. I think every entrepreneur needs at least one person like that.
Another big source of support has been connecting with other female entrepreneurs. Having a community of people who are at a similar level of success, where you can bounce ideas around and help each other out is beyond powerful. I think connecting with peers is just as valuable as having mentors.
What inspires you?
Passionate people! People who are following their dreams — no matter what that dream is. On a larger scale, I really admire Lena Dunham. She’s just unapologetically true to who she is and that authenticity is really inspiring to me.
What do you think are the most important keys to success?
Two things: passion and willingness to put in the work. It’s not enough to have a great idea or mission — you have to be ready and eager to do whatever it takes to pursue that passion. And always remember, kindness matters!
What advice do you have for young female entrepreneurs?
Help each other out. If we all focus on collaboration over competition, we will all have the success that we’re looking for.
I don’t think you need to think about your career in terms of what you’re going to retire doing. Instead, what are you pumped about doing right now? How are you going to impact the world next? Don’t take the safe and easy path. Take a chance — you have plenty of time.
Find both of Alexis’ books on Amazon here:
Recipe for Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best-Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen
Radiant Bride: The Beauty, Diet, Fitness, and Fashion Plan for Your Big Day
Interview conducted by Jordan Strohl, 1,000 Dreams Fund Contributor