Category Archives: Entrepreneur Life

wizard-of-oz

Never Meet Your Gurus

I think we can all relate to that that iconic scene in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy pulls back the curtain to reveal the All Mighty, All Powerful Oz is simply a flawed man, with his share of shortcomings, not the guru everyone thought he was. I think that’s a powerful lesson everyone can learn from.

If you’ve read my blog post about my humble beginnings in high school as an Estee Lauder Beauty Advisor, you know how I came up the ranks of the cosmetic department. At 17, I was too young and naïve to question anything, I just enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to work in the food court like my friends and that I got free products! Rule #1: never bite the hand that feeds you.

In the ten years that followed, I guess you could say I was mesmerized by the industry, heavily influenced by celebrities and models (a world that I would never be a part of, but happy to live vicariously through). I remember having serious conversations to my colleagues about Sharon Stone’s makeup in Casino and waiting patiently to devour InStyle magazine from cover to cover each month.

I think I have scars somewhere on my body from the Spanx and stilettos I wore to work each day, and I’m definitely a few hundred eye lashes short, thanks to the daily faux lashes I wore.

Looking back, it all seemed so Stepford-esque, but what do you expect from your twenties?

As much fun as I thought I had, there was a sadness in me, one that could not be filled up with enough lipstick, happy hour margaritas or relationships, although I had no idea about this sort of thing back then.  I believed things happened to me, not seeing the big picture that I was attracting every situation in my life because of how I felt inside. It’s called patterns people, and we all have them, even if we can’t see them.

The underlying message of my industry is “you aren’t good enough by yourself, buy this and you will be enough”. There was a reason I was in debt to Nordstrom and had a mini Sephora in my bathroom. Rule #2: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

The first time I met one of my gurus was shortly after I had been crowned a Nordstrom Beauty Director. The pay was dismal, but the opportunity to meet my makeup idols was priceless. I felt like a tweener meeting the Beibs.

This celebrity makeup artist had created an empire, and she was certainly considered Box Office Gold in the eyes of Nordstrom. She sold out events in every store when she did personal appearances. Women lined up to get a personal makeup evaluation (and then her team of makeup artists would execute the look she recommended).

I felt giddy to be in her presence, little ole’ me, but here I was in a room with my colleagues, standing ten feet from her! PERSONAL INTERACTION!

I had butterflies in my stomach for a week prior to meeting her, writing down exactly what I wanted to know, which mainly had to do with how she started, what were her early influences, how did she set trends, etc. I was approaching this training like a Sixty Minutes reporter preparing for a Castro interview.

She blew in the room and smelled like gardenias.  She was a no nonsense kind of woman, and got to work right away. I imagined her critiquing my artistry, giving me an insider tip or two…but she got right to work with her agenda, and that agenda was sales. Period.

She told us how many brushes were expected to be used in each makeover and how to sell at least three. “I built my business on brushes”.  For the next four hours, I learned how to use and sell 27 brushes.

Now in her defense, she was running a business and making money is akin to business. She did nothing wrong, it was my own expectations that weren’t met which caused me such disenchantment that day. There was just such a disconnect between the public persona and the business mogul that I felt a little mislead.

The second, third and fourth time I met (different) gurus (all in my own industry), I was also sadly disappointed because the person didn’t live up to their well written bio. Rule #3: Never underestimate good PR.

By the time I reached my forties, I personally started to shift. Actually, that’s an understatement. I started shifting like the Earth’s tectonic plates, and I yearned for truth and authenticity. I was discovering things that seemed unimaginable to me just ten years prior that set me off to an entirely new trajectory.  I became more interested in health, wellness,  mind/body/soul connection than with makeup trends.

I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland peeking down the rabbit hole.  That can be both exciting and scary. I’ve always craved truth, but it wasn’t until my forties until I knew how to seek it.

Which brings me to my next encounter with a guru.

I am an avid reader and I love to research, so when I learn about something new, and it resonates with me, I get massive butterflies in my stomach. That’s a sign from my intuition that I’m on the right path, pushing me to explore further.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

There is so much information out there to follow. Just look in the aisle on any book store in the diet section and there will be hundreds of books describing the end-all be-all way of eating. Same thing goes for an internet web search, but the results can be millions of pages of info, and most of that info is completely contradictory!

I felt completely overwhelmed when I started my own health journey, and that’s why I felt nothing worked and why I ended up returning to the eating habits of my youth. “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”.

Eventually though, my quest for knowledge led me to finding someone who I felt spoke the truth. I read a book of his, and was inspired to watch every single YouTube video he ever made. The videos were very DIY and the quality was not great but the message was very clear, and you could tell he followed his own advice. I had never heard of him before so for the next year or so I researched the things he recommended, adopted some of them and experienced great results. Over the next five years, his popularity increased and he began making appearances in mainstream media shows and commercials (with a much more refined look – Made for TV).

My everyday not-so-glam look

Then one day I was talking to a friend who knew of him and she said he started to live up to his rock star status (of the health world) and was quite the ladies’ man on his book tours. She didn’t imply anything inappropriate; he is after all single, but suddenly I felt different about him. I think in my mind, he spent his nights meditating on a mountain and maybe that’s due to his Instagram account. Rule #4: All photographs are accurate; none of them is the truth.

When I started Celtic Complexion, I thought the success of my business would solely be about the products.  However in order to be competitive, to stay in the public eye, to climb the ladder of indie success is to engage with the public via social media.

It’s not enough to make a great product, you have to be accessible and on fleek (I actually had to look that phrase up after my step son used it in a sentence) after all, Indies are the face of their brand. From a marketing perspective I get that, but from a personal standpoint it can feel like a lot of pressure.  It can also feel a bit inauthentic.

If you are part of my health coaching program, you know I preach to stay off social media as much as possible, to covet your privacy and to get outdoors.

I actually practice what I preach. That’s why you won’t see me replying to a Tweet instantly, or answering messages from our Facebook account 24/7. And don’t get me started about Instagram. I resisted it for years.

Let’s get this out there once and for all: 99% of the time I wear black yoga pants, a fitted t-shirt, Sketchers, no makeup and a ponytail.  It’s my uniform. It transitions effortlessly from packing and shipping to the grocery store to after school pick up. Instagram is pure fantasy and reminds me of the days I would be at my grandma’s house and get to play dress up in her shoes and jewelry.

I only share this with you, lest you bump into me at the grocery store one day and be disappointed. Heck, who am I kidding, you probably wouldn’t even recognize me!

Despite that fact, you will always get a product from me that will exceed your expectations, and I will personally reply to all of your correspondence.  I stand behind my products, and go out of my way to make you feel welcomed into the Celtic Complexion family.  Rule #5: Point your compass north and be your own guru.

Steve and Jennifer Waller

How to Rekindle the Romance with Your Spouse

Rekindling Romance with a Couples Photo Session

Rekindling Romance with a Couples Photo Session

Being an entrepreneur is stressful enough, but when both spouses are entrepreneurs, it can really be stressful!

Mr. Celtic Complexion and I work together, live together and play together. That’s a LOT of together.

Thankfully, we get along swell 95% of the time, but that 5% is very passionate “persuasion” time. When it comes to the marriage partnership, it’s pretty smooth sailing, but when I have my CEO hat on, and he has his COO hat on, lets just say, sparks can fly.

When this happens, the last thing we want to do is look soulfully into each other’s eyes and dance around the kitchen making dinner together. Entrepreneurs rarely turn off. There is always a “great idea” to discuss, and you must be an inherent “creative financier”.

To balance the time we spend working, we have a standing weekly date night, where we dress up and romance each other. No shop talk allowed.

Jennifer Waller Celtic Complexion CEO

After the initial awkwardness wore off, we had fun with it!

The past two weeks we’ve had to postpone date night for very valid reasons, namely I am launching another complimentary business to Celtic Complexion, and it’s taking up a lot of time. I noticed when we don’t have that designated time, we both become cranky and we feel disconnected, so last week I decided to plan something out of the ordinary for date night (and hoped he would be up for it).

I found a very creative local photographer whose style I greatly admired, and booked her “romance special”; meet in a gorgeous local park at sunset for a half hour of canoodling, and she would document the special moments. Her images are dreamy confections of love and romance – so I signed up right away.

Most couples only have portraits done for their engagement and/or wedding, and that time can be very stressful for couples, so the images may not capture the true essence of the couple. Contrast that with a lovely stroll through the park, holding hands with not a care in the world.

Harlequin Romance novel

Is this too much to ask?

I’d like to tell you that my surprise was met with welcome enthusiasm. I mean, what man wouldn’t want to get dressed up and play Rhett Butler to my Scarlett O’Hara? Mr. Celtic Complexion is probably like most men, not really comfortable in front of the camera and would rather be anywhere than trying to channel his inner Harlequin romance novel cover.

In fact, earlier that day, we were having one of those “passionate discussions”, and the last thing we wanted to do is get dressed up and be lovey-dovey with each other, but after the initial ten minutes of awkwardness, we really got into it. We were laughing about private jokes, and soon forgot that Andrea was even following us.

The time went by quickly, and when the sun melted over the horizon, our session was over. The flirting and laughing continued the rest of the night through dinner.

Receiving the actual pictures was almost a bonus. They arrived a few short days later, and we sat on the couch looking through them like giddy teenagers flipping through a yearbook.  I see in these pictures two best friends who have weathered a lot of storms, who are still madly in love with each other. I see a comfort level that wasn’t there when we got married, that can only come from the passage of time.

Steve&JenniferFEB2017-6

Our version of the Harlequin Romance novel cover

Steve and Jennifer Waller

Best friends

Unlike the distraction of a movie, this date rekindled our romance, and affirmed why we got married in the first place. It’s so important to rekindle that fire regularly, in some small way because at the end of the day, LOVE is what’s most important, everything else is just background noise.

Photography by: Andrea Dawn