EP 19: Building a Brand Based on Education with Sara Millecam Anderson

Mary Harcourt  0:05  
Welcome to Ready Set glow, a podcast where I interview the person behind the brand. We're gonna talk about what it took to get started the lessons learned along the way and the advice they have for you on your own journey. I'm your host, Mary Harcourt, founder and CEO of Cosmo glow. My guest today is Sarah McMillan Anderson. She's a 12 year veteran in the beauty industry as a medical esthetician, now serving as a Director of Education at beautiful brows and lashes, she and her 40 other trainers coordinate their schedules to offer in person and online courses for today's most popular salon services. Listen to what it takes to scale a company, run a brand and inspire others. Let's get started. Sarah, tell me about yourself who is beautiful brows and lashes and what is your story?

Sara Millecam  0:58  
My name is Sarah Malcolm Anderson and I am the owner and director of education for beautiful brows and lashes. And we are a specialist company in the market that sells and focuses on lash lifting brow lamination. Tinting and waxing, wow, those

Mary Harcourt  1:13  
are all very popular things, especially if you like brow lamination got like a huge pump over the last two years. I feel like it came out of nowhere.

Sara Millecam  1:22  
Totally, I thought it was going to just be a fad. Like honestly, I was like this is just a fad. It's not going to last long. And it's still here. So we're here for it.

Mary Harcourt  1:31  
I love it. And being a typical California girl. I don't live there anymore. But we couldn't tent for so long. And then rumor has it we can hit again.

Sara Millecam  1:41  
California is getting there for sure. They just introduced lash lifting, which we were super excited for. They are getting their own tint. They do have some regulations on tint. But we're working with that marketplace to be able to sell more there as well. So I'm excited for it.

Mary Harcourt  1:55  
Well, you have 12 years in the beauty industry. I feel like we could probably talk all day about everything that you know, give us your stories. But as a licensed medical esthetician, what changes have you noticed from the time that you entered into the industry, like up until now?

Sara Millecam  2:11  
Oh, man, everything I mean, everything is ever evolving in this industry. And that's why I love it so much is because it's so different. So quickly. But you know, I think the biggest thing is obviously, I didn't have social media when I began my journey into being an esthetician, like, who knew what social media was. So I think social media is an amazing tool for you as a business. But also I, I feel like education isn't once what it used to be. And that's one of my main focuses is ensuring that no matter who you are, or where you've come from, that you do have the proper tools to have a successful go at this industry. Because really, if you if you aren't educated and you don't know what you're doing, it's, it makes it extremely hard for you to be successful. So if for me education isn't what it once was. And that's what I strive to do to change is make sure that people have a good solid foundation starting out.

Mary Harcourt  3:12  
And so what type of training do you offer? And what is it is it all in lashes, brows are elimination all the above,

Sara Millecam  3:21  
we specialize in all of it. We have 40 plus hands on educators throughout the USA and Canada, that do hands on trainings, we have a duo training, which teaches you everything that you need to know about lash lifting and brow lamination using our one formula, but then we also have tinting and waxing courses that we're getting ready to launch as well. So online and hands on, it's really just a preference. Yeah.

Mary Harcourt  3:45  
And I think it comes down to where you are in life. And in your career. Sometimes you're hustling where you're working 12 hour days and really can't get away for a weekend and want to do the online stuff. And I think other times you've done the online stuff and you feel like you're still missing some things. So that hands on is what you're craving and looking forward to. Yeah, I

Sara Millecam  4:03  
think there's we have a class that fits everyone and me personally, I I love the people interaction, like Let's go learn and market with different people. But also there's a time and a place for that too.

Mary Harcourt  4:16  
So just you said education isn't what it used to be in a good way or bad way. Because I kind of feel like now there's more education than there ever was. What do I

Sara Millecam  4:25  
mean by that is, when I was in school, essentially like 100% I would go and invest in a $1,200 course where education has changed essentially where, you know, there's a lot of free resources on YouTube, which isn't a bad thing, but they might not be as specialized as you need to be. And so in that I would just really encourage everyone to really dig deep and you know, YouTube videos are great. I do YouTube videos. You know, I think there's power in learning something very quickly. But I also think there's power and really die. Being deep and getting educated on the ins and outs of everything and being a master in in that specific realm that you're in.

Mary Harcourt  5:09  
I agree, I could be in classes all day long reading books, listening to different people that are successful in the industry, hearing their tips and tricks, there's always something new to learn a better way to do things a different way to do things, a better outcome, a different outcome. I think it's so exciting. So what made you decide to open your own brand with all of these products such as the lash lift and the brand elimination and the eyebrow tint,

Sara Millecam  5:33  
I was training for several different companies and I was traveling the United States, I kept coming back to my boyfriend who's obviously no my husband at the time. And I kept saying, we wish there was a place that you could go and buy everything that you needed one stop shop. And obviously, the market has now evolved even five years from from five years ago. So there's hundreds of places like that nail, but my ultimate goal there was really providing the esthetician and cosmetologist with a resource to buy their products in one place. Also to go and get education and tips and tricks and really have that full realm of support, where we go into school, and then we leave school and we're kind of like on our own. And you you don't you're not fully prepared for like spreading your wings yet. And so I think it's great to be able to have a company that's going to like pick up, pick you up from that point and be like, Okay, let's go get this. Let's go do this.

Mary Harcourt  6:31  
Yeah, I agree. I think we've all been there in beauty school, my beauty school when they actually said like, our job is just to get you to pass state board. Everything else, we have to learn the field. And so you go to school, all excited, like I'm gonna learn how to do how to apply makeup and learn how to wax and do all this stuff. And you kind of get to the finish line going. I'm done. I still have no clue what I'm doing. And back when I graduated, which was decades ago, I really was seeking education because I'm about to go work on people like you do not want to play around with hot wax, or tint. Are these chemicals close to people's eyes when you really aren't confident in it. So I think it's crazy. You guys offer education and everyone should go see the glass and you offer and sign up for them.

Sara Millecam  7:20  
I remember leaving school and I'm like, wait a second, I have to wax a brow on my own. Okay, let's do this.

Mary Harcourt  7:28  
Well, and like beauty school for her stories, right? Waxing day came in, like we all got burned because the wax was too hot. We all ripped it too fast. We had these red rashes. And like that was the two or three days we spent in waxing. It's like, okay, that chapters done like, No, I don't Can we go back to that, like everyone had brown marks and stained lips are always terrible. Let's talk about scaling a company, your focus right now is growing and scaling your company. What is that? Like?

Sara Millecam  8:00  
I think the biggest thing is, for me, especially is not trying to wear all of the hats. And I think I think that's so important as an esthetician or as a column Scientologists or as a business owner, is to know that you do have to find people that you can trust, to hand over certain elements of that to be able to scale your business. Because I've recently over the past year, I've learned that I'm just one person. And even though I'm one person that can do many things. I find myself up at like midnight when my kids go to bed. And I'm like, man, like the burnout is really real. So really being able to find those people that you can count on to help you and like link arms with and say okay, let's do this, whether it's an employee or a partner or a friend but that's that's what scaling looks like to me right now is really trying to find our niche in the marketplace and but also having great people to support me along the way.

Mary Harcourt  9:06  
I mean, I looked at your social media accounts, your social media accounts are amazing, you guys seem to have a really clear brand. And finding your niche I'm sure attributed to that. Because coming from this lawn industry, I really had a hard time trying to understand where to go for supplies. So there were certain websites where I'm like, Okay, I know I can get like a through B here and then c d f fi or through that one and then the other one I order here but trying to keep all of those on inventory can be challenging. So I'm glad that you do offer a place that people can go and kind of restock under one website. What were some challenges you faced as you were going through and kind of launching your brand finding your niche scaling your your business,

Sara Millecam  9:49  
I think some of the main challenges personally and then I can talk professionally but personally, I think one thing that I think has started to be talked a lot about is like imposter syndrome. Um, which like we didn't really know, we didn't really have a name for the title, but like, you don't want to step on anyone's toes. But there's totally enough room in this industry for everyone. That was one of my personal biggest struggles, and then also wanting to have my job or the project to perfection by was like, Oh, well, it's not ready yet. It's not ready yet, when really like, it could have been ready months ago, but we just had to launch it and then perfect it there. And I'm talking kind of more website and back end stuff. But even comes down to when I'm developing a new product. And I'm like, oh, like it has this little tick about it. And so it's that hesitation that I've, I've wanted to have it absolutely 100% Perfect on every single level. And then also, I think that that impostor syndrome is something that's not talked about enough, where you feel like you're copying someone or being someone, but you're really just wanting to be authentically yourself and create something that you love as well for for your supporters and followers and customers. And I love that.

Mary Harcourt  11:09  
So let's go back to you touched on not feeling ready, wanting it to be perfect. I think that's something that every person faces. How did you pull yourself through that?

Sara Millecam  11:20  
I think honestly, pulling myself through that is really just not letting the fear get to me and just pushing, and just saying, Okay, let's do it. And just really kind of taking that leap of faith, which I definitely have to work up to it like it's levels, but taking that leap of faith and saying, You know what, like, no, people are gonna love it and having that confidence. And building on that confidence I help, I think is what helps me get it get out of that.

Mary Harcourt  11:46  
Absolutely. And then you also mentioned product development. So let's dive into this. How do you find products to develop? Do you kind of see that there's a hole in the industry or a trend? Or you have access to a product that you can market? How does that all work?

Sara Millecam  12:03  
So I work hand in hand with the owner of beautiful brows and lashes in the UK, who's our manufacturer? And him and I, our brains are so much alike. And so I'll either see a product or all I'll get a product? And I'm like, let's how do we make this better? Or how do we instead of having two tools? How do we make it into one tool? Or how do we speed up a lash lift? But still keep it safe? Or how do I stay in the skin for longer than Hannah? You know it product development is my absolute passion. And I didn't know it was going to be my passion. But I find myself sleeping about it thinking about it all day, every day. So it's it's really, it's really on all levels. I you know, I find a product and I'm like, Oh, that's cool. Like, how can I spin this and make it different? Or I do see like something missing in the market. And I'm like, Okay, let's, let's figure this one out. So it's definitely an evolving wheel. But it's been a really exciting ride, it's my favorite thing to do.

Mary Harcourt  13:06  
I think once you find something that you can plug into, and it ticks all of your boxes for things you enjoy, you just get there so much faster. And you're right, your mind never turns off. And having

Sara Millecam  13:17  
that creativity being able to like, be open to it helps

Mary Harcourt  13:22  
actually to how does that work when you're trying to make a solution faster, but still maintain it safe.

Sara Millecam  13:28  
You know, there's so many different elements, I think one of the best things about beautiful brows and lashes is we we pride ourselves in also keeping key ingredients in there to moisturize and make sure that we are keeping that hair safe. So one ingredient that I have like a girl crush on his panthenol, which is my dream, like I wish I could bathe in it. But it penetrates the hair follicle to really keep it healthy. And so I really focus on making sure that I'm keeping those ingredients in these formulas to make sure that I'm also changing the hair structure, but I'm also keeping it incredibly healthy and building it back up once I've changed it. That's one thing I do love about Warren is we're we're hand in hand and we believe we're not we're not just going to make a cheap product just because it's going to be to sell or sell really quickly. We're going to make sure it's right and it's it's safe enough for the lashes and brow hairs. So

Mary Harcourt  14:24  
absolutely. And I know from a personal standpoint with my company, research and development is expensive and timed domain right. Yeah, I wish it could happen overnight, but it doesn't. We are constantly trying out different ideas and till we get the parts in and then we prototype them and ship them all over the US and then get them in the field for trials and then either approve or disapprove it's so much time but I love that there is a continual strive to want to perfect and do better. I think it says a lot about you as a person backing by your 12 years in the industry. You as a professional you As a brand, I think all of us so exciting. We're all living in a pandemic world, how has supply chain affected you and your supplies, your brands,

Sara Millecam  15:09  
we've had to get really creative with where we get our supplies. Now, how we get our supplies, and then you know, it's it's all about making sure that we have the right people in place to structurally plan ahead. Because what we used to be able to get in two weeks, it's now like six weeks, you know, so we're really getting creative, and really making sure that we're organized and structured in our ordering. And in our manufacturing process from A to B, it's, it's, it's completely changed, and it's not for the better. But you know, we're, we're constantly evolving in that realm as well. So thank you, COVID.

Mary Harcourt  15:50  
I love it. And being creative is about the best way to work that you really got to think out of left field and then play in the right field and grab it home base and make it all work. And you mentioned that you have 40 trainers who is in the middle of organizing all of that, that sounds like so much,

Sara Millecam  16:07  
it's me. Thankfully, I do have some great assistants that keep my head on straight. But I really like to be personable. I like to know who I have training for me. And I want them to be able to do a training course as if it were me in the room. And how I would expect it to be says I keep a really high level of expectation on our company and on our education. So So I interview all of them from start to finish. We have a trainers training where they come and we we teach them everything that I want them to know to be able to facilitate a training course properly. And then we send them on their way. And we do monthly calls and everything like that. But I couldn't do without my assistance. That's for sure.

Mary Harcourt  16:54  
You make me exhausted just listening. So you're an educator, your trainer, you're in charge of all the trainers, you have multiple brands who have kids, you're a business owner, like do you ever sleep? And second question is, are you still working with services and clients? Or have you stepped away from that to run the businesses you have? Yeah,

Sara Millecam  17:16  
I joke that I will sleep when I'm dead. But I don't have clientele anymore in the sense of trading them on a regular basis. But I do have a bunch of loyal clients that trust me enough to let me test products on them, and kind of be my guinea pigs on that. So it's like I'm in school again. But I know what I'm doing. But I'm testing a product that I don't know about yet. So I have a lot of a lot of clients that I pull from to test and to give me honest feedback on and I try different things. But I don't take a active clientele anymore. No. Okay, so

Mary Harcourt  17:56  
what advice, you're growing a brand, you've done really well with it, you're all over the education bases, you're kind of into a lot of things, when it comes to others that are listening, what advice do you have for them to help them grow their business?

Sara Millecam  18:11  
I think one of the hard lessons I did have to learn is that you have to spend money to make money. And that was really difficult for me like grasping onto because I was like no, like I have to keep my money. No, I don't want to spend money on that. But truthfully, like you do have to invest in yourself, and you have to invest in your brand and your business. So you do have to spend money to make money. And then I think my the biggest thing that I've had to learn is to be authentically myself, and to not be afraid of showing who I am to those around me. Great

Mary Harcourt  18:51  
advice. I absolutely believe to back up your first point you have to spend money to make money. I remember when I first got into my lashing career, I bought a salon in Los Angeles and I had no clients in California. And I was falling behind and life was just a little stressful. And I thought there's a class that teaches you how to run a salon, but it's the cost of my rents for a month and I don't have that. And I thought oh, I'm either gonna lose it one way or the other. Right? So I might as well spend the money and I spent the money to go to this class and I walked out of there like victorious and overnight my business changed. We put different systems in place we hired on more staff, we tightened up our cash flow and that class single handedly turned me from a suffering stylist to a thriving salon. And I will always give it credit because you had a I had a choice. It was I could have paid rent or it could have doubled down gotten even more broke for the time being and watch this class, but it changed everything to go to that class. Now I'm a firm believer that you gotta spend money to Make Money.

Sara Millecam  20:00  
What's important too, we want we want to see comfortable where we're at. And that's where burning my chips and not having anything else to go off of was super uncomfortable for me. But it was necessary to be able to move forward in where I needed to go. So not having a plan B. And really being able to put all of your focus and push into one thing is super beneficial. And not everyone can do it. Totally understand that you might need to do what a and b but it's it. If you have that courage to just do a and push, push, push it 100% Pay back.

Mary Harcourt  20:39  
Absolutely. And then to follow that up with high quality ingredients, high quality products is the other part of you have to spend money to make money. Can you touch on the importance of high quality products and ingredients in your products?

Sara Millecam  20:54  
I think as estheticians and cosmetologists, we, we need to dive into ingredients again, because we learn it in school, but we don't really research our products as much as we should. So you know, one of my my favorite things about our products is even though we are a duo system, that we have something that's going to be moisturizing, in our step one or step two. And step number three. So like I said, we have cocoa butter, we have aloe vera, we have panthenol we have vitamin B three, which is going to help stimulate the hair growth naturally instead of having to have your clients on a lash growth serum, which isn't terrible, but it has its pros and cons. So you know, those are some key ingredients that we will consistently and forever have in our products. Because even though you're changing the hair structure, it's important to build it back up.

Mary Harcourt  21:48  
What advice do you have for others that want to get their name and their brand out there more?

Sara Millecam  21:53  
I think the biggest thing is just starting, it's it's going to be an ever evolving process. So what might have worked a year ago might not work today. But being able to start and continue to evolve with the market is going to be the biggest thing that you can biggest and best thing that you can do is you have to start somewhere. And if you're just stunted in that like social media like man that was like he thought I had seen a ghost when I got into like posts or like put my face on stories like I'd rather die. But literally like just starting and having it become more natural to you and kind of learning off of other people on social media. It's not a bad thing. It's just something that you have to get comfortable with. And it it will over time be you have to start somewhere.

Mary Harcourt  22:42  
I agree. Absolutely start anywhere but start. So you have a lot going on I guys that you make me tired just listening to all of your things. What's your favorite part of it all?

Sara Millecam  22:54  
Product Development is absolutely my favorite part of my job, but also being able to go back at the end of the day and spend time with my kids it but also be able to provide memories and stuff for them as well because of my business. No, I

Mary Harcourt  23:08  
love it. It's also important. It's what makes the world go around. And that's part of your day every day. So what's next for you guys and your company? What is on the horizon? What are you excited about coming up in the future,

Sara Millecam  23:23  
we have so many new products getting ready to launch like so many that I've been working very, very hard on we have a new education platform that we're moving to we're going to be launching masterclasses for those who might have taken a lash lifting course or might have learned it in school or bromination course but they're not getting the results they want or maybe they were three years ago getting the results they want but they've kind of created some bad habits that they didn't know they've gotten into. So we have lots of new products coming lots of new education coming so I'm I'm excited for all of it.

Mary Harcourt  24:00  
I'm excited for you look can you a hint on the new types of products

Sara Millecam  24:04  
we have some things that will make it faster for both lash lifting and brow as we have some awesome retail items for you to be able to retail for aftercare for your client longer lasting tinting and Hana products and stuff like that. Lots of stuff in the works

Mary Harcourt  24:21  
lots of stuff I love it. So let's talk about where can people find you Where can they find your company? Where can they find training because we've talked about training both online and in person where can they go for more information about that?

Sara Millecam  24:34  
So our education website is beautiful brows and lashes dot education. There's also direct links on our main website which is beautiful brows and lashes dot U S. So that's where all of our products are you can definitely find her education, but I'm always open on social media, no matter what brand or what company you use, like I'm more than happy to help you troubleshoot what's going on in your head. Is this in your life in your lash lifting in your brow lamination with whatever, I really want to be a resource for everyone. I love that

Mary Harcourt  25:09  
this industry can sometimes have a catty side to it. And I love seeing the other side that's just warm and welcoming and inviting, and an open book to be a transparent sharing area, which I see so much on all these forums on Instagram. Like you mentioned, you do little YouTubes everyone's sharing their knowledge, knowledge and wealth is so warming when you are a little girl. Did you ever think that you would be an esthetician and you would have your own brand? You'd be a powerhouse trainer or did when did this come about?

Sara Millecam  25:42  
esthetician Yes, I had absolutely no idea. Like I thought, Oh, I was obsessed with like acne and makeup and all of the things from an early age. So I literally had no no problem at once I graduated high school I was enrolled at esthetics school, and I really haven't looked back, I didn't go to college. My grandfather rolled in his grave because he was so disappointed with me for not attending college. And so I saw myself as an esthetician. Yes, but where I am today? Absolutely not educating Absolutely not, you know, I thought it was just gonna work for a plastic surgeon or you know, just have clientele and wax, which is there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It was just it my my life evolved to like, hey, let's let's do more here. I love it. Sara, will

Mary Harcourt  26:31  
you guys? Are you going to be at any events this year? Are you going to be at lash con, which has made a huge splash in the industry? Are there any other lash events that you're going to show

Sara Millecam  26:39  
up? We are a sponsor at lash con. And we're super excited about that we probably aren't attending personally this year, but we are sponsoring into the goodie bags. We're attending lash bash this year in Utah, but we will definitely be at more events next year. But I would just keep an eye out for all of our new products and all of our new education we have coming I love it.

Mary Harcourt  27:04  
What do you hope that your students get whether it's online or in person when they come and take your educational classes

Sara Millecam  27:11  
from the get go, I hope that they just feel empowered to start and have that confidence leaving us to go and build a clientele and perfect their lash lifting skills because obviously leaving a course you're not going to be perfect, but you're going to have the foundational skills that you need to build upon. So empowerment, confidence, and really have something to keep building on as a professional.

Mary Harcourt  27:40  
I think that's so important. Absolutely. Can you give us any tips on let's say either tinting or lash lifting that you see a lot of your students come in all the time time over to hang time and kind of set them straight that we can give the people listening today,

Sara Millecam  27:55  
we will do lash lifting because I think it's a little bit more controversial lash lifting. My biggest tip is even though you may love a formation, and I'm talking like shield or rod, that they're not a one size fits all and it's very, very important for you as the stylist to be able to take a step back and do a facial analysis and look how their eyes are placed with their face and how do they have hooded eyes do they have bulging eyes and really be able to find a formation which we're coming out with all of them now. But find a formation shield rod l curl C curl d curl that's going to complement them the best and I think in this industry, we kind of get stuck on one because we're comfortable but really being able to branch out and realize that it's not a one size fits all and be comfortable trying different things with different clients because it will ultimately complement them in their features.

Mary Harcourt  29:01  
Great advice. I fully agree with that we had a couple of different options in our salon and people's eye shapes are different there are certain people's eyes are out a little bit further some people have really long eyes and I often found that there it is not one size fits all at all. You got to play around and the people are coming in they want you to you're the professional so they're looking for that elevated service of you do this all day every day go ahead and do it on me. We it's you want to have that confidence behind you to go I believe it's this let me place the shield and go actually let me try this other shield and then that's the result where it's like that's a beautiful lash lift and I do think it is important to have multiple options and not just use the same thing for every single person walking through the door.

Sara Millecam  29:48  
Yeah, I mean I think comfortability like you get comfortable and you're like okay, I'm comfortable. I don't want to go anywhere else but I think it for you to be a specialist in this market. You do have to go somewhere else.

Mary Harcourt  29:59  
Absolute At the end, you feel like bra lamination and lash lifts are going to become even more popular or if they kind of peak?

Sara Millecam  30:07  
Absolutely no, I think I think the world is our oyster right now with lash lifting and brow lamination because there's so many new products, so many different formulas, so many different types of tint that you can use so many different type of formations like we were just getting started.

Mary Harcourt  30:23  
Cool. Well, you've been an amazing guest today. I'm so excited to chat with you. If there's anything else you want to throw in, now's your opportunity. Otherwise, let's touch again where everyone can find you. And if you have any Instagram handles and where they can go for training. Yeah, so

Sara Millecam  30:37  
thank you first off, Mary I really appreciate everything that you've done in the industry. I think you're amazing and I can't I can't I can't live without my cosmic glow. But yeah, so Instagram it's beautiful brows and lashes.us that's also our website tick tock. It's beautiful brows and lashes and all of our education can be found on beautiful brows and lashes dot education. I post lots of tips and tricks so no matter what brand you're using, or maybe you want to try ours, I have a tip and trick for you for everything.

Mary Harcourt  31:07  
That wraps up today's episode. For more information on our guests. You can find them at Mary harcourt.com under the episode tab you can always find me on Instagram at Mary Harcourt underscore in app the cosmic glow light I hope you enjoyed today's episode and many more to come