One of our favorite things about our HeyMama community is seeing first hand the power of women coming together to support one another. Last week, we had the pleasure of having lunch with two of our favorite mamas in business, Jessica Alba and HeyMama member, Lizzie Mathis. As longtime pals and key members of eachother’s cheerleading squad, Lizzie moderated the chat with Jessica and her team that gathered to launch The Eczema Collection. This soothing naturally derived therapy line is the first created specifically for sensitive skin that does not contain parabens, silicones, petrolatum, mineral oil or steroids. Like the women’s friendship, it is all natural and supportive in all the right places. Read on to hear what advice the two women have for fellow mamas to embrace their role as mothers and use this role to it’s full potential in the workforce.
Jessica, you’ve spoken about creating products that have a purpose. How would you describe the true purpose of beauty products for women and mothers? How does the brand name Honest Beauty align with that purpose? What is the relationship between honesty and beauty?
Jessica Alba (JA): I think that creating products with purpose is having a consciousness when developing them that isn’t just focused on the financial outcome. I’m always thinking about human health, and how we as a company can make your overall health in addition to the health of your skin, better. A lot of the more conscious companies out there, usually do one thing or another – they either do skin or color, not both. But for me, it was really important to add color in addition to our skincare line because I’ve found that this is where you’ll find compromises. Makeup has become like fast fashion and about following trends. There’s a lot of sameness and redundancies out there. Our approach is really around human health and trying to make your life better in some way, shape or form and ensuring sustainable practices. I think that’s what makes Honest Beauty different.
Rebecca Minkoff, Jessica Alba & Lizzie Mathis
You’ve compared starting a business to having a child. As your business baby grows into adolescence, what are some of the unique challenges you’ll face in this next stage? How is the journey toward expanding an established brand different than the experience of founding a new brand?
JA: You know, what’s weird is that in every stage, it’s like a new brand. It’s sort of when you’re raising a kid, I never knew what it was like to raise an 11-year-old until I had an 11-year-old. Honor was very different at eight than she is at 11 and going through her being eight, nine and ten, gave me the confidence that I can take on 11. I feel the same with the business, every stage is so different. You have the history of who you were but every stage as you’re expanding out and growing is so different. So, right now it feels like a new company to be honest with you! We’re expanding in Europe in seven different countries, which feels like starting seven new businesses. Each consumer is very different; how they want the messaging, the marketing, what products they care about, how it integrates into their life, their shopping habits, like it’s a whole new endeavor. You have to consider so many different things, it almost feels like starting out again.
Through this I learned the most from my CEO, who is now my business partner, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Plug into existing infrastructures and find business partners that want to build and grow your business with you. These people know their country and their consumer better than anyone and so you can partner up and find a way to do it together that makes sense. When you start something that’s never existed before, you don’t know if it’s going to work and you don’t know if I’ll be around like in a year. But for us, we’ve been around for seven and a half years so we at least have the confidence that people want this.
There’s a lot of sameness and redundancies out there. Our approach is really around human health and trying to make your life better in some way, shape or form and ensuring sustainable practices.
You seem to have a very hands-on approach to designing new products, and you’re very vocal about using only the safest materials and ingredients. Can you tell us what keeps you motivated to be so passionately involved in the process?
JA: I don’t even know, I just get excited! I think it comes from the fact that I’ve been traveling for so long and to so many different places in the world. I’ve been exposed to a variety of countries and cultures like Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Canada (which is oddly very different to the US) and Europe. I think I saw certain things that were needs not being addressed across the board, no matter where you were in the world. And then I’ve taken inspiration from certain places. In Japan, everything is thoughtful and beautiful and considered. In Korea, it’s really about efficancy and they will try anything to get the payoff and reach the goal of efficancy. In Europe, they love artisanal farm to table. I take inspiration from those things, and then try to put it together inside of our brand.
Do you have any advice for someone that’s starting a new company?
JA: I think you have to really enjoy the process. You also have to know that if it’s easy, you should be leery because anything that’s worth anything is usually hard. You’re most likely doing something that’s never been done before so you’ll hit roadblocks and need to navigate through them to create the type of company you envision.
…you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Plug into existing infrastructures and find business partners that want to build and grow your business with you.
Lizzie, we now have some questions for you! While working full time in both acting and modeling, you became a mother, which led to some significant career developments (including the creation of The Cool Mom Co). Apart from the professional evolution that motherhood sparked, how has being a mom affected your everyday life, your interests, and your friendships?
Lizzie Mathis (LM): Being a mom, I think changed a lot. I was one the first ones in my little group of friends, to have kids. And so, I not only moved to a new city right before having kids, (LA from New York), I had to meet all new friends at the same time as becoming a new mom. For me, I felt like becoming a mom was an opportunity for me to meet other likeminded people that I wasn’t necessarily doing just being a woman and an actress. As a mom there was this commonality with something and someone that we shared similar experiences and thoughts. It inspired me to start Cool Mom Co as I was a lot more interested in having my time be controlled by me instead of it being controlled by someone else. And so, the Cool Mom Co, was a way for me to kind of become independent of other people controlling my employment, my time, and my energy. All of my thought process was always where my next job is going to come from, so this gave me the opportunity to be in control.
Is being a cool mom something you do, or is it something you feel?
LM: When I first started The Cool Mom Co., I felt like there wasn’t anyone really in this space at the time that I could go to as a newly pregnant woman. I didn’t identify with anyone who was of ethnicity, and cared about the things I did. I came up with this as a fun name to capture what I felt like were the elements of the type of mom I wanted to be and aspire to.
You’ve said that you want to create a voice for the “do-it-all mom.” How can influencers and content creators listen and respond to that voice? What are the particular needs and wants of do-it-all moms?
LM: I think the do-it-all-mom is just someone who is a multifaceted woman. We still have desires, whether it be for a career or staying at home or fulfilling a hobby we are passionate about. We are dealing with relationships, from your husband or partner, to being a daughter and a friend and so on. I want to give women the permission to know they don’t have to be one thing all the time. Jessica is a good example as she plays a lot of different roles and wears many different hats, as we all do. I want to be able to give tips and tricks and also permission for women and mothers to say, I’m not able to give 100% in every area today.
Lean into yourself. Fill yourself. It’s about owning your space.
Your Instagram bio describes you as a “Lifestyle Enthusiast.” What part of life are you most enthusiastic about this summer? How can moms who may feel a bit overwhelmed with life make some mental space for fun and joy?
LM: Lean into yourself. Fill yourself. It’s about owning your space.
This interview has been edited and condensed.