When Andrea Abraham set out to save women time with Woosh Beauty, she discovered one especially surprising thing about the beauty industry. We caught up with Andrea on how she’s driving innovation in beauty through Woosh and what it was like to start a business and become a mama in the same year.
What inspired you to begin Woosh Beauty?
Andrea: Woosh was born out of a desire to cut through all the clutter out there and simplify your beauty routine. I myself have always been a beauty junkie, buying and trying (and hoarding) all kinds of beauty products stuffed into every inch of space in my vanity… while dichotomously seeking a more streamlined approach to what needed to be done every morning. I knew there must be tons of women like me, whether they’re beauty lovers or not, looking for simpler ways to get their faces on. I brought Woosh into being to create a palette that puts everything you need in one place (using high quality formulas I’d grown accustomed to as a beauty junkie), and giving you tools to get things done faster, easier, and better.
What values are at the core of your brand and your personal approach to your work?
Andrea: Inclusivity is a huge priority in everything I do at Woosh. Beauty can be such a polarizing space: you’re either in or you’re out, you have it or you don’t, etc. etc. It can tend to be superficial and catty. But with Woosh, we strive to bring the outsiders in—those who feel like they’re not a part of the conversation. The core mission of Woosh is to help and support women rather than making them feel unworthy or not good enough as they are.
As you began taking steps to bring your concept to life, what did you learn about the beauty industry? Anything surprising?
Andrea: The most surprising thing has been the men! There are so many men working in the beauty space at suppliers, manufacturers, etc. Something I didn’t bank on was the time and effort it would take to try and explain product ideas to these men who clearly don’t wear makeup— to tell them why the tools needed to be just so with this particular angle or why the palette needed to be laid out just like this. I spent a lot of time explaining why these concepts were valuable, when to me their value was so blatant it was blinding! I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had been speaking to more female engineers and manufacturers, a lot of time would have been saved.
Tell us about The Fold Out Face and the innovative stamp products you’ve created. How are they ideal for busy working mamas?
Andrea: If there is one thing that all working mamas have in common, it’s that we’re time-starved! There is just never enough time in the day, or week, or month to get everything done. And every mom I know, working or otherwise, always puts herself at the bottom of her own to-do list. So things like self-care, including taking the time to apply makeup every day in order to feel confident (and dare I say sexy?), often go out the window. Woosh Beauty was created to offer these women—and all makeup-wearers—faster and easier ways to feel good about themselves, no matter how late they’re running, how disorganized they are, or even how little they know about makeup. The Fold Out Face, for example, is one palette that has every product you need including your essential concealers, base powders, eyeshadows, and blush as well as optional contour powders and shimmer, all laid in front of you. As a busy working mama, I wanted and needed something like this in my life to speed up my morning routine and to keep in my bag with me all day, so that I can at least look like I’ve totally got everything under control and I’m not tired at all 😉 Our eye tools, like our Corner Brush Stamper and Even Eye Stencils, also make application so much easier by acting as guides to help normal people (i.e. those of us who are not makeup artists or beauty influencers) create gorgeous, professional eye looks with minimal time or effort.
What kind of feelings do you hope Woosh inspires in your customers?
Andrea: It’s my hope that people feel supported by Woosh. Something we always say in our office is that “life is complicated enough, makeup doesn’t have to be” and that’s what we’ve tried to do with all of our products—simplify makeup. During this time in our culture where it feels like beauty is more complicated, more confusing, more competitive, more, more, more… we’re focusing on less. One palette and a few unique tools are all you really need to look and feel great. I hope people think of Woosh as a brand that offers easy, supportive solutions for when beauty (and life) feel overwhelming. We’ve got your back!
How did your entrepreneurship journey coincide with your motherhood journey?
Andrea: Well I basically decided to have two babies around the same time, which I don’t necessarily recommend! I was pregnant with my first (who is now known as Tag) while I was developing Woosh, and we didn’t ultimately launch until about 8 months after I gave birth to him. There was actually a good chunk of time during his first few months where development was done and things were in production —of course there was still work to be done but not quite as much, so I took advantage of that timeframe. Long story short I basically had Irish twins, but I only had to physically birth one of them! Hurray! Though looking back, that may have been the easier of the two.
As a founder, were you able to take a maternity leave?
Andrea: I mean… yes? And no? I feel like this question can perfectly sum up the dichotomy of being a mama business owner! On the one hand it’s great to be your own boss and own your own schedule more, but on the other hand it’s your business so you never really take a leave. It’s never something that actually leaves your mind completely. I hope that it’s not just me!
But truly though I’m so lucky to have a wonderful team of awesome women who, especially when I had my second, all but pushed me out the door and told me very nicely to “please leave, we will text you if there’s something important.”Tthe best part was I felt OK doing it because I knew they could 100% handle it without me.
How has motherhood impacted your approach to your work life?
Andrea: Quite honestly, so much more than I thought it would. Before I had kids, of course I knew I would love them and want to spend time with them, but I had absolutely no idea the extent. I wasn’t prepared for how torn I would feel between two huge loves: my babies, and my beauty baby. Woosh is my passion, but they are my world.
What role does community play in your life as a businesswoman and as a mom?
Andrea: Community is huge for me, but quite honestly it’s something I have to push myself to engage with. When things get crazy and busy (which is most of the time if I’m being honest) my tendency is to put my head down and move through the motions and do the things that need to get done—all the while internalizing my thoughts and feelings along the way. What I’m striving to do is connect with those in my community, rather than pull away, and vent, share, seek advice… whatever is needed in those moments. HeyMama is such a special and unique community to me specifically because being a mama founder is a very particular lifestyle, and being able to connect with women who understand all the facets of that is invaluable.
You are going to drop the balls. It’s going to happen. The sooner you’re OK with that and accept that it’s inevitable, the easier everything becomes (P.S. just know I feel like a total hypocrite saying this because it is not my innate reflex, but is definitely something I’m working on!)
I’m totally stealing this from Sue Groner’s Parenting 101 (thank you Sue!) because it made such a difference in my thinking and actions after reading it: say yes to your kids, with excitement, right away if it’s something you’re going to say yes to anyway! It seriously has made such a difference for me, and builds excitement over even little things and makes things more fun.
YOU are important. YOU matter. Your thoughts, feelings, opinions, passions, interests… all of it. Again, something I am making an effort to remind myself every day because it’s so easy to get lost in the lives and needs of those loved ones around you.