HOMETOWN: Detroit, MI
CURRENT LOCATION: Bloomfield, MI
DAY JOB: Chemist, Founder & Owner of For Her Cosmetics
FOR ALYSSA, FOR HER COSMETICS, IS MORE THAN JUST A COSMETICS COMPANY, BUT RATHER, ALSO AN AVENUE TO GET MORE CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY GIRLS, INVOLVED IN S.T.E.M FIELDS.
We’ve always been inspired by the dreamers and doers of the world; people who light their own fires inside, who seek to live a life of purpose and passion and whether loudly or quietly, large or small, they keep moving forward to better their corner of the world. No matter their roots, these people embody the entrepreneurial and renaissance spirit, the grit and soul of Detroit.
We joined Alyssa Space in her Detroit lab to test our chemistry skills and learn about what it takes and what’s like to build and own a cosmetics company.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO GO INTO COSMETICS?
“I actually knew I wanted to get into cosmetics. I went into chemistry to get a background in research and development so that I could work for Loreal actually. But, after college I ended up working for Pfizer and I mean, it wasn’t completely different but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do but I was still able to do R&D.”
HOW DID YOU BACKGROUND AT PFIZER AND ELSEWHERE HELP YOU PREPARE TO START 4 HER COSMETICS?
“My background at Pfizer and in the lab actually gave me the building blocks to develope how I was going to do data analysis, how I was wanted to actually follow FDA regulations in my lab along with just implementing the techniques that I would learn from people working in pharmaceuticals.”
WHAT MADE YOU FINALLY DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN COSMETICS BRAND?
“I was a dancer when I was younger so I got into creating cosmetics because a lot of times, lipsticks look crazy on me, especially reds. Becauses as a dancer those are typically the colors or pigments that you have to wear and I found it hard to find pigments that match my undertones so I wanted to bring more universal products that women of all colors and shades and hues could essentially use. That’s what I have this array of crazy colors from pinks to blues to reds, everything.
On top of that too, I just wanted to be very transparent to my consumers about the ingredients I was using because for a lot of cosmetics, the regulations per FDA are so loose and you can do anything with them.”
WHAT’S THE STANDARD YOU HOLD YOUR COSMETICS TO? WHY ALL-NATURAL & VEGAN PRODUCTS?
“The standard that I hold for my cosmetics is to always be transparent about the ingredients that I use and also to just teach women and educate them on the importance of the products that you use everyday because your skin is the biggest organ on your body. It absorbs everything that you literally allow it to be a part of, whether it’s in the sun or sun tanning lotion… those things affect your skin over time.
My very first job I actually worked at a holistic center...and I understood the importance of what you put into your body is what you’re going to get out of it. I know that since cosmetics are something that we use daily, day in and day out, I wanted to bring a natural line so that’s why I decided to focus on vegan and all-natural ingredients.”
HOW DO YOU DEVELOP NEW COLORS?
“I come up with new colors based off of the season and then too, I look at the demand that my customers have for certain hues so like pinks are super popular in the summer, soft nudes are super popular in the summer and then closer to the winter and the fall, the deeper, darker colors are more popular. So, I pay attention to the demand of my customers and I follow trends too that you see in the beauty realm.”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AS A BUSINESS OWNER?
“The biggest I’ve learned as a business is to just kind of go with the blows that come because in business, you’re going to learn a lot. You don’t know what you don’t know but I do understand the importance of educating yourself too. For me, I’ve really been involved with Tech Town and other [Detroit] incubators that help small businesses accelerate. Just rolling with the punches but also learning that it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to be stressed out. These are normal emotions that you will have regardless of who you may be. I believe Nipsy Hussle actually said, “ you are going to go through every feeling as an entrepreneur” and it’s so true. It’s teaching me how to be level-headed and realize that I’m still really good at what I do and it may not always go as I want it to and that’s okay.”