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What’s Next for the signature brands Blush & Whimsy, the Chihuahua Company and Christmas at Hogwart: Entrepreneurial phenom Micaela Brown explains
September 2020: A Note from Hope & Cynthia, creators the What’s Next Project — It is with a big giant WOW we introduce you to Micaela Brown, an uber successful brand consultant and strategist who fell in love with entrepreneurship in 2010. In a decade, she has accomplished just about anything she sets her mind to, from developing Blush & Whimsy LLC, a skincare and cosmetics company, built around the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to have magic in their everyday lives.
And, she is always on the lookout for ways she can support other entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs have to become masters of many skill sets: product development, sourcing, packaging, graphic design, marketing, public relations, websites, messaging, and more,” knows the entrepreneur with a social media reach of over 100k followers. Her work has been featured by Forbes Travel, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and more.
Some of her past events included The Running of the Chihuahuas (she really did race 150 chihuahuas), The Whiskey Classic, Diner en Blanc Albuquerque, and gaining permission from JK Rowling to produce Christmas at Hogwarts. (Learn more about the evolution of those endeavors below in our Q&A.)
“When I founded Blush & Whimsy in 2016, it meant building infrastructure around a demographic of people who are typically marginalized and unable to find work,” she explains, adding that all of Blush & Whimsy products are warehoused, assembled, quality controlled, packaged, and shipped by people with disabilities — including disabled veterans. Those products have been featured in the Grammy Gift Bags, Honoring the Academy Awards Gifting Suites, “Everyone Wins” Gift Bags given to Oscar Nominees, Cannes Film Festival, and the Real Housewives of NYC Hamptons event.
Last year, Micaela was invited to become an Enterprise Advisor at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center. This tech incubator is responsible for nurturing entrepreneurs as they solve market problems through tech advances. She joined the board of experienced venture capitalists and startup veterans to advise, coach, and prepare young startups for their next stages of growth.
This truly amazing woman holds a B.A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and an M.A. in Government and Politics, with a focus in Public Administration, and Certification in International Law and Diplomacy from St. John’s University in Rome, Italy.
Micaela was formerly an international trade and development consultant in Washington, D.C. with Target Market International, LLC., USAID contractor for Chemonics International, and International Trade Specialist with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, International Buyer Program, International Trade Administration. She was also a paid intern at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in Rome, Italy.
So what’s next in her world given that we are in the midst of global pandemic? Scroll down to learn more about her amazing and courageous journey — one you may be able to relate to more than you might think. And stay tuned for our video and podcast interviews coming to the Truly Amazing Women Shows on Inkandescent.tv and InkandescentRadio.com. You will love what you learn from this amazing woman!
Hope & Cynthia: Tell us about your business / industry and where it was before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Micaela Brown: Before the pandemic, I owned two companies: Blush & Whimsy (cosmetics) and Inspire People Media (events). With Blush & Whimsy sales were increasing, I had begun production to restock my inventory. Inspire People Media was producing a wedding in May in Ruidoso, NM, and looking at growing through investment. I was stressed out of my mind working ridiculous hours, trying to build two sustainable businesses.
Hope & Cynthia: What were your short and long-term goals when the coronavirus arrived in the US in March?
Micaela Brown: I made five promises to myself that I began enacting late last year:
- Reduce number of hours working
- Reduce stress, close a company or bring in investment to hire more support
- Dedicate more time to family
- Dedicate time for self care, reflection, recharging
- Actually have a personal life
Hope & Cynthia: What are your thoughts now about your industry, your business, your personal life, your heart?
Micaela Brown: I am very happy to report that Blush & Whimsy is still alive! My inventory is severely delayed and at last check-in my manufacturers are anticipating completed product sometime in November. Fortunately, the B&W community have been so supportive of us and sending me encouragement.
However, my events company is gone — a massive blow to my confidence and self esteem. It registers as failure no matter how much the economy and pandemic impact the world. I had to really work on positioning my internal monologue to get through it. Honestly, though, I saw an economic downturn begin in December 2019 when I noticed my supply chain began having challenges.
By the end of February, I knew my businesses would be struggling, so I started taking steps to keep Blush & Whimsy alive. I began driving food deliveries for GrubHub in March, right when the pandemic was taking a toll on everyone — and then, whomp, I was hit by a drunk driver on March 26. My car was totalled. I tried to keep driving, but borrowing vehicles wasn’t sustainable. The community wasn’t very safe as well: a restaurant was robbed at gunpoint right before I walked in for an order pickup.
Seeing the massive push to move to digital by companies and individuals offering products/services, I revamped my consulting website micaelabrown.com and asked for help from my network to find digital marketing & advertising contracts. It worked!
Consulting is extremely empowering, as not only am I monetizing knowledge and experience, but I’m specifically working with women entrepreneurs and helping them bring in revenue, build their businesses, and scale their companies. I’m now working on contracts all over the world!
I kept looking at the events properties: event website domains, social media accounts, etc, and pushed myself to think of how to leverage the existing brands, built-in communities, and monetize them. I decided to convert them into ecommerce stores on Shopify. Blush & Whimsy is built on Shopify, so I’m already extremely familiar with the platform.
The Running of the Chihuahuas (original domain was snapped up by an asian porn group) so it is now The Chihuahua Company. Launching this month is Christmas at Hogwarts.
I found suppliers and manufacturers in the USA, UK, and EU for quality products specifically for the niches I had built for my events. These are brand new, so I don’t yet have success or failure stories to share about my experience. The fact that I was able to get them built and converted into a different kind of business makes me feel successful. It’s a work in progress, so we’ll see what happens!
The goals I set for myself prior to COVID have all been implemented. It was a conscious choice.
- I set my working hours and unless there’s an absolute emergency, when I’m off work I am spending that time with my family, or taking time for me to rest. I’m still in physical therapy from the drunk driver, and my body needs that recovery/recharge.
- My long distance family and I have weekly zoom chats where we catch up and participate in each other’s lives. I wish it didn’t take this long to realize we could have been doing this all along!
- Business-wise, I’m taking fewer risks, not spreading myself as thin, only taking on projects that spark joy and feed my soul, and keeping stress down.
- Personal life is the only goal category that is extremely difficult during COVID. I’m giving myself some grace, though. COVID won’t last forever! So until things open up and dating can happen again, I’m on keto losing those pesky quarantine pounds.
Hope & Cynthia: Now the big question — What do you see coming next?
- For your industry: Everything is going to be digital, and customer service is going to be absolutely critical as more competition moves from retail to e-commerce. Customer service and ease of checkout experience is going to matter in order to stand out.
- For your company: Once this round of inventory is completed, I’ll be diversifying suppliers so that I won’t have another year delay in production will be crucial.
- For yourself: Finding ways to achieve the rest of my goals even though a pandemic, and remain healthy.
- For the country and the world: I see a massive digital shift coming, with people moving from major cities to where they actually want to live and work remotely. I see more of us focusing on our relationships, working to live instead of live to work. I believe our values have shifted and more of us are determined to care for our families and friends more, and to make the effort to spend more time with them, and not work to excess.
- For women: I see more women opening e-commerce stores, launching blogs, and monetizing digital experiences. It’s the next frontier for women who want to bring in revenue while having families, caring for children at home, or just adding an additional income stream. E-commerce stores can be full brands like Blush & Whimsy or a drop-shipping store like The Chihuahua Company. I believe we will see more stores pop up and women will own a majority of them!
Connect with this Truly Amazing Woman at micaelabrown.com.
Click here to watch our video interview with this truly amazing woman — and here to listen to our podcast.