On January 21, 5 million women all over the country locked arms to resist injustices happening across the world— and here at home. We marched, spoke and took the necessary strides to show U.S. politicians we won’t back down to the attack on women’s rights. But, as the National Women’s March came to a close, everyone began asking, “What’s next?”
Thankfully, those behind the Women’s March on Washington had something else in store. Today, on March 8 (International Women’s Day), millions are joining the resistance by supporting A Day Without a Woman. People around the country can participate by opting out of work, wearing red in solidarity and supporting local women-owned businesses. Here at Authentic Beauty, we’re extremely grateful to have a strong woman running our business.
Authentic Beauty founder Alyson Hoag started off not thinking her love for makeup would turn into a career. Entering college at only 16 years old and paying her way through college working at a Lancome counter, it was easy to see Alyson was an eager spirit ready to make her impact on the world. Graduating at 19, she realized finding a job as a teenager wasn’t easy. Building off previous modeling experience and a passion for makeup, Alyson continued honing her makeup skills at the counter.
After spending some years with Lancome, Alyson discovered Aveda, where she consistently sold over $10,000 worth of products each month, and her love for a natural approach to beauty was born. Impressed by her sales success, Aveda promoted Alyson to account executive training, which helped expand her business knowledge.
While Alyson’s career was moving fast, so was her life at home. Not only was she a quickly excelling business woman, now managing 10 states for a Southeast distributorship as a cosmetic business development expert teaching salons how to build their business and leading training and educational events, but she’d also recently become a mother. Despite being a predominately female-run company, Alyson had little support from management to be a great mother and succeed at her job. Ultimately, her desire to be the best mother she could halted her extensive traveling, and she was asked to resign.
This experience lit a fire within Alyson, and she began to feel passionately about helping mothers develop a career while still having time to spend with their families. Despite this hint toward where Alyson is today, she first spent seven years working in a successful salon before deciding to open her own studio. Shortly after deciding to strike out on her own, she became a single mom and 100 percent dependent on herself financially.
When the road got tough, Aly got tougher and became successful as a sole proprietor. Never one to rest of her laurels, Alyson began exploring what it meant to grow bigger than herself. She was a free spirit and decided to open Authentic Beauty with a goal of having her own non toxic, environmentally-friendly line of cosmetics in service-based makeup studio. She also wanted to teach, while influencing not only the larger industry but also mothers, consumers and (most importantly) all women’s self esteem.
Like many areas of her life, Alyson saw a problem in the beauty industry and wanted to fix it. “Most women haven’t made peace with what they see in the mirror, and I wanted a safe place for women to feel beautiful,” Alyson said. In an effort to arm herself with the tools to make a difference, she began attending numerous seminars and reading books on business to further her knowledge base. In one of her favorite books, Something More: The Pathway to Excavating Your Authentic Self by author Sarah Ban Breathnach, she read a line posing the question, “What do you look like in your authentic life?” This made a huge impact on Aly, later translating into her business model at Authentic Beauty.
Aly built the Authentic Beauty business model off of an important need that fits in beautifully with International Women’s Day— she provides an outlet for women to discover their true, authentic self. Rather than keeping an eagle eye on sales and revenue, she focuses her work on empowering fellow women and transforming them into more confident versions of themselves.
If part of your authentic self is becoming a business owner like Alyson, she had a few words on the traits required when starting your journey. “The key to being successful is being flexible and your ability to handle risk,” she said. “People who are unable to take chances can’t have their own business. You have to have faith it will all work out.”
No matter what path you’re walking in life, whether it be that of a business owner, stay at home mom or company staffer, celebrating International Women’s Day is an important example to set for the next generation. “It’s so important to set positive examples for my daughter, other girls and the next generation as a whole,” Aly said. “Everyone has positive role models in their lives who are successful, powerful women who have a family, have kids, don’t have kids, who maybe didn’t do it in a traditional manner but still are coming together to understand female-centric issues.”
With International Women’s day and a Day Without a Woman upon us, today is a perfect time to reflect on their own personal victories, as well as why it’s important for women to empower other women. Just because you may not be a business owner, doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer or that we can’t all work toward a more successful collective future together. The future is dependent on strong, successful women. Ensuring you’re educated about current events and supporting the women in your home, workplace and social circle goes a long way toward a better life for everyone.
This profile of Alyson was written by Roswell High School junior Hannah D’Amico.