While in college, Cirese Clindinin started making her own beauty products. Her hobby became her life’s work as she creates and sales her products for clients including Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. See her tips for being a beauty boss.

Name:  Cirese Avril Clindinin   
Age: 34
Title:  Owner of Cirese C. Skin Therapy
Hometown: Irvington, NJ
Twitter: @ccskintherapy
Instagram: @ciresecskintherapy

The gig: I manufacture bath and body products. After spending the week alone making and creating the products, Saturday and Sundays are the days I get to sell the product, interact with customers and see what is, and isn’t working. I am always impressed by how relationships can begin through purchasing lotions. 

The journey: My mother inspired me to begin this work. She is an artist and created things with her hands throughout my childhood. While I was in college she told me I should think about making soap, so I picked up a book and 14 years later I can’t stop.  I knew this was my passion when I realized I was determined to make this business a success. My business is like my child and I know I cannot abandon it until it has grown and matured.

Confessions of a body product maker: I started making body products before natural ingredients where in.  Fourteen years ago, they were less expensive and easily sourced. Even with the skyrocketing cost of using natural ingredients, I continue to use them because they are what makes my products shine in a very crowded field. Natural ingredients are so much better for the skin. Your skin is your largest organ so it is very important to be conscience of what you are using on it. 

Her favorite fragrance: I tend to gravitate to scents that are citrus based.  One of my most popular sellers would be Lavender Lemongrass.

Becoming her own boss: I started this business right out of college so the transition was extremely easy. Now that I am older I regret not working because there are many things you can learn from working for others that you can take with you as a business owner. By not having that foundation I made a lot of mistakes along the way.  

Her best tip: Plan, plan and plan some more. Set systems in place that will ensure growth and success from day one. Also dream big and execute your business as professionally as possible. But the best advice I ever received was once you have accomplished your goal create a new one.

Being a Black business owner: It takes money to make money. 

Her work/life hustle: Because the majority of my revenue is generated on the weekend I had to learn that it was okay to take a weekend off. It is okay and very important to take time for yourself.  When you work for yourself full-time there is no such thing as 40-hour work week, so it is very important to take time off.

Her biggest lesson learned:  The biggest mistake was not having multiple streams of revenue when I was selling private label to a very large company. It is never a good idea to have only one client. I had to basically build my business from scratch after doing business with my client for 10 years. The good news is after going through that experience, I became a smarter businesswoman. 

Her career highlight: My biggest accomplishment was creating and manufacturing products for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Her superpower: The inability not to stay down for long.

Her stress reliever: I listen to audiobooks.

Her tech must-haves:  I must have my tablet and my square. I use square to process my credit cards, manage inventory, keep track of sales and follow customer feedback.

Her beauty bag: I must have a good facial serum, full of vitamin C and using all natural plant oils.

Her power style accessory: A great handbag. 

Her theme song: “Started from the Bottom,” by Drake.