I Co-Founded A Clean Beauty Company—Here Are The Lessons I Learned Along The Way

Picture this: A young woman, always a bit of a maverick, who found the conventional path a little too, well, conventional. That was me. From a young age, I was the one who would rather leap into the game than spend time reading the rulebook. This spirit didn't just define my childhood; it paved the way for my future.

By Fawn Bowe8 min read
Pexels/Tanner Vote

Now, let me introduce myself – I’m Fawn Bowe, co-founder of biöm, and I'm thrilled to share a slice of my life with you today. As I celebrate the launch of my latest creation, the H2.O Facial Cleanser, I invite you to join me in this story – not just of a product, but of a journey. 

A journey of balancing the roles of an entrepreneur, a daughter, a girlfriend, and a sister. A journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned along the way.

So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let me take you through the highs and lows, the behind-the-scenes, and the heart of what it means to be a female founder in the world of beauty and personal care.

My Entrepreneurial Journey: The Birth of Biöm

You know, I’ve always been a bit of a rule-breaker. Sitting quietly and following orders? Not my style. 

Every holiday when my family gets together, my parents fondly recall how I was the kid who dived into board games without reading the instructions – a hint, perhaps, of my future in entrepreneurship. 

For me, starting biöm wasn't just about creating another beauty brand; it was about challenging the status quo and bringing something genuinely innovative to the table.

Now, my entrepreneurial journey started way before biöm. Flashback: I was the neighborhood go-to for babysitting and plant-watering, always finding ways to earn on my own terms. In high school, I was a waitress while also tutoring other students. In college, I launched my first small business, and that's where I caught the bug. I loved the freedom, the creativity, and the satisfaction of knowing people loved my product. There’s just nothing like living life on your own terms.

Well, I got a couple of degrees along the way too, and it turns out that my background in cosmetic chemistry would eventually serve me well. While I didn’t know it at the time, studying chemistry was the beginning of generational wealth for the future generations of my family (and I spent more time thinking about my own business than I did my academics, anyway).

When biöm was just a concept, my goal was simple yet ambitious: to create personal care products without compromises. No shady ingredients, no cutting corners – just pure, honest quality. It all started with NOBS Toothpaste Tablets, a collaboration with my business partner whom I met through my holistic health-oriented skincare Twitter account. We used nano-hydroxyapatite as a remineralizing agent, a healthier alternative to fluoride.

Since I had already shared my cosmetic chemistry insights and built a community passionate about honest, effective skincare, everyone was asking: Why toothpaste, Fawn? When are you going to make skincare products?

Yes, of course, after a year of writing and engaging with my followers, the demand for skincare products was clear. So, I listened and dedicated all of 2023 to developing what I envisioned as the ideal face wash – H2.O Facial Cleanser. It wasn't just about adding another product to the market; it was about fulfilling a promise to those who trusted my expertise and shared my passion for genuine, effective skincare. 

I finally launched H2.O at the beginning of December, and now, I can finally breathe. 

You know, no one ever tells you that if you’re good at games, you’ll love entrepreneurship. That’s right, it’s been a game – one with high stakes, thrilling wins, and, yes, a few tough losses. 

But that’s what life is all about, right? It’s about taking those leaps, embracing the uncertainty, and loving every minute of it. At biöm, I’m not just creating products; I’m crafting experiences, and every day is a new adventure.

Balancing Act: Entrepreneur, Daughter, Girlfriend, Sister

Balancing my life as an entrepreneur with my personal roles is like walking a tightrope while juggling – it's challenging, but in many ways, exhilarating. 

Each role I play – whether as a leader, a family member, or a partner – brings its own set of joys and challenges, and I've learned to embrace them all with open arms.

In the world of entrepreneurship, there's a constant buzz, a never-ending list of tasks and decisions. But amidst this whirlwind of chaos, I've found that flexibility is my greatest asset. I’ve come to understand that my work and my personal life are not opponents but partners in my journey. They dance together, sometimes in step and sometimes out of rhythm, but they’re always moving forward together.

My family is my anchor in this ever-changing landscape. I come from a big, vibrant family, full of love and laughter, and they mean the world to me. Since I can run a business from my laptop and phone, it’s easy enough for me to be with them. I’m known to hop on a plane across the country with a few days’ notice to pitch in when my nieces need me without missing a beat. You can find an internet connection anywhere, so you’ll make your business work if you want it badly enough!

These moments with my family are my lifeline; they remind me of who I am beyond biöm, beyond the spreadsheets and all-night strategy meetings.

And then there's my circle of friends – my support system, my sounding board. We've navigated life's ups and downs together, and even though our schedules can be hectic, we make it a point to connect. Regular calls, quick check-ins, and the occasional weekend getaway keep our bonds strong. They're not just friends; they're a vital part of my development as a human being. 

Remember, no woman is an island. We’re not meant to be alone – you need real friends, and if you don’t have any, it’s possible that you have not always been a good friend yourself. Don’t worry, you can make up for it with dedicated effort and time!

In the midst of all this, there's my relationship with my boyfriend. Navigating a relationship while steering a company can be a delicate balance, so communication is the foundation of our rock-solid relationship.

Something we’ve done well is fostering relationships between our families – we have a strong support system when we need it, and we can help take care of everyone together as well. Furthermore, we're open about our schedules, our needs, and our aspirations. We carve out quality time, where work takes a back seat, and we're just two people enjoying each other's company. It's about being fully present in those moments, turning off the “work mode” and savoring the now. 

And here's something I've come to realize – it's okay to say no to things that don't add value to your life. I don't miss out on life's joys because I choose not to get lost in endless TV shows or social media scrolling. I don’t have any personal social media at all; in fact, my friends always laugh when I half-jokingly refer to Instagram as “the heart of cultural rot.” 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with non-business social media if you have a good relationship with it. However, when you’re running a business, you only have so much time for your personal life, and I’d rather spend mine with my loved ones in person instead of through an app.

And since time is scarce, I invest mine in what truly matters – be it a quiet evening in a magnesium chloride bath with a book, a workout session to clear my mind, or a heart-to-heart conversation with a loved one.

This balancing act isn't always easy, but it's incredibly rewarding. It has taught me resilience, adaptability, and the importance of being present. It's a constant learning process, one where I grow and evolve every day, both as an entrepreneur and as a person.

Overcoming Challenges and Finding Balance

Every entrepreneur's path is sprinkled with challenges, and mine has been no different. One of the biggest hurdles I've faced is imposter syndrome. It's a common struggle, especially for women in business. We're often taught to be humble, to downplay our achievements. 

Here’s the crux of the issue: Acknowledging your success isn't bragging, it’s owning your hard work and its results. However, braggadocious behavior is unbecoming of a woman of character. My advice? Let your accomplishments speak for themselves, and maintain a humble yet confident disposition (yet another balancing act!).  

Let your accomplishments speak for themselves, and maintain a humble yet confident disposition.

To catalog my growth and stay reminded of these accomplishments, I keep what I call a "Blessings Log." It's a simple Excel sheet, but it's filled with daily victories, big or small. Whenever doubt creeps in, I look back at this log. It's a powerful reminder of how far I've come and the positive impact I've made. It's not just about hitting milestones; it's about the journey and the growth along the way.

While juggling all of my roles, there's another unique practice I've embraced – one that's particularly close to my heart. About once a month, I set aside time to record a video message for my future children. In these videos, I share the challenges I've faced, the obstacles I've overcome, and the lessons I've learned along the way.

It's a deeply personal practice, born out of a desire to connect with my future children, so I can offer them guidance and wisdom, even in the unfortunate event that I'm not there to do so in person. I hope to leave behind a legacy of love while also impressing on them the importance of making mistakes. After all, if you never mess up, you will never grow.

This journey of balancing professional life, personal life, and internal insecurities has not only been about personal growth but also about laying the foundation for a greater mission – a mission that extends beyond the confines of biöm and into the very essence of how I’m empowering women in their skincare choices.

Empowering Women and Advocating for Clean Beauty

The challenges I’ve faced and overcome have been instrumental in shaping biöm’s core philosophy. For me, it’s not just about creating exceptional skincare products; it’s about completely redefining the narrative around beauty and health. For me, this mission is personal. Empowerment in beauty is about providing the tools and knowledge for women to feel confident and in control. 

At biöm, I delve deep into the realms of skincare and cosmetic chemistry, focusing on barrier protection and skin health rather than just following fleeting trends. This approach is a testament to the lessons learned from both my personal journey and the collective wisdom of generations of women in my life. It's about merging the best of ancient practices with modern technology, ensuring that my products are not only effective but also safe and nurturing.

Creating the H2.O Facial Cleanser, for instance, was more than a product development process; it was a manifestation of this philosophy. I aimed to offer something that transcends the usual skincare experience – a product that's rooted in genuine care for skin health and the environment. This commitment to clean, effective, and innovative skincare is my way of empowering women by providing them with choices that align with their health, their values, and their lifestyles.

In this entrepreneurial journey, each challenge surmounted has not only strengthened me but also reinforced biöm's commitment to safe, effective personal care. It's a commitment that goes beyond the surface, touching lives and making a real difference.

Trust me, if your entrepreneurial journey doesn’t align with your ethics, you’ll burn out quicker than a cheap Dollar Store candle.

Key Takeaways from My Entrepreneurship Journey

To all the women out there dreaming of starting their own business, here's my advice: Embrace your unique strengths and dive in. Every weakness of yours has an opposite and equal strength – find it and figure out how to use it. 

While that’s my biggest tip, here are a few other nuggets of wisdom I've picked up on my journey:

  • Act on Your Ideas: If you have a business idea, run with it. Don't get bogged down in overthinking every little detail. Focus on developing your offer, building traffic, and scaling up. The rest will fall into place.

  • Emotional Intelligence: Understand the power of emotions in business. It's okay to have fears and insecurities, but you must find a safe space to express these feelings. Maintain professionalism at all times in your business dealings.

  • Build a Strong Support System: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your vision. Whether it's family, friends, or mentors, a strong support network is invaluable. 

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to entrepreneurship. Your journey will be unique to you. Embrace it, learn from it, and most importantly, enjoy it. After all, if you don’t absolutely love the life you’re building, what’s the point?

The Role of Self-Care in a High-Performance Life

My approach to self-care is all about optimizing performance – both in business and personal health. It's not just a luxury; it's a critical part of my daily routine that keeps me at my best.

Every day, I prioritize exercise because it's essential for both my physical and mental health. This includes a mix of resistance training, cardio, and mobility work. It's not just about staying fit; it's about maintaining a level of physical discipline that translates into my professional life.

Exercise is not just about staying fit; it's about maintaining a level of physical discipline that translates into my professional life.

Working around my menstrual cycle, I tailor my activities and nutrition to match my body's needs. This means being in tune with my body's rhythms and respecting its natural cycles, not fighting against them. Sleeping more when I need to, and pushing the limits of my body when I can. No more, no less – just exactly what I need, when I need it, informed by biofeedback.

Nutrition is another non-negotiable for me. I focus on nourishing foods that fuel my body and mind, keeping me energized and focused throughout the day. It's not about strict diets or deprivation; it's about making choices that support my health and my goals. Supplements like creatine, magnesium chloride, and lactoferrin are part of my regimen too because they support my body's performance and recovery as well as my cognitive capabilities.

This disciplined approach to self-care enables me to keep up with the demands of being an entrepreneur. It's about making conscious choices every day to take care of myself, so I can be the best version of myself for my business, my team, and the people I love.

My Secret Weapon: Community and Support Systems

Regardless of your path in life, the value of a strong community and support system can’t be overstated. They are the pillars that have held me up through the successes and the setbacks over the years.

First, there's the community I've built around biöm. It's not just about customers buying our products; it's about creating a space where people can connect, share experiences, and grow together. This community has been a source of inspiration and motivation, reminding me daily of why I do what I do.

Then there's my personal support system – my family, friends, and my business partner. They've been my sounding board, my cheerleaders, and my reality check. Whether it's discussing new product ideas, strategizing business moves, or just needing a listening ear, they've been there every step of the way.

I've also found immense value in connecting with other entrepreneurs, especially women who are navigating similar paths. These connections have provided not just networking opportunities, but also a sense of solidarity and shared understanding that's hard to find elsewhere.

Building a business can sometimes feel like a solitary endeavor, but it's really a collective effort. It's about leaning on others, learning from their experiences, and offering your support in return. I am immensely grateful for the community and support systems that surround me – they are integral to both my success and my well-being.

In the end, none of your efforts are worth it without your community to share it with!

The Bottom Line

As we reach the end of this narrative, I hope my story resonates with you. It's more than the tale of a skincare brand; it's a journey of curiosity that never seemed to quit, combined with the relentless pursuit of a dream. 

From the spirited young girl who leaped into games without reading the rulebook to the entrepreneur who now shapes the narrative of clean beauty, every step of the way has been a learning experience. 

Biöm is not just my brand; it's a reflection of my journey, embodying the lessons learned, the challenges overcome, and the triumphs celebrated. It’s a testament to the power of dreaming big, of pushing boundaries, and finding ways to stay true to your values all at the same time.

To every woman reading this, know that your journey is unique and invaluable. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a professional, a mother, a student, or at any stage of life, remember that your dreams are valid and achievable. Embrace your strengths, learn from your challenges, and never underestimate the power of a supportive community.

As I continue on my path, I carry with me the wisdom of the strong, brilliant, graceful women who came before me, the support of those who walk beside me, and the responsibility to empower those who follow. 

Together, let's redefine beauty, not just as a standard to attain, but as a feeling to embrace – a feeling of confidence, health, and inner strength.

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