susy shasky: on motherhood, giving back, & the importance of beauty on the inside

Beauty guru. Business woman. Boss. Meet Susy Shasky; when she’s not working as an IT business analyst or raising two beautiful children, she’s building a beauty empire that empowers domestically abused women. She sits down with us to discuss the importance of being true to yourself, finding your passion, and the importance of helping others.

about susy: our beauty guru & #GIRLBOSS goal
I’m a business analyst, and I’ve been in banking for about eight or nine years. I have two little ones at home and I’m married. And, even though I went to school for a bachelor’s degree in finance, that was never really my passion. After having my kids, I realized that I wanted to dedicate some time to the things that I love because, as a mom, I was often putting my goals and what I love in the back seat, like mothers often have to do. I found myself getting sucked into this “Mommy-Pinterest phenomenon” where I would make organic food for my kids and first birthdays had to be extravagant, Facebook-ready affairs that would leave me feeling both drained and that I was never doing enough.

I realized that I had a passion for makeup and I became really, really good at it. I always loved it (like every girly-girl or girly-man does) and I started to focus on it as something that I enjoyed doing. This way, when it was time for me to relax or pamper myself, I was able to actually focus on something that I love. When I decided to start making posts about it, I did it on Facebook first until I moved to Instagram. I would receive so many questions from people asking me how I did it, or invitations to do makeup for special occasions, that it just kind of blew up that way! I finally found myself thinking, “wow, I’m actually kind of good at this- and I enjoy it!” When I finally decided to start recording tutorials and giving step-by-step instructions, I found this to be easier than just typing it out on my beauty blog.

As I started digging into the beauty industry, I familiarized myself with other women’s stories, like Marlena from Makeup Geek, for example. She started out as a teacher and she had this passion for makeup while simultaneously being concerned about parabens and chemicals in the products that she was using. I came to discover that a lot of beauty gurus move toward bigger initiatives like this, and that’s what ultimately inspired me. Another beauty brand, called Sigma, is a high-end makeup brush line that was started by a couple that were professors at the University of Minnesota. (I am so inspired by entrepreneurs like this!) Coming from the financial/banking industry, I have some knowledge into this side of being an entrepreneur and I decided to combine the two and go for my own start up.

The company that I’m starting is called Glam 22, and I want it to be more than a superficial make up brand. On the contrary, I want it to be a brand that emphasizes beauty from within; one that’s going to help women in domestic abuse shelters or that partners with other charity events to help the community.

I chose to partner with women’s shelters because, a lot of the times, these women are young (often between the ages of 20-24) and a lot of them come from abusive relationships. Whether the abuse is sexual, physical, verbal, or mental I feel like these traumatic experiences take a huge toll on self-esteem. And I know that it’s “just makeup,” so it is a little superficial to that extent. But to me, if there’s anybody in the world who needs to feel pretty or to feel a tiny boost of confidence with a swipe of lipstick, it’s women like that. That is my initiative, my bigger initiative through Glam 22.

on moms putting their needs second & why it needs to change As a woman, as a mother, people often raise their eyebrows if you tell them what you want to do. They second guess your intentions. But if you want to teach your children to go after the things that they love and how to be good people, you have to start with yourself. You have to show them that it’s ok to love yourself, to spend time on yourself, and to do the things you love to do.

The turning point for me finally coming to this realization was about two years ago, when I worked for a really intense investment firm. My daughter is now five and my son is three, so it all happened when they were a little younger and still in daycare (they couldn’t exactly take care of themselves). It was so difficult to come home from a job like that and be a mom while working really crazy-long hours at a really stressful job. That job was draining me, and I would tell my husband that if I was younger or if we didn’t have kids, it would be different. But I couldn’t keep up with it anymore and it got to a point where I just found life to be extremely difficult and almost heartbreaking in a sense (not that I was resentful towards my kids). I felt like there was no time to do anything, to relax, and that the only time that I had to myself was when I wrote it down on a schedule. I needed to break away from it, and I finally did! I’m actually grateful for this experience though, because if it weren’t for that breaking point, I would still be stuck doing what I was doing.

Following my passion like this has been kind of a dream for me. It’s almost surreal. It’s been this light that I’ve kept hidden for a while; when you have dreams or when you’re exploring the unknowns the first thing that people ask you is “oh you’re a mom, do you have time? do you know where this is going to lead you?” But it’s my core belief that you have to find a balance in life. You have to go for that unknown, to go for things that you want to do. Just taking that leap is the hardest part.

on finding happiness
I do feel like I have now found happiness. Since starting my YouTube beauty blog and my Instagram account, I feel like I’ve built a really nice community. We talk about lipsticks, colors, etc. and it’s almost like a book club and we get to dork out together about the things we love! It really is a hobby, and it’s nice to reach so many people from different walks of life no matter how far away they live. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s amazing just meeting people, knowing that they have the same passion and opinions as you do. I am really enjoying this particular path that I’m on because of the way I’ve been able to meet more people and network.

on discovering her talent
It all started for fun when I was just posting pictures on my Facebook page, and then I would get all of these likes and think “omg this is incredible!” Seeing this feedback really blew me away. But what really struck a chord with me was when people started asking for my opinion on makeup. Seeing that they trusted me made me feel this sense of credibility. And I think that when this sunk in is when I realized that people actually care about what I thought. It was really cool!

on launching her youtube channel
When I launched my channel… it was frightening! I was so nervous. My first video is terrible (it was about makeup brushes) but it’s still the video with the most views! Something that I’ve always appreciated is the honesty that I can communicate there. I always make sure my viewers know that I paid for these products with my own money, that I’m doing it because of my passion for it, and that they’re getting my authentic opinions with these videos, which helps me feel better about it. It’s frightening to expose yourself to the world, and I know that I’m such an introvert, but it’s worth it when you’re helping others who are asking for my advice and tips. It definitely outweighs the fear of exposure that I have. If it makes their day, if it makes them feel fabulous, it’s worth it.

advice to other introverts
Put yourself out there if you want to, but if you don’t want to, you don’t have to! My best friend is an introvert as well, and he’s actually the one who told me that I’m an introvert! The world isn’t exactly made for introverts these days, especially with the rise of social media, because it exposes all of our lives. So if you are going to put yourself out there and share your life, be true to yourself. Be who you are. That’s always best, who cares what anyone else thinks!

on the makeup community
I think that people tend to override our “voices” in this community. I think that our voices are perceived as superficial because of the industry as a whole. We live in a progressive world, but there is so much work to do in the sense of empowering women and giving them a voice to be heard.

on trying to find a balance
Right now, it’s really hard to find the silver lining. I’m working my full time job while also trying to be a mom and simultaneously launch this beauty brand in my free time, so my blog has had to take a back seat. But in the end, I know that putting in all of this hard work in my spare time and staying up crazy late is going to be worth it. It’s important to remember the final goal out there, to keep your eye on it. Right now, it might not seem like it’s balanced, but things could be so much worse! Keep focused, keep going. There’s no other option but to keep moving forward.

the mission of GLAM 22 cosmetics
Primarily, we’re a sales distributor of makeup brushes and some makeup lines, and we’re still testing different prototypes at the moment! What I envision for Glam Squad is simple: it’s a business that has a strong correlation with different charitable organizations. What comes to mind as a big influence for our mission is TOMS shoes. I want to be able to donate toiletries and makeup to women in shelters and I also want to have one product where, when my customers purchase it, all the proceeds go to a charitable organization. I want to give my customer the opportunity to give back as well. I want to really focus on the idea that beauty starts from within. It’s not skin deep. You have to really, really find the balance within yourself to be a good person and beautiful from within first and foremost.

Being a good person is the ultimate in beauty, and that’s my vision for Glam Squad. The reason why I named it Glam Squad is because we want to bring glamour, to bring our glamorous squad, to these charitable organizations. I want to be a spokesperson and to volunteer my time talking to women and letting them know that there is life after abuse. That there is life after horrible experiences. I want them to know that they are beautiful, that they are valued, and they can be more than what their abusers said they can be.

why she’s passionate
What drives my passion toward working with abused women comes from me falling into a lot of the statistics. I was homeless myself after being kicked out of my home as a young adolescent girl, and I was also in a terrible relationship where I was abused verbally. I really felt like I had nobody. I felt ugly. Emotionally, I was beaten and I felt horrible about myself. I wish I would have had somebody tell me I was beautiful, and that has been my biggest motivator for launching this business. I fell into these statistics at one point in my life, and I want to do something about it while I can.

her mantra
I don’t think that there’s one mantra in particular that gets me through the tougher times, but having good people around me telling me that things will get better, and having love through family and friends, is the biggest help.

what she wants others to know
What I want every woman to know is that you have the capability to balance your life. You can live a full, happy life. Not just for your own good, but for others around you. You can spread that love and that balance and that happiness to other people. I think it’s important in this day and age to remember that. We have the capability to make ourselves happy, and it’s important to spread that to others. So go for what you believe in! Make up may not be for everybody, but whatever makes you happy, you should pursue it. Do NOT listen to your fears, don’t let them hold you back. You need to believe in yourself and be powerful in that. Only you can bring your happiness. There’s a cause and effect to everything- if you’re happy, it’s contagious and it’s powerful. Happiness should be the ultimate goal for everybody.

Entrepreneurship may not be for everybody, but finding happiness is.

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