Happy Mother's Day! Celebrating My Mom today - the Inspire-er of Beaute Nouveau
My Mom's name is Holly Hopper (yes, that IS her real name). She has been an Entrepreneur her entire adult life and is QUITE the Lady Boss. She has owned multiple retail boutiques, owned a monogramming company, is a business consultant, Interior Designer, and good at pretty much everything. And, she has the knack to turn just about anything into a functional business. Lemonade stand? Nah. Lemonade BUSINESS. Seriously, my brother and sister ran a Lemonade OPERATION as kids. To see the business wheels start cranking in her head is pretty exceptional (but also terrifying when you're 9 and about to become a CEO).
My first business was selling figs at 9 years old. My friend had an ancient fig tree in her back yard that grew figs the size of Fugi apples and tasted like candy. My Dad duct taped a basket to the end of a long piece of pvc pipe, and a knife to the end of another piece of pipe, and my friend and I would spend hours harvesting the figs. We would wheel them over to my Mom's store, set up a table outside, and sell those babies for 25 cents a fig. She helped us with the set up, the signs, the pricing, taught us how to talk to the customers, how to make change, and how to split the earnings. We were seriously rich 9 year olds.
With my earnings I wanted to buy a Madame Alexander doll at the antique toy store next door to my Mom's store. I didn't have enough money for the one I wanted, so I asked my Mom for the money (well, I might have had a temper tantrum pleading for the money). She told me that I should go ask for a job there. I was NINE. She was dead serious. I told her "I CAN'T!" She said, "can't is a swear word." She said "feel the fear, and do it anyway." A statement she has said to me over and over in my life. Being nine, was certainly no barrier in her mind.
I will never forget walking into that store and asking the lady if I could work there. I thought I might just DIE. I was petrified to ask for a job - at NINE - but I did it. I told her I really wanted that doll, and I didn't have enough money, and my Mom wouldn't give the money to me so I would have to work there. Now, this store wasn't just a store. It was a magical place that lives only in the wildest imaginations of most children (google Susan's Store Room San Anselmo - it is still open today).
It was an antique toy store that had a gazebo just for rolls of stickers, a gigantic dollhouse in the center that was so amazing it even had lights, and life size stuffed animals all over - set up in tea parties, safari adventures, and cruises. It was UH-mazing. Words could never do it justice and the stakes were high for me to get a job there (because I didn't just want a doll, I wanted EVERYTHING). I told her I could clean, organize, dust, sweep (play with the dolls) and do anything else she wanted.
Susan told me that she couldn't legally hire me, but that I could "work" there to earn the doll. I ended up working there 3-4 days a week after school until I was 13 years old. I had quite the doll collection, tea set collections, a zillion stickers, a fully furnished dollhouse, and many other treasures by 13 (this is probably where my love for treasures comes from).
At 13, I started to want more than just treasures, so I gathered up 3 of my friends from school and we started a weekly summer camp in one of my friend's back yards. We had a daily curriculum, games, crafts, story time, served snacks, and lunch - I think we even had swimming on Fridays (oh, the liability). We made flyers and marketed all over town. We had 35 kids per week (and a waiting list!) and we charged $20 bucks a day per kid. We were 13 year olds making almost $900 a week each! It was incredible.
I was not a kid who had an allowance. That was never even a conversation. I was a kid who was encouraged to feel the fear and do it anyway, never say "I can't," and get creative with what you have to work with. Those lessons were the greatest gifts my Mom could have ever shared with me.
When I wanted to start Beaute Nouveau, I bet you can guess the advice my Mom gave me..."feel the fear and do it anyway." Even in the most dramatic moments of meltdowns, she has simply said "keep going."
And, we owe Creme Nouveau to her. Here's why: every year my Mom goes to the big gift show in Vegas to find some of the merchandise for her stores. The gift show is in the desert in August; which is brutal for people who have incredibly dry skin, like so dry it hurts. One August I went with her. At that time, I was working on perfecting what is now the Butter Balm, and had a jar of my latest experiment in the shower. One morning my Mom walks out of the shower and her face is GLISTENING! I looked at her totally perplexed and exclaimed, "WHAT is on your face?!"
She just said, "whatever is in the shower." I was mortified! I said, "MOM! You CAN'T put that on your face - it's for the body and it will totally break you out!" She further challenged me and said, "I've been putting it on my face for 3 days and if you don't want me to use that - then make a face cream."
Well played, Mom. Challenge accepted! I went home, took the base of the Butter Balm and added as many fancy "treasure" ingredients I could find, to create Creme Nouveau.
That was also when I realized that oil does not break us out. That is when I really started to understand how skin reacts to the difference between botanical ingredients (that come from nature) and the synthetic ingredients that are created in laboratories. Skin can "digest" or metabolize botanical ingredients into useful energy, while synthetic ingredients coat the skin and build up (or bio-accumulate), and break-outs happen when the skin tries to break-"free" of the synthetic coating.
Creme Nouveau was the first product I made for the face and the start of pretty much everything Beaute Nouveau. I would like to take a moment to officially thank my Mom for being brave enough to try "whatever was in the shower" on her face, tell me to "make a face cream," and spend years conditioning me to never say "can't" and feel the fear and do it anyway. SO much has come from those experiences.
So, thank you Mom and I love you.
PS: check out her amazing current store called Black Rabbit Trading Co. and follow her on instagram @blackrabbittradingco