This Beauty Entrepreneur Runs Her Business on Her Own Terms
Maya Crothers, who founded Circ-Cell Skincare, shares her insights—take notes.
After earning an undergrad degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA in finance, Maya Crothers worked in business for the first half of her career. “When I was pregnant with my second child in my mid30’s, I sort of retired,” she says. Her family moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a charming, sleepy mountain town. “I didn’t think there would be an act two in my career,” says Maya. “You don’t really go to Jackson Hole to be an entrepreneur.” By chance, she became friends with a woman in the skincare industry. They shared specific ideas about skincare and decided to start this business. “At first, it was more like a hobby,” she says. They started off with one product that we only sold online, before her partner decided to leave the business. From there, Maya became what she calls an “accidental entrepreneur,” and her “hobby” evolved into CircCell Skincare. “It takes a certain kind of person to start a business, and it took me a while to realize that I am that kind of person,” she says. “Now that I'm there, I just love it.” Maya talks about chasing a slower lifestyle in Jackson Hole and running her business—much like her life—on her own terms.
1. There will be days when your business may (or may not) collapse
I'm driven to not fail, and most entrepreneurs will tell you that there have been several times during the life of their company where it literally all almost went away. It’s hard every day, problems come up regularly, but some issues are so traumatic that they can end the company altogether. What has kept me motivated through those times is really a love of the industry I'm in. I'm very passionate about what I do. I love the intellectual challenge—there are so many moving parts, and so many things that have to happen and so many things that have to work together, that when it does all work together, it's really rewarding.
2. Trust your own ability to make decisions
Traditionally, in beauty, you'll work through one distribution channel—you're either spa brand, a department store brand or a mass market brand. That’s changing now; the industry is in a dynamic place. I worked with experts who told me, "Nope, if you're going to enter one market, you can only enter that one." I listened, and it really hindered our business, because it prevented us from growing. It took me a few years to say, "I'm going to run this business the way I want to run it." Once I threw the chains off, the company flourished.
3. Create a work environment and schedule that’s right for you
I work from home, so if something happens and my son needs my attention, I'm right there. We're a virtual company. I do a lot independently here in Jackson Hole, and this is the creative center of the company. I have a publicist in Los Angeles, a national product trainer in Chicago, a product formulator in California and a marketing assistant in Dallas, and we manufacture in Dallas and in California. I have a team, but I’m able to work and live the way I want to here in Wyoming.
4. You can be successful in a small town
I live in this small community where things are slow. If I was still living in Dallas, I would be so busy all day long and I would be spending time in traffic, because that's just the way people live. Here, I feel my best, especially because I can easily work out, which helps me focus. Right outside my door is a playground. I hike, I ride my bike, I walk, and I can do those things with friends who also have this active, “Jackson Hole” lifestyle. Even if I only have 30 minutes, I live a two-minute drive from the ski hill so I can go, and sometimes I'll ski just one run. It clears my head and it allows me to go outside.
Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump. Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo