Founder Ericka Rodriguez joins us today on #HerHustle to share her love for animals and how it jumpstarted the creation of her vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand, Axiology. Get to know Ericka more as she shares personal and business advice to all women entrepreneurs out there!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to start Axiology Beauty?
My name is Ericka and I’m the founder of Axiology, a vegan and conscious makeup company. Truth is, I came into this industry as a caring consumer, not an ex-executive from a major beauty company or even as a makeup artist.
I created Axiology after discovering that animal testing still exists. I’ve been an animal welfare activist since I was a little girl but never knew that animal testing and animal-derived ingredients could be found in my makeup! I started looking for vegan + cruelty-free lipstick but they were all super drying. I thought it would be fun to start formulating vegan lipstick in my tiny kitchen and things snowballed from there.
What does your typical day look like?
It’s busy! Axiology works out of a big warehouse where we hand make all our products in small batches. So five days a week I go to the Axi space and get to work. Thankfully I have an amazing team who handles production and shipping so I get to focus on marketing, social media and big picture projects. I do make time for myself by eating really healthy vegan meals (3 meals a day, everyday) and exercise 4-5 days a week. I really think I am much better at my job if I have something fun planned after work so I make time for experiences with friends and family too.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
That nothing great can ever be done alone. I’ve always pulled other people into Axiology, whether by bugging my engineer boyfriend to help me develop systems or manufacturing protocols or by getting my friends to model our products. But seriously, Axiology would not be where it is today if I hadn’t always asked for help. I’ve asked my parents for small loans, asked customers to write reviews on my products, and asked established businesses for guidance. I also think creating a team and support system is way more fun than doing anything by yourself.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
I usually just take some time for myself. Usually when I am in a negative mood or mindset, it’s because I am just overwhelmed and cranky. I will try to go for a run or bike ride, chat with my friends and family about what I’m going through, and then just chill out by going in a hot tub and watching good TV. Taking time for myself usually cures me of any negative loops.
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
I start every morning by journaling which I learned from the book, “The Artist’s Way” and then I meditate for at least 10 minutes.
Did you always know you wanted to start your own business? If not, what did you dream of doing growing up?
I definitely didn’t see myself running a beauty company. I always wanted to work with animals. When I was really young, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer (this was before I learned about animal cruelty at Seaworld) and then in high school I tossed around the idea of becoming a vet (but then I remembered I hate seeing animals in pain). So, I went about my life as a vegan holding lots of different jobs including selling timeshare and making vegan smoothies for a living.
What tips or advice do you have for other women who would like to start their own businesses?
That work ethic is everything. Often I get asked how Axiology has succeeded- how did I get into Ulta, for example, and truthfully it’s not that I have a secret sauce; it’s that I’ve been working at this every single day for the last 8 years.
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