As a modern on-the-go mom, professional, gym buff and traveler, Jennifer Kapahi doesn’t have much room for error in her daily schedule. After years of living in New York city and working in product development for beauty powerhouses like Intercos and Revlon, Kapahi couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a line of easy-to-use products out there for women who just don’t have the time for a full-blown makeup routine—so she decided she’d create one herself.
Kapahi founded TrèStiQue with her partner, Jack Bensason, in late May 2015 with a mission to simplify how women use, apply and carry their makeup. TrèStiQue offers new generation makeup formulas that enhance (rather than cover up) your real beauty and their product design streamlines your routine with 2-in-1 products and refillable twist-on and twist-off tools.
TrèStiQue has taken off since their launch two years ago—the revolutionary beauty brand has sampled over 6 million pieces with Ipsy and BirchBox, and was named The Next Big Thing in Beauty by QVC and Indie Brand to Watch by Sephora.
Kapahi tells Mom.me how she balances building her brand and her family, all while keeping a fresh face.
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Describe the moment when you were inspired to create TrèStiQue.
I had the concept of the brand in my mind for many years before I launched it. As a real, working woman, I was baffled by the lack of simple makeup products. Living in New York City inspired me to create the Essential 8 routine, which you can toss in your purse and use to do makeup in five minutes flat. I was on a mission to create a brand that helped to simplify my makeup routine while traveling, working out, commuting to work and running around doing errands—things all women do every day.
As a mother as well as the co-founder of TrèStiQue, how do you make it all work?
It’s all about insane organization. It is important to find moments to carve out for yourself, your baby and your work. My secret lies in a meticulously crafted calendar and also a strong foot in reality. It’s not possible to do everything, so you have to prioritize and focus on what is achievable.
When did you first feel successful?
I’m still waiting for that feeling! The company is still pretty new, so I’ve been so focused on building our brand that I haven’t really had much time to take a step back and look at what we’ve accomplished. Plus, my father is Asian, so I wasn’t really raised to feel success. I was raised to work hard and continue to strive for better, which is exactly what I plan to do!
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
Confidence is key and passion is essential. You must believe in yourself, encourage yourself and motivate yourself. On top of that you need to have a passion that is absolutely unquenchable. As long as you stay focused on those things, gender doesn’t matter.
Has there been anything about creating TrèStiQue that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
I won’t say that I’m surprised, but I am very humbled by the support my husband has given me during these early entrepreneurship days. Of course I love and appreciate him, but the level of understanding, support and flexibility he has shown over these past three years has been tremendous.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start their own business?
Start with clear goals and expectations. Make sure you have a strong support system at home. It’s not possible to be a mom 100 percent of the time once you launch a company. Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself, be flexible and set realistic goals so that you can achieve them.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and business owner?
I try not to look at it as a sacrifice, but as a compromise. I realistically reorganized my work day to make my son a priority in the morning and in the evening when he is awake. When he goes to sleep, I go back to work. I also work from home on Fridays so that I can take him to a swim lesson or to the park. Before I started TrèStiQue I was in a pretty strict corporate environment, so I feel very lucky to have the option to be flexible!
If you could have lunch with any business person/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Chrissy Teigen. I admire her entrepreneurial spirit and love her passion for life. I think we have a lot in common, as half Asian ladies passionate about our babies and our food. Her cookbook, “Cravings,” is amazing!
Are there any new initiatives or products on the horizon for TrèStiQue?
Yes! Our Essential 8 routine continues to be our best-selling set because it takes the guesswork out of the everyday makeup routine. Real women have so many different lifestyles that we wanted to create additional sets to fit each one. For all the mamas out there strapped for time, we launched the Modern Mama Set, which combines four of my must-have essential products and our amazing Le’Pak makeup bag. The set includes your customized shade selection of these four 2-in-1 time-saving products: a concealer crayon to hide dark circles and brighten eyes, a highlighter stick to add a fresh luminous glow, a brow pencil to lift the eye area and frame the face, and an eye pencil to define eyes for a polished look.