Danielle Houston is a local entrepreneur and beauty enthusiast who recently launched a new lipstick line, LIPS BY DANILEA Fall 2015. Her mission is to empower us to wear that special colour we know we want to but think we can't pull off. Danielle is all about making people feel like (and be!) the very best version of themselves. She’s fearless, confident and an inspiration to us all. Oh, and she wears every conceivable colour like a rock star!
What inspired you to make lipsticks?
I have always been a lipstick fanatic, drawn to every colour of the rainbow. I found myself getting compliments from friends and family for pulling off vibrant shades, but always followed by the comment: “I wish I could wear something like that.” This was seriously mind-boggling, especially since I was never caught up with wearing skin-tone appropriate shades. I found that lipstick was directly linked to confidence, and that there was disconnect between what people wanted to wear and what they felt like they could wear. I created the line to empower beauty lovers to rock the shades they think they can’t.
Where did the name LIPS BY DANILEA come from?
To break it down, BY DANILEA is the company name, and DANILEA is an amalgamation of my first and middle name, Danielle Aleatha. LIPS is an extension of the brand and focuses on just that—LIPS. I also created STAGE at the same time, where I create customized makeup kits for performance teams.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
I think my biggest accomplishment has been launching. Creating and operating this line has been a dream for quite some time. It’s hard to make those first steps and risk everything, so I am definitely proud of myself for taking the plunge. There’s still so much room to grow and evolve, and I just want to enjoy the entire process.
What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
To me, being an entrepreneur means building an idea from nothing to something. It means working for yourself or with a small team and trying to find a way to create a business from one small (or big!) idea. It also means hustle. You don’t clock in and out at the end of each day, and the business can take over your life. Finding balance when you’re an entrepreneur is key.
How did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I think that has been one of the biggest challenges over the past few years: How do you know exactly what you want to do, or if you’d even be good at it? Quieting my self-destructive mind has been crucial in clearly laying out this path. Launching BY DANILEA had been a dream for seven years. I suppressed it throughout university and as I tried to start a career following school, but it was always there. The idea was haunting me as something I wanted to do “someday.” I finally decided I needed to do it, and if it failed, it failed, and if it didn’t, even better.
Do you recommend mentorship?
Definitely! It is important to build a network of people to help you work through problems and questions. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak. Your ideal mentor might be someone with X amount years of experience in your field, or it could be a peer with complementary experience or education who you work well with. You might think that no one will want to be your mentor, but as you start opening yourself up to this possibility, you’ll find that there are more people who want to help you than not.
Where do you see yourself or your business in the next five to ten years?
First, still existing! I hope to expand the LIPS brand into retail stores across Canada and into the US, and to grow a community of #unapologeticallybold beauties. Empowering men and women to be bold in their life and lip decisions is a core value of the line, and I hope to make a larger impact in this area.
What advice would you give someone who is trying to pursue their dreams?
My advice is to just start. Slowly is okay, but start today. All you have is the present moment, so if you have a dream the only way to make it a reality is by beginning. Also, stay authentic to your journey; don’t compare your work with others in your field—just do you. But do it. Definitely do it.
Where do you feel most creative?
I feel most creative in a brainstorm sesh. I love bouncing ideas off of other people and feeding off each other’s energy. That being said, I work alone most days, so playing the right playlist and working in my home office space can get the creative juices flowing too.
Do you regret any mistakes you've made?
Mistakes can weigh on you so heavily, but it’s not about the mistake, it’s about how you handle it. I’ve struggled through many mistakes to reach this mindset, but now when I make mistakes—and I do so fairly often—I say to myself, “Just handle it. You have two choices: cry about it and do nothing, or fix it.” We have the power to correct fixable problems, accept the misses and learn from our mistakes.
Why do you love what you do?
I absolutely love creating and running BY DANILEA because it feels so authentic to who I am. It comes naturally (for the most part!) and I love being in my element. That being said, there are also so many challenges. I am running every aspect of a business, and even though I have lots of training there is still so much to learn. But I do love it. I love helping my clients choose a lipstick. I love building a new kit and design for one of my studios. I love collaborating with other entrepreneurs and learning within such a supportive creative community. And I especially love being able to provide a product I stand behind.
Who (or what) is your motivation to keep going?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what keeps me going, as it’s a combination of people and things. One is definitely my network of friends, family, and creative entrepreneurs. Having such a strong group of people to encourage and support me through the whole process is invaluable. Sometimes I just need a friend to tell me that what I’m doing is good and that I should keep going. I am also hugely motivated by #girlboss radio. Listening to the weekly podcasts helps me put things into perspective and offers me new mantras and advice that I put into action. (Thank you, Sophia!)
What is the one thing you can't leave the house without? (Other than your cell phone!)
Lipstick, of course!