Working Women Wednesday is a weekly highlight of the hard-working women within the Girl Gang. This week’s feature is Owner of OY-L, Andrea Pierce-Naymon.
Your Local Girl Gang: Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?
Andrea Pierce-Naymon: I started OY-L in 2016 with the mission to find a non-toxic yet luxury skincare that would be safe for my daughters and myself and for every other Mom who would be concerned about what they put on their bodies. I wanted to be a brand of “beauty without secrets” meaning that when you read the label, you knew what was in the product, not a bunch of chemicals you have no idea what they do or whether they were safe to use.
YLGG: When and how did the idea for OY-L come to you?
AP-N: When my youngest daughter was 16 she came down with an illness no doctor was able to diagnose. It took 2 years, many consults, a misdiagnosis before being diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). During this time I was sitting in the hospital during countless tests and admissions and wondering what it was that was making her sick. I started reading labels on everything from household products to cosmetics. I googled the words I didn’t know and was horrified by what I learned. Though my daughter’s illness was not a dermatological one, I started looking into natural cosmetics. Through much research and consulting with a cosmetic chemist, I came up with formulas that were safe and also effective.
YLGG: Growing up, what was your dream job?
AP-N: ER doctor
YLGG: What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
When I was interviewing companies to develop my website, I had 3 interviews with the one company I thought would do the best job. But by the third interview there was less interest and an uncomfortable meeting. The guy said, “in reality, I could build you a website and take your money, but my best advice would be to take that money and get rebranded!” Yikes, I was pissed! But what happened was that I did take his advice, worked with a Cleveland ad agency who refined my label, went to a beauty expo in New York and got tons of press because of the rebranding. It was a Saks Fifth Ave buyer that came to my booth and told me she loved my brand and 6 months later, I was selling on Sak’s website. The BEST advice, I ever got!!
YLGG: What piece of advice you would give to women starting their own businesses?
AP-N: It takes a village! Starting a company is not easy. You need support from family, friends and business professionals that want to help. You need a lawyer, accountant, marketing, reputable suppliers and employees. They all don’t work out at first, so know when it’s time to let go and find other support. Realize at first you are going to have to do everything from ordering, making product, throwing out the trash and mopping the floors. If you love what you are doing, even mopping the floors is exciting!
YLGG: What do you like most about your workspace?
AP-N: With my initial investment, I was able to secure space at the Akron Global Business Accelerator , now called Bounce Innovation Hub. It is the old BF Goodrich plant that has been revitalized. It houses many start-up companies from tech to medical to software companies. It is such a cool entrepreneurial space.
YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?
AP-N: Besides my Starbucks, I could not go without my pets. I have two senior cats and a rescued French bulldog. They are so much fun and great stress relievers. They are also the reason, I wouldn’t use any products that are tested on animals.
YLGG: Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.
AP-N: Jo Malone