Beauty, Business, and Bravery
Episode 30
December 1, 2020

Beauty, Business, and Bravery

with Terri Bryant, Founder of Guide Beauty

As a professional makeup artist and beauty educator, techniques that had been second nature during her whole career became suddenly much more challenging for Terri Bryant, Founder of Guide Beauty. Shortly after losing the precision that she had always had, Terri was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, where she experienced firsthand the frustrations of applying makeup and created Guide Beauty, a collection of makeup tools and products that reimagine the application process. Awarded Best of Beauty by Allure magazine and ranked one of Oprah Magazine's Best Beauty Products of 2020, Guide Beauty provides an easier and better way to apply makeup. In this episode, Terri shares with us her career journey from working behind the Estée Lauder beauty counter at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York to working at top beauty brands, including Stila Cosmetics, Dior, and Smashbox, to creating and launching Guide Beauty during the pandemic. We talk about the importance of building an inclusive brand, what she learned about Universal Design, and how her background in elementary education worked for her, rather than against her, within the beauty industry.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How her supportive parents and an excellent makeup artist helped her fall in love with makeup and education at an early age
  • How she went from working behind the Chanel counter in Syracuse to working behind the Estee Lauder counter in New York City, to working with a new company called Stila
  • Why her study at Syracuse University in elementary and special education actually gave her a unique skill set for being a makeup artist and educator in the beauty industry 
  • Why she left a job she loved and was thriving in to take an incredible opportunity to lead and develop the education program for the then unknown brand, Smashbox, which brought her from NYC to LA
  • How her role at Smashbox helped her develop skills that would later help her as a Founder of her own company
  • How in the midst of her growing career, her physical ability suddenly changed unexpectedly and continued to become more and more of an issue until she was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease
  • How her diagnosis sparked a desire to solve this problem not just for herself, but for any and everyone who struggles with the current makeup tools available, laying the groundwork for a very inclusive brand
  • How she found the partnership she needed to bring her idea to life and reimagine the beauty industry in a way that would make a difference for so many 
  • How building an online community before launching during the pandemic has created some genuine momentum and success
  • What great advice Terri has to share when it comes to building a great brand and being a great leader in a world that pushes back when you want to bring about change

To Find Out More:


“Even with the things that have been the most challenging, if you wait long enough, something beautiful will be born from it. Something good happens.”

“Learning as much as I could about every piece of that puzzle was only going to benefit what I was going to do in my own world. And so I think that was probably the biggest takeaway.”

“If you're starting something new, a thousand percent know why you're there and what you want to do, so that when it does come time to speak up, you can stand confident that you are standing on something strong.”

“I realized that I could do something sort of bigger and larger than myself. So I set out to start to reimagine makeup applications for people like me who have a physical limitation.”

“I've learned over the years that sharing is what connects you to people and it's so helpful.”

“We need to be thinking about larger groups. We need to be thinking about community.”

"Think about the needs of the greatest group and include those who have the greatest need and in the process, you will end up creating a better product or process for the whole."

“I think that in the industry there needs to be a shift of thinking. You're not creating a separate product, you're creating one of better products for the whole.”

“I believed what I was doing. I felt strongly that I had the right product and I had the right story and then I had nothing to lose by sharing it.”

“If you feel like you have something to offer, you're doing yourself a disservice, you're doing somebody else a disservice. Give them the opportunity to say yes or no. You got nothing to lose. You really don't.”

“I will never regret asking. I will never regret trying. But I certainly know I will regret it if I don't. And so I'm happy to deal with the sadness or the frustration or the anger of whatever comes if it doesn't work out my way. I'm not willing to spend the rest of my life wondering what if.”

“Life's always going to hand you change ups. And then it's just about taking a step back and figuring out how you pivot with it.”

“If you hit a roadblock and you're not sure how to deal, talk to people who do.”

“Everything we do will have that thoughtful moment, whether it's this revolutionary way to make the application easier or just little thoughtful moments that just make it more pleasurable to use.”

“If you are passionate, if you want to do it, get out there. Know that it is not easy and that is OK.”

“There are days where you may want to hide under the table. Don't let anybody tell you you can't. Just remember to get back out from under the table eventually and move forward.”

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