Meet Barbara Carey! A talented entrepreneur and the inventor of Spinlash, the first mascara that revolves around you. In this interview, Barbara Carey talks about her early entrepreneurial days from age 9, Hairagami her most successful invention to date, gives advice on how to decide about what business to be in, and her ten top beauty secrets.

When did your interest in becoming an entrepreneur begin?
I don’t know exactly when I decided that I was going to become an inventor/entrepreneur. All I know is that I had an experience early in life that I return to time and time again as a source of inspiration and wisdom. This occurred when I was nine years old. My brother was a Cub Scout, and as a part of his enrollment in that organization, he received Boy’s Life magazine. Curious about just what was in a magazine with that title, I used to sneak a peek or two at it when I found issues lying around the house. I’d casually flip through them, giggling at the notion of my brother as a tender foot, but genuinely interested in how what the Boy Scouts taught differed from my experiences in the Girl Scouts.
I flipped to the back of the magazine and found there a kind of classified section with advertisements for pocketknives, rucksacks, and the like. I was about to shut the magazine when another advertisement stabbed my eye:
“Want Your Own Job and Financial Independence?”
They had me hooked. Of course I wanted financial independence. Who doesn’t? Sign me up!
The next line sealed the deal:
“Make Money and Start Your Own Business.”
All I had to do was send them $19.95 for supplies, and I would receive a kit that could yield me $100.00. This $19.95 was the start-up funds I needed to start my own business selling metal cards the size and shape of a credit card with the customer’s Social Security Number embossed on it. My head swam with the possibilities. To a nine year-old in 1969, $19.95 was a formidable amount of capital to raise. I may not have known exactly what assets were, but I knew I didn’t have any. How could I raise the cash to get my venture off the ground?
I explained the situation to my mother, and, as was the firmly established tradition in our household, she told me I could work for the money. We agreed that thirty-five cents an hour was a fair wage for vacuuming and polishing silver. Fifty-seven hours later I had my start-up capital. I sent the money into the company and three weeks later my kit arrived. I set out going from door to door asking neighbors if they wanted the card. I had enough raw materials to make at least 50 Social Security Cards, and I owned the machine with which to do the embossing. I was set. I was determined to build an empire in no time. The last few minutes of the school day were interminable. When the school day finally ended, I sprinted straight home so I could get started selling.
With no prompting from anyone—I didn’t bother to read the selling tips that came with the instructions for the embosser—I soon learned how to sell. I decided I would go to the neighbors and tell them all the reasons why a metal Social Security Card would make their lives not only better, but easier too. I kept track of these reasons and tried them out in many different ways. Soon I knew exactly what I needed to say to sell this item. The cute factor of being a child must have helped as well, since I made a number of sales my first day out. The gleam in Dad’s eye when I told him was almost as great a reward as the profit I earned on my selling trips.

What was your first break as business women?
Hairagami®, my most successful product to date, is a great example of necessity being the mother of invention. The inspiration for Hairagami® came directly from my own frustration and impatience. All my life I had spent the better part of an hour each morning curling and styling my hair for the day. I just knew there had to be a better way. I remembered that in the 1980s I’d seen a product called a slap bracelet that used spring steel to sort of snap onto your wrist. They were inexpensive costume jewelry made from little strips of metal about one inch wide and eight inches long. I bought a dozen of them at a party supply store with the idea that there would be a way for them to spring my hair into curls. After all, the principle behind hair curlers is that you must attach them somehow. Anything had to be better than bobby pins and roll-up curlers.

One day in early November of 1998, my son and I were working in our shared office and I pulled out the slap bracelets. I told Rich Jr. that I wanted to curl my hair. I placed the bracelets in my hair vertically and attached my hair to them with a rubber band, but when I bent them to make them spring they just fizzled out. They wouldn’t spring shut like I wanted them to and they just fell out on the floor. I picked them up and hurled them across the room, and I heard the “swoosh” and they landed in the garbage. And I said to my son, "See Rich Jr., this is an example of my 1001st idea that DOESN’T work.”

My son looked up at me and then went to the garbage can to rescue my next big success. He took the bracelets in his hand, walked over to me and said, "Mom you need to work with this. After all, you don’t let me give up that quick! " He was right and just to be a good mom, I agreed to work with it a bit more. I took my blinders off and this time I placed the slap bracelets in my hair horizontally. When I rolled them up, then bent them, they did spring shut. But soon they, too, fell out. It was obvious I needed stronger steel. The next day I researched steel suppliers and ordered steel samples of various thickness with the same curve of a slap bracelet. What I ordered was called sheet and strip steel, a flat, rolled steel usually less than three millimeters thick. In total, I believe I spent less than one hundred dollars on samples, and this expense was for shipping charges.

Seventy-eight hours later I emerged exhausted from my little two-car garage with two beat up pieces of rusty, ugly steel that you wouldn’t want to touch to your hair. But I was confident they would work. I developed a system for heating the metal that made it stronger and yet more flexible. I ran into the house, went into the bathroom and tried them in my own hair. What I saw in the mirror frightened and exhilarated me. I saw a woman—with sooty raccoon-eyes from her goggles—have her hat-head hair transformed instantly into a perfect bun. I’d done it! Later I would be granted a patent for the intrinsic value of potential energy that I captured in the steel of the Hairagami® product.

“I have a calling to invent, it’s something I’ve always been inspired to do, and it’s a part of my life. I enjoy being creative everyday and offering solutions to people in innovative new ways.”

How was the concept for SPINLASH born?
I got the idea of SPINLASH because I was befuddled by all the Big Company advertising touting that a new mascara brush or new formula would solve the clumping issue of mascara. None of them have ever worked for me and it just did not make sense to me. So I looked at natural eyelashes under magnification and found that all eyelashes are disorderly. Under magnification they looked like a forest of twisted twigs with tons of nooks and crannies just waiting to trap mascara. I thought, “Putting mascara on naturally disorderly lashes is the same as putting hairspray on bed-head”. Soon it became obvious to me I had to create a mascara that combs through your lashes while at the same time it coats your lashes. I cut a normal mascara brush and wand off its handle, stuck it in the base of a rotating lollipop holder and the first prototype of SPINLASH™ was born; a gently rotating mascara brush that coats, separates and curls your lashes all at once. Please note that SPINLASH will also line your eyelids at the same time. Just hold the brush at the base of your eyelashes and pause before stroking up. You will get a coat of eyeliner. No other mascara in the world will do that.

What are some of the main mascara issues SPINLASH is here to solve?
Eyelashes are naturally disorganized, this is normal. The #1 mascara complaint – IT CLUMPS! But why does it clump? Clumps are caused by applying traditional mascara to natural, disorderly lashes. Applying mascara to messy eyelashes is the same as applying hairspray to tangled hair! Because SPINLASH removes clumps with every turn, now for the first time, you can simultaneously comb and coat your eyelashes – NO MORE CLUMPS! Get perfect lashes every time!

Why did you decide to take on SPINLASH, what makes this mascara so amazing?
Though there are many mascara choices found throughout the cosmetic industry, none of the existing mascara choices have succeeded in solving the number one problem women face with mascara – clumps. That is because the other mascara companies all try to solve this problem by only changing the formula or the brush. But SPINLASH™ finally takes a new approach to solving the age-old mascara clumping problem. Women are finally able to style their lashes while applying the mascara formula – creating a smooth, sleek, sexy mascara look.

What tips can you give us for achieving the best results using SPINLASH?
SPINLASH really is easy to use, all you have to do is comb through from the base of your lashes to the tip as the brush rotates. One Hint However – For a liquid eyeliner look – While applying SPINLASH mascara hold the wand at the base of your eyelashes and pause for just a moment, before stroking upwards. You actually get a perfect coat of mascara and a professional application of eyeliner – all at the same time!

Most people love the idea of owning their own business but are often discouraged because they just don’t know what it is they want to do. How do you go about deciding what business to be in?
Hairagami®, my most successful product to date, with more than $80 million in retail sales worldwide, is a perfect example of business selection because it has all the components of a dream product. It has an extremely low unit cost, high sales margins, virtually no tooling costs, and a much higher perceived value than a hair clip because it styles the hair. Additionally, it saves money and time by reducing or eliminating trips to the hair salon. But, most importantly, Hairagami® has the magic of demonstration needed to inspire sales. I still am amazed when I see Hairagami® make a person’s hair go “poof” into the perfect hairstyle.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
It’s not hard at all, but you need guts to make the decision to bring your dream forward. Persistence and patience are two important traits that any entrepreneur needs. I’m a pretty determined individual and I’ve worked hard to get where I want to be. I’ve also overcome a number of obstacles along the way. The great thing about challenges is how much you learn from them—especially about yourself.

What keeps you in business and not retiring?
I have a calling to invent, it’s something I’ve always been inspired to do, and it’s a part of my life. I enjoy being creative everyday and offering solutions to people in innovative new ways.

Who are some of the people that inspire you?
My father has been the most inspirational person to me. He taught me that hard work, positive attitude and morals and integrity are key.

On top of everything you look beautiful, what is your secret?
I have a couple “beauty secrets”:
1. The Finishing Touch: I pay attention to details like creasing my jeans down the front. It makes me feel clean, neat, fashionable and BEAUTIFUL.
2. Practice Peaceful Rejuvenation: I take a bath every night by candlelight while listening to classical music.
3. Surround yourself with artful interest: I keep cut flowers in my home. They are tied with leaves in an "origami" fashion. They are interesting, but romantic with a minimalist feel.
4. Don’t forget to Play: All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. I keep my first grade essay next to my computer, it is called My Favorite Subject is Recess. I make a point of having fun in my life each and every day. Having fun keeps my spirit alive; energy is beautiful on any woman.
5. Wear mascara. Even when I am running out to the grocery store in jeans and a sweatshirt, I make sure that I have my mascara on and artfully applied. It is the one make-up that I don’t leave home without.
6. Sleep in ironed sheets. Before I could afford to have this done, I did it myself and it only takes a few minutes. Hint: Instead of taking the sheet to the ironing board it is easier to take the iron to the bed.
7. Smile. Smile Big … and Smile often; my father reminds me frequently that a woman’s smile is her most noticed fashion accessory.

What’s next for Barbara Carey?
Firebox, but it is not announced yet! I promise you will love it.

It was a pleasure to interview Barbara you can learn all about SPINLASH at the official website: www.spinlash.com

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 211 user reviews.

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