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Chelsa Crowley

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Profile

Chelsa Skees Crowley is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Stowaway Cosmetics, an online cosmetic company on a mission to bring women high-quality makeup that fits into their lives. The Indiana-native earned her Bachelors degree from Indiana University, studying art, math, archaeology, and veterinary medicine before settling on a marketing major. She put herself through college working as a makeup artist at a Clinique counter.

After graduation, Crowley took a position as a project manager at an advertising agency. Dreaming of New York, Crowley started bartending on the weekends to save money. Soon after, Clinique offered her a position doing in-house product education. Juggling all three jobs, Crowley soon saved enough for her big move to New York. She landed in the city with no plan and one friend, the founder of a start-up. After six months working as her friend’s office manager, Crowley took a position at Calvin Klein as a design studio coordinator. For a young woman with a lifelong passion for the creative fashion world, it was a dream job. She worked at Calvin Klein Collection for six years, eventually serving as design studio manager. Along the way, she worked with major fashion figures including Francisco Costa, Karl Templer, and Camilla Nickerson.

Eventually, however, Crowley began to burn out. Leaving Calvin Klein, she started seeking new opportunities, working as a freelance stylist and style writer. She served as the resident beauty and fashion expert for NY Daily News, and did freelance content and online editorial for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. She was also a frequent contributor to beauty and fashion publications including MSNBC’s The Look on TODAY, Brit.co, Pattern Pulp and Shopbob.

The hectic balancing act of her freelance life would provide the inspiration for Crowley’s next endeavor. One day over breakfast, Crowley and friend and fellow freelancer Julie Fredrickson began comparing beauty routines. The two women discovered they shared common beauty frustrations. Not only were products too large to finish before they expired, but carrying them around as they went through their busy lives was a hassle. By the time they’d finished their last cup of coffee, they’d come up with a new business concept, creating cosmetics that fit into the lives of modern women.

The co-founders spent six months developing the idea, before quitting their freelance jobs to jump headlong into entrepreneurship. They launched Stowaway Cosmetics in February 2015, featuring a line of six products sized to fit into the palm of your hand.

Crowley lives in New York with her husband, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley. The couple married in 2013, six years after meeting at Dennis’s annual Christmas party.

Companies and Investments

Stowaway Cosmetic (Co-founder, Chief Creative Officer), NY Daily News (Contributor), Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (Freelance Content and Online Editorial), Shopbop (Contributing Writer), Pattern Pulp (Contributing Writer), Brit.co (Contributing Writer), Today (Contributing Writer), Calvin Klein (Design Studio Manager, Design Studio Coordinator), Clinique (In-House Product Education, Makeup Artist)

Lessons Learned

Then she asked me, "How can I find these smaller sizes on a more consistent basis?" It was the first time she asked me a beauty question that I didn't have the answer to. I was freelancing at Bobbi Brown and freelance writing at the time, and I was carrying everything around in my backpack — my laptop, my gym stuff, and my entire makeup bag. Julie was like, "Well, that's stupid. You're carrying around a 10-pound makeup bag and half the stuff you don't use." Julie's economic intuition turned on. We knew we would buy these smaller sizes if they were available. So we started to dig into why they were impossible to find. (Chelsa Crowley, on building solutions to problems and creating the products you with you could find, in an interview in Cosmopolitan)

Inspiring Quotes

Chelsa Crowley's Quotes

We were frustrated, and we went out to solve our own problem. We wanted makeup that people could love, in a size you can carry.

Chelsa Crowley

Be OK with not being good at certain things, and move on. Focus instead on what you love doing and what you’re good at.

Chelsa Crowley

Influential Books

Mentors

Karl Templer, Camilla Nickerson, Francisco Costa

References


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