“Female Disruptor” How I used my STEM background to launch a successful skincare brand and land a de
Updated: Jan 29
Hi i'm Lyndsey Brantley, Structural engineer turned Medical Aesthetics practitioner and my company Camellia Alise is the first natural unisex shaving solution to be picked up by Walmart….. Here is my story!
9 years ago I found myself looking at a letter that I never expecting to get, I was a new graduate with one year on the job as a structural engineer that was at the top of my class and had just started to learn what it was like to be in corporate America, there was a downturn in the oil and gas industry and the company I was working for was going through a massive layoff cycle, I unfortunately was a casualty of the cycle so I was laid off with no back up plan and had no clue what to do next.
After 6 months of trying to get another job in the industry I decided to go another way and get a job at a medical spa since it had always been a passion of mine to learn about the industry. Of course many friends and associates questioned by decision but I saw it as an opportunity to try something new (Definitely not knowing what it would ultimately lead to!). I decided to go back to school and get my Medical Aesthetics certification because I really loved the field and everything that I was learning.
I ultimately went back into the Oil and Gas industry but couldn’t let go of the feeling that I was meant to go back to the skincare and wellness industry.
Fast forward to 2011 when I found myself trying to start my family with my husband and running into more difficulties then we ever thought possible. I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at a very young age and had been struggling with the skin sensitivities most of my life but it wasn’t until I dealt with it on the fertility side that I started to understand that the skin issues and the PCOS were actually symptoms of each other. Then I started to recall all the ladies I had helped when I was working at the medical spas and how I had come up with innovative concoctions to help their scars and to help alleviate their razor bumps when there was nothing on the store shelf to help and a light went off in my head!!!! I put on my engineering hat and I decided to find a solution to the problem.
I had always had a passion for skincare and learning about health and wellness but I now had a specific passion and purpose that motivated me to do more. I was really disappointed to learn there were very limited selections for skin and even fewer on the shave aisle to meet the specific needs of women with PCOS so after years of trial and error, testing, and research the Camellia Alise shaving regimen was born. I could say that the journey to building this company was easy but I would be lying, there were many sleepless nights and restless days but I knew it was my destiny so I kept pushing the company forward. In November of 2016 I won my first pitch competition and over $10,000 in funding to launch the company and have been going full force with it every sense winning over 4 pitch competitions, 3 CEO awards, and getting various features in the Huffington Post, USA Weekly, Ebony Magazine and many more.
The secret to it all and my number one piece of advice has always been “Don’t give Up” for every success I have had and every deal I have gotten there has been 1 other one that didn’t work out. I operate under the philosophy that “what’s meant for me, is for me and if this one isn’t meant for me the next opportunity will come along” so far it has served me well.
When the Walmart opportunity came along I jumped on it! Being both WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) and Leap Bunny certified was right up their alley, Walmart has a $250 Billion dollar initiate to buy US made products so when I pitched at their headquarters it was a success and I walked away with a green light to launch on their online platform as well as their Jet.com platform and an invite to come back next year to pitch for Walmart’s shelf space. Our company is only 18 months in so we have a long way to go but I just continue looking for new opportunities daily and because I stay committed to the success of my brand the doors keep opening.
The two most important things I have learned on this journey and want to share is this. 1) Keep moving forward and the right opportunity will find you and 2)You can’t please everyone and you can’t listen to everyone else’s opinion, there were so many people who told me I wouldn’t be successful and I should just stick with my “Degree career path” but the reason I am able to truly disrupt the skincare industry is because of my STEM background so its ok if everyone doesn’t believe in it, as long as you believe in what you are doing don’t be afraid to pursue it!