She founded an all-American makeup company to empower women to pay down the U.S. national debt
Randa Fahmy is the founder of Makeup America!, a new American-branded, patriotic-themed beauty company with a unique social purpose: paying down the U.S. National Debt. She has 30+ years of legal and public policy experience, including service in the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. Government. Previously, she served as the U.S. Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy, served as Counselor to a United States Senator and practiced as a corporate attorney. Ms. Fahmy’s opinions on international diplomacy have been published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and she appears frequently as an expert analyst on NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, BBC.
How did you decide to start your own company?
I make up America! You make up America! We make up America! That is what I was thinking when I founded Makeup America! the first American branded, patriotic themed, beauty company with a unique social purpose: uniting and empowering women to pay down the U.S. national debt. I wanted to reflect the American Spirit, allowing women, no matter who they are and where they come from, to confidently radiate their beauty, diversity, creativity, and independence.
As the daughter of immigrants, I had a heightened sense of appreciation for the American Dream. My favorite day was July 4, 1976 when in honor of America’s bicentennial, I rode my red, white and blue Sears bike through the streets of my neighborhood, with red lipstick on, yelling Happy 200th Birthday America! I eventually moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in law & politics. Yet throughout my 30-year career, I was disheartened that no politician was focused on reducing our national debt. After all aren’t we taught to mind our personal debt? But who is looking out for America’s debt?
Driven by our country’s entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to unite and empower women, I decided to combine my passion for fashion and admiration for America to create Makeup America! My company was born of the realization that there is a growing demand by women who wanted premium American made cosmetics that meet our country’s high standards of quality, transparency, health and safety. Our products are cruelty-free, non-GMO, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and suitable for all skin tones and types. Wrapped in red, white and blue, our long-wearing, high-quality nail polish and lipsticks are priced affordably at $13.76, and $17.76.
I’m loving the origin of your startup. If you could change one thing from your professional past to do over, what would it be?
While attending Georgetown University Law School, I had the opportunity to get my joint J.D./MBA in 4 years. I declined in order to graduated with my J.D. degree in 3 years. Now, as I build my company, Makeup America!, I frequently wish I had that additional MBA to understand some business terminology.
[Editor’s note: check out Alice for a list of MBA degrees and other educational programs]
I appreciate the honesty. Given your success, what advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
Seek out other entrepreneurs who are at your same stage, ahead of you, or even those who have successfully sold their businesses. They have helped me on everything from crowdfunding to digital media strategy. Also seek out professionals in various fields who can help you build your business. My favorite saying is — “Even though I am a lawyer, I know enough to know what I don’t know.”
[Editor’s note: Alice has a collection of resources to help you find a mentor]
And speaking of advice for other founders — What do you do when you ask for something and “no” as an answer?
I dust off both of my shoulders and move on. My thirty years of experience in law and politics in Washington, D.C. have prepared me for many nos. It truly just bounces right off me now. A lot of nos don’t really matter when you get one yes.
How has being part of the Alice community helped you?
it has helped me connect and network with other female founders, investors, and entrepreneurs. I met so many people at the 2018 Circular Summit that have already produced wonderful cooperative relationships, like with Miss USA Kara McCullough, the fabulous team at Accessmatized, Julia Westfall at Hera Hub, the team at BeaconDC, Springboard Enterprises, and the Small Business Administration.
That’s great! And is there a specific resource that you recommend to your fellow Alice users?
Yes — for sure! Check out the Collections section. All the articles on angel investors, VCs, and female-led investment firms have been tremendously helpful to me as I enter in my first round of seed stage funding.
Wonderful! It sounds like you’re really open to developing new partnerships and networking. If people want to connect with you, how should they go about doing that?
Yes all of the above. If you would like to discuss partnerships and investors. Please get in touch by direct messaging us on Instagram @makeupamerica.usor email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s all very timely since I am looking to grow in all these areas!