Since she was a kid, she’s known she wanted to have her own cosmetics company. Now, at 24, Jessica Truesdale is two years into a business that she hopes will be about more than just makeup. True You Cosmetics, which started out featuring vintage-inspired lipsticks and glosses, is now on its way to becoming what the recent college grad calls her “future beauty empire.”
“I’ve always been fascinated by make- up and fashion,” says Truesdale, who entered Spelman College for a sociology degree with a business plan already in hand. That’s because growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina, she was surrounded by beauty, brains, and entrepreneurial brawn. Her mother, Althea, and her grandmother, Florence Baker Sample, were chic and classic couture queens who imparted a sense of style and product savvy to their young charge. Her father was a plastic surgeon who offered his own modest makeup line catering to the “enhanced” face. While in high school, Truesdale took the seed of that line and began to run with it, plotting out her routes for manufacturing, branding, sales, and marketing.
When Truesdale was in her sophomore year at Spelman, her social media campaign had her college sisters salivating so heavily for her dramatic lip colors––each one named after a Hollywood icon, such as Dorothy Dandridge and Marilyn Monroe––that during her first year in operation she sold $5,000 worth of product. True You, catering to “glamorous girls on the go,” was launched. Today she works with a panoply of suppliers, manufacturers, and PR professionals, and has a staff of four.
The brand, which appeals to teens and adults alike, has expanded into the full makeup palette, featuring products containing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Truesdale plans to incorporate wellness, beauty, and fashion into brands to come. She has already folded short- and long-sleeved T-shirts into her line, and within the next few years she is slated to expand from mainly online to brick-and-mortar outlets in her local Atlanta and beyond. Once she finishes with esthetician school and an MBA, she has designs on setting up a line of medi-spas aimed at pampering and enhancing people’s natural beauty.
“Turn your fascination into something you can make money from and enjoy,” she advises other young entrepreneurs. “And don’t let parental pressure influence you to do something that’s not you. Be your ‘true you’ and keep trying things out until you hit on the right path.”, ideally at night.