Name: Sarah Levey
City: Fairhope, AL
Main Hustle: Lifestyle Production Designer and Editorial Stylist for The Southern Atelier, a fashion and lifestyle media company with Southern style, coastal vibes and a passion for all things local and artisan.
An atelier is a workshop of creativity; a studio for artistic individuality for the likes of artisans, designers, and all other forms of creatives. The Southern Atelier’s blog is meant to be the digital age’s response to a magazine, featuring articles with an exchange of creative information that focus on both modern Southern style and lifestyle.
Side Hustle: Beautycounter
How did you get started?: I was writing an article on Mobile Fashion Week for The Southern Atelier and while doing research for the makeup sponsor, Beautycounter, I discovered that it aligned with my clean living lifestyle. After interviewing Bryant Wood (Beautycounter Managing Director) for the article, I researched the “natural” and “organic” products I was using on EWG.org per Bryant’s suggestion. I learned that the products I was using on my skin were being marketed as healthy but in reality were full of toxins, which was incredibly frustrating. I also learned that there is little to no regulation in the beauty industry and that the last legislation passed was in the 1930s.
I have had some significant health issues over the past ten years, and I already knew that your skin is your largest organ and that you should not put anything on your skin that you would not put in your body; it only takes 27 seconds for ingredients to hit your blood stream after applying a product to your skin. What I did not know is that I had beed misled by marketing for years thinking I was making the best choices for my health, when in reality I was wrong.
After researching the safe and clean aspect of the company, I wanted to learn more about the performance and pigment payoff. I followed up with a few of the runway models after Mobile Fashion Week and got rave reviews on the Beautycounter makeup they wore in the show. I also reached out to my favorite designer of the evening, Wisteria Way Designs, and she was able to confirm how high-performing of a product Beautycounter provides.
After researching the brand, I wanted to see for myself how well it worked. Bryant gave me some products to try out over the weekend, which I loved, and I took some skincare samples with me to Paris. By the time I got back home, I was thoroughly convinced. I joined Beautycounter under Bryant shortly after in hopes that in sharing my health journey and newfound knowledge, others health would be positively impacted.
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: One of the things I love about my side hustle is that I can work on it from anywhere and everywhere and on my own terms, meaning I can work when I have extra time, and when I am busy I can push it aside.
I love the freedom of being able to choose how much time I want to invest into my side hustle and being able to run the business the way that I want.
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Getting outside of my comfort zone has been the biggest challenge for me. In my regular job, I do PR and Marketing for brands, which feels natural to me, but the sales process threw me off at first since I have never had to actually close on a product—just promote it. I am not a good salesperson, but the fact that what I am sharing with my friends and contacts can improve their health makes that aspect easier for me, although it still is not innate.
This may sound silly, but another challenge I face is a phobia of speaking on camera. I am comfortable speaking in public and being on camera during photoshoots, but after a disastrous commercial television shoot several years ago for one of Birmingham’s news stations, I became terrified to speak on camera. So, in the spirit of pushing myself outside of my comfort level, I recently recorded videos for several of The Southern Atelier’s clients, as well as Beautycounter products, and posted them to my stories on Instagram. What seems like a small, insignificant task to most had me borderline crippled with fear and insecurity. I know it may sound trivial to most, but for me it was a very large challenge that I am working to overcome.
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: The rewards are endless!
Pushing myself past my comfort zone has caused more growth in the past few months than I have experienced in the past year, and through the growth I have acquired an increased level of confidence in myself.
I entered this side hustle with such a health-minded approach that I was surprised to see how happy and how much confidence these products can give both men and women. I knew I was going to improve people’s physical health, but seeing someone’s emotional health directly impacted by the products I provide has been empowering! I get several selfies sent to me a week from people saying, “Look! My skin is glowing!” or “I’m feeling so pretty today!” A boost in confidence can make a world of difference to people.
One of the greatest rewards is the convergence of education and advocacy efforts for safer, better beauty and cleaner cosmetics that I have lended my voice to.
Beautycounter advocates for stricter guidelines and regulatory laws to shift the personal care industry away from harmful and questionable ingredients, and I have found working to create change incredibly rewarding.
Who is your greatest supporter?: Jordan, my husband, has bought in to the better beauty movement, and he provides invaluable business advice, as well as encouragement and support.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: Health and wellness. I have come so far in my journey to wellness; less than five years ago, I was bed-bound and had to use a walker. Medicine was able to help me recover, but only to a certain extent. I have seen tremendous improvements in my health through lifestyle changes over the past few years after reaching a plateau with modern medicine.
Another inspiration is the brand itself and how effective making the clean swap can be. Sometimes getting to the gym or eating clean can be difficult, but changing beauty brands is probably the easiest thing a person can do to impact their health and clean up their lifestyle. That’s why Beautycounter is so inspiring to me.
Have you received recognition for your work? I rose to Senior Manager in my first month with Beautycounter. I am currently in my third month with the company.
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: Right now my goal is to do well enough with my side hustle to cover the expenses of my weekly medical treatments, but my overall goal is to rise to Managing Director within the company and improve the health of countless lives along the way.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
Do not be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone—that is most often where the most growth will occur.
Feature Photo by Pure7