Shan Berries Talks Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and More

Shades By Shan Lipstick

MP recently spoke with Shan, aka Shan Berries, a well-known TV and Radio host in the San Francisco Bay area. Shan left her morning show in 2019 to focus on growing her makeup line and nonprofit foundation. She is the founder and CEO of Shades By Shan Cosmetics and The Mamaberries Nonprofit Foundation 501(c)(3), where a portion of proceeds from each Shades By Shan purchase goes to support single parents in need. 

Shades By Shan

What is Shades By Shan, and how is it unique?

Shades By Shan is a San Francisco-based impact-driven cosmetics company. Growing up with a single mother, I saw firsthand what single parents have to do to support their children. We have made it our mission to help these true heroes. We are a small but mighty team that has made a difference in the community.

How has Shades By Shan differentiated its brand from other cosmetics companies?

We try hard to provide high-quality luxury products at an affordable price. We immerse ourselves with makeup artists, the everyday consumer, and beginners to better understand what they’re looking for.

We’re always thinking about how this can be useful, how will a person who has never worn makeup try to combine specific colors or know which brush to use, and continue to build a community through our social channels.

Shan Berries
Photo courtesy of Shades by Shan

Why did you start Shades By Shan?

I noticed a trend with influencers collaborating with makeup brands. Why wouldn’t they come out with their brand? I love makeup. I’ve always wanted to start my own business. Why can’t I do that? That’s when I decided to move forward.

What does Shades By Shan stand for as a business, and why?

At Shades By Shan, we pride ourselves on producing fantastic quality makeup at an affordable price, with proceeds helping single parents in need. We are firm believers in being an impact-driven enterprise, and social entrepreneurship is at the forefront of what we stand for. As two sisters raised by a single mother, my sister and I want to give to families who share our struggles growing up and we’re here to make a difference. The fact that we also run the MamaBerries nonprofit means we can help families in dire need and know where every dollar goes.

Entrepreneurship

What three questions should would-be entrepreneurs ask themselves before starting a new venture, and why?

1. What is your purpose, and how will you help complete that purpose?

Without your clear purpose, people won’t understand why you exist. You won’t understand why you exist. This is what will keep you going because times will get tough.

2. What are your strengths & weaknesses?

You will have to surround yourself with people who balance out your weaknesses. Of course, no one is perfect, and that’s okay. But you must take a deep look inside and see where you need help.

3. Are you ready to work harder than you’ve ever imagined?

If your answer is no, then entrepreneurship is not for you. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster where you will put out fires daily. You have to be determined and consistent day in and day out to scale.

Shades By Shan Revival Collection
Photo courtesy of Shades by Shan

What are your three greatest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage those fears?

1. Are People Going To Like My Product?

You test. You ask your network of people and ask your customers. With today’s technology, your customers are at your fingertips. Put one poll up on IG, and boom!

2. Will People Buy My Product?

People might like it, but they won’t necessarily buy it. So, this is where you have to market it, network, go out and meet people, connect with customers on a deeper level and speak to their hearts. We’ve realized that if you follow your passion, the money will come.

3. Is What I’m Doing Aligning With My Purpose?

With every decision that you make, you must ask yourself, “Does this align with my purpose? Does it align with my vision? Is it on brand?” Stay truthful and remind yourself why you started your company in the first place.

What are three obstacles you’ve faced since launching Shades By Shan, and how have you overcome them?

1. Finding the Right Flow With Our Team

We have been lucky to build our team; each person is holding their weight, playing to their strengths.

2. Determining Who Is Dependable in This Industry

We have gone through some disappointments because many people aren’t who they say they are, and their talent isn’t what they say it is. But ultimately, we found a great team of mastery over the years that we love working and making magic with!

3. Cash Flow

Managing finances is always tricky, especially when you are trying to scale and want to stay self-funded.

What do you wish you could have done differently since launching Shades By Shan, and why? 

Honestly, we wouldn’t change anything. We believe that we had to go through all the trials and tribulations to understand and grow stronger on the other side and grow.

Why do you feel like being a Latinx founder has helped or hurt your success?

We live in a world where diversity is celebrated. The Latino spending power is over two trillion dollars a year. Our people come out and support us.

How do you deal with doubt?

We try to educate ourselves, and we try to keep our pulse on trends. We trust our instinct, and we have also surrounded ourselves with some pretty cool mentors.

Leadership

What are three pieces of advice you can share with people looking to become influential leaders in their businesses, and why? 

1. Network 

Everyone has a story. People are interested in learning from your mistakes

2. Continue To Educate Yourself

Nobody knows everything, and things are constantly evolving. Read articles, take classes, and look at things differently. Don’t stop learning.

3. Be Kind and Give Back

It costs nothing to be kind. People will remember how you make them feel. Lead with positivity. Give back. Too few companies give back or do things for their communities. Giving back will resonate with your customers, and make you fulfilled too.

Cover photo courtesy of Shades by Shan