Beauty industry insider and entrepreneur Liana Blomquist, 32, had her ‘aha moment’ in 2018 when she started gardening again.
“I already had some basic knowledge, but it quickly became a passion, where I spent every minute of my free time taking care of my plants,” she said. “During the same period, I was also seeing the alarming rate of new product launches in the market that fueled the non-renewable and non-recyclable endless cycle,” she said.
Realizing that using reusable, sustainable and local ingredients was the best way forward, she literally woke up.
“One night I suddenly woke up and my head started spinning with ideas. I realized that if I grew potent beauty plants on rooftops, I could merge my passions for beauty and gardening to help make New York City and the beauty industry greener and more places. beautiful, ”she said. “I haven’t slept the rest of the night and my head has been spinning ever since.”
From that seedling idea, Brooklyn Rooftop Botanicals was born, quickly blossoming into a passion where she spent “every minute” of her free time tending to and learning all about plants.
Blomquist began her career at Elizabeth Arden, later acquired by Revlon, in 2012. Working in a marketing role in London, she helped launch celebrity fragrance lines from Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, as well as designer fragrances such as Juicy Couture, John Varvatos, BCBG and Halston.
When she moved to New York City in 2015, she took on a global marketing and product development role for Elizabeth Arden fragrance and skin care brands, launching around 30 products and winning global awards.
During this same period, she became more aware of her beauty consumption habits, realizing that she wanted to merge her passions for beauty and change the way raw materials are grown, processed and purchased in the world. beauty industry to help fight climate change.
“The personal care industry still creates 120 billion units of plastic, of which only 9% will be recycled, and contributes a fifth of global deforestation per year to produce soybeans and palm oil, raw materials. that are found in abundance. in personal care products and sometimes disguised under different names.
She left Revlon in fall 2019, continuing to consult for them and a startup on the side until she was ready to debut at Brooklyn Rooftop Botanicals this spring.
To date, it is the city’s first rooftop beauty farm, spanning three rooftops (2,000 square feet) and cultivates over 50 plants from which to create extracts and beauty products.
“My mission is to show and educate how beauty plants can be grown in an urban environment, so that we can think in a more local, sustainable and conscious way when it comes to our beauty consumption habits,” said Blomquist.
Currently, her website is an educational blog.
“I create content to help my audience learn to grow, to formulate and to be more sustainable, so that generates ad and affiliate revenue for me,” she said. “This year has been the test year for the rooftop farm itself to make raw materials and then produce from what I grow. The goal is to sell some of these products and then develop further.
His days usually begin with checks on his three rooftops (one is his, two are organized by friends), spread across Brooklyn, once or twice a week. Much of his time is also spent on product development.
“Interestingly enough, my role is similar to what I did in my previous role at Revlon, it’s just that I design and develop products from seed to bottle on my own roof, effectively shortening the supply chain.” , the founder and CEO mentioned. “Once I harvest my plants, I dehydrate them and turn them into extracts. I then meet with the various members of my product development team to create simple but effective products from them.
Starting your own business has not been without speed bumps.
“When times are tough you have to reconsider your path, focus on the things you can do now and put all your strength into them to keep moving you forward, even if they take you out of your comfort zone,” he said. she declared. “Before the pandemic, I didn’t care about social media because I didn’t want to deal with the repercussions of my presence. Then the pandemic hit and a lot of my plans came to a halt, so I looked at how I could be aware of other and TikTok was an avenue. “
For budding entrepreneurs, Blomquist points out that this is a real jungle.
“To be a real driver of change, you have to think about what’s going on in a social and economic sense, as well as look to the future to see what you can fix,” she said. “Being completely transparent and authentic is also the only way to go.”
To that end, Blomquist said it’s essential “to have a long-term picture of what you want to do and to have it absolutely clear in your mind, but be realistic about how you’re going to get there with it.” achievable and measurable goals. that start with now.
Any other important tips for entrepreneurs?
“Know your strengths and find the people who can fill your gaps,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, so I branched out and cold called everyone in the industry for any advice they might have to help me level up. superior. Sometimes it’s just those 30-minute conversations that can really get you going. “
Through it all, staying committed to your vision is paramount.
“Be afraid of the commitment, the risks and the reality of [running your own company] are all normal feelings to have at first, so know that you are not alone, ”she said. “I myself had a lot of these thoughts at first, but I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t fully immerse myself in them, I would regret it. “