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The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

‘Look good, feel good, do good’: Q&A with founder of Charity by Dawn Lilly

Charity by Dawn Lilly

Each day, millions of women wake-up, shower and begin their daily beauty routine with special attention to the face. Makeup, a key staple in every woman’s arsenal, not only hides imperfections and accentuates their assets, it ensures that women not only look good, but feel good as well.

With that being said, wouldn’t it also be amazing to give back at the same time you are perfecting your look? Well, local entrepreneur and philanthropist Dawn Lilly is enabling women to “look good, feel good, and do good!”

Charity by Dawn Lilly, a Pittsburgh based cosmetic company founded and run by Lilly, is not your run-of-the-mill makeup firm. With the vision of giving back to others while pampering ourselves, Lilly has taken the guilt out of our self-indulgences. When a purchase is made from one of over eighty products, ranging from  makeup to skin care, one dollar from every product bought is donated to charity. What charity, you may be inclined to ask? Refusing to be limited to just one organization, each month, based on customer feedback, a new charity is selected, allowing Charity to give back to as many deserving causes as possible.

This past week, I was given the opportunity to ask CEO, Dawn Lilly, some questions about her vision, her company, and how to become successful in the business world.

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Ryan Bunker (RB): Ms. Lilly, I would be lying if I said I was not in the least bit curious as to what possessed you to start this amazing company. Where did the idea of Charity by Dawn Lilly come from?

Dawn Lilly (DL): I was deeply inspired to do something with my life that had meaning and purpose.  Something that would not only benefit myself, but my family and so many other’s as well.  I saw Charity by Dawn Lilly as a gateway to doing just that. I put my name on my products not so people would know who I am, rather to make a very bold statement- to share who I am within, my vision and to inspire others to join me.  We are more than just makeup.  We are women who realize beauty truly starts within, women who care, women who want to make a difference and women who can unite the world to do that, simply by doing what we are doing already – buying cosmetics.

RB: Simply put, why cosmetics?

DL: It’s one of those things women are born to love. If you are going to do something with your life, do something that’s fun, something that makes you feel good, and something you love to do. I love when people feel good, combine that with giving and people feel super good!

RB: While the idea of donating a percentage of sales to a charitable organization has been around for quite a while, the model of Charity uses to give back is rather unique and intriguing. What gave you the idea to rotate benefiting organizations on a monthly basis?

DL: I couldn’t simply pick one organization or cause.  There are too many that play a vital important role and benefit society to have compassion for. I wanted to be in a position to help and touch the lives of as many as possible.  I could never pick one organization and be happy with that. I thought this model was the perfect solution.

RB: I can imagine that creating Charity has not been an easy journey. What obstacles have been overcome in order to get to where you are today?

DL: This is a tough question for me because my obstacles have been very few and nothing major.  I think life points us in the direction we are meant to go, and when we are on the right path and heed our calling, things have a tendency to fall into place.

RB: With the economy still in a recession, and many businesses making the tough decision to close their doors, I have to ask you; why choose now to start Charity?

DL: Cosmetic companies have been coined with the phrase “recession proof”.  Over the past few years, when the economy took its worst hits, public records show that cosmetic companies were still profiting and their sales volumes were actually higher.  It’s suspected that it’s due to the fact that during tough economic times, women will spend more on quality makeup and skin care and less on more costly procedures and treatments.  So while the health and beauty industry may take a hit, cosmetics companies generally take less of a hit and rather profit because they are the more affordable alternative to other options.  Even without this information, I would not have been deterred, women will always buy makeup and skin care and when you truly believe in what you are doing, nothing will stop you.

RB: While many cosmetic companies still test products on animals, ‘Charity’ only uses manufactures that do not. How important was it for you personally, to manufacture a product that was not made of the backs of innocent animals?

DL: Great question! It was extremely important.  Not only because I care about providing quality without causing harm to an innocent animal, I care about our customers feelings, beliefs and passions.  The foundation of our company is that we are all in this together, we are a team and I just don’t see any reason to justify cruelty. We love our animals and if you are using time tested formulas and ingredients that are safe, it’s unreasonable. I stand for integrity and refuse to profit at the expense of another or by causing harm.

RB: What advice could you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there, struggling to make their dream a reality?

DL: I have two things that come to mind that I feel contribute greatly to my accomplishments. One, Align yourself with positive and supportive people.  Negative people have a tendency to plant seeds of doubt and bring unnecessary stress.  You will find in life, there are people that break you down and people that build you up.  Stick to the ones that build you up and breath inspiration into your vision, ignore the rest, and you’ll do just fine. Two, I once had a friend describe me as having perseverance.  It’s an important and crucial element in the “formula” of success.  There will always be obstacles, I prefer to call them challenges.  Stay focused on your goal and let the rest roll off.  Every success story has struggles. It’s those that didn’t give up, had unwavering belief in themselves and persevered, that ended up right where they wanted to be.     

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