Start ups

Post image for Menlo College grad quits Bay Area start up and discovers make up can be fun

Editor’s note: The author of this post, Tiare Fuentes, attended Menlo College where she played soccer, as well as worked for the athletic department. After a successful stint at a Bay Area start-up (a position she got due to a Menlo College social mixer) she started her own company. She just started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money 

I’m on a plane drinking champagne in those plastic airline cups as a toast to new beginnings. I take this time to enjoy the work I have accomplished so far and to reflect on the decisions that have brought me to this moment.

For the past four years I had been working for a startup pay-per-click (PPC) agency in the Silicon Valley – the epicenter of innovation. I was first hired as an intern when attending Menlo College and offered a full-time position upon graduation. I would eventually become the Digital Marketing Manager, overseeing the entire SEO division and later, made Partner.

This agency had become my life. I was devoted to making the business grow and be successful. In the time that I was there, I felt that I had done just that – made a positive impact. It was a secure role, I had benefits, I worked with great people, and I was even getting paid enough to live in the Bay Area, and eat too!

Then I quit.

Despite these excellent conditions I was becoming increasingly unhappy with my role. The nature of a startup is such that things would change rapidly, and you needed to adapt to keep up with clients’ needs or learn to deal with a change in direction as a company.

Adapting to new situations was something that I enjoyed and even thrived on, but at a point, it lost its allure. When an outside company expressed interest in buying the SEO division, I decided to quit with no real backup.

My lease for my housing had also just ended. So I had no job, no home (in a sense), and no idea of what to do next. You’re probably thinking: “yeah, sounds like the typical millennial,” or “you’re making a mistake, and you’re going to regret that decision for the next 20 years.”

It was a couple of weeks after I made my decision that I received a phone call from my cousin Lynda Correa Peralta, the founder of Pocket Palette. She had heard that I quit my job and it was right around the time that she decided to go into business for herself with Pocket Palette, a single-use, full-face makeup kit.

She had seen a lot of success pitching her business plan in business competitions with her graduate school, George Washington University, some even hosted by Google. She won awards and cash prizes, and even received offers from investors, giving her more than enough motivation to turn Pocket Palette into a reality.

That’s when I flew to D.C.

I went to D.C. because that’s what you do when presented with an opportunity. You go. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed with excitement and eagerness for the following three reasons: it meant that I had a job, I was in our country’s capital, and I was getting the chance to help build something from the ground up. Lynda wanted to bring me on as a Partner, leveraging my experience in Marketing to help build Pocket Palette’s brand and following.

So, there I was, in D.C. I marveled at all the brick buildings and monuments rich with history. It’s a place that makes you nostalgic for a patriotic past that somehow makes you proud, despite the mistakes that were made along the way, because it reminds you of the people who dared to make a difference.

I was fully committed to Pocket Palette since the moment I got that phone call and being in D.C. just made the situation all-the-more real for me. Lynda’s enthusiasm for her product was energizing; it was something new and exciting.

But, if I am honest, before Lynda wanted to bring me on I didn’t use makeup and wasn’t all that interested in it. I used to think that if I paid too much attention to makeup, my peers wouldn’t take me seriously. I forfeited the fresh face for my other priorities. So now that I was a part of a cosmetics company, I wanted and needed that to change.

That’s when I got into makeup.

I used makeup almost every day when working to start the business in D.C. It made me feel refreshed and more lively. It even became fun. So, I admit that I was wrong about my negative perception of makeup. It didn’t take long to recognize that the use of makeup does not equate to your worth (insert clapping hands emoji!).

{ 1 comment }

Hey Baby Boomers, time to dust off those memories and share on MyRetrospect.com

Thumbnail image for Hey Baby Boomers, time to dust off those memories and share on MyRetrospect.com

Talking with the founders of Retrospect Media — Susan Hansen, John and Patricia Zussman — it’s easy to see what drew them together to start their latest venture. They are all Portola Valley residents. John and Patti (as she’s known) are married to each other. Patti and Susan went to Mills College together. Then there’s their […]

Click to read more →

Street Code Academy hosts IM|Possible StreetCode Showcase at Facebook

Thumbnail image for Street Code Academy hosts IM|Possible StreetCode Showcase at Facebook

Stanford grad Olatunde Sobomehin co-founded StreetCode Academy in East Palo Alto in response to a “lack of access to high-tech training for youth and young adults in communities of color, and consequently, a diversity deficit in the technology industry” with the mission of equipping them with “the skills to hack, hustle, and design the future.” What […]

Click to read more →

Cathy Bitler brings her background in science to making handcrafted soaps

Thumbnail image for Cathy Bitler brings her background in science to making handcrafted soaps

Most of Cathy Bitler’s professional career was spent in the lab. As a biochemist, she worked at companies involved in finding new drug therapies for stubborn-to-treat medical conditions. Today, her focus is on more immediate gratification through her handcrafted soaps, lotions, and scrubs made in her Menlo Park home. Her journey to soap maker started, somewhat […]

Click to read more →

Dariusz Paczuski draws on his Polish heritage in founding Rocket Vodka

Thumbnail image for Dariusz Paczuski draws on his Polish heritage in founding Rocket Vodka

Dariusz Paczuski admits “vodka is in my blood.” That’s one reason he started Rocket Vodka in his Menlo Park garage. Dariusz’s family fled Poland to escape communism when he was about a year old, eventually settling in Norway, where he was a member of the Norwegian National Swim Team. When he was 20, a  swimming scholarship […]

Click to read more →

Nicki Boyd explains why talking to babies matters – and how the product Starling can help parents

Thumbnail image for Nicki Boyd explains why talking to babies matters – and how the product Starling can help parents

Nicki Boyd, co-founder with two others of Menlo Park start-up VersaMe, admits they came up with the name for the company’s first product, Starling, without knowing the bird of the same name is studied for its advanced linguistic capability. “It was chosen more because a star has a positive connotation across cultures,” she says. After a decade […]

Click to read more →

From interior design to furniture – a journey that leads to Moxiemade

Thumbnail image for From interior design to furniture – a journey that leads to Moxiemade

For the past seven years, Nancy Evars and Dimitra Anderson have offered interior design services, bringing, as they say, “a bit of moxie” to their work. “We are driven women, both from New Jersey,” said Dimitra. Added Nancy: “We love to work, we love to be creative.” Today they’re launching a new business called, fittingly enough, Moxiemade, offering a […]

Click to read more →

Ashley Hunter will help you get your [you-know-what] together

Thumbnail image for Ashley Hunter will help you get your [you-know-what] together

We need to get one thing out in the open straight away. When Ashley Hunter told us her latest endeavor involved offering project management services, we could only chuckle. The reason: Ashley is a super multi-tasker. We first met the Menlo Park mother of four, who’s children range in age from six to 14, when she founded The […]

Click to read more →

Patrina Mack develops K’Bro app for tweens and teens – and their parents

Thumbnail image for Patrina Mack develops K’Bro app for tweens and teens – and their parents

Menlo Park resident Patrina Mack has been involved with product development and marketing her entire career, but the latest product she’s launching is one that’s very personal to her. “For 17 years I’ve had a consulting practice out of my home, but I got to the point of yearning for something different,” she explained. “Someone […]

Click to read more →

Picket Fence is new social network in Menlo Park for older adults

Thumbnail image for Picket Fence is new social network in Menlo Park for older adults

Sure, Menlo Park is headquarters to the largest social network company in the world, but now there’s also a new, smaller one with the goal of building face-to-face relationships among older adults. Picket Fence was started by Noopur Pandey, who lives in the Linfield Oaks neighborhood, and a colleage she had worked with at Yahoo!, Chung-Man Tam. […]

Click to read more →

Skin care products that promise organic and natural are “brewed” by start up, Fresh+You

Thumbnail image for Skin care products that promise organic and natural are “brewed” by start up, Fresh+You

We first encountered “the soap ladies” at Cafe Zoe and were surprised to learn they were making soap just a few doors down at Studio Cake. That seemed strange to us, but we discovered it’s only so on the surface. “Well, you’ve heard of soap cakes!” quipped Fiona Plows, founder of the just-launched skincare products […]

Click to read more →