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!).