Entrepreneur, actress, and mom Brooklyn Decker is a big fan of clean beauty: she incorporates our Cleansing Balm into her “church routine,” (her take on washing away the day) carries our No. 3 Mist in her bag, and has sat down with Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew for a Counter Conversation in Decker’s native Charlotte, N.C. She also happens to be an ardent supporter of feminist businesswomen who champion sustainability.
That’s probably because she’s one herself. Decker is a cofounder of Finery, an app that channels Clueless by bringing Cher Horowitz’s dreamy digitized closet to life, discouraging unnecessary shopping and saving its users time and money. We had to sit down and have her dish on business advice, clean beauty, and the challenges of balancing it all.
BEAUTYCOUNTER: The juggle is real. Any tips for how to balance being an entrepreneur, actress, wife, and mom?
BROOKLYN DECKER: Haha. Hahahahahaha. Balance. That makes me laugh. I currently have zero balance in my life. I think the best way to approach it is aiming for master compartmentalization. When I’m with my kids, I want to be 100% all in. The same applies to business, being on set, and being with my husband. As a mom, a large piece of yourself is always with your children, but I do my best to focus on the task at hand.
BC: What’s the one thing you thought you had figured out about being a business owner that you were totally wrong about?
BD: I didn’t go into the experience thinking I had anything figured out, and I believe that was a strength. It allowed me to have full, open communication with my team. I have learned so much from them and they, dare I say it, performed better when I approached [them] with raw honesty. The only thing I had any sort of expertise in was rejection. You hear a lot of “no’s” when you’re in start-up mode: the more I hear it (and I’ve heard it more times than I can count), the easier it gets.
BC: What’s your management style? Any suggestions for how to manage or mentor a team member?
BD: I firmly believe that if you are a confident employee (or actor!), you deliver a better product. I try to give [anyone I work with] as much autonomy as possible and let them roll. I think it’s important that your team can corroborate their decisions with real data: why do you think we should do it this way? I’m always open to being wrong, and to any team member failing, as long as those efforts are backed with hard reason. I don’t love the idea of just acting on instinct. More often than not, someone has done it before, let’s learn from both their triumphs and mistakes.
BC: Do you use Finery daily? Has it inspired you to “shop your closet” more, and therefore, shop less?
BD: I actually don’t use Finery daily, believe it or not! I use it four-ish times a week. Usually on Sunday evening, before my workweek, so I’m not spending so much time figuring out what to wear every day. And I use it religiously when I travel. There’s nothing worse than being on a work trip and realizing you forgot something as simple as a pair of jeans. What a waste of time and money!
I shop so much less now. When I first logged into Finery, all of these old clothes popped up, things I forgot I had in my closet! I get giddy with excitement when I’m in my Finery account because it looks like a shopping site, but it’s actually my stuff, beautifully displayed for my scrolling pleasure.
BC: Are you a fan of clean makeup or clean products in general?
BD: I’m a HUGE fan of clean products. I discovered Beautycounter through ewg.org. I was pregnant with my son, and all of a sudden, I became paranoid about everything he was going to be exposed to, especially anything on my skin, given he was going to be latched to me for months. So, I started doing my research and it was harrowing. The only EWG-certified brand at that time was Beautycounter.
I bought their baby products for my son, then I bought their skin products for me, then I started experimenting with their makeup. I think for so long, there was this notion that we had to sacrifice on efficacy with clean products, and I quickly learned with Beautycounter that I was wrong.
BC: Tell us your favorite Beautycounter products.
BD: The cleansing balm is the only thing that can remove a long day of “TV makeup,” which is basically a mask of foundation and powder, plus a million fake lashes. I love Dew Skin, I always get compliments when I’m wearing it. And last but not least, my favorite lipstick is [Color Intense Lipstick in Girls’ Night]. I can swipe that on with nothing else and still look put together.
BC: What are your top three most frequented places in Charlotte?
BD: SOCO Gallery. There’s a beautiful coffee shop inside and you can browse special, rare coffee table books and art that rotates monthly.
Barcelona Wine Bar. There’s a tequila drink on the menu with nutmeg, one of the best I’ve ever had. And I could spend hours in the beautiful bathroom; yes, the bathroom.
CAPITOL. A very fancy, beautifully curated store in town. It’s pricey, but it’s worth going to look at the colors, prints, hard-to-find designers (not to mention, the incredible collection of Irene Neuwirth jewelry). I have only tried on pieces, never actually splurged on them, but they sure do make you feel special.
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