An Honest Review of what it's like being a Beautycounter Consultant.

After sampling Beautycounter products, I decided to join before ever even purchasing products for myself (the Kit I selected had the products in it that I wanted to use). However it’s not always like this. Many people sit on the decision for a long time, going back and forth before taking the leap. Hopefully this will help clear up any questions or concerns so you can decide if it’s the right opportunity for you!

Here is a little background about Beautycounter. We are a Certified B Corporation (not an easy certification to obtain!), which means we meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.  Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone, and we fulfill it by creating high performing products that are set to the safest standards in the industry. They are also advocating for higher regulation in the beauty industry. We do this by having consultants go to Washington D.C. to talk to congress about safety within the personal care industry and why it’s so important. Beautycounter is the leader in the clean beauty movement, and it’s something I am extremely proud of being a part of. 

What is the Cost?

Becoming a consultant is really simple and it can all be done online. It costs $98. If you are a current Band of Beauty member, the cost for you is only $69 and you can also use any of your product credit towards the enrollment as well. What does this get you? Training, marketing materials, your personal website for others to shop, a tote bag, make-up bag, and two products: a travel sized Overnight Resurfacing Peel ($45 value), and a Color Intense Lipstick ($34 value). So you’re actually getting $79 in free products, and that’s not including the other goodies in the kit. 

What’s a starter kit? You have the one-time option at sign up to get a starter kit which are products bundled together and discounted by 44% off the retail price. Having products on hand can be helpful for kicking off your business, sampling products, borrowing them to friends and other potential clients to try, and for your personal use! I bought the smallest kit when I joined, but very quickly realized I should have purchased the medium or large kit as I had so many people wanting to try products, so I ended up going in and purchasing them individually later on which was more expensive. 

Is there Monthly Minimums?

Nope! We are different from many other company’s like this in the sense that we do not require any monthly purchases or autoships of prodcuts. You and your clients will ONLY ever receive what you you and they physically go on and purchase. The only requirement you have to meet is $1250 in qualifying volume (QV = your own purchases + sales) every 6 months. The starter kit you get at enrollment also counts towards this and often times gets you over halfway. This is a VERY attainable number. Most people have no issue hitting it in 1-2 months, and many do it sooner! I have not had one consultant on my team not attain this. And what happens if you don’t hit that minimum? NOTHING. You just go back to being a Band of Beauty member. 

How much do you make?

We make 25-35% (you sell more, you make more) on all sales. We get paid monthly and there are no minimums you need to hit to get paid. If you make a $200 sale, you will get paid $50. These sales add up pretty quick and you will find that your paycheck with Beautycounter can be really good, really fast. I also made back my initial investment in less than a week, which is a nice bonus as well.

Do you get a discount?

Yes! We get 25% off all of the products, all the time.

What can you earn?

It really depends on how much energy you want to put into this business. Those that sign up for strictly the discount probably won’t do as well as those with the initial intent of running it for the business. What I’ve seen over time, however, is that consultants who sign up for the discount end up working the business over time because they see the payout and realize it’s worth putting in even the littlest amount of time to earn something. The top leaders in the company are earning at least 6 figures (some monthly!). In the beginning, I was earning just enough to pay for a tank of gas, and by five months in I was earning enough to pay our entire mortgage, and it’s gone up from there. Many people are leaving their full time jobs because of Beautycounter. I never thought the earning potential would be this much with Beautycounter, but the sky is really the limit and It’s pretty incredible.

Why this Business Model?

Our founder chose this model for a specific reason. The products and Beautycounter’s mission is best told person-to-person. If our products are sitting on a shelf in a department store, no one will ever know why they are safer, why they work so well, and the mission of our company. In this model, I do earn a percentage from those who sign up under me, however, it’s a tiny percentage, opposed to 25-35% of my own sales. So it definitely motivates you to work your own business for that very reason.

Being a mentor is a lot of work, but it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of this business. I never wanted a team, really, but now that I have one it’s so fun to work with other like minded women, help them attain their goals, and get creative with ideas.

Keep in mind that building a team is NOT required. I had zero intention of building a team, but I learned quickly that people want to be a part of this movement and I’ve never once asked someone to do this without them already purchasing and loving the products. And out of my entire team, most of them came to me wanting to know about the opportunity - it’s not the icky cold messaging game EVER. 

A few other things that set us apart from other direct marketing companies: We have retail stores. One in New York and one in Nantucket and another opening in Denver this month. We were the most Googled beauty brand of 2018 and named in the top 50 of Fast Company’s most innovative companies in the World; number one in the beauty segment. 

Do you love it?

YES! Truthfully, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, both emotionally and financially. I was at a point in my life where I was home with my two boys, two and six months at the time, and running my photography company. Photography is busy, and has only gotten busier, so my initial intent with just receiving the discount as a consultant sat well with me. I quickly found, however, that even putting it out there a little bit via social media and having conversations every now and then, my paychecks added up quickly. I’ve learned a lot about myself in my passion for health, business, leadership, and confidence. For me, this has always been about just being real with people (you), being honest, and sharing what I love and why I love it. And I truly believe this has what has gotten me to where I am with this company - and my plan is to just keep doing that. I will never make Beautycounter and my job with it out to be something that it’s not. If you are in it for the discount, I’m here for ya girl and support you 100 percent. If you want to do this thing for a business, I’m likewise here to support you and help you obtain whatever you want. There is so much support in my team and it’s so nice to have each other to ask questions and bounce ideas off of. With Beautycounter, it’s a small investment with some pretty amazing rewards, and I want that for everyone.

If you’re ready to join, you can sign up here: https://www.beautycounter.com/join and select myself (Elizabeth Donelson) as your mentor. I’ll then receive an email that you’ve joined (you can message me too and ask all the questions you’d like). We can meet for coffee beforehand to go over everything in more detail or afterwards as well (as much as you’d like) and I will do everything I can to set you up on a path for success. Your goals are my goals.

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Our Tips for Traveling with a Toddler and an Infant.

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We are not routine travelers by any means. Our honeymoon was a complete disaster filled with food poisoning and hurricanes. We took one trip when McCoy was eight months old and left him with my in-laws. That vacation was relaxing but I spent most of my time missing my baby and making trips up to the hotel room to pump, ha! I was so nervous for this trip. Now having completing this and surviving it haha, I would definitely do it again. Below are the tips Nick and I came up with when it comes to traveling with littles, or even just one. If you have anymore to add, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Keep their Night time Routine and Essentials Consistent to Home: Both of our kids slept amazing on our vacation. In part it was because we had very busy days and McCoy didn’t nap for most of them. But I think another reason why they slept so well is because we kept their night time routine similar to what it is at home. No matter what time it was when we got back to the house from the parks, we gave them both baths and had a little time to wind down.  We packed our Dockatot for Riggins since this is what he is used to sleeping in at home and for the most part he was making it all the way through each night. 

Keep Toys and Snacks Simple: I packed a large Ziplock baggie filled with McCoy’s Tot Fruit Pouches, animal crackers, yogurt melts, and some Lara Bars for myself and Nick. I probably had too much to be honest with you. I also had water bottles for us but since we were so busy from the time we reached the air port and completing check in and security and potty breaks and several blowouts from Riggins, I didn’t even fill them. We just bought bottled water when we reached our terminal. So I would probably do without the water bottles next time. I also had two small travel size containers of my Thieves hand sanitizers and Thieves wipes for wiping down hands and the plane seats. Paci wipes were also in my carry on and they came in handy. 

Bring your own Car Seats and Stroller: We were really debating on this but I am so glad we decided to bring our own.  First of all, having the stroller to use at the airport really helped free our hands for other luggage and carry on bags.  Secondly, we looked into renting car seats that would come with our rental car and it was an extra $35 PER CAR SEAT/ PER DAY. That would have costed us an extra $560 compared to just being able to check everything for free.  We checked the car seats at check in with our luggage bags and we checked the stroller right before we stepped on the plane at the gate. They gave us our own tags and everything - it was really convenient.

Have Patience with your Spouse: We spent eight days in house with 9 people. There were times that were stressful and I prepared myself for this before even leaving for the trip. To be honest, just leaving our house to get to the airport to head out for vacation was stressful. But each day became a little easier and we got into the swing of things. Nick and I realized that we had to communicate with one another. He made sure I was stopping for water and snacks as much as we needed. I always had the bags and snacks packed for the parks and ready to go the night before. He held the blanket up until I was situated breastfeeding and he always offered to take Riggins’ to be changed. We figured out what worked well and just kept communicating. I will say we did a lot of on the fly diaper changes (on our laps in the plane, on hidden park benches, and even on the floor of the air port). You do what you have to do and move on. It’s all good.

Clip the Important Things Together: Before leaving for the airport, we had our boarding passes printed.  We clipped these together with both of our licenses and the kid’s birth certificates so when it came time to check in, everything was together. We had so much stuff and so many bags and car seats, so I just wanted the important things together for smooth transition through the air port. We left at 4 AM so when we arrived McCoy was sleepy and needed me to hold him basically all the way through security and it was so nice to be able to just have everything we needed clipped and ready for handling.

Be Flexible with their Routine: I wouldn’t say I’m a strict routine follower while being at home with my kids on a daily basis, but we do get on a weekly rhythm. McCoy is still an amazing napper for me in the afternoons and Riggins is just starting to start a nap schedule when we’re home as well. We let all of this go while vacationing. McCoy really only napped one of the eight days unless we happened to be in the car around that time. And Riggins just sort of slept when he could or would while in the stroller or in my carrier. I just remained flexible and in the end, we had some really crabby toddler meltdowns, but it all worked out - and like I said before, our kids slept great at night and until at least 8:30 in the mornings. 

 

Our Adventure to Disney World

We are coming to the end of our first ever family vacation. Nick and his family have experienced Florida and all of the Disney World parks many times, but it was my first time, and of course McCoy’s and Riggins’ also. After a little recap of our trip, I’d like to offer my best tips on traveling with a toddler and an infant in another post. I am not an expert - I rarely travel, but now having done this [and survived it], I think it will become something we do more often!

First of all, whatever is you’re hearing about Disney World, it’s true. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been too. I am 29 years old and I can truthfully say that I enjoyed it just as much as my toddler. The weather was beautiful and such a nice change from Minnesota. And the parks were incredible. The detail in each park, the food and drinks, the rides, and the fact that it is so smoothly set up to get in to and out of the park made it nice when we were traveling in a group of seven plus two littles. 

After a full day of traveling, we began our trip at Island’s of Adventure and Universal Studios — Ahhh-mazing for both little kids and adults. The roller coasters weren’t like any I have ever experienced in my life! This is where it came in handy to have a large group as my in-laws were so willing to stay with the babes when my hubby, myself, and my sister and brother inlaws went on rides [as long as Riggins was fed ha! - more on breastfeeding in a park later]. The next park we visited was Sea World. Riggins, 99% of the time is the most laid back little baby in the world. This day was a struggle for us and him. McCoy loved this park though! So much sea life, rides, shows, and again, amazing coasters for us adults. With Riggs having a hard day at Sea World, we decided to rest the following day and spend our time at the pool. Then we did back to back weekend days at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom which were definitely McCoy’s favorites! If you have littles and are going to Disney World, these would be the parks I would recommend most to go to! The food and drinks at Animal Kingdom were so fresh and good also - especially since I am still on a strictly dairy free diet for breastfeeding Riggins. On Monday we rested in the morning and hung by our pool again and then spent the evening at Disney Springs doing some shopping. It’s a boardwalk style of stores with several restaurants and coffee shops. We have really had awesome weather this entire trip, most park days were low 70’s and mostly sunny with some scattered clouds which I was really thankful for. Our last day was high 70’s and pure sun, so we spent it at the pool while we just relaxed and packed for our flight home the next day. I loved every park, and this whole experience for me was so amazing. I have always wanted to come here and I’m so glad I finally did and I’m so happy that I was able to experience it with my littles and my family. We will for sure be coming back as our boys continue to grow - and I’ll be so thankful I’m not breastfeeding!

Speaking of that - here’s how it went, ha! Truthfully, I’m grateful Riggins was not on solid food quite yet as I think that would have made things a lot more complicated. He basically just needed me and that’s all which was good but also hard at times. He seemed to need to eat more often as being out of his routine and environment made him need a little more comfort.  I always made sure to wake up early enough so that I could feed him and then let him lay and kick for an hour or so before we left for the day. I didn’t do this on the Sea World day and it threw him off. He needs that play time and flexibility with his little legs before being in a wrap or stroller seat all day. Then when we got to the parks I would take him out of his car seat and feed him again in the car so he was good to go before we even entered the park. And then from there he was happy literally the majority of the time - he’s really my go with the flow baby and I’m so thankful for his calm personality. Every couple hours or so he would eat and I would just find a spot in the shade and we would all take a little rest or someone would take McCoy on a ride. It really worked out well. I’m not saying it was easy by any means. There were times where it was so hot for him and me while he ate haha (hormones), and times where I would have to nurse him while standing in a line for a ride that we were going on as a family - I’ve become pretty good at walking and breastfeeding! I always had extra hands to help hold a blanket, etc. etc. And each time he ate, he’d be happy for a few hours and just hang out in the ergo carrier or in the stroller, like magic!

We are currently about 36,000 feet in the air heading back to Minnesota. To be completely honest, our most stressful part of the trip was getting to and through the Orlando airport to our terminal. We sat in an hour of traffic, had to return and unload our car, and wait over an hour to check in and then again to get through security all with two car seats, two luggage bags, a double stroller, and four carry ons. Everything sort of seems like a complete blur, but we made it. Thank the Lord we made it. This trip was amazing. I sort of feel like I now need a vacation from this vacation haha but it truly was so wonderful to spend time with family and experience this with our babies. 

I’ll be sharing my top tips for traveling with littles in another post to come soon. For now, Riggins is asleep on my hubby’s lap, McCoy is watching Paw Patrol, and I’m going to celebrate the end to a sweet adventure with the Starbucks soy latte sitting on my lap. 

Your Photography Wedding Questions Answered

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I receive a lot of the same questions from couples inquiring about wedding photography so I've compiled some common ones to share with you here! Let me know if any others come to mind.

What is your photography style? I always say that if I can capture a person’s personality, I have done my job well. My photography style is seeing the natural and raw moments that a couple or family shares with each other. I’m a lover of candids, warm hues, and being able to share your story through my photos, from the very beginning of the session until the end. 

How important is having a second shooter? I very very rarely do weddings without second shooter. I often have clients inquiring for weddings and requesting no second shooter to save them some money. I get it, I really do. But you will not regret having one. They are my backbone, they catch things that I often miss because I am focused so much on the bride and groom. And when it comes to weddings, I truly believe it is all in the details. For example, seeing your grandpa or mama shed tears as you walk down the aisle is just as fun to see as they expression your groom gives.

Do I need to have both a photographer and a videographer? I have shot many weddings for couples who have also hired videographers. My advice is this: If you like seeing your wedding day through still photos that enable you to make prints or share with friends and family, photography should be your first choice. If you prefer a video of your day (often to music), then that should be your number one. A lot of brides choose both and I think they are equally beautiful, just in different ways.

How many hours should I hire you for? I suggest 8 hours if you are looking to get photos of you getting ready all the way through the first dance. 

What is it like being the one that photographs a wedding? Being behind a camera on your wedding day is truly my dream job. It is everything to me. I don’t do the best in front of a camera, but for some reason God has given me a gift to capture people in a beautiful and natural way. I hate awkward poses. My sessions are free flowing, and I allow my creativity to take over in whatever atmosphere I’m in. I get completely lost and fulfilled in your day. I love details. I love people. I love pets and babies and decor. And I Love, love. I am reminded at every single wedding how thankful I am for my family and my babies.

How many photos do I get? Typically you’ll receive between 600-1000 edited photos, depending on how many hours you’ve hired me for. I create a gallery that gives you and your family members access too. You can download, upload to social media, and purchase prints if you choose all through the system and it makes viewing your photos extremely easy!

Do you have any tips when designing the timeline for my day? I am so flexible when it comes to the layout of your wedding day. I always tell my clients to do whatever they’d like and I work around that. From a photographer’s standpoint, however, I will say that It is easiest for us to schedule and ensure time for everything if the first look is done prior to the ceremony. I understand couples wanting to wait to see each other as well but for photos and making sure we get everything, it is easiest to do them beforehand. Your wedding party is much more likely to want to take photos as well during this time. After the ceremony, they are pretty much ready to party ha!

What inspired you to become a photographer? From the time I took my very first desk job (8-4:30), I knew in my heart that wasn’t for me. My heart is full of emotion - creative emotion, that I like to get out anyway that I can. My husband bought me my first camera when we first married and I wasn’t sure if it was the route I wanted to take career wise. I shot my first wedding in 2014 and I honestly have never looked back. It’s a job that I can be home with my kids, but also have an outlet to release my creative energy that gets locked inside.

What if we are camera shy? It’s Okay! I hate being in front of the camera. Honestly most of the photos my hubby takes of me and my kids and I just store on my computer knowing that someday they will want to see them. So coming form me, I totally understand if you do not like being in front of the camera. I promise, I ensure that my sessions are laid back. I don’t make you do awkward poses or anything you’re not comfortable with. Mostly, I just as that you interact with each other like you regularly would - I find it creates the most natural images. And from there, I just guide you on where to look at any certain time. EASY PEASY - I swear!

Is photography worth the investment? I am not here to take your money. I truly believe that having a photographer capture your wedding day is something you will not regret. Not only do I capture the two of you, but I get friends, family, co-workers, and all of the details of your day that will be so fun to look back on many years from now. You spend all of this time planning a wedding, I think it’s so important that it’s remembered! I set my prices based on what I think is comparable to what you’re receiving. I am so willing to be flexible with my clients and create a package and price that they are comfortable with!

Fitness After a C-Section

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On Tuesday, I ran my first 5K since giving birth to Riggins. It was a slow and steady run but it felt amazing. When we first came home from the hospital, I had no exercise or body expectations, but I had a goal of running a 5K when he reached 12 weeks of age. That day was exactly on Tuesday.  I had some mama’s reach out to me mentioning that they are too recovering from cesarians and asked about my transition back into the world of fitness and running while trying to heal, raise two babies, and breastfeed. I really hadn’t thought about it that much until I was asked questions like what are you eating? when did you begin exercising? how did you transition back into running?

When these questions came up, I really had to think back to when I was six weeks postpartum and what I actually have done to bring fitness back into my life.  Exercise has always been a huge part of my life. It hasn’t always been a positive part of it, unfortunately.  I was an athlete in high school and my degree is in Exercise Science. To this day, I still am not sure why I chose to study it, but at the time, I believe it was because I so badly wanted fitness to always be associated with who I was. I was teaching cycling classes, training for half marathons, working out in my apartment complex twice daily, and I never really enjoyed any of it. To this day I still have not run one half marathon - but for some reason back then labeling myself as ‘training’ for one made me feel significant. Quite honestly, I did not enjoy running when I was 23 years old. Not at all. 

I realize now that my exercise back then was completely motivated by fear. Fear of weight gain, fear of losing the fitness label I had worked so hard at earning, and really, I was completely insecure about my body and who I was as a person and for some reason if I exercised constantly, they became insecurities that I never had to face. 

For as much as I exercised, l really wouldn’t have described me as fit. A better description of the way I looked and felt was tired, overworked, sad, lonely, and afraid of who I was and who I was becoming. I was never overweight by any means, and I definitely had the motivation mentally to run 9 miles and teach a cycle class all in one morning, but I was not happy. I became really good at pretending to love it, pretending to be happy, but inside I was really confused. 

When I met my husband, I was a complete wreck. We were married after a year of dating and to this day, I have him to thank for pulling me out of a really dark hole. God puts people in our lives to make us better, and I have so much gratitude in my heart for his patience in helping me heal.  He helped me on this path of believing that I am wonderfully and beautifully made, and that there is a world beyond health and fitness that I had yet to discover.  Almost five years and two babies later, I have a completely different outlook on fitness, and a completely different perception of the way that I view myself and ultimately everyone around me. I became a photographer because I have a very strong creative side to my heart. But I also became it because I love to capture the beauty in people - their body language, their smiles, their personalities. It is always my goal to capture who that person is, who the couple is, so that they may embrace their shape, their joy, and who they are on the inside as well. If I am able to photograph and share who someone is on the inside through an exterior photo, I know that I have done my job well. 

Through all of this, I can actually say I have a complete and profound love for health and fitness again. I do nothing with my degree and I don’t teach exercise classes but I am so over the moon thankful for my body and what it’s able to accomplish every single day, whether it’s exercised or not.  I have an appreciation for pregnancy, childbirth, surgeries, long workouts, short workouts, fast walks, slow walks, five days in a row of moving and eating right and five days in a row of resting and indulging in not so healthy foods.  The exact moment I started resting and eating more and giving myself grace and no longer fearing who I was if I didn’t workout, was the moment my mind and my body began to change. I have a passion for running now. I love yoga. I love food and I feel so incredibly healthy. I move because it feels good and I eat because it tastes good and I don’t judge anybody’s journey in health or wellness, I only cheer for them. Always. 

All of that being said, I had no intention of losing my baby weight fast. I still have a few pounds to go and am in no rush to get there. But I do still give myself goals - and one of those was to run that 5K on Tuesday. And for those of you who asked or who are interested in how I healed and transitioned back into the world of fitness post-baby, see below :)

  1. Do absolutely nothing for 6 weeks. Truly, I didn’t do anything besides hang with my littles.

  2. I went for my first walk/run around 6 1/2 weeks. It was a total of 20 minutes and I was freezing and tired.

  3. I started incorporating a lot of stretching into each day whenever I had the chance. It helped my muscles remember what it felt like to work a little bit.

  4. I try to run 2 to 3 times a week. Each time I try to go a little further than the last.

  5. Don’t focus on your speed. Before Riggins I was running 8 minute miles. Right now I’m running 10 minute miles. It’s all good.

  6. I am so not a lover of strength training but I do believe this has helped me heal and earn some strength back. Once a week, I try to do squats with my kettlebell and body planks and arm work with my resistance bands.

  7. I eat very often. I cannot have dairy currently which makes my diet pretty bland, but I do eat fairly often and I think this has helped my metabolism, energy for exercising, and to maintain my milk supply.

  8. Exercise when you can. It doesn’t need to be first thing in the morning. Most days we aren’t even fully fed and functioning around here until after 9. Give yourself grace on your workout schedule. It will be interrupted when you have littles running around. I accepted this right away so that when it does happen, I’m not flustered or irritated.

  9. Give someone else a compliment. We are all on this health and wellness journey together. Rather than comparing yourself and your body to others, cheer them on. Whoever they are and wherever they’re at in this journey, be kind. The best thing you can share with others is kindness.

  10. Have fun. If you are at a place in your life like I was at five years ago, please reach out. I have two really great ears that would love to listen and hear your story. I promise you that exercise and health and putting an end to shaming your body and fearing it is possible.

Oh, and if you're pregnant and reading this. YOU ARE AMAZING. YOUR BODY IS AMAZING. Give your belly a rub and be thankful for your body’s ability to do what it is doing. Creating a home for a baby is an incredible task and I pray that we can all find complete beauty in it.