Lauryn Bosstick, the blogger, podcast host and beauty brand executive — she launched her Skinny Confidential-branded product line in April — has had an unusual route to becoming a founder. But being a disrupter has always been her m.o.
“I am not an expert. I do not claim to be an expert. I am a practitioner of beauty. I am someone who’s tried every product,” said Bosstick on the latest episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. “I want to show women that you can be a bartender and be broke, and you can go disrupt a space that’s cliquey.”
Bosstick was, in fact, a bartender and a Pure Barre instructor while attending San Diego State University, when she started her blog in 2011. It later spawned a podcast show and a line of products.
“I joined a sorority, and in the sorority, they told me it was $800. I was like, ‘What do you mean, it’s $800 to have friends and community?’ I couldn’t believe it. I was already broke. I couldn’t afford $800. So I left the sorority after two seconds, [thinking,] ‘This isn’t gonna work for me.’ And [I thought,] ‘How can I do this online? How can I do it better? And how can I do it for free?” she said.
Bosstick was more than able to grow that community: She has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, 278,000 fans on Facebook, 38,000 newsletter subscribers and 2.6 million monthly impressions on her blog. The Skinny Confidential podcast has 90 million downloads, and the new line of “beauty wellness” products, which started with a facial roller and oil, has beat projections since launch by 300%.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
From community to brand
“The ideas started coming to me. I started looking around at all the women that there were on campus, I wanted to create something cheeky, something where you could get the juice, get the confidential information and get the skinny. I really launched [the blog] as a brand. I knew that I was building something that I would one day want to launch product with. I was very slow and patient, and this was at a time when no one was blogging, there were fashion bloggers and stuff, but they weren’t sharing more than their nail polish color and what they were wearing. So I was like, ‘OK, I want to talk about more niche things. I want to talk about other women, I want to talk about other celebrities, I want to bring other women up, I want to make this a community, I want to make this a resource.’ I started building the brand, and it took a year to launch — I was very, very, very psycho about every single detail and texture, and how I wanted the audience member to leave [the site]. ‘Valuable takeaways’ was the [phrase] we launched with. [We started with] 20 posts. I bought a high-end camera, the whole thing. I remember launching, and I was working at this high-end bar that a lot of very wealthy, smart men went to — white men, I should say. So I was serving them, and I sort of was like this fly on the wall; it was almost like I wasn’t there. I was really able to see men in their natural habitat. I remember one night, this older man … was drinking this Rusty Nail. And he said to me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ And I said, ‘I’m launching a blog. It’s called The Skinny Confidential.’ I told him all about it. He said, ‘Hold on,’ and laughed. He said, ‘You’re not gonna be able to monetize that.'”
Moving into other mediums
“I did [the blog] seven days a week. Finally, after three years, I started monetizing it. The blog was going great, but I noticed again that the audience wanted a more intimate conversation. They were sick of an Instagram picture or video; they wanted more. So the podcast came up when I was drunk in Cabo with my husband. He’s like, ‘Let’s launch a podcast,’ [and] this is five years ago. I think that this was probably seven years into blogging. We launched it and it was just so incredible. We could bring all these other people on here, all these other voices and opinions without any judgment, while also being so intimate in the audience’s ear [and] also including them. But most importantly, [we were] saving them time… There’s truly no other medium or platform out there — every other platform is consuming their time. For instance, on Instagram, you’re scrolling Instagram or Stories… I can be cooking in the kitchen and learning about the latest fashion trend or whatever it is [on a podcast]. You’re educating, you’re learning, you’re inspired.”
A specific beauty proposition
“For me, it had to be something that made sense to the story. I didn’t want to white label it at all. It had to be something I created out of my head. I wanted to make sure I involved the audience. I wanted it to make sense. People are like, ‘Why don’t you want to launch makeup?’ I don’t do my own makeup. I don’t enjoy doing my own makeup. So I’m not just going to launch something to launch it. With this, I had horrific, horrible jaw surgery where I had a 16-hour surgery and was swollen — my entire face — for what I thought would be a month. It ended up being three years, so I became a practitioner of swelling. I tried every single thing you can possibly think of from jumping on a trampoline to sleeping upright to every single swelling situation that you could get on the market, and nothing worked besides facial manipulation with ice. So I remember going on as a blogger and someone who’s supposed to be a resource and looking for something I could share with my community to fight inflammation — this is years and years ago. I searched jaw ice surgery, and up comes ice rollers. So I buy it, and it comes. It’s so shitty, It’s packaged bad[ly], it’s gross, but it worked. The only thing that didn’t work is that it didn’t hold cold. I was so swollen that I needed something that held cold. I needed something sturdy, but I also wanted something cute. So again, I just started noticing that I wasn’t the only one that was puffy or waking up with a hung-over face; our eyes are puffy. If we sleep wrong, we’re puffy. No one is talking about facial bloat. They’re talking about hyperpigmentation and wrinkles and masking and all these different things. But no one’s addressing the first problem that should be addressed, which is the contour of the face. I will see makeup artists put on skin care, like a moisturizer, and then start their makeup. And I’m like, I could never do that. I have to give my face some kind of facial manipulation before I even put product on it. It was like all these beauty people were walking through the front door or the side door, and I wanted to come down the fucking chimney.”