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Hidden Gems: Meet Monica Pittenger of Busy Beauties and Wash Yo Self

 (Article from November 9, 2021 VoyageHouston)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Pittenger.

Hi Monica, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Like all good stories, let’s start from the beginning. After 7 years in the classroom as a middle school Math teacher and cheer coach, I decided to say at home and raise my 3 boys! Yes, I said 3 boys!! I enjoyed that chapter in life, but I started to lose my identity in my boys. I was no longer Monica; I was now the mom with 3 very active boys. I love my boys more than anything and always will, but I needed to find me again, I needed my confidence back. So, over a Christmas holiday, my sisters and I were discussing how we all lost ourselves in the busyness of life.

During that discussion, my older sister Julie was complaining about her hair, especially in the Houston humidity. We started to discuss all the different products that we had to mix together to get the one perfect product for our hair. And that, my friends, is where the idea was born! If we could make beauty easy for the busy woman, more moms would have the time for beauty. More moms would regain their confidence! We had an idea, a plan, and we got to work.

After a solid year of research and countless product development samples, we finally developed our first product: our Signature Styling Cream. It is one product that does it all! It controls frizz, adds shine, protects from heat, all while nourishing the hair over time. It is an all-in-one, multitasking cream for your hair.

How can 3 sisters create a product? Well, older sister Julie, is a chemical engineer and little sister Katie is a doctor, so I’m surrounded by brains and beauty! Ha! Funny but true. My sisters are gifted, and I get to benefit from their gifts.

Now that I made my sisters smile, let’s get back to our story….. After we created our Signature Styling Cream for the hair we added 7 other amazing products for hair and skin (yes, all made in America). And that my friend is how Busy Beauties came about. Beauty for the busy woman.

Real products made by real women designed to help women regain their confidence.

So, that is where the story ends….WRONG! It is actually just the beginning!

Busy Beauties just celebrated its 3 year anniversary and is slowly climbing the business ladder. We even survived a global pandemic, so we can’t complain.

My 3 boys are now older, I have two in middle school and one in elementary school. It’s a fun age but has introduced a new problem.

You see, my oldest son (who is 6 feet tall in 8th grade, wowzers) has morning football practice before school. I’m talking a workout in Texas heat every morning before school. Then, the 150 boys are given 4 minutes to shower in only 3 showers…. You see the problem? The boys were not given enough time to shower and, let’s face it, most were too embarrassed to shower. So now you have a bunch of boys going through the day smelling like… well… sweaty, smelly boys! If that was the only problem, I might not have started another company, but it was not. My son’s face was breaking out big time. So, I did what any mom would do. I started to pack my Busy Beauties skin care products in his backpack every day. You see, after researching skin care for 4 years now, one can say I know too much. I am very particular on the products that I will allow my boys to use on their skin.

Well, here is the next problem… he refused to use my products at school. Something about the words Busy Beauties written in purple on frosted bottles was not considered “cool” in the boy’s locker room.

So, I started to look for something easy and “cool” for my boys to bring to school. And, to my disappointment, I could not find anything on the market! I just wanted oversized, individually packaged body wipes, made with good ingredients, and made in America. Apparently, that was too much to ask, as the wipes on the market would do more harm than good. You see, you cannot rub alcohol on your face after a workout because your pores are open and exposed. I just wanted something that would cleanse and nourish the skin without drying it out.

So, I decided to make my own! Yep! That is how company number 2 started. We call it “Wash Yo Self” (don’t you just love the name?). We created individualized, oversized body wipes made with aloe and witch hazel and made in America. When I say oversized… they are big enough to clean your face, pits and privates (in that order please). Honestly, they are like nothing else on the market. And you can just grab one on your way out the door for the day, pack them in a backpack, gym bag, or purse. So convenient!

So, that is the end of our story….. kidding! There is just a little more.

My sisters partnered with me on Wash Yo Self and so did my good friend, Tim Cook. Tim owns a gym here in Prosper called Buit4it. He trains many professional athletes in the area. He is also lucky enough to train me (HAHAHA – I think I’m his least favorite client)! I like the idea of being fit, but the work that goes into it is honestly insane! Anyway, back on topic. Through Tim, we have some amazing professional athletes as our ambassadors who believe in our product, too. It’s really cool to see how widely our product is getting out there. In fact, Ice Cube gave us a shoutout on his IG page… Yes, the one and only Ice Cube! This is only the beginning guys, and I can’t wait to see where we go. Blessed is an understatement.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, I honestly believe if any business owners tell you it has been a smooth road, they are hiding something. I’m not sure where to start. I guess the biggest challenge we had with Busy Beauties was the trademark trouble we got into the first week we launched our new company.

Here is the short story: Some company from the northeast applied for a trademark with a similar name and got denied because it was too close to our name (which had already been designated a registered trademark). So, they decided to send us a letter demanding us to dispose of all our products and to give up out trademark. Crazy right? It made us so angry that a company could do that. We did everything correct. We filled out the trademark paperwork. Waited many months, got approved and sold our goods. How can a company come in and demand us to give up our trademark, our name?

I will tell you. They were young professionals (just out of college by a few months) with a new company idea and a lot of money from mom and dad! Not cool! So, after two years of legal fees, we of course won and got to keep our name, but we spent so much money on legal fees. I wish the other company well, but it quickly made me realize not all business owners have the Texas hospitality that we pride ourselves in.

There have been so many struggles along the way. It is how you handle those challenges that truly matter. Never compromise your core beliefs in the process. That is HUGE.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
It is crazy owning two companies! But we are extremely committed to doing things the best way!

All of our products are made in America. They are created by women for women. We are a family-owned, 100% women-owned company and we believe in quality ingredients. My 3 boys use my products, so I am only going to use the best ingredients I can find.

We are excited to announce that Busy Beauties just launched a new product. Our first new product in 3 years!! What is it you ask?

It’s a NEW luxury hand cream. It really is a game changer for the market and has its own unique story. So, as I mentioned before, little sister Katie is a doctor. She does long 24-hour shifts at the hospital and that job requires a LOT of hand-washing. Add a pandemic to the mix, and that equals chronic dry, cracked, irritated hands. One night she went back to her call room and her hands were on fire. Katie didn’t have any lotion, so she pulled out our lab sample of an overnight face cream we were working on and rubbed them all over her hands. The results were amazing.

Her hands felt and looked better after just one use. The more she used the moisturizer, the better her hands felt. So, Katie got excited and passed samples around the hospital to other doctors and nurses. The results were all the same. People fell in love! It soothed their hands, didn’t feel greasy, and smelled fresh but not overpowering. In that moment, we decided to turn our face moisturizer into a luxury hand cream! We believe your hands deserve as much love as your face and this formula has the best ingredients we could find!

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
We are in the process of building an ambassador program for both companies, so I am trying to soak up all the books/blogs/podcasts I can find about building a successful ambassador program. We are looking for ambassadors that believe in the brand. I guess you could say I am learning how to build a tribe!

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