Have you ever wondered how you can create and grow your own business using your passion? In this episode, Camille welcomes Quintin Croft, the owner of BAQE Cosmetics, where she helps bridge the gap between the everyday woman and the beauty enthusiast through her products.
In Part 1 of this episode, Quintin shares her journey in how she built her own makeup company amidst the pandemic. She talks about the origin story of her makeup, her product development, and how she created a thriving business through the support of her family and friends.
If you’re looking to create your own product, tune into this episode to hear Quintin’s advice on how you too can build a business that’s fueled by your passion.
Connect with Camille Walker:
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QUINTIN CROFT [00:00]
And sometimes, there's a challenge and you need that to grow. And sometimes, it's like if you're trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and it's no longer working, that's your answer.
CAMILLE WALKER [00:18]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Today, we are talking with Quintin Croft, who is the owner and creator of BAQE Cosmetics, which is all about creating a look that's made just right for you using her amazing products.
Now, we get into a lot of different topics on this episode. So, I actually decided to split it up into two. The first episode is an origin story and how her business came to be, how she was inspired to start. And then, the second episode is what to do as a small product business, working with influencers and marketing, and the best way to do that as well. So, if you're listening to this, make sure that you check out part one and part two.
Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. Thank you for being here. If this is your first time, we are all about celebrating women building businesses, especially mothers that are having to balance both business and family. What does that look like? How do you manage all of the things?
And today, I am so thrilled because that's a topic that our guest is very, very passionate about. Quintin Croft, who is the founder and CEO of BAQE Cosmetics is going to be talking with us about how she built her makeup company and also how she keeps her priorities straight with growing her business. So, thank you so much, Quintin, for being on the show today.
Thank you so much for having me. I've been looking forward to this all week. It's the only thing that got me through being sick this week was like, okay, Thursday, I get to be on Camille's podcast. I was so excited all week long.
Thank you very much. I feel like our paths have crossed enough times. We were just talking about this that you launched your company in 2020, which first of all, good for you. And also crazy. That's when I launched my podcast. So, I'm right there with you.
I remember actually. So, I met you at a networking event in Orem. I don't know if you remember this, it was called Featured Female. And she used to have events and I met you there right as we were both starting out. It was like January 2021. Maybe it was February. It's right around there. I remember meeting you around that time and being really excited for where you were going to go.
Thank you and look at us now.
2020. And I talk about this a lot when I'm interviewing people who have been in business for years and years or if they're just starting out, it was in the crash of 2008 that I lost my job as a mortgage broker and switched gears to be a stay-at-home mom, and then eventually a blogger and creator and all the things.
And now, again, with 2020, another monumental shift where I feel like it shook us up where we thought, am I in the direction I want to be? What am I all about? Let's go. So, I'm so excited for you to share your story. Introduce yourself. Tell us about yourself, your family, and the story of how you got started.
Yeah. So, I am a wife and a mother of four. My daughter is nine, about to be 27 basically, but she's about to turn 10. Mentally, she's like 17, we're at that age. And then, I have three boys: eight, six, and four. And their names are Mia, Caius, Jackson, and Copeland. And we are very busy. We have all four kids in sports, are older to do competitive things. And we were talking about this before. We are all over the place on Saturdays.
My husband has worked at Vivint in the corporate side. He never did summer sales. He's been there for 19 years. And that's actually where we met. We got set up on a blind date. And it's quite a funny story. I don't have time for that whole story. I'll have to tell you privately. It sounds like a rom com. It really does.
I don't know. Maybe we need to make time. Let's just lay the foundation for this.
Maybe we need to. It's so funny. I'm going to give you the CliffNotes. So, there was this older man that worked for my husband's department, like in their scheduling department for his department. And him and I actually met in the lunchroom. And he's just this cute little old man. And we would eat every day.
And one day, he's like, "I want to set you up with this guy, Tyson." And I was like, "The manager guy?" Because he had come over to our department to recruit people. And I turned to the girl next to me. And I was like, "I could never work for him because I would 100% get fired by HR." I was like, "He's way too hot." So, I was like, "Yeah, I'll go on that date."
And then, two weeks go by and I'm not getting an email. He's not introducing me. And so, I'm down in the lunchroom. It's spaghetti day. And I'm like, "Hey, Dave, your boy hasn't emailed me. I'm not waiting. I wait for no one." So, I'm like shoveling spaghetti in my mouth, this really big bite where you're going like this. You have noodles coming out of your mouth.
And out of the corner of my eye, who should I see except Dave and Tyson? And I was like, "Oh my gosh." And so, I'm covering my mouth. And I'm looking at Dave. Luckily, I had makeup on, so you couldn't see how pink I was. And Dave goes, "Tyson, Quintin, Quintin, Tyson." So, I stand up and I'm trying to chew and swallow this massive bite of spaghetti. And then, he walks away.
And Tyson and I are standing there. And Tyson's like, "I guess you know I'm going to ask you on a date." And I was like, "Okay." And so, we went on this date. And we had a great time the next day. And I just felt like something was different. And I just told my mom, I was like, "I just feel like something's different with him. I don't know if he's the one, but I just feel different." So, I canceled all my other dates.
And I texted him that night like, "Hey, I had a really good time." And he said, that was the moment that he really liked me, but he knew that he wanted to take me on another date that week when he saw that text because he was like, "Girls don't usually do that."
Follow up, yeah.
Yeah. And I was like not normally that kind of a girl, put all my eggs in one basket because I've been burned too many times by that. So, it was really out of character for me. And we just clicked. And so, then months later, this is where it starts to sound kind of rom-com-y. We're at my boss's house.
And they're like, "So, tell us about the time that you guys first saw each other." And I was like, "I first saw him when he was recruiting in our department. He first saw me with a mouth full of spaghetti." And he said, "No." And then instantly, I was like, no, because a week before we got set up was the Harry Potter premiere. And I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd.
And so, my department asked me to come into my costume. It was the eighth movie premiere. And I was dressed as Bellatrix. And so, I had this elaborate Bellatrix costume. And I wore it to work because everybody asked me to. And I had to get up to go to the bathroom. And I don't know if you know this, but all the meeting rooms at Vivint are glass.
So, I see him in a meeting and I do an about face. And I go sit at my desk and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, please tell me he didn't see me." And so, we're sitting in the hot tub at my boss's house. And he's like, "No, the first time I saw you," and I'm like, "No, please don't say that day." He's like, "You were dressed like a witch." I was like, "Oh my gosh, did you like it?" And so, I texted Dave and I was like, "Hey, is she gothic? Is she okay?"
And so we date for a year and a half. And things aren't progressing. I thought we were going to get married. And we had already looked at rings, but he wasn't proposing. And my lease was up. So, I was trying to find a new apartment. And I was pen to paper at this apartment complex, literally about to write my name as a signature. And I hear my phone buzzing.
And it's him. And so, I pick it up. And he's like, "Don't sign it. We're getting married. Don't sign it." And I was like, "Okay." And so, then I was virtually homeless. So, I moved in with him. And this might be a little out of order to pretty much everybody, but this is our story.
And a month goes by and we're not engaged. So, we're sitting in his kitchen. And I'm like, "If we're not married by the end of the year, I'm gone. I didn't become homeless just so we could dilly dally. What are we doing?" And so, then that week, actually, we went up to the St. Regis and Park City because our friend's kids were picking the new menu. And we'd been up there a million times. And he proposed at sunset. And I had no idea because we fought the whole way up there and I thought to myself like if he's going to propose, not now, not after that fight.
Yeah, this not a good warm up.
I even said to him, we were walking out because they do smores at sunset. We were going to go do that. And there was a trail of rose petals like I was on The Bachelor. And I actually turned to him. And I was like, "Are we interrupting somebody else's engagement right now? Are we interrupting something?" He's like, "I don't know." And I'm like, "This can't be for me." And it was.
And it was really cute. And it looked like it should be in a movie. And it was really cute. But it sounds like a romantic comedy with the, "don't sign" and the flowers. And he saw me as a witch. There's all these little funny pieces. And the craziest part of this whole story is the guy that set us up, we never saw him again. He disappeared off the face of the planet or I can't find him anywhere on Facebook. Nothing. We tried to find him to invite him to our wedding to be like, "You set us up." We can't find him.
That is crazy.
Like a visiting angel, like Cupid.
Yeah. Was he a real person? I thought he was. But yeah, that's our rom-com story. And we've been together ever since. And we've been together for over 12 years and have four kids and a dog. And then our little I called it forever my idea baby before it became BAQE.
Yeah, which it is a baby. Let's be honest. Anyone that has a business, they are your baby. It's a part of who you are. You cry over them. It's a real thing. What I love about that story is that before we started this call, you talked a lot about wanting to talk about the support of your husband and him being a big part of you starting this business and his support really getting you through. So, tell us about that. Where does that story begin and how was he so instrumental?
He's the most amazing person. So, first of all, I'm obsessed with my husband. Yeah, we all have our little pet peeves that our spouses do, but I'm obsessed with him. I love him to death. And I had worked for MAC at the mall. I had worked for several companies. I did an MLM for a little while.
And at the time, I had gone to a convention. This was in 2018. And I went to a convention. And I came home and I was super jazzed. And he looked me dead in the face and was like, "I just don't think this is it for you." And I was so taken aback by that. I was like, "What? Why are you crapping all over this thing that I'm so excited about?" And he was like, "I just think you're so much bigger than this." And I was really mad actually for a little while.
And then, it just kept coming up. And so, I tried to make that work for another year. And I was like, you know what? I am bigger than this. I've outgrown it. I'm pretty religious. And I think that the Lord makes things stop working to let you know that that's no longer for you. And sometimes, there's a challenge and you need that to grow. And sometimes, it's like if you're trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and it's no longer working, that's your answer. That's at least in my opinion.
And so, I felt this very passionate response that I was bigger than this. And I was more than this. And so, I had put it on the backburner and turned on my Instagram more into instead of that, family, and I would share all different kinds of makeup brands that I loved and all kinds of stuff. And I felt more fulfilled by that.
But there was still something missing. And so, this is now another year goes by, and I'm still thinking these thoughts. And I'm on a photoshoot. And two brands that I knew. I was on a photoshoot for a dress company and I knew another clothing company that had just released their own makeup lines.
And I'm at this photoshoot. And I look at my friend who was the photographer, and I was like, "What am I doing? These people know nothing about makeup. And here I am with all this knowledge about the product and about the use of it and how to sell it and how to use it. And I'm not doing anything. Why don't I do this?"
And so, I came home. It was my birthday, May 19th, 2020. And I turned to him and I was like, "I'm going to start my own makeup company." And he was like, "Yes." He was like, "Yes, let's do the research." So, we did the research. I'm actually really good at research because I came from the era where we actually had to research things for papers and you couldn't use Wikipedia. It wasn't allowed. It wasn't a reliable source.
So, I'm really good at using Google. And so, I do all this research and I bring back the research to him. I'm like, "All right. This is how much we would invest. This is how much we could potentially make off of that based on the profit margins. This is how much time we'd need for production." And so then, it was like, all right, let's start looking at different companies.
So, I started ordering samples, which is what you do when you're a product-based company, ordering samples of different things that this company has done and talk about what are your capabilities? So, you want a turnkey facility. That means that they do the product as well as the packaging. It's really hard to do. It's hard in makeup to do one or the other because maybe their machines don't fit that packaging that you want. So, you really want to go to a turnkey facility where they can make the packaging that you want that'll fit in the machine that they have.
And how did you even know where to go? That seems like such a specific. It's not like a product that you could order through China. I'm sure there are some like that that are. But it's not like an Ali Baba situation where it's like, I like that dress. Let's go back and find options for that. Makeup is very specific.
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And the tricky thing is finding the product that you like the way that it works, and you like the packaging, and you like the company. And so originally, I had gone with a manufacturer here after testing out several manufacturers with their samples and their capabilities and going through all these different sales calls and talking with all these different people.
And I went with this manufacturer because I liked the quality. And the price was right and makeup. This is what's really crazy. So, in clothes, your minimum order quantity is usually two to three bags, which is going to be like six to nine or 12 of each size. That's it.
But in makeup, they have these drums and they mix one color. And then, they have to fill and empty the drum, whatever how big that drum is. And a lot of times, makeup drums are probably about the size of this room. So, if your package is this size, that's a lot of those. So, it depends on the size of the drum. And some companies have small drums, and some companies only have really big drums.
And the really big ones are great if you're a huge company that is moving millions of pieces of product of color. So, brands that are in Ulta, which is the ultimate dream, they are able to use those facilities because they can afford 50,000 units of one color. And that's just not affordable for a small company.
So, I found a company that does large scale and small scale. And we started working together. And we designed the products and the colors. And I personally test every single item. And if it's not a color or a product that I would personally use or use on a client of mine, I do not use it. I do not manufacture it. And then, yeah, that's how it started.
Because you're unique, your approach to makeup is very unique. So, with the background that you have with makeup, go into that a little bit and how you decided to make it such a unique approach.
So, that actually all came on my birthday as well, the whole idea. So, for those of you that don't know, with every product we include what we call a recipe card. And it has this QR code on it. And you scan it. And it takes you to a video of how to use your product.
So, originally, I did individual ones for every product, but then that actually became really hard to control the QR codes. So, now it takes you to a menu, you click on your product, and it goes right to the video. But why I did this and why I started BAQE, like I said, these people didn't know anything about it. But they were just creating products.
And something that I learned through my 15 years experience in the beauty world was that a lot of times, women don't know what they're doing. And so, they're directed to brands whose packaging is boring, whose colors are boring.
Oh, you're a 35-year-old, okay, you get to go over here. Boring colors for you. Oh, you're a young girl that knows what you're doing. Oh, you're a drag queen. Oh, you're a makeup enthusiast. And you're over here. You get the bright colors, you get the really ostentatious packaging that's really intimidating.
And there was no middle ground. There was really no brand doing both. And I was like why can't you have both? Why can't you love the neutrals and love elegant packaging but still dabble in the fun? And why can't you know what you're doing but still have those neutrals? Because we need both.
And so, I wanted to bridge that gap. And education is the way to do that. If you teach a woman to do something, she'll do it every time. So, if you go on Pinterest and you find a new recipe and it worked and you love it, guess what? You print that out, you put it in your recipe book, you rotate it through your recipes.
And so, that's where we got the name recipe card. And this literally fully formed in one night. I knew I wanted to call it BAQE. I knew I wanted to call them recipe cards. I didn't know the QR code, though. Actually, that piece came from my best friend's husband. I was like, "I don't know what to do, but I don't want it to be a pictorial."
If you don't know what I mean by a pictorial, Stila was a brand that did this a lot. And I believe it's Natasha Denona now that does it. And they tell you like, "This goes in your crease this." And they have a picture of an eye like a drawing. And they go like 1, 2, 3. And it looks like a paint by number. They are not helpful because if you don't know how far up to go on your eye to place that or where on your eye that looks like on your body, it goes wrong.
And so, I was like, "I don't know what to do." And he was like, "Dude, do a QR code and link it to a YouTube video." And I was like, "Yes." So, I've got to give Bedford that credit because that was his idea. But the whole idea was mine. But there were little improvements made. And then, Tyson, so the spelling, I came to him. And I was like, "B-A-K-E or B-A-Q-E? Because all the girls think that B-A-Q-E looks weird. But I really like it. I don't know." And he goes, "No, it's got to be the Q." He was like, "It has to have your name in it. Number one. And number two, the SEO on B-A-K-E will bury you." So, I don't pay for any SEO. And I'm still the top hit on Google. If you Google BAQE Cosmetics.
Yeah. So unique. I love that.
Yeah. And on Instagram, if you type that in, it will be the first thing that populates every time because nothing else is spelt that way. So, I've got to give it to the men in my life for their little brains. And like I said, it all started with my husband at the time irritating me, telling me that he didn't think that was my journey anymore. And not in a hurtful way, but a loving way.
Yeah, I think that's really interesting because I can see how. I've been to conventions and conferences. And it's almost like you get really pumped up. It's like drinking the Kool Aid where you're like, this is the thing. I am on fire.
And they're so fun.
And you're with a bunch of girls doing the same thing. So, to come home and to have your spouse or your partner say, "This isn't it," I can see how that would be crushing in that moment, to be like, "Wait, what? Get on board. What is going on?"
But also, how cool that it wasn't this immediate, this isn't working. Oh, and here's your answer. Oh, and this is the next step to take. It took time for you sit with that and figure out what those next steps were. And I really think that those downloads are inspired, where you said, all of a sudden, it was all this stuff. I knew what to do and what to call it. That is just so meant to be.
What was it like opening the business amidst the pandemic with production hang-ups? And I can't imagine. I released a journal that year. And the shipping alone, I'm like I'll never do it again. I send it to Amazon. I'm like it's print on demand now because I could not. How did you work through that?
I cried a lot. I'm not going to lie. Actually, so I don't work with this manufacturer anymore because their relationship did turn sour. But at the time, I didn't know any better. And production, even for 2020, it was getting ridiculous. I was like I was supposed to have this by this date. It's not here. Okay, I've now been told this date. It's not here.
So, we were supposed to launch it in October, ended up launching, and then it got pushed to end of October, then it got pushed to beginning of November. And then, it got pushed. I was like, as soon as it gets here, everyone's coming over and helping me get this.
I've had the website for three months. I've had everything for months, just paying for it, waiting for the product to get here. And then finally, once the products got here, I just remember opening the box and just bawling. I was so, so thrilled. But it was everything got pushed back.
So, we actually launched the day before Thanksgiving. So, Thanksgiving is we always call it BAQEsgiving. It's just really fun. And it was even harder because I had a one-year-old. I had a really little kid. And it was rough, especially so we were in the pandemic.
And right before that, my youngest, he had colic and acid reflux so bad he was on three medications. He actually sent me to therapy. I had postpartum anxiety so bad. So, 2019 was really a year of self-discovery for me because that child, I remember calling my husband every day, "Did you get a vasectomy yet? We cannot have any more children. I can't do this." And he was just starting to come out of that.
And then, March of 2020 hit and we were stuck indoors. And so, the fact that I could even get this idea out two months later on that photoshoot, it was all about that timing, like you said, I did the work the couple years before that mentally. And my husband just did the work supporting me.
And this is going to sound really dorky and I actually won't throw it away even though it is probably way expired. For those in the non-makeup world, this is the James Charles palette that he put out forever ago. At the time, I'd been using all the products from the company that I worked in.
And this was my first makeup that I promoted that wasn't from that company. And he bought it for me. He came home and he was so excited because he had seen that I really wanted that. And he was like, "Babe, I bought you a gift." So, when I say that this man is so, so, so supportive of what I do, he is so supportive and I keep little reminders like that to just remind me of that. He is so supportive of this.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment in a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss!
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