I had the pleasure of interviewing Randa Fahmy, Founder of Makeup America! a new made in America beauty brand with a unique social purpose: economically empowering women to pay down U.S. National Debt.

She created Makeup America! to reflect the American Spirit: allowing women, no matter who they are and where they come from, to confidently radiate their beauty, diversity, creativity, and independence. Wrapped in red, white and blue, Makeup America’s premium quality products are long-wearing, and patriotically priced at $13.76 and $17.76. www.makeupamerica.us

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I was born in New York and raised in a wonderful small town in Pennsylvania. As the daughter of immigrants, I had a heightened sense of appreciation for the American Dream.

My favorite day was July 4, 1976 when in honor of America’s bicentennial, I rode my red, white and blue Sears bike through the streets of my neighborhood, with red lipstick on, yelling Happy 200th Birthday America!

I eventually moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in law & politics. Yet throughout my 30-year career, I was disheartened that no politician was focused on reducing our national debt.

After all aren’t we taught to mind our personal debt? But who is looking out for America’s debt?

Why did you found your company?

I Makeup America! You Makeup America! We All Makeup America! That is what I was thinking when I founded my company. I was driven by a desire to unite and empower all women.

So, I decided to combine my passion for fashion and admiration for America to create Makeup America! My company was born of the realization that there is a growing demand by women who wanted premium American made cosmetics that meet our country’s high standards of quality, transparency, health and safety.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Makeup America! is the first American beauty brand dedicated to economically empowering women to pay down the U.S. National Debt. Consistent with America’s tradition of community service that calls upon us to solve our nation’s problems, Makeup America’s motto is “Do Good Look Great” because we will contribute $1 of every product sold toward paying down the U.S. National Debt.

The U.S. National Debt is $21 trillion and disproportionately impacts American women of every generation. A growing national debt drives up interest rates, impacting start-ups, student loans and small businesses, many which are owned by Generation X, Z, and Millennial women.

A rising debt also prompts the threat of cuts to Veterans Benefits, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, of which Baby Boomers and Greatest Generation women are the majority beneficiaries.

Can a lipstick or nail polish really tackle the national debt? I think so. After all, women have been balancing their own checkbooks and those of their families for decades. Now is the time to empower American women to take control of our nation’s checkbook. We’re not just another cosmetics company — we’re an empowering beauty brand!

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

The Two Julias.

Julia Pimsleur of Million Dollar Women. She has been a terrific role model and mentor in helping me work ON the business, not in the business.

And Julia Westfall of Hera Hub DC. She has personally taken the time to help me grow my business, perfect my pitch, and connect me to other like-minded female entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C. through Hera Hub.

How are you going to shake things up next?

Although Makeup America! is only 1 year old, we have already had some big wins. We were featured in Allure & Cosmopolitan.

Our lipstick was highlighted by Nikki Bella on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and we teamed up with the U.S. Olympic Committee for the February 2018 Winter Games.

Our future expansion plans include the launch of Phase 2, which consists of additional colors and products, including mascara, eye shadow, eye pencil, lip pencil, blush, powder, foundation, sunscreen, and even red, white and blue makeup brushes.

I want Makeup America to be the leader in “A” Beauty: American Beauty which is diverse, independent, confident and beautiful — just like America!

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

Persistence: In the land of entrepreneurship, there are a lot of hills and valleys, yeses and nos, ups and downs. The most valuable quality that helps me weather the storms is persistence.

You: I am presently seeking investors for Makeup America! The best advice I received is that a company may have a great product, but ultimately investors want to invest in you! I have learned that my passion and drive for my company is the most important quality.

Help: My favorite saying is “Know enough to know what you don’t know.” I have learned to ask for help. As a solopreneur you need the help of other people who have strong expertise in certain areas like digital marketing and financial management.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

I recently read the book “The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love, Without Being a Person You Hate” by Fran Hauser.

It is a terrific book on leadership style, and addresses a very important issue on the minds of many women: Can I be nice in the workplace without being viewed as a pushover? Similarly, the author also addresses how to project confidence and power without being labeled as an unflattering word that rhymes with witch.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Yes Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks. He recently did an interview in which he correctly pointed out in an CNBC interview that “the greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations,” I would love to have the opportunity to tell him what we are doing at Makeup America to help pay down our nation’s debt.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest @makeupamericaus

Originally published at medium.com