Founder Of Saie, Laney Crowell On Her New Normal, New Baby & New Business

Thoughtful, reflective, and pregnant with her second, this clean beauty maven shares how she’s navigating our new normal with a baby on the way and a budding business. Herein, her mood-boosting 2-minute makeup routine (look cute = feel good on Zoom), tips for staying centered (let’s hear it for motivating podcasts, limiting news, and keeping it moving!), and the 4 questions she asks herself every day. @saiebeauty @laney

Boy or girl?

Today, the baby is the size of a bell pepper. It’s so silly but I love tracking the fruit/baby size comparison! I think we’re having a boy because this pregnancy is very different, but same as with Isabella, we’re not finding out the gender.

Interesting… how do they compare?

While I was extremely sick with both, everything else has been different. With my daughter, I had debilitating nausea, so much so, I swore I’d never get pregnant again…yet, here we are. And, when I say nausea, I mean can’t-walk-or-function-for-three-months kinda nausea.

But other than that, I’ve had fewer cravings and my skin has been great. When I was pregnant with Isabella, I craved crazy comfort foods like ham sandwiches, baked pita, and grilled cheese. This time, I’m a little hungrier, but for the most part, I am eating normally. I’m also approaching it differently this time. With the first, I tried to band-aid the sickness with carby snacks that ultimately made me feel worse. Now, I know with every wave of nausea, this too shall pass. Instead of junk food I consciously choose to eat healthy items that give me nutrients and increase my energy levels.

Typically, life in NYC is extremely active from subway stairs to carrying bags, which under normal circumstances is great, but, when you’re pregnant it can be exhausting. One silver lining of being home because CV-19, is that I’m well rested and in better spirits.

Although, having a toddler makes things a little more challenging. I notice my back starts to hurt and I get a little tired on the weekends when we’re trying to come up with fun indoor activities to do with Isabella, but otherwise, I feel great.

“Now, I know with every wave of nausea, this too shall pass. Instead of junk food I consciously choose to eat healthy items that give me nutrients and increase my energy levels.”

That said, how are you managing your stress during Coronavirus and being quarantined while pregnant?

These are strange times, that’s for sure. I have a couple of pillars of stress, my pregnancy, the business and the daily news. Recently, one of my investors said, “every day is like a month,” in terms of how fast things are shifting and escalating. Changes are happening so quick, it’s hard to keep up psychologically. For example, when they declared partners weren’t  allowed at hospital during birth and then reversed the order the following week, while grateful, the back and forth created a taxing roller coaster of emotions. Rules like that under any other circumstance would take a lifetime to implement and time to process, but with Covid-19, things are rapidly changing every day. Therefore, to keep my stress levels in check, I limit my news intake to one headline a day (enough to be informed), stay home, and maintain my strict morning routine.

“These are strange times, that’s for sure. I have a couple pillars of stress, my pregnancy, the business, and daily news.”

Love a morning routine, what’s yours?

Before I can do anything else, I have to complete my morning routine; I see it as a preparation for battle. Starting a business is like going to war, plus we now have another fight to fight, so these two intense battles are happening for me at the same time. Therefore, I rely on my morning routine to start my day in the best, most grounded way possible. I’m up by 6:30 AM and head to the kitchen to make a matcha latte — awhile back I stopped drinking coffee as it was making me anxious. Then I go for a 20-30 min walk/run outside (no matter the weather), to get some fresh air and listen to How I Built This to get my mind working. When I get back to the house, I shower (yes, even in quarantine!) and do my two-minute makeup routine to elevate my mood. In fact, I want to research whether there’s a primal/chemical reaction to applying makeup as it completely changes my entire outlook on the day (which we need now more than ever), so much so that I do it on the weekends too. Recently I’ve also added 5 minutes of journaling to the end of my routine — I ask myself the same 4 questions every day — before jumping on my morning call with my team. On our call we chat a little about work but mostly we share recipes, what we’re watching and funny memes. While it sounds silly, it’s nice to laugh, when everything in the world is so serious. Of course, after we the fun stuff out of the way, we dig into what needs to get done.

What’s the quick makeup regime?

Very simple. I start with Saie Brow Butter in a medium brown, which is perfect since I haven’t been able to get my brows done with C-19. Then I curl my lashes and apply our Mascara 101 followed by a tinted SPF moisturizer and lip balm. Maybe a little bronzer, if I have an extra second. From start to finish it’s two minutes, super easy, and super quick.

“My two-minute makeup routine completely elevates my mood and changes my entire outlook on the day…especially now when we need these little boosts.”

What are the four journal questions you ask yourself?

Getting back into journaling is new for me. I was feeling overwhelmed with everything during the first couple weeks of quarantine before I found my rhythm and settled into our new normal. So, I dug up my old journal, of which I’d only made four entries in October of 2017. Interestingly, my last entry in October, days before Isabella was born, I wrote, “I’m getting excited about this idea I have for a beauty brand. I might even work on the proposal tomorrow.” That was when it all started.

Over the last week or two, I have picked this practice back up. I don’t have a ton of time, but I answer these four questions from Gabby Bernstein:

How do I want to feel today?

Whom do I want to be today

What do I want to receive today?

What do I want to give today?

You mentioned podcasts, any books you love as well?

I really like anything by Brene Brown. Her books are beautiful and apply across every category of life. I’m reading Rising Strong right now and highly recommend it.

“I was feeling overwhelmed during the first couple weeks of quarantine, before we settled into this new normal, so I dug up my old journal.”

The “ah-ha moment” behind Saie?

Saie began with the simple idea to create a line of high performing clean beauty products with a luxury experience — we wanted Saie to feel like all your favorite glam beauty brands, without feeling like a compromise. Our ingredient list is strict and we’re made in the top labs, with the best chemists in the world. Plus, we’re primarily direct-to-consumer, which means we’re able to offer our luxury formulations to customers at a reasonable price.

Not knowing what the future held, I left “big beauty” a few years back with a general feeling that beauty could be better. I worked at a company started by a woman that was now run by men. The products were full of ingredients that were bad for women and bad for the environment. Plus, the marketing was based on making women feel bad as if they needed something because they were lacking rather than coming from a position of empowering.

When I left, I started a clean beauty blog and as brands sent me products to review I realized there was endless skincare but no clean makeup. At the time, I asked my followers if they were looking for clean makeup and the responses I received from my community actually helped ignite and shape the beginnings of Saie. They were really clear about wanting products which performed, were good for them, and inexpensive, yet still felt cool and chic. The name was born from this sentiment too, because they would “SAIE” what they wanted. Plus, unanimously everyone was looking for mascara, which is why the first product we launched was our Mascara 101. 

What’s it’s been like to have a baby on the way with a new baby business?

Funny enough, people keep congratulating me and I forget I’m pregnant! I assume they’re talking about Saie, which is my second baby. I feel like I gave birth to my business. Saie is a newborn, we’re only 4 months old! That said, it’s phenomenal how fast we’ve grown in such a short period, but given our infancy, it’s a wild time to be in business.

There was an article from Sequoia Capital that circulated in the early days of coronavirus saying a recession was coming. The article detailed ways that businesses could prepare, but also outlined how we could find opportunities. We’ve approached the current situation with a solution-oriented mindset and have become super focused on being smarter as a brand. There are a lot of learnings to come from this time.

I think it will be our ability to move and pivot quickly that will give our brand staying power. I often think about this quote from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” 

How do you stay connected as a brand during social distancing?

I feel so fortunate for the community we’ve built and continue to build. Our brand mission is to make women feel good. With that in mind, we launched our “Keep Glowing” campaign to inspire people to stay positive, motivated, and just keep glowing because we all need sources of inspiration to keep moving forward. 

Love that sentiment. How are you making people feel good and giving back?

It’s unhealthy the number of headlines we’re faced with daily; our nervous system can only take so much. With devastation around us, as a brand, we’re trying to contribute in the positive ways we can. To give back and help our community we decided to use part of our production facility to make moisturizing tangerine scented hand sanitizer that’s infused with aromatherapy to elevate your mood. We’re making thousands of bottles which will be shipped as a gift with every purchase.

Any advice to leave us with…

I suppose it’s less advice and more what I’ve learned… women are really, really capable. In my experience, I become more productive, more efficient and more creative when I have a full plate and problems to solve. I’m my best when I’m pushing myself to fulfill my dreams even in the face of adversity.

“We need sources of inspiration that keep us moving forward. It’s unhealthy the number of headlines we’re faced with daily; our nervous systems can only take so much.”