Every once in a while a beauty influencer or brand comes along that’s so extraordinary in their efforts to give back, attention must be paid. Each Feel Good Friday, we’ll highlight these do-gooders along with simple ways to support their efforts.
Lara Eurdolian was ahead of the game when she launched her beauty blog, Pretty Connected, in 2009. At that time “blogging” was just a funny word to describe personal business and parenting commentary (the first social media platform, if you will). The pioneer channeled her experience working in marketing at NARS and Jurlique to launch the Yelp of the beauty world: a site that masterfully introduced – and reviewed – beauty products. At the time it was anyone’s guess how a lipstick would feel, or foundation would match without applying, so Eurdolian’s audience clung to her real-girl feedback like a makeup artist to a Beauty Blender.
She used her success to expand into lifestyle content including fitness and fashion, where she connected with LeSportsac (who would later become her partner in giving). With the growth of her site, Eurdolian co-created Share Your Beauty, a nonprofit dedicated to providing beauty and hygiene products to those in need (#goals). “With the amount of gift bags and beauty mailers I get, I wanted to give brands, editors, magazines a place to donate any products they couldn’t use and create some positive change for women in shelters,” she says.
The beauty veteran was clearly onto something since the org, which launched in 2014, has already received and distributed over 100,000 products to Family to Family, a poverty relief nonprofit. (Ed note: I’d personally like to take credit for at least 50,000 of those products since I donated close to 15 bags of skin care and makeup to SYB as I made the move from New York to Los Angeles, ha!).
Here Eurdolian chats plans to expand the program to LA and Chicago (it’s currently only offered in the Big Apple), how she joined forces with LeSportsac, and what you can do to help.
Alexis Farah: We’ve seen your Snapchat, you get tons of products daily (#SnapEnvy). So was it a simple case of surplus beauty loot that sparked the idea for SYB, or was it something else?
Lara Eurdolian: A combination. I worked for several beauty brands in the past and learned that most beauty brands destroy perfectly good seasonal or discontinued products, or ones that were being repackaged in their warehouses to get rid of the inventory. And then with the amount of gift bags and beauty mailers I get, I wanted to give brands, editors, and magazines a place to donate any products they couldn’t use and create some positive change for women in shelters.
AF: How did you join forces with LeSportsac?
LE: I had a relationship with the brand for years through my blog. They were so generous when I did my first event, donating bags so we could put the products donated in them. This way each resident at the shelter would get a LeSportsac bag filled with product, which really added the feeling of a special gift. We had a meeting shortly after to see how we could make this program larger. The biggest issue I was having at the time was that people wanted to donate, but it was really challenging keeping donations at my apartment. The brand offered to be the drop-off, and allocated bags from past seasons they would otherwise sell at their sample sales to the program. LeSportsac is an amazing and generous company, I can’t even put into words how much they have done for this program including using their store as an event space for my cause. They also have stores across the country so we’re hoping to expand the program together.
AF: Once donated, where do the beauty products go?
LE: I co-founded the program with Family-to-Family who has relationships with various shelters and teen centers in the NYC area. What’s so amazing about them and the program is we’re not tied to one center. We did our first drive with Covenant House but since then have had numerous shelters reach out, and we do our best to work with everyone. We will also get bulk donations from brands at times, and when it’s items like shampoo, conditioner, or soap we forgo the whole drop-off at LeSportsac and get immediate placement.
AF: Ok, ok, this is all amazing now how can we get involved?
LE: We currently accept all unused/non-expired beauty and hygiene products (samples and hotel toiletries are great too!) to the LeSportsac office in Times Square NYC or Family-to-Family office in Westchester. Products can also be mailed to either location! We are hoping to expand to LA and Chicago to offer drop-offs this year. If you’re in the NYC Tri-State area and want to volunteer or have a car for seasonal pick ups, we’ll take all the help we can get! We’re also always open to ideas. All the information on donations are listed on my site.
AF: Do you have a favorite beauty brand that gives back?
LE: I think Avon and Estee Lauder have done amazing work for Breast Cancer Research and awareness. I love everything Lancome is doing with St. Jude and Kiehl’s also has a special place in my heart for the donations they have made for environmental issues, children causes, and HIV/Aids research. I was really happy to join Kiehl’s and Feeding America over the holiday to pack meals for City Harvest. Over the past few years they have helped provide over 1 million meals to families in need. It makes me really proud of this industry when I read statistics like that.