Gorgeous website The A&J Muse sat down with me recently to find what having a ‘millennial mindset’ means to me and I get my hustle on!
Introduce Yourself! Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Sarah Jean Baker and I am the founder of SARAH JEAN. SARAH JEAN introduces the world’s first party eyelash adhesive that has a mascara style applicator brush. I don’t have a background in beauty, but I created the product as I was struggling to apply false eyelashes for an event, and I thought ‘there has to be an easier way’. I did some basic research to start with when I quickly identified that applying lashes was something a lot of people struggled with. So, I carried out more thorough research and a year of R&D later, SARAH JEAN was launched.
What does the ‘millennial mindset’ mean to you?
It means having a belief that you are profoundly self-confident and that you can do anything you set your mind to. I was constantly told ‘no, you can’t put an eyelash glue in a mascara-style bottle… it hasn’t been done before’. Just because it hadn’t been done before didn’t mean it wasn’t possible. I have five manufacturers I work with to create my products – all are based overseas, all whose first language is not English and all whom, I have, literally thousands of emails going back and forth with.
Millennials have a ‘reputation’ for wanting to know the why and hows rather than just accepting what is. This is certainly me…. I think a millennial mindset is one of exploration, discovery, ideas and a desire to want to give things a go and challenge things that other people and generations maybe just accept.
How do you think you’ve embraced the ‘millennial mindset’?
I am a doer. A problem solver and a goal setter. Not just where I write lists, which is important, but where I don’t give up on what I set out to achieve. We are lucky to be brought up with technology so we have the answers to just about everything at our fingertips. It allows us to become knowledgeable on just about whatever we choose. I have taught myself how to use design software, how to understand HTML code to make changes to my website beyond a template, I read downloadable books on leadership – all skills that will make me better at what I do.
If I didn’t have this mindset, I would have given up after the second or third time I was told my idea wasn’t possible. When really, they were just comments from people that couldn’t see beyond what was in front of them… whereas now, I have a chic, high quality, problem solving – WORLD FIRST – product because I was persistent and I believed I could make it happen.
What’s one stereotype millennials have been given that you dislike or think is invalid?
One stereotype millennials have been given is that we like to make noise… shake things up because we’re so concerned about the how and why, rather than just accepting the ‘what’. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It allows processes and ideas to be thought about differently… and that’s how things are often improved. Perhaps being so digitally reliant could be seen more of an issue as we’re so connected, almost 24/7 to some device and social media account of some sort, that our ability and desire to communicate the ‘old fashioned’ way may be lacking.
For example, I much prefer to send someone an email when I know that picking up the phone and striking a conversation with that person creates a much better result and relationship… But technology has created easier ways to communicate, that while they’re far less personal, it’s simpler. So this has potentially, led to us perhaps being seen to be addicted to our devices and lack authentic communication skills.
Tell us one achievement you’re super proud of:
Creating SARAH JEAN, which introduces the world’s first eyelash adhesive with a mascara-style brush. It took a year of research and development, constant research, creating prototypes, sourcing, liaising and a lot of effort. But, I am glad I did it and now, as a result, I am often invited to speak at events for entrepreneurs, I was in the Queensland’s 40 Under 40 Young Entrepreneurs Awards in 2016 and I am able to teach people what I have learned and share my experiences with people wanting to go on a similar journey. The latter are outcomes that I didn’t anticipate but very appreciative for.
Tell us one obstacle you’ve had to overcome & how:
Inventing a product that had never been done before was a challenge in itself. When sourcing manufacturers, I needed to find people that shared my vision. People who could see the end product like I did. This was not easy as people as people just accepted that if something hadn’t been done a certain way before, perhaps it shouldn’t be tried a different way… I’m not sure but I knew from creating my own little prototypes from piecing bits from other products together to make a rough prototype, that it would work.
That, and conducting research with people in my target market. To overcome this, I just continued researching and contacting other manufacturers until I found people that were happy to work with me, and also who met my strict requirements (excellent quality, reputable factory, responsive, cruelty-free and so on).
What advice would you give to other millennials wanting to chase their passions and build something of their own?
Do your research! Know your competitors, where you want to be positioned in the market, how you will sell your product or service, know what systems you need to do this, be prepared for the results to be different to what you expected, be prepared to work really hard – never give up. Set solid goals and envision what you want. I lived by the saying ‘if you give up, you didn’t want it bad enough in the first place’… and ‘successful people do the things other people couldn’t be bothered doing’. Both so true.