Inspiring women to passionately pursue something beautiful—purpose.
Founded / 2017
Headquarters / Meridian, ID
Top Executives /
Jesse McKinney, CEO
Amanda Moore, COO
Genie Reese, CSO
Products / Cosmetics
Women have always driven dynamic changes within the direct sales industry, with each new generation finding fresh ways of connecting with the “every woman.” The three millennial “boss babes” behind Red Aspen wanted to offer their customers more than must-have products and a stellar business opportunity. They chose to inspire women to pursue something even more beautiful—purpose.
Mission Comes First
Before they dreamed up their signature lashes, the founders of Red Aspen—Jesse McKinney, Genie Reese and Amanda Moore—established a mission for their new company, one that would guide every decision and every product: to inspire women to stand up, stand out and stand together by uniting passionate with purpose.
“We had a mission before we even knew what our product line was going to be, Jesse McKinney, Chief Executive Officer, explains. “Direct selling is a channel where we can help women really ignite their passion. And we don’t want to be your passion and your purpose—whatever that might be—we want to help fuel it. We want to be the ‘how’ as to how you can really fulfill that passion and purpose.”
Armed with a powerful mission, a little start-up cash and just six products in their lash line, the three women launched Red Aspen in the fall of 2017. Alongside Jesse, Genie Reese serves as Chief Strategy Officer and Amanda Moore serves as Chief Operating Officer.
The trio brought strong direct sales experience to their new venture, but they weren’t interested in the traditional home party business model. They wanted Red Aspen to offer everything they loved about direct sales and leave the negative perceptions in the dust.
“We knew we wanted to elevate and grow the direct sales market in a new way,” Amanda says. “Really meeting people where they are, meeting shoppers where they are, meeting customers where they are, meeting our field where they are. We are a direct sales company in how we pay folks, but we like to do everything online, sharing links through a virtual party.”
Jesse adds, “We don’t have a catalog. We want you to spend your money on your passion and purpose as it aligns with our mission statement. And there were just easier, faster, and more effective opportunities that we saw. Just arm people with a link to their website and their social media accounts and some training, and let’s see what people can do.”
Approaching the industry differently paid off for the small-but-mighty start-up. In their first five months in business, they hit $1 million in sales; in 2020, they ended the year with $20 million in sales revenue.
Product Strategy and a Field on Fire
Red Aspen’s line has grown from six lash options to a vibrant collection of beauty products, including pop-on Nail Dashes in non-stop new colors and styles, as well as makeup for eyes, face, lips and brows. Jesse, Genie and Amanda will tell you they don’t bring beauty industry experience to Red Aspen, but something more valuable: insight into what the everyday woman likes. Because that’s who they are.
“We try to focus on not only what’s trendy, but also what’s going to help,” Genie says. “What do people actually want to buy? What’s going to get them excited? What is going to be really fun? We’ve designed products with our sales field in mind, things that they’re passionate about, things that they didn’t even know that they wanted to make their lives easier. And while our product count has grown, we’ve really stayed central too. We’ve stayed ingrained with our core product philosophy, which aligns well with lashes. (Every product) is consumable. It’s fun, and it has an immediate impact. It’s replacing the salon experience. That’s something we focus on with all of our product lines.”
And the field can’t get enough. Red Aspen’s field consists of over 10,000 Brand Ambassadors and Affiliates. Brand Ambassadors join with one of the three kit options and immediately start sharing products, earning commission and building teams. Affiliates who join Red Aspen earn commission on their personal sales only, through affiliate links they share online. Both of these categories of social sellers can access onboarding and ongoing training through The Treehouse, Red Aspen’s open- source website.
New products are released weekly, from fresh Nail Dash designs to new makeup colors, keeping Brand Ambassadors and Affiliates equipped with new releases to share with their customers.
“We launch at minimum one new product, basically every single week,” Jesse shares. “We can do that because we’re not bound to any paper printed catalog. We can launch, we can retire products at our convenience or as it’s seasonally appropriate, which has been huge in terms of generating momentum. And I think that our field loves it.”
“It’s also really fun because we’re able to turn trends around really quickly,” Genie adds. “Brand Ambassadors tag me in nail designs all the time. We also have a space on our Treehouse where they can submit new product ideas, and a lot of them are nail designs. And so, we can come up with a collection and then bring it to fruition.”
For All Women, Everywhere
Three women with a mission naturally attracted more mission-minded women. Not only has the field grown steadily since Red Aspen’s launch four years ago, but the corporate team has as well, with 43 team members and counting.
“When we started, every person we hired happened to be a female, just happened to be that way,” Amanda shares. “Being this person who runs the operations and moves boxes all day long, I literally had to teach myself how to ride a forklift. We now have two women who are also forklift certified. When we get big shipments in, all the drivers every time are like, ‘Wait, just a bunch of ladies are doing this?’”
Real women are the driving force and inspiration for everything at Red Aspen, from the easily accessible social selling tools the team develops to the styles and colors released each week and the next product line on the horizon for the company.
“We have a campaign that’s going right now, and it’s called Real Women, Real Bodies,” Jesse shares. “This campaign is coming out in conjunction with the self-tanning line that we’re launching. But it’s one thing to just launch a self-tanning line, so we asked ourselves how does this product uplift our mission? And we decided to do Real Women, Real Bodies. All of the models showcased in our photos are real women with real bodies, stretch marks, tiger stripes, love handles. We did a photo shoot where we all got out there in sportswear, showed some skin and said, ‘this is who we are.’ We’re real women—we have real bodies.”
Jesse, Genie and Amanda want to reach as many “real women” as they can with their mission of fueling individual passions and purposes. Currently, of their existing Brand Ambassadors, over 65 percent of them are actively earning commission; the team wants to see Red Aspen paychecks in the hands of 25,000 Brand Ambassadors as soon as possible.
“The thing that gives me so much joy is thinking about the women that haven’t even joined us yet,” Jesse shares. “I think about the women who joined last year, who joined the year before that and I can’t imagine not linking arms with them and working with them every single day. So, for me, it’s thinking about, in the next year, three years, five years, 10 years—the number of women who we get to impact, but [those same women] who are also going to be blessings back to us in a tremendous number of ways. That’s what really fires me up and makes me think, ‘Wow. Our future is so bright.’ It’s not just gold, it’s rose gold.”
From the September 2021 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.