Women We’re Watching: Megan Merid of RealHer Makeup
Megan Merid is the vice president of business development at RealHer, a cruelty-free cosmetics company committed to empowering women through positive messaging on each of their high-quality products. Her deep understanding of the beauty industry, commitment to making the world a more positive place for women, passion for helping others and her enthusiasm for the power of self-love make Megan a woman we’re watching.
For readers unfamiliar with the RealHer story, can you tell us the impetus behind the brand?
The whole meaning behind, and reason for, the brand was the birth of our founder Guangen Xiang’s daughter. He has a strong background in product manufacturing, and that made him want to create a brand for his daughter—but when he started researching, he discovered there wasn’t a brand out there with messages of empowerment through affirmations. The timing was an accident; RealHer’s launch happened to coincide with this uprising of feminism in 2016 and the #MeToo movement. While our messaging fits in perfectly with this wave, the real impetus behind the brand was to create something for his daughter that reminds her that life might not always be easy for her, but to remember that she’s enough—something that empowers all women. Mr. Guangen and I spoke for three months before I came on board, and I can tell you that this brand fits me like no other brand. We have a platform to uplift and inspire!
RealHer’s website and social media accounts are a testament to its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry. Why is this important to you, Megan?
Diversity is important to me because personally, I’m a mother of a mixed child. Being in an interracial relationship, having a mixed child, having friends from all different backgrounds—I just don’t believe there should be any boundaries to acceptance. Here at RealHer, we have an office full of women of diverse backgrounds. We are celebrating women of all shapes, sizes—all women—not just millennials or Gen Xers. We feel all women can be inspired by our message and what we’re doing.
RealHer products feature uplifting messages of empowerment. How do you merge the message of self-acceptance with your makeup products?
We want to enhance natural beauty. Based on my experience in the beauty industry, women can transform how they feel about themselves by playing with makeup. I worked at a makeup counter in college, and I watched as women sat in my chair and felt transformed and beautiful, just by bringing out their natural beauty. I love that RealHer is empowering women now with makeup and messaging! We want women to realize that when the makeup comes off, or you post something without a filter—it’s ok! You’re still enough. You’re still beautiful.
Who chooses which uplifting affirmations go on your products?
We choose the affirmations as a team. We’re a team of three, and we come up them together. Sometimes, we make them and they really make sense with the product—like our forthcoming setting powder with the affirmation, “Set Your Goal.” Other times, we just love the messaging. We have a spreadsheet and choose them as we go… whatever resonates with us.
RealHer donates to causes such as AAUW and the LGBT Center of Orange County. Why is it important for you to support these causes, and to engage in philanthropy with your brand?
Truly, if we’re going to be a brand that wants to talk about motivating and inspiring others, we have to walk the talk. We have to be there physically with our proceeds and our products. We’ve supported AAUW and the LGBT Center of Orange County, but we’ve also donated to many more organizations, supporting them through monetary donations or by donating products to women transitioning out of homelessness, for instance. We hope people visit our site and see what we’re up to, and realized that we are out to change the world. We can’t do one and not the other—we have to support and inspire!
The beauty business is constantly evolving—and shows no signs of slowing down! With new brands entering the market all the time, how do you ensure RealHer stands out? What motivates you when your business feels like an uphill battle?
There are so many great brands out there! Our differentiator is our inspiring messaging. We’re a start up, so it’s all a bit uphill right now. But because we’re a start up, there’s also nothing for us to measure against—so we’re focusing on quality, cruelty-free products and our messaging, along with the philanthropy piece. Our messaging and mission motivate me.
What advice would you give to a woman looking to create worldwide change with her ideas?
I think it starts with loving yourself first. People look at the big picture stuff for creating change, but change starts with me—then I can extend that to making a difference through everyday engagements: loving me, showing kindness to others, simple acts like smiling at someone or holding a door. If so many more people did small things, we could change the world!
If you could wave a magic wand and create immediate change in the world right now, what would it be?
I would want every woman to love themselves and know they are enough: women of all ages—from 12 years old on up! Being a teenager and a woman in her early 20s is hard! My daughter is two years old and I have her repeat after me, “I am powerful. I am enough.” From a young age to their death bed, I want women to feel great. Now that I’m 38 and feel like I can take on the world, I want others to feel that, too.
How do you incorporate joy into your daily life?
By being thankful. Being grateful for what I have and what makes me happy—something as simple as having a roof over my head—brings me joy. My child is the light of my life; she also brings me so much joy. I didn’t want kids, but when I found I was pregnant with a girl, a switch went off: I needed to change the world. Seeing her grow, it’s such a special blessing!
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to our readers to help them feel empowered and beautiful?
Practice positive self talk! Repeating affirmations can help you feel empowered, whether you’re using one of our lipstick affirmations or if you Google some, those quotes can help you get through your day. I never let myself think that I cannot do something—I shut down the negative self talk and replace it with something positive.
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