Boise's Red Aspen cosmetics aims to hit $3 million in revenue, empowers women

Posted at 12:05 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 14:13:37-04

In less than one year, the team of Boiseans behind cosmetics company Red Aspen has managed to hit almost $3 million in revenue.

“If you would have asked Genie or Amanda or myself a year ago where we thought we would be in a year, I think we would have been really surprised to say, ‘we’re here,'" said CEO and Co-founder Jesse Reese McKinney. "And we’re a multimillion dollar business.’’

But before the Reese sisters and co-founder Amanda Moore saw dollar signs, McKinney was not sure she would see another day.

A few years ago, McKinney got in a bicycling accident while pregnant with her second child.

"They didn’t know if he was gonna make it, or if I was gonna make it, and it was just this really really scary time," she said.

Thankfully, she says baby Spencer is now a healthy 2-year-old. But the scare is what ignited an entrepreneurial spirit within her.

“I had a lot of time-- I was on bedrest-- and I started thinking about all of the things that were really important in life."

One of those things, she says, was to build a company that could “lift women up” — one that is “for women, by women.”

They say their silk and faux-mink, cruelty-free, false lashes are reusable five to 10 times over.

"You put them right there, right on your lash-line, use this applicator to get it in place. And then you look up, and you look great!" said Moore.

They also built a peer to peer business model, where customers they refer to as “brand ambassadors" sell the products to other customers for an “up to 35 percent cut” of the sales.

“All Aspen trees are connected at their roots, and they’re one large organism growing and supporting one another, so, we relate that-- it’s a great metaphor-- for Red Aspen because, ya know, we have all these women that are independent business owners but they’re all connected," said Genie Reese, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder.

Another way they’re “lifting women up:" they named each lash style after a non-famous, every-day-woman they find inspirational, such as the most popular "Miss Lash."

"'Miss’ is a military wife, who has supported our country, by, ya know, supporting her husband and her family by traveling all over the country, moving from base to base," said McKinney.

And as they near their first anniversary and third million revenue mark-- slated for sometime in October-- they also credit their community of women in Boise for their success,

“Ya know, if we have questions, we have this huge network of people that we can reach out to and get help from," said Reese.

"We’ve met some incredible women in this community who I just look at and I go, ‘Wow, they can do anything that they want!’ And, ya know, I think that Beyonce said it best, when she said, ‘Who run the world? Girls!’” said McKinney.