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Michelle Coyle
President and Founder, Haughty Cosmetics

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“My inspiration came from combining two of my passions: cosmetics and women’s empowerment.”

I am the President and founder of Haughty Cosmetics. I have an MBA from Dartmouth and am a certified makeup artist. After years of working with progressive organizations and nonprofits, I was inspired to start a company to benefit and empower women. I decided to take something I love, makeup, and turn it into something that makes a difference. Haughty donates 50% of net profits to domestic violence prevention education.

Do you have a favorite quote?  “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

What are the most pressing issues facing women today?  There are many.

Domestic violence affects one in three women and is prevalent at every socioeconomic level. While much work has been done to assist victims after the fact, resources designed to prevent domestic violence are limited. No one should have to experience the trauma of suffering abuse at the hands of the person they love the most and programs to prevent this are much needed.

Reproductive rights, parental leave, policies to assist mothers in the workplace, child care, trafficking, sexual assault, equal pay, poverty, and access to education are all issues that deserve more time and attention.

What are the biggest keys to your success?  I’m convinced that ability to envision an ideal end goal, and then take the steps necessary to get there, is the key to success in business and in life. Some people call this “The Secret” or “manifestation”, but I just like to think of it as a combination of vision and focus. If a person combines this with the ability to bounce back from setbacks and a healthy perspective on what’s really important, there is no limit to the happiness and success that she can achieve.

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women?  Women, when given equal opportunity to succeed, rise to the occasion spectacularly. But in the United States, where 4 out of 5 women eventually have children, we often experience motherhood as a barrier to success at work. I think access to safe birth control and family planning information, as well as family-friendly workplace policies like paid parental leave, pumping rooms, and flexible hours are necessities for allowing women to flourish as professionals.

Where did the inspiration for your business come from?  My inspiration came from combining two of my passions: cosmetics and women’s empowerment. I was adamant about not following the traditional model of cause marketing, in which companies engage in charitable pursuits only as a way of promoting their products. The result is Haughty: a luxury cosmetics company that pledges a full 50% of its profits to domestic violence prevention education.

logoWhere is your product sold?  Haughty Cosmetics are sold in boutique retailers throughout the east coast, and online on our website at

What advice do you have for a woman who is considering starting a business?  Make sure that you really love what you are doing, because entrepreneurship is 24/7 (seriously, you will dream about your business!).

What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these?  Growing a business without a lot of start-up capital is tough. You have to really weigh what expenditures are going to product profitable results. We are still working on figuring this out!

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