Brains and Beauty (Bar)

Nov. 13, 2020


Lorena Romero ’19 MBA and Paige Brevick ’19 MBA both began the Eller MBA program wanting to gain the same thing: professional development, real-world experiences and quality education that would elevate their careers. However, they left the program with something special: a business partnership.

Romero and Brevick had collaborated on several projects during the program. “We worked really well together,” says Romero. “We just always seemed to click.”

For one of their marketing projects, Romero and Brevick chose to research Sephora. Doing so sparked an idea.

“Both of us love Sephora,” says Romero. “It got us thinking ‘there has to be more to cosmetics.’”

This idea ruminated as both students continued to focus on other assignments and other classes. Toward the end of their MBA experience, Brevick and Romero went on the Global Business Experience trip to Singapore and Indonesia. While in Indonesia, they noticed Brevick's nail polish changing color, going from pink to orange.

“Right away, Paige’s changing nail colors sparked our interest in wanting to know more about what is behind the cosmetics products we use,” says Romero.

Coincidentally, around the same time, one of Brevick and Romero’s mutual friends became pregnant and told them that she threw out most—if not all—of her cosmetics because she knew many of them contained ingredients that were toxic for pregnant women.

Then Brevick, having earned a bachelor of science in biology-biomedical science at the University of Arizona, began researching the ingredients and formulations of the most commonly used beauty products ranging from skincare to makeup.

“We were appalled when we realized the ingredients these products contain,” says Brevick. "We expect there to be regulations around what ingredients manufacturers are allowed to use in makeup and skincare products. But there are no formal regulations in the United States."

Romero and Brevick began imagining a way to inspire women to be more conscious of the beauty products they use and how to educate them on how to use and apply products.

“This is how Beauty Bar Studio came to be,” says Romero.

Taking what the pair had learned from the MBA program, they formed an online clean beauty boutique that promotes sustainable, clean beauty products.

“Our company has three core values: sustainability, transparency and product integrity,” says Romero. “We want our customers to trust that we will keep that promise.”

To do so, Brevick and Romero agreed to curate a selection of beauty products that align with these core values. The duo formulated a list of banned chemicals and compounds the products they sell cannot contain.
Today, Beauty Bar Studio carries six brands—all founded by women. Among these brands are Codex Beauty, Vapour Beauty and Olio E Osso.

“We thought our biggest challenge was going to be to sit down and actually launch the company,” says Romero, “but it turned out to be the COVID-19 pandemic."

Brevick and Romero had a launch party planned in March 2020 at St. Phillips Plaza in Tucson, Arizona, where they were going to introduce their boutique and have an interactive beauty lesson.

“Ideally, we wanted to do everything in person, especially the classes,” says Romero. “But we pivoted and took this as an opportunity rather than a challenge by really building our social media accounts and making them as strong as possible.”

Brevick and Romero both have full-time jobs apart from Beauty Bar Studio—Romero is a training specialist for TJX Companies, and Brevick is the operations manager at Associates in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

“Beauty Bar Studio has ended up taking the role of a full-time job, so we are basically working two full-time jobs,” says Romero.

“I’m excited to see where Beauty Bar Studio goes,” says Romero.