Unable to find a product for active women – who were playing soccer, sweating, and needed SPF protection – that wouldn’t cause breakouts, professional soccer players Taryn Hemmings, Emily Hines, Courtney Jones, Leslie Osborne, and Lindsay Tarpley were faced with a problem. Unwilling to compromise any longer, they decided to take matters into their own hands and created Sweat Cosmetics. That’s how these five women went from professional athletes to entrepreneurs.
Sweat Cosmetics prides itself on creating cosmetics for demanding lifestyles that are kind to your skin, protect you from the sun, and that can last through an intense workout. With Sweat Cosmetics, the only breakouts you need to worry about are the ones on the soccer field.
MuscleTech.com had the opportunity to catch up with Sweat Cosmetics co-founders Leslie Osborne and Lindsay Tarpley. Osborne made 62 international appearances during her seven years on the US Women’s National Soccer Team, including the 2007 Women’s World Cup Team. Tarpley is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (Athens ’04 and Beijing ’08) and has 125 international appearances for the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Osborne and Tarpley spoke with MuscleTech.com about their experiences transitioning from being professional athletes to entrepreneurs, how the lessons they learned from their playing days are now being used in the business world, and why Sweat Cosmetics needed to be created.
Q: Sweat Cosmetics was created as a solution to a problem that all five founders, and many other athletes, have experienced. While some people talk about making changes or creating things, many times they don’t follow through for a variety of reasons. Why was it so important for all of you to see Sweat Cosmetics through to where you’re at now?
Leslie Osborne: “It was incredibly important. Our entire playing careers we struggled finding products that could make us feel empowered, and that were also good for our skin. We were determined to change that and set out to create products designed for active women who are on the go. Look good, feel good, and play good. Motivating women to live an active lifestyle and equipping them with products to protect them from the sun and provide coverage is the driving force behind our brand.
We were our own target market. Being professional athletes and training sometimes twice a day outside and not having any products that we could use as sunscreen and makeup was a huge issue for us. How come there were not any products made for women like us? So, we were determined to be the first. Sweat was the first beauty and suncare brand designed for active women by professional athletes. We wanted to bridge the gap.”
Lindsay Tarpley: “We created Sweat because we wanted a product like it while we were playing. For us, we had the vision, saw a gap in the market, and we went every step of the way to create a product that provides SPF protection and also gives coverage.”
Q: Your colleague and fellow co-founder, Taryn Hemmings, used to wonder during her Division I soccer days at the University of Denver, ‘Why isn’t there a makeup product designed to hold on through a workout?’ She also wondered why there wasn’t a quick, easy way to look good during and after a sweat session. Prior to creating Sweat Cosmetics, did you ever think that maybe this type of product just wasn’t possible to make? And, if so, what was it that changed your minds and made you realize that you could create it?
Leslie Osborne: “When I met Taryn on the Boston Breakers, she told me about the idea of Sweat and the problem she had finding products she could work out in that also provided SPF protection. I couldn’t have agreed more and said I had been struggling my entire career with the same problem. If we choose makeup, then we had to worry about that orange residue on our shirts, or breakouts. If we wore sunscreen, well it was a hot mess – 90 minutes with it running in our eyes, burning our eyes, and causing breakouts. There were zero products designed for athletes or women like us.
As soon as us five came together while playing for the Boston Breakers professionally, and realized we were all running into the same issue over the course of our careers, we realized we had an opportunity to change that. So, we went ahead and started our company. Three years later we launched at the women’s World Cup in 2015.”
Lindsay Tarpley: “We experienced first hand how many people wanted a product that included SPF, but also coverage in a quick and easy application process. It has been a very fulfilling journey being able to create products, that as active females, we wanted from the beginning.”
Q: Knowing that you all wanted to create great cosmetics that will be kind to your skin, protect you from the sun, and that can last through an intense workout, what was the process like for choosing the ingredients in your cosmetics?
Leslie Osborne: “We knew we had one shot at this. From finding the best mineral sunscreen chemist in the market, and going through almost seven rounds of testing that took a year and half, we needed to be 100 percent certain that our mineral powder sunscreen was going to be a game changer and best on the market.”
Lindsay Tarpley: “Our goal all along was to create quality products that contain as few ingredients as possible, but have maximum efficiency.”
Q: How involved were you during this process? Were you able to test the products yourselves first before they went to market?
Leslie Osborne: “We were very involved. We all tested every round and had our teammates, friends, co-workers, and family testing it. Every round. We wanted to ensure no one had any reactions or issues with the powder.”
Lindsay Tarpley: “Yes, we have been very involved every step of the way. From the beginning, we have been an active part of planning, creation, and execution. It is an incredible journey.”
Q: Both of you played for the US Women’s National Soccer team and had a lot of success as athletes. What was the transition process like from athlete to entrepreneur?
Leslie Osborne: “I would have to say the transition was pretty seamless. Fortunately, we got involved with the company while playing professionally so I got my feet wet as a co-founder while finishing my career. We have realized that a lot of our skills and characteristics that made us so successful at the highest level on the field have helped us off the field. Being competitive, working as a team, our work rate, tenacity, dedication, and overall passion has helped us to be at the spot we are today.”
Lindsay Tarpley: “It has been fun to use the qualities that helped make us successful on the soccer pitch in the business world. I enjoy being part of a team, working hard, and accomplishing our goals as a company.”
Q: What are some lessons that you’ve learned from your playing days that you’ve been able to incorporate in the business world as entrepreneurs?
Leslie Osborne: “So many lessons! From being cut from an Olympic roster and told I was not good enough, or going through major injuries, I am able to bounce back, be resilient, and stay goal orientated. Some days are great and others are not, similar to our playing days. We have to be coachable and know our strengths and weaknesses. It was also important for me to learn how to stay in my lane, just like I did as a player. Overall, it’s my work rate and passion that keeps me going – on and off the field.”
Q: Leslie, one of your goals is to solidify Sweat Cosmetics as the preferred brand for professional female athletes and other influential women. How have you been able to accomplish that goal so far?
Leslie Osborne: “I would say being a Hyatt ambassador for the company. I’m representing the brand in every aspect of my life. Sometimes I feel like I’m a walking billboard, but that’s because Sweat is and has been such a huge part of my life. I believe other people see my authenticity and passion. I’m always trying to incorporate Sweat into everything I do. I started by trying to make all of my former and current teammates Sweat ambassadors or investors. I used my existing relationships on the field to my advantage for Sweat – media relationships, partnerships, and opportunities.”
Q: Lindsay, you’re a two-time Olympic gold medalist and now a mother of two. You’re responsible for bridging the gap between beauty and fitness, while remaining committed to ensuring that Sweat’s products are tailored to the lives of busy women. How have your experiences shaped the way you think about cosmetics for the everyday woman?
Lindsay Tarpley: “It’s been an incredible journey to be able to create products being a professional athlete, but now transitioning into being an active mom of two. Our products can be used at the highest athletic level, but also for active females who are on the go. What I appreciate, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing a game for 90+ minutes or dropping your kids off at practice and going for a walk, our products are meant for you!”
Q: What goes into your decision-making process when choosing a company to partner with?
Leslie Osborne: “A lot. We love being aligned with other like-minded companies that have similar missions – empowering women, encouraging people to be active and live active lifestyles, products that are clean and good for the body. Even more, we love partnering with other female founded and run companies.”
Q: What would you like to tell any active women who haven’t used your products yet?
Leslie Osborne: “You’re missing out. (Laughing) We formulated products that will make your life easier and better. You can throw our twist brushes in your gym bag, diaper bag, purse, or even in your car. Our products are oil/fragrance/silicon free, dermatologist approved, SPF 30, and vegan. What else would you want?” (Smiling)
Lindsay Tarpley: “Try them! Know that we created our products to encourage being active, staying fit, and living a healthy lifestyle! Visit www.sweatcosmetics.com to find out more!”