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Saint Mary’s senior opens skincare company

| Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Saint Mary’s senior Julia Veome has recently started her own business: Natural Baller, an organic skincare company that encourages customers to “Live life with no filter.”

Veome, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing and a minor in public relations and advertising, said she had always wanted to open her own company, but only decided to do so at the end of her junior year.

“I kind of just jumped into it,” Veome said.  “I didn’t think I would ever be able to do something like this as young as I am.”

After extensively researching the detrimental impact of social media on female self-esteem, Veome said she decided to use her business background to help young women feel comfortable in their own skin. In her own experience, Veome said she always felt that clear, healthy skin allowed her to go makeup-free.

“I don’t think makeup or filters are going anywhere, so I’m not trying to get rid of them or even say that they’re bad. I just want followers and customers of Natural Baller to feel like they are confident in themselves before all that,” she said. “I felt like it was important to have a clean skincare brand that also emphasized the importance of taking care of your skin and embracing your natural look.”

The name Natural Baller stems from the natural, organic ingredients incorporated into the brand’s skincare products, but Veome said it also acknowledges her wish that customers feel confident with their natural selves. “Baller” is a term Veome said originated in her family group chat and has come to mean feeling encouraged and empowered.

“I think that it’s important for girls to look at themselves that way, like, ‘Yeah, I am a baller and I just crushed that,’” she said.

Veome said her pursuit of the Natural Baller mission has helped her start to see other women in a different light, and come to the realization that everyone can find their inner “baller” with the right attitude. She said her younger sister Samantha, a high school senior who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, earned the title after she started making bracelets with her diabetes tag attached for her friends.

“She’s always been super positive and wanted to help other girls [with diabetes],” Veome said. “Now I look at her and I think, ‘Samantha is such a baller.’”

In order to make Natural Baller a reality, Veome deepened her research into the chemistry of skincare and worked with multiple laboratories to formulate her products. Faced with the prospect of spending years developing products from scratch, Veome said she decided to partner with a company in Florida offering a base formula that she could adapt to her liking.

In addition to designing the products themselves, Veome also started to make a social media presence for herself, creating a website, as well as Instagram and Facebook accounts. She said navigating the intricacies of starting a small business was a learning curve.

“I started working with a graphic designer to make the labels but didn’t like what I was getting, so I actually designed the labels myself. I registered as an LLC in Illinois and also trademarked the brand and the slogan,” Veome said. “I thought it would be a lot of work, but it was way more work that I even thought. I feel like with everything I’ve done, I’ve learned of 10 more things I need to do without knowing they existed before.”

“It definitely has been super busy, but it also has been super fun because [Natural Baller] is something that I’ve worked really hard at and am really passionate about. I’ve been creating a buzz around campus and girls have been super supportive and excited about it,” Veome said.

Veome also said she didn’t know if Natural Baller would have found success at any school other than Saint Mary’s, where the entire community has surrounded her with energy and encouragement. Veome has received an additional outpouring of support from her family members running the business side of Natural Baller from the basement of Veome’s home in LaGrange, Illinois.

While Veome said she has found it easy to raise awareness at Saint Mary’s, it has been difficult to take Natural Baller beyond the college.  In an effort to expand her brand, Veome said she plans to partner with Teleties, an athleisure accessory company specializing in long-lasting, waterproof hair ties.

“I sent them my products hoping that something good would come out of it, and they responded saying how much they loved them and that they were going to use them in their next photo shoot,” Veome said.

Veome said the growth on social media will take Natural Baller closer to her goal of reaching as many young women as possible and helping them feel beautiful while also encouraging them to support and empower others. She also said she hopes that her company allows her customers to live confidently and unfiltered on social media.

“I think [Natural Baller] is mostly about not comparing yourself to other women. A lot of women see another woman succeeding in something and they allow that to make them feel bad about themselves,” Veome said.  “I would love to have girls posting photos of themselves without makeup doing something they love and giving it the hashtag ‘natural baller.’”

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