Became a part-time Mary Kay cosmetics sales rep
Now heads her own beauty products business
In 2004, Robbins-a clinical social worker who specialized in emergency counseling for suicidal and homicidal children-was feeling weighed down by the ongoing responsibility of making life-and-death decisions about troubled children. "Just when I thought nothing could be worse than what I’d heard the day before, it would be topped by something more horrific," she says.
Then one afternoon, while watching her seven-year-old daughter in a gymnastics class, Robbins chatted with a mom who mentioned that she sold Mary Kay cosmetics for a living. Robbins blurted out, "Oh my god, I want to do that!" She thought the job sounded like fun, and could balance out her other one: "Nobody dies if you’re wrong about lipstick."
Robbins signed a Mary Kay contract on the spot (the woman had extras in her car), and within three weeks, she had invested $1,800 in a company sales kit and a supply of cosmetics and sold $700 worth of makeup. She loved the products and spent around 15 hours a week-pleasurable and stress-free-selling Mary Kay. "It was so easy and fun," she says. Even her seven-year-old was into the cosmetics gig; she wanted to play with the products, but Robbins was careful to keep her away from the antiaging lotions, which she feared might not be good for young skin. About a year later, this concern gave her an idea: Why not make skin care products especially for young girls? In what she now admits was a fit of naïveté, she thought, if Mary Kay can create a business, so can I. She put together a plan, got her daughter’s friends to vote on their favorite name (Sassy), and hired a manufacturer to make shampoos and facial washes from organic honey, olive oil and chamomile extract. The copy on her recyclable bottles is designed to boost girls’ self-esteem: "If you believe you are beautiful, so will others! Look in the mirror, focus on the positive, and repeat, I am beautiful!’?"
"Some of the girls I treat as a social worker can’t see their inner beauty, so they make terrible cuts on their arms," says Robbins, who regards her enterprise (sassyshampoo.com
) as a natural extension of the therapeutic work she still does with teenagers. "My hope is that I will help young girls by showing them they have both external and internal beauty."