Cat Chen // Her Picks

Cat Chen of Skylar 

 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Cat. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, and the founder and CEO of Skylar, a self-care lifestyle brand centered around clean fragrance. I am obsessed with scents (and always have been) and brought Skylar to life after I found out my daughter was allergic to my traditional perfumes. Empowering women with a healthier option of clean, consciously crafted fragrances is what I'm passionate about.

 

 

What does a day in the life look like for you Cat?

There is no such thing as a day in the life for me. As an entrepreneur, every day is different with new challenges and opportunities given how rapidly the business is growing and evolving. As a mother to a three year old, every day at home is similarly a new adventure! Mom life is no joke! In all seriousness, a normal day in my life looks like spending time with my daughter in the morning, heading to the office for the day, grabbing a mid-afternoon workout, squeezing in some more work and late afternoon meetings and then heading home for some quality time with my husband and daughter to cap off the night. It's a balancing act and no two days are alike but it's a lot of fun.


 

What inspired you to start your brand Skylar?
Like all great ideas, Skylar came from a need - a need for a better, safer alternative for my favorite beauty go-to product. After working at clean living powerhouse, The Honest Company, I became a lot more aware of everything I put in and on my body. And when I got pregnant, I couldn’t help but do a deep dive into all of my personal care and beauty products. As a self-proclaimed “no makeup” gal, my scent (and perfume) has always been my signature. As I dug into the ingredients, I realized my favorite scented products contained toxic ingredients. In fact, when I had my daughter, I found out that she was allergic to my traditional perfumes.
Shortly after that realization, I went on a quest for fragrance that did not contain allergens and harmful chemicals but still smelled beautiful and made me feel great. I couldn't find one. That’s when the idea of Skylar was born. And after talking to hundreds of women, all of whom were searching for a better, safer alternative too, I decided to start Skylar.
 

After many months of working with world-class perfumers – and testing scents with my community – we created a collection of perfumes that gave us the answer we were all looking for. Beautiful, artisanal, hypoallergenic fragrances with clean, natural ingredients. Skylar Body offers fresh fragrances that celebrate real women. We’re changing the fragrance industry one natural scent at a time.

 

What was your personal journey to get to where you are?

I think the biggest thing that changed and transformed me and got me to where I am today from a personal perspective is becoming a mother. When it was just me and my husband, I would accept less clean options for my products without thinking too much about it. Of course working at The Honest Company started to build my acumen around clean living, but it wasn't until I became a mother that I truly transformed my habits. My daughter is the ultimate inspiration of Skylar and because of her, I've been able to find the courage to turn my dream (and my need) into a reality.

 

What would you say has been the toughest experience from starting your own business?

Starting your own business is hard. Failure and bumps in the world is inevitable - and that can be really tough and uncomfortable. For me, probably the toughest experience thus far was the very beginning. When I first launched, a couple of weeks in, I thought the perfumes would fly off the shelves. I had talked to and tested the perfumes with hundreds of women - I knew they were good. But, the perfumes did not immediately start flying off the shelves. And at first I thought I had failed. I had assumed the very beginning would just click, but it took time and work to gain awareness and momentum. A lot of work. And those first few weeks of panicking and thinking I had created a failure were really hard. After that, I just put my head down, chatted with mentors and friends, and mostly leveraged my community of incredible women to lift me up and help make Skylar the success it is.

 

What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your business?

Definitely the amount of women we have been able to impact. It's incredible. We have so many women reaching out about how they haven't been able to wear perfumes for years and Skylar has finally allowed them to feel beautiful again. We have women who tell me that they've been in chemo and are ultra sensitive and that Skylar allows them to use something they really enjoy for the first time in a long time. We have mothers who had to stop wearing perfumes because of their kids' allergies and they finally have an alternative that they can spritz on for date night and not feel guilty about. The women we get to impact and how they in turn impact us has been the most rewarding aspect of starting Skylar.

 

 

What do you hope to achieve with Skylar in the next 5 years?

My biggest dream is to be able to offer consciously crafted fragrances to women everywhere. We want to bring that moment of happiness to everyone and bring the fun back into scents with clean, incredible-smelling ingredients. I hope that we can impact millions of women, giving them better alternatives, empowering them with information, and supporting them in their quests for healthy, happy lives.

 

Any advice for women who are starting their own business?

My biggest piece of advice is to never give up. People will tell you that you can't do it, things will go wrong, times will get tough, but if you believe in what you're doing - then you can't let the noise impact you. Put your head down, work your butt off, and prove them all wrong. It will be worth it.

 

How did you first hear about Amarilo and what are your favorite pieces from the collection?

I first heard about Amarilo after meeting Ali and Stella at an event. I was so inspired by their energy, their drive and their success and after chatting about their vision around Amarilo, I was immediately a brand fan. I am into classic jewelry pieces, and I love how Amarilo brings a modern twist to my classic favorites. That's why I love the Solana Diamond Necklace - with the beautiful stone and shorter length plus the twist of the off-center placement of the diamond - it's the epitome of chic. I also love the Seamless Circle Drop Hoops - they are really fun while still feeling timeless.

 

 

Is there something you would like to share about yourself or your brand that we did not ask?
I love being in the presence of other amazing women-led brands that are driving for change in their industries. It's an honor to have Skylar in the mix with amazing brands like Amarilo.

 

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