Women in Beauty You Should Know is a series on inspirational and entrepreneurial female beauty business owners and industry experts.
Michelle Gay is a Small Business Consultant, a Culture Strategist and the CEO and founder of Culture Revision. Her agency specializes in workplace culture consulting (with a side of HR), and leadership coaching for emerging and established small business owners. Her North Star goal is to help her clients to create more resilient and agile businesses through embodying and investing in human capital. For the past decade, Michelle has worked with impact-driven business owners to create more thriving, inclusive and equitable workplace cultures, built on the principles of human-centered service leadership. She has worked with a wide variety of businesses over the years, including both product and service-based businesses, and many of her clients are in the health and wellness industries.
When Michelle is not working, you can find her creating in her art studio or on the tennis court. She can be found supporting our beauty brand mastermind as an advisor.
Below, we caught up with Michelle about her biggest successes to date— including her 12 years in the biz.
1. SO, WHO ARE YOU EXACTLY? TELL US!
Such a great question! I am a multi-dimensional human that has a deep love for people. I get really excited about finding new and different ways to address issues and access people. I love doing creative things that teach me new processes and playing tennis (the court is where all of my aggressions can get out and I love a good game).
My company offers me a platform to demonstrate and teach people how to value and care about people in a setting that traditionally has been solely focused on value equated by output. I love each day that I get to help a company build a culture that wholly sees the people they employ and cares about them.
2. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
I came to work in the beauty and wellness industry through connections. I have a strong interest in what we put into and how we treat our bodies in a world that has traditionally told women that we need to be different than we are.
3. WHAT’S ONE THING THAT YOU WANT BRAND FOUNDERS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
This is not industry-specific and it is business crucial…that to create an intentional culture in your business that is tended to like a well-loved garden is the foundation of a sustainable business. Without it, the headaches will be many, the ability to be agile and resilient limited, and sustainability will be challenged.
4. WHAT CAREER SUCCESSES ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? BRAG AWAY!
I have been in business for 12 years and my clients stay for many. I have developed a methodology for culture work that is proven by the fact that none of my clients had to close their businesses during the pandemic and were agile enough through the systems we created to be able to pivot and recreate in mindful ways that helped them ride the storm.
I am proud of the diversity in businesses/industries that I have had the privilege to work with and the knowledge that I gain from each new company that I work with.
5. WHAT’S SOMETHING SURPRISING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY? GIVE US THE INSIDER DEETS!
The beauty industry is not different from other industries in that a well-developed intentional culture will make or break the businesses within the industry.
6. WHAT ARE SOME KEY TRENDS OR SHIFTS YOU’RE SEEING FOR 2023 IN YOUR SPECIALITY?
Finally, we are seeing conversations about leadership turn toward looking at building positive work cultures to combat the #greatresignation, #quietquitting, and #quietfiring. The great potential in this is that companies will start putting culture first and we will create more thriving environments that employees are committed to and owners don’t burn out from.
7. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOUNDERS FACE WHEN THEY’RE SCALING TO MULTI-SIX AND SEVEN FIGURES?
If they have not embedded a strong and intentional culture in their businesses, they run the risk of building on an unstable foundation. Most business courses teach the simpler, more tactile aspects of business and don’t touch the messier, people-centric parts. Without the investment in this arena, the risk of constant turnover, communication challenges, and general internal breakdown is prevalent. The most challenging thing about this is that it doesn’t collapse all at once; it slowly erodes over time, so it can be hard to pinpoint the actual problem.
8. WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D LOVE TO SHARE WITH FOUNDERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO LEVEL UP?
Shoring up the foundation of your culture before you dive into growth will ensure your ability to grow sustainably and be able to be agile as needed.
9. WHAT’S ONE BOOK YOU RECOMMEND FOUNDERS READ AND WHY?
This is a hard choice…so, I have 3:
These books are helpful in putting owners on a path to effective and compassionate leadership as well as what it takes to build a sustainable business. They build on each other.
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown: A great read into starting the journey of the leadership of self.
- Five Roles of the Master Herder by Linda Kohanov: This book dives into non-predatory leadership through the lens of horse-inspired insights translated into useful tools for developing collaborative leadership and managing change.
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek: it talks about what needs to happen to create a business ready for the long game.
10. WHAT’S ONE THING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS?
That I have an affinity for dance music. Sofi Tukker and Dom Dolla are on my latest rotation.
11. BRONZER OR BLUSH?
Blush…My Scandinavian blood does not bronze well.
12. TRAVELER OR HOMEBODY?
Traveler… Love an adventure!
P.S. Do you have the infrastructure, plan, and support in place to reach your next-level goals? Are you a beauty brand founder hovering around six figures per year and who’s looking for a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to learn, grow, and scale with? We’d like to invite you to apply to our mastermind. Check it out and apply today.
P.P.S. If you do not yet meet the six-figure criteria then consider getting on our waitlist for Conventional to Cult Status, it is our LIVE signature group program that helps early-stage founders build the foundations, visibility, positioning and brand awareness to reach six figures.