Twenty-five-year-old CEO Ariana Pierce is going places in style. Since the age of 13, her love of beauty, business entrepreneurship, wanderlust and a hustle that just won’t quit have made her one to watch. The Glow Up girl caught up with the avid traveler and founder of Superstar Nail Lacquer to find out what inspires her, how she’s nailing the beauty game (and several other burgeoning businesses) and where this entrepreneurial prodigy is headed next:
Ariana Pierce: When I was a young girl, my mom would get me a lot of books and Mary Kate and Ashley videos that had to do with travel: Passport to Paris, Holiday in the Sun and When in Rome, to name a few. I decided then that it would be a part of my career one day; I just had to figure out how.
The Glow Up: Traveling while black can be an interesting experience.
AP: For me, traveling to South America, many times, they assume my friends and I are from a Spanish-speaking country or the Caribbean and will go out of their way to make sure we have a great experience. Of course, there are times when you have those people who are just rude. Don’t let them ruin your fun—you’re there to enjoy life and take in the beauty of the world and culture around you.
TGU: What beauty essential would you never travel without?
AP: I for sure take a bottle of Superstar Nail Lacquer with me, my diffuser and a small bottle of Thieves Oil. It’s an essential oil that keeps my skin clear, and it helps to keep my immune system up.
TGU: Favorite city for beauty treatments?
AP: My favorite cities in the United States for beauty treatments are New York City and Los Angeles. Whenever I’m there, I love visiting the spas, as people in these cities are very into self-care and leading healthy lifestyles.
I haven’t been to South Korea, the capital of skin care.
TGU: Favorite city for fashion?
AP: My favorite city for fashion in the United States is New York. I love how edgy and diverse the fashion is. It’s all about creativity and owning your look.
TGU: How did your passions for beauty and travel become a business?
AP: I started [conceptualizing] my business at 13. I wanted to help women everywhere feel beautiful, stylish and safe. Fast-forward to 17 years old: Freshman year at Michigan State, I wanted to launch myself in the beauty and cosmetic industries, so that’s when I started. Being new to college and starting a business, I was always working.
TGU: Career highs and lows?
AP: Lows of my career happened more so in my teens and 20s. I remember being in a room with people three times my age and feeling a bit out of place. Not only did age play a factor, but being a black woman in the cosmetic industry was something that was very new at that time.
When I launched my online store at SuperstarNailLacquer.com, I did not post photos of me on my site so that people would not judge my product by a skin color, but by quality. I would get major calls from other brands wanting to collaborate with Superstar on some pretty amazing projects. It was disappointing to find that once these brands met with me in person, the deal went south for what they called “creative differences.”
After so many times of experiencing disappointing outcomes, I decided that I would not let this stop me, so I began to study my industry, educating myself so I would know more than many of those I was meeting with. Over time, my business gained such success online; big brands couldn’t ignore me any longer. One thing I learned from this is that no matter how others treat you, there is no room for excuses. If you put your mind, will and heart into your business, you can be successful.
[My] career high was being featured on Forbes’ Business of Influence series. Forbes is one of those things that had always been on my dream list.
TGU: How do you manage to have a successful brand and a life at the same time?
AP: It’s all about scheduling time to do what you want and at the same time have a successful business. During the week, I make sure to grind it out in my business. I’m flexible with my days, but I try [to] take Saturday and Sunday to spend with my family and friends. That’s how I’ve been able to keep going without burning out.
TGU: What are your business goals?
AP: Continue to grow Superstar Nail Lacquer and sell it, but stay on as creative director while I focus more on my other brands, and also coaching young people to level-up in their businesses. I’ve created courses to help people grow their brands online [and] start profitable blogs so they can live their dream life now—not later. That’s what it’s all about: using your gifts to inspire others to use theirs.