Cayli Cavaco Reck Is Focused on Conscious Beauty

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

 Knockout Beauty Founder Cayli Cavaco Reck
Image courtesy of Knockout Beauty.

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Knockout Beauty founder Cayli Cavaco Reck talks about how her lifelong battle with skin issues prompted her to share her skincare journey with women around the world and, eventually, launch her own business.

Raised by parents who both worked in the fashion industry, Reck was taught to pick up on trends and think creatively and to lead with empathy.

“It’s really interesting to have that meeting of both directional and commercial, and art and commerce. And they were very skilled at that,” Reck says of her parents. “And I think it’s because they both put things that I really value—and I think that humans value—at the forefront.”

Reck’s mother was offered a fashion director position at American “Vogue” shortly after she discovered she was pregnant with her first child at 35.

Her doctor warned that taking on the job might be a problem and carrying a child to term may be a risk. However, Reck’s then-35-year-old mother took on pregnancy.

“I think that she took that as an opportunity to become an entrepreneur to go out on her own,” Reck says of her mother. “She recognized that in order to have the life that she wanted, and to create the life that she wanted to create, she probably couldn't do it at a magazine.”

Reck’s mother passed away when Reck was just 13, and Reck said she inherited her mother’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Five years later, Reck developed severe acne and began treatment using Accutane, a vitamin A derivative that can have serious side effects, and which she says spurred “emotional, intrusive” thoughts for her.

“I was insecure about my skin and feeling sensitive about my skin, and I don't ever want anyone to have to live with that,” she says. “It showed me that there's a large relationship between what you're putting in your body and how you're feeling,”

Years into adulthood (and off Accutane), Reck discovered that she had melasma.

“Sometimes we want the result to happen quickly, we actually end up throwing off the balance,” she said. “And so my whole vision around skincare is related to balance.”

Eventually, Reck started to share her personal skincare problems and research on Instagram. As more people reached out to her, Reck conceived of a pop-up series that she thought would last the course of one summer as a kind of proof of concept.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn't it be cool if there was somewhere for people to go and talk about these things?’,” she says. “it seemed like beauty was the foil for the communication and the conversation. So I sort of set out to create a community center.”

The pop-up wildly exceeded her expectations, leading her to quit her job and pursue Knockout Beauty full time. Taking a page from her parents’ book, Reck looked at the trends in beauty when organizing her business strategy.

“So it's looking at all the things that come into the picture to fill out what it is that you can accomplish based on what your specific opportunity is,” she says. “That really resonated with me when I started the business. I thought of it as ‘there's a need, and I'm filling [it]’. And so then I thought about it as, ‘How do I fill the need?’”

Instead of focusing on fear of building a brand from the ground up, Reck says she aimed to maintain an “abundant mindset” that helped her envision success.

Soon enough, her concerns about the risks and strain of pursuing Knockout Beauty full time subsided.

“If you handle hard [things] well, you become the person that people look to in crisis, who they look to for leadership. “ Reck says. “And I think that when you're somebody that people look to, you are able to create safety […] and that shifts your ability to change your mindset. Because if you feel safe, you can actually do a lot of things.”

Audience Engagement and Production Intern Jojo Macaluso contributed to this post.

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radioor wherever you get your podcasts.

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