Ashley Peterson is the Founder and CEO of Elizabella Cosmetics, a luxury lip bar designed to stimulate one’s vivaciousness, as well as release and uplift one’s inner confidence while still serving individuality. Ashley always held a passion for makeup and the beauty industry. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native attended the University of Oklahoma where she majored in communications. At the age of 21, Ashley moved to Los Angeles, California after signing a contract with Ford Models. She modeled for top fashion and commercial agencies Ford Models and Abrams Artists Agency for several years, appearing in ads and magazines such as McDonald’s, Target, and Verizon.
In addition to being directly influenced by watching her mother, who was once a cosmetics representative and is a successful businesswoman herself, working for Ford and Abrams regularly granted first-hand opportunities to try new and exciting looks. She quickly recognized how makeup could uplift spirits and positively change one’s outlook. She saw the freedom that came with transforming your appearance from one day to the next; creating the story you want to convey with your look. Ashley strives to break the stigma of the beauty industry as she believes the only standard of beauty is your own. Elizabella Cosmetics was founded on the belief that all women are uniquely beautiful and that should be celebrated.
Ashley is not only committed to creating beauty on the outside, but also on the inside. She recently founded an organization alongside her husband, NFL running back Adrian Peterson. The A&A Peterson Family Foundation is focused on initiatives to transform the lives of those who lack economic and educational resources.
The A&A Peterson Family Foundation was founded on the belief of encouraging and empowering individuals and families to work together to make a difference in our communities. They would like to help eradicate poverty by working to create and develop greater opportunities for under-served individuals, especially children. Their foundation aspires to help develop the resources needed to empower our communities and make a true impact.
Get to know Ashley below.
Fancy: So you went from modeling to being a beauty boss. What was that like?
Ashley: I’d say you know it’s in the same wheelhouse because with modeling every day I was trying to look some kind of way, transforming myself through makeup and hair and styling to whatever the client wanted me to be that day. Honestly, it kind of was the inspiration for me in starting Elisabella Cosmetics because I had the opportunity to book different jobs and try so many different looks-you know, get all dressed up all the time. I was already that kind of girl, anyway. I already loved all of that anyway, but it really just helped to show me how amazing makeup can really be.
You may not feel great or you may not feel good, but if you get up and put yourself together, you’re going to feel a whole lot better. After that throw on a little bit of mascara, a little bit of lipstick, and all of a sudden it’s like, “Okay, I feel a little more together now.” For me personally, I can go ahead and take the day on and that really inspired me to start Elisabella Cosmetics. The confidence that just a little bit of lipstick can give a woman- that actually was one of my main factors in starting it. It was to help as many as possible to feel as good as possible about themselves because I realized how much that could affect and change a woman.
Fancy: Out of all the makeup products you could choose from, what made you decide to go with a lip bar?
Ashley: I would definitely say I chose a luxury lip bar because, honestly, I am not the kind of girl that likes to get up and do a full face of makeup every day. That never has been me. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup at all, you know, but I do think if you just throw on some lashes or some mascara, you have a good lipstick, and maybe a little concealer I think that can completely transform your look, especially if you go with bright, bold lipstick.
I love bold lipstick colors, especially a good red. That’s more my lane, and because I wanted to remain authentic to myself and authentic to what I love and the vision that I had for Elizabella cosmetics. That’s why I really wanted to keep it a luxury lip bar because I don’t believe that women necessarily need a full face of makeup to be beautiful. I think that you may want to lift yourself up and accentuate your beauty with a full face of makeup, but women are beautiful as they are. So if you want to add a little razzle-dazzle, I think that is amazing. I just felt like I wanted to be true to myself. I wanted to kind of just stay true to what I felt I loved and what I felt I could give to women authentically, and be all in for it.
Fancy: That makes a lot of sense. So what was it like starting Elizabella Cosmetics?
Ashley: November 2018 is actually when I launched Elizabella cosmetics. As you know, I started as a model and all that for years in Los Angeles. I had my own career and my own identity, you know. Then I got married and started having kids, and as it happens with many women, I begin to kind of lose myself in that a little bit. So many times that happens with women. Everything was focused on my husband and my kids. So I went through the period of time where I was raising my kids, being a wife, and I was just doing all the things for everyone else. I had completely lost myself, but I always had this list of goals and dreams since I was a little girl. Owning my own cosmetics company had always been on my list.
I remember one day I was talking to one of my friends, and I was talking about how much I wanted to start a makeup company. And she asked, “Well, why not today? What’s stopping you from doing this right now? I don’t know what it was about that day in that particular conversation, but that sparked something in me that made me immediately say, “You know what? I’m going to do this.” From that day forward, I began to work on it.
Elizabella Cosmetics was birthed. It took me quite some time of course to do all the research to find the right manufacturers and the right formula because I am very serious about lipstick, you know. I am a lipstick girl! So I wanted to make sure that whatever product I put out, I completely stood behind. I finally found the right manufacturer and formula, and everything began to fall into place. It took several months for that whole process, and it was definitely a process. It was a grind, but I enjoyed every moment of it because I truly love this. I love beauty! I love makeup! It was an enjoyable process for me because I also begin to find myself again. I was doing something that was fulfilling me outside of my family, and it was strictly for me.
Fancy: What advice would you give to someone else interested in joining the beauty industry?
Ashley: This industry is extremely competitive, and it’s very heavily saturated. I think it’s really important if you’re going to be in this industry to really understand and embrace that, and kind of walk in that knowing, “Hey, I’m walking into this with my eyes wide open, but I’m ready to put in the work to differentiate myself and my brand.”
It has been a beautiful struggle but I’ve really been blessed to be able to continue my company, even through the pandemic, when a lot of businesses went out of business. So I’m very thankful that I’ve been blessed to still be in this industry. However, t’s very difficult. I’ve had a lot of times where I’ve wanted to quit, just to be quite honest, but I overcame that. And that’s what’s important; it’s important to note that at some point of being an entrepreneur everyone wants to quit sometime. What is important is how you handle it from there. Are you gonna quit or are you going to stay the course because this is something that you really want to do, this is something you love, and this is your passion? So I would definitely say, to have your eyes wide open going into it. But know that if this is something that’s truly in your heart, then give it your complete all.
Take the time to really do your research, and take the time to come out with products that you feel like are the absolute best quality, the best products that you can provide to your customers. Also to try to find things that are a little bit different to offer to your customers. That’s what I have found has really worked and also listen to your customers, because they’ll tell you what they like what they don’t like. Customer feedback has really helped me in this process to say, “Okay, I’m not going to do this anymore, I’m going to go this direction.” That has really helped me to kind of stay on track. Because at the end of the day, you’re in this business to serve your customers. So I’d say the number one thing is to go in with your eyes wide open. Know that yes, it’s going to be difficult, but be ready to overcome that already. Have your mind ready to overcome any obstacle that’s coming at you. Number two is to listen to your customers and provide what they want you to give.
Fancy: How do you balance as a wife mother and businesswoman? Do you seek harmony and peace?
Ashley: Girl I seek harmony! I have Red Bull in front of me right now! I am tired sometimes, honey! That’s one of the things I love about women. We get it done when we need to get it done, and I try not to be too hard on myself when I can’t. For so long, I would just be killing myself to do everything, you know, and be exhausted and worn out and depleted. It took me a while but I learned that is not the way to go. You can’t do that you cannot expect to be able to do it all; it’s just not possible. It’s impossible, and it’s not realistic. I feel like, rather than trying to do it all, we need to try to do what’s most important.
Okay, we’ve got this laundry list of things to do. What’s most important right now? What’s the most important today? What’s most important in this moment to get done? And you have to learn to prioritize because it’s hard running a business, having your kids and being an involved mother, trying to be a good wife, and then just trying to be a woman and hang out with your friends and do your self-care and your self-love. That’s important.
Ashley and her team currently working on a new lip gloss for Elizabella Cosmetics.