Having met Katia Beauchamp in person, it’s hard not to open this feature with a gushing, celebrity interview-style intro. Fresh off the plane from New York, mother to two young boys and head of a wildly successful international company, signs of tiredness would be understandable. But no, when we met 30-something co-founder of Birchbox, she was glowing, infectiously passionate about her business and undeniably charming, flashing an all-American smile at every turn. Her professional background? A degree in International Studies & Economics, plus an MBA from Harvard led Beauchamp to a successful career in finance and real estate. Pretty good going you’re thinking.

2010 saw the launch of Birchbox – effectively a true disruptor in the beauty industry and a business format that has subsequently been copied the world over. Fast forward to 2017, and Birchbox has 1 million subscribers and 4 million total customers worldwide, as well as stores in the US and France. Beauchamp has garnered awards too numerous to mention here – and even (squeal!) appeared on Project Runway. Celebrating 100,000 subscribers in the UK – we asked Beauchamp about just what makes her tick – instant inspiration guaranteed.

Motivation for me is all about…

I’m motivated by the size of the opportunity to change the way women discover beauty. The majority of women don’t enjoy the process of researching and shopping for new products – they just want it to be easy. And Birchbox is uniquely able to reach those women and deliver a fun, efficient experience that effectively changes their relationship with the category. We’re just getting started.

I’m also extremely motivated to build an army of strong female leaders who feel empowered to be ambitious and advocate for what they need to be successful. I want women to feel comfortable asking their employer for whatever it is that they need – whether that’s more resources, a higher salary, development opportunities, flexibility in their schedule or mentorship.

Success means…

I want to change the paradigm of what success means. It’s not just about working incredibly hard until retirement, but rather building a mutually beneficial relationship with your employer so your needs and demands are met too. I want to scale the idea that a having a job can be truly fulfilling and gratifying. That would be a win.

I couldn’t have got there without…

My team at Birchbox. I am truly grateful for the passion, time and hard work they dedicate to Birchbox every day.

I always start my day with…

I wake up to the sound of my twin boys, Alec and Guy, talking and singing to each other in the next room. I go get them and we watch the Today Show together on the couch (they are obsessed with Al Roker!). Then I make them breakfast while my husband Greg makes us coffee. I check my phone for any important texts when I first wake up, but I don’t look at email until after I’ve spent time with my kids.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Take a break and spend time with my family! Seeing the kids and my husband refuels me. Their dancing and silliness is so fun, it just grounds you. Before I had kids it was impossible for me to turn my brain off from work. However now I realize how beneficial it can be to disconnect – I’m able to add so much more value. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are not feeling balanced.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

There has been so much progress but there is still a real opportunity to change the status quo. Female leaders have a responsibility to set examples that allow other women to learn from and build upon. Diversity in leadership is clearly positive for society – men and women think differently. Diversity creates an important balance that changes the potential solution to any problem or opportunity. Growth and change comes from challenging our own ideas and preconceptions. We need to challenge our thinking and create opportunities for female leaders.

It’s important for young women to first understand their own self-worth; that they are talented, deserving and can contribute even in the early days of their career. Ask smart questions, be humble yet demanding, and learn from every opportunity.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lack of support for other women! The most important thing we can do is to support each other. We have to be comfortable coaching our peers. It takes practice, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes it may not go well, but it’s the most likely place women will turn to for help. We need to celebrate other women finding success. We are in this together!

I’d like to be remembered for…

I want Birchbox to be known for attracting and developing the most talented leaders in the world. To me, that means building a team that is responsible for the innovation and future of our company – a responsibility that goes far beyond executives. I’ve also learned to accept that those people may leave to pursue other things that advance their careers in a different way – whether that’s heading to business school or starting their own company. That’s a real signal of exceptional, quality leadership and something that I think about a lot.

What makes me happiest is…

Without a doubt it is spending time with my family

Can I run in heels?

I’m much more likely to be in flats than to be in a situation where I’d have to run in heels, but I could definitely do it – especially if I’m chasing after my kids.

For more information and to subscribe to Birchbox, see the company’s website.