Women in Business Q&A: Tai Lawrence President & Founder of Brock Beauty

08/13/2014 10:22 am ET Updated Oct 13, 2014

Tai Lawrence and her husband, Brock Lawrence established Brock Beauty Inc. in 2004, when they spotted a gap in the hair and cosmetic industry. Under the parent company Brock Beauty, they created HAIRFINITY®, one of the most innovative new hair care products on the market. HAIRFINITY®, a vitamin used by women all over the world, encourages and invigorates fast and healthy new hair growth.

Tai's own addiction to innovation helped drive her success with HAIRFINITY®, which started out as a simply solution she created to solve her own hair growth problems. She discovered it was very difficult to find products that contained both safe and effective ingredients, and committed Brock Beauty to utilizing nature as the source of nurture for hair and skin health.

Together, they have developed high-profile products for skincare, vitamins and hair care. Tai is incredibly motivated and continues to grow Brock Beauty Inc. into a natural product powerhouse for women seeking solutions for everything from hair care to skincare with its brands, HAIRFINITY®, Infinite Lash®, Essentious® and Dermera®.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My life experiences as a teenage mother who went on to complete Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering and then on to becoming a business owner taught me to always be self reliant, self aware, and willing to change. I believe these are the most valuable lessons I have learned. I have also instilled these values into my business. For instance, I have always been an innovator in building our brands instead of being reliant on the "status quo". I am also always evaluating myself and my business to find areas of improvement. Last, I am always willing to make changes for the better. I am never so stuck on an idea that I can't abandon it for the betterment of myself or my company.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Brock Beauty?
When I worked as an Electrical Engineer, I learned to seek out solutions to problems and to be a team player. As an engineer, its not uncommon for someone to tell you your solution is "wrong." Because of this, I don't have a problem with criticism. Actually, I embrace it. It gives me the opportunity to become better as I make the changes necessary for improvement.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Brock Beauty?
I think the highlights and challenges have been then same. GROWTH. When my husband and I started the company, we could not have imagined that it would grow at the rapid pace which it has. This has been both the highlight and challenge of running the business. We often feel that we are just playing "catch up" to the company.

What advice would you give to women who are looking to start their own business?
I would say to do something you are passionate about and never give up. Passion breeds motivation, which enables you to follow through. If you are only seeking money, then it will get in the way of what you are doing. Our business came about as the result of me looking for a solution to a problem I was passionate about.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance has been one of the most difficult things I have had to do. In fact, I still struggle with it. What has worked for me is scheduling, prioritizing, and delegation. Everything HAS to be done, but it should have a place. If someone else can do it, then let them. I have found that people get a sense of satisfaction when you entrust them with something as well. It goes on to build great teamwork and a positive work environment.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
When I worked as an engineer, I was one of three women engineers at a facility with over 500 employees. Needless to say, that presented a challenge in itself. The biggest issue for women in the workplace is lack of respect in my opinion. As a woman, you have to be able to navigate in a man-controlled environment appropriately. I never sought out to change the way the men looked at women. I really don't believe that is possible. So, then your strength comes in knowing how to deal with people. I learned to do my best work without offending anyone, or making them feel less. Sometimes that meant taking a back seat, but in the end it would always work out for the best.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have honestly never had a mentor.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire Oprah Winfrey because she has overcome so many obstacles and set herself apart from others in the industry.

What are your hopes for the future of Brock Beauty?
I just hope that Brock Beauty will continue to grow, improve, and deliver outstanding products to our customers.