Create & Cultivate 100: Small Biz: Gloria Noto

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Gloria Noto is changing what self-care looks like, starting by making it accessible to everyone. The founder of NOTO Botanics, a sustainable and ethical skincare and beauty brand, believes that self-care is a radical tool for resilience—and we agree.

From a young age, Noto has cultivated a strong work ethic. Working as a professional makeup artist, she knew that she was destined to do more. By merging her passion for skincare and self-love and her desire to create a safe space within self-care for marginalized individuals, NOTO Botanics came to fruition. 

Ahead, Noto takes us on her entrepreneurial journey from earning minimum wage at thrift stores to running a beauty brand that’s challenging outdated facets of the industry.

How did you make your first dollar and what did that job teach you that still applies today? 

When I was a kid, I had to start working pretty early on. I moved out of my house pretty early on as well, so making money was not only something for me to do but something I had to do. I worked for minimum wage for a long time at thrift stores, the mall, etc. These jobs taught me to be on time, learn the rules, and do a good job or get fired. I think, at one point in my life, I was working three jobs plus starting to build my portfolio as a makeup artist on the side. Hard work and a good work ethic became my escape, and I sunk into it all. I think that’s what I learned from an early age and brought that into all of my work as an adult. 

Entrepreneurship is all about taking calculated risks. What’s the most pivotal risk you’ve taken, and how did it change your path?

I would say taking the leap to do NOTO full-time. About two and a half years after starting NOTO, I finally took the leap to step back from my extremely busy professional makeup career. It was a scary leap, but I knew that if I didn’t do it, my business would go nowhere. I had a couple of employees at the time, but I was not present. I realized that I didn’t want things to be that way anymore and had to let the fear of the unknown move to the back burner.

What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?

Not doing my taxes correctly. Or bookkeeping. What expensive prices to pay!

2020 presented everybody around the globe with new, unprecedented challenges. How did you #FindNewRoads + switch gears towards your new version of success?

It helped me lock things in, really look at what I was focusing on, where we were pushing things, and maybe where we wanted to pull back on things. Tightening up so much on our back end to help us feel really secure. And really building a team that was here for all of the ups and downs that may occur. I feel really solid about all this right now. And I’m grateful for that. 

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How are you making a difference and pushing your industry forward?

I believe NOTO is making a difference by putting those who are generally marginalized at the front. Celebrating what it means to be Other and showing that radical self-care is the first thing we can do to be better for the rest of the world. Highlighting, collaborating, and celebrating BIPOC folx and Queer and Trans folxs is at the heart of it all while also giving back to ongoing charities on a monthly basis. I think what NOTO is doing is really supporting our communities because we are also a part of that community, as a queer, first-generation, womxn founder. Bringing in luxurious, sustainable, organic products for all because NOTO IS FOR ALL. 

Going after what you deserve in life takes confidence and guts. Does confidence come naturally to you or did you have to learn it? What advice can you share for women on cultivating confidence and going after their dreams? 

I think it comes naturally in some way. I moved out of my house when I was very young knowing that I would have to take care of myself and that anything I wanted out of my life, I would have to ignite. I knew I wanted something big from myself, and as I formed what that was, I knew there was no plan B. There wasn’t going to be another option, so I knew I had to make it happen for myself. In a way that is blind confidence in self, but I like to see it more as resilience. I take that notion with me in most things I work towards. 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? How can they achieve the same success you've experienced?

Be authentic, come forward with something you believe in, and tell a story you know. 

What is your number one piece of financial advice for any new entrepreneur and why?

Get a great bookkeeper and CPA. You don’t want to mess that up. 

It’s easy to celebrate the wins, but how do you handle failure or when something hasn’t worked out for you?

I take it as something to greatly learn from, put that information to work, and move on. 

What's the one productivity tip or work hack that truly changed your life?

To have a paper calendar as well as a digital one. I use one from POKETO because being able to see things in the flesh is vital for me. I need to visualize and see it all in one place. 

What is the #1 career or money book you always recommend and why?

“How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care” by Marlee Grace. Because life can’t be all work.

Fill in the blanks:

To be successful, you need to…

Tear down the idea of what society told you success is and figure out what that means for yourself. 

If there were more hours in the day, I would…

Paint, write, sit in the sun, start a podcast about the lesbian community and culture (which I actually will be doing).

Three qualities that got me to where I am today are…

Resilience, blind faith, the ability to see ahead.

The change I’d like to see in my industry is…

More transparency.

My perfect day begins with…

A kiss from my partner.

 

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