Female Founders: Tanya York of MicroArt On the Five Things You Need to Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

Female Founders: Tanya York of MicroArt On the Five Things You Need to Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

It’s ok to start over, change careers and reinvent yourself — you can have more than one passion and start multiple successful businesses. Having a mentor is more valuable than you can ever imagine.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanya York.

Entrepreneur Tanya York started her career as a special effects makeup artist in the Hollywood movie industry over 20 years ago. She is the founder and sole owner of MicroArt Inc. She has over 30 years of experience as a CEO. She has been a successful Hollywood Producering veteran, was named one of Hollywood’s most influential women by The Hollywood Reporter. In her 30’s she graced the cover of Entrepreneur magazine in the Young Millionaires issue. She has completed numerous executive management programs including MIT’s Sloan Business School’s “Birthing of Giants” and Young Presidents Organization affiliated executive management program at Stanford University. She founded and developed MicroArt in 2009 to be the leading semi-permanent makeup studio. Located in Beverly Hills, she worked with highly trained lab techs to design a semi-permanent technique and inks that would always look natural.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Born in the Caribbean and living in Europe for 8 years, I moved to Los Angeles at age 17. By 19 I discovered her love for the film industry and produced my first feature film. By age 21, I had raised money and started her first movie production company which produced 7 movies in the first 2 years. I have produced and financed over 30 movies- all of which I am proud to say have been profitable. After the blockbuster success I had achieved in the Home Entertainment/DVD boom, the industry had changed and I wanted to reinvent myself and to start a business that was different and very special. The idea for MicroArt started with me having issues with my eyebrow makeup smudging all the time, and my early experience in special-effects makeup. I invested a sum of money to create the technology, working with electronic engineers and cosmetic chemists all over the world to develop a signature technique for MicroArt Semi-Permanent Makeup that previously didn’t exist.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Each day is an interesting story. Our clients are celebrities, athletes, homemakers, retired seniors, cancer survivors, professionals with busy and active lifestyles. Today there was a male politician that we performed MicroArt on. He is a returning client, but he is getting ready for the upcoming elections.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

As MicroArt is my second major business, I was able to apply my experience from over 33 years as an entrepreneur to this new business and fortunately, I was apple to apply the lessons I had learned.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

At 19 years old, one of my first business mentors was someone who was also an investor in my first company who ran a major film studio. His films had won Oscars and he was in the Guinness book of records for multiple accomplishments he had. He mentored me for the first 3 years from startup most of my operations. He forced me to become a better version of myself and paved the way for me to build a company that had over 300 employees by the time I was in my mid 20’s.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I feel that sometimes what holds women back is themselves, their lack of belief in themselves, and their ability to be able to step up to the plate to accomplish their goals.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder, but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I think any woman can be a successful entrepreneur and become a founder of their own brand. They need to believe they have what it takes to do it and are willing to put in the work needed without allowing being a woman to stand in their way.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

The traits needed can be a long list, but it starts with having the will, commitment, and perseverance to create a business and work hard at it. In my opinion, sadly, a large percentage of the current population is not even cut out to keep a job much less have a career.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

It’s ok to start over, change careers and reinvent yourself — you can have more than one passion and start multiple successful businesses. Having a mentor is more valuable than you can ever imagine.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

My company changes lives by fixing problems for clients that are life-changing for them. In addition, I value that small business owners are a major part of the economy.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Having entrepreneurial education for young adults, especially women will help build the foundation for future founders. Programs that make finding business mentorship easy to access for both the mentor to volunteer their time and a place where young women can find them.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

People like Richard Branson and others that are bold and have no limits to what they can achieve.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this!