I sat down with Jacquie Kuntze, founder of Jacquie Cosmetics, and the verdict is out: she’s a badass.  Dissatisfied with the life society and her parents planned for her, at 18, she ran away to Paris and luck would prove to be on her side. Eager to demonstrate their commitment to Jacquie’s success, the family enrolled her in French classes. Still, she bucked against expectation when she discovered that make-up classes were being taught in the same building. She started skipping French to attend on occasion. It was there that she solidified her love for all things cosmetics.

Despite Jacquie’s rebellious nature, she’s a sweetheart. She shared how her teenage skin issues led to her first interest in beauty care and that her college education in global development and environmental studies, lent to her desire to develop a product that is fully sustainable and ethical. Despite her education and success, she still admires other influencers. One of her favs is @officiallyquigley, who she loves for her humor and the way she is unapologetic about the edited and unedited version of her content. What came through in our conversation, is a woman who genuinely cares about the earth, her employees, the people she does business with, and most importantly, the people who buy her products.

As a small business, it’s easy to get lost in what’s most cost-effective, but Jacquie was willing to sacrifice the savings for sustainability. “I decided that [I] would be better off taking a cut in the short term — like even one to three years — knowing that it’ll pay off in the long term.” Unwilling to waver on her morals,  she gladly pays up to three times more to buy and employ within her local Canadian economy, rather than outsourcing her production overseas. But when you’re honest and loyal, good comes back to you. In fact, her manufacturer was willing to produce a much smaller volume (despite their minimum standard of 5,000 units), which worked with her starting budget.  $10,000 a month in revenue later, and less than a year after the brand’s launch, she considers her passion project a success.

We love a good underdog story. It reminds us of the humanity and dynamism that exists when a community of people come together. Jacquie shared with us that, after Paris, she came back to get her Bachelor’s degree. The fear of not making it in the beauty business and the doubt that well-meaning people shared by giving advice, drove her to take the safe route: taking the LSAT to prepare for her MBA. We’re so glad that, despite acing it, she took a chance and followed her dream. A piece of advice that Jacquie has for fellow influencers is: “Don’t doubt yourself.” By surrounding herself with successful innovators and trusting her gut, she has surpassed her own expectations.

Being a #girlboss means taking risks when everyone else is taking a break. It means late nights, long hours, and LOTS of coffee. But the community that we build when we collaborate or share resources is powerful.

Listen to the full interview for more on Jaquie’s secrets to building a fempire.