This Small Business Owner Manifests Self Confidence

Confidence is key to success in the beauty business. For Tracy Flores, the founder of CLEAN(er) BEAUTY, a beauty destination and online marketplace dedicated to making clean beauty products and services more accessible, it’s a daily practice of leaning into her individuality that gives her the strength to stand on her own as a small-business owner. After 15 years as a professional makeup artist and skin therapist, Flores found herself troubled by the lack of transparency and regulation in the industry. “I spent my entire adult life living, drinking, and breathing beauty. The lack of regulation concerned me. I felt that we were missing a space for education about clean beauty—whether that would be online or in a brick-and-mortar.”

In 2017, Flores took a leap of faith, quit her job, and started CLEAN(er)—a life-changing decision that required tremendous courage and confidence. Six years later, she’s running an expertly curated online marketplace and two physical locations, in North Carolina and Arizona. ELLE got the chance to sit down with Flores to learn how she expresses her confidence as a small business owner, from celebrating small victories to selecting a signature pair of glasses that perfectly expresses her personality.

Just Keep Going

“There are always challenges when you’re an entrepreneur,” Flores says, referencing a lesson that her mother, who passed away in 2021, instilled in her to build resilience. “She empowered me to keep going. You have to wake up each morning and continue forward past each struggle.” While the loss of her mother is still a daily challenge for Flores, she draws on this inherited wisdom as a constant reminder to continue persevering through both personal and professional difficulties.

Identify Signature Wardrobe Accessories

Personal style is, of course, personal, and cultivating the relationship between inner and outer expression nurtures confidence. “It’s not about putting on a full face of makeup, or curling your hair every day. It’s about finding pieces that bring you joy,” Flores says. For her, that’s the rose frames she snagged at Eyeconic, an online glasses retailer that provides a virtual try-on option which she relies upon to test new frames. “My glasses are a signature piece of my wardrobe. I even get recognized on the street because of my frames.”

And while it’s common to be inspired by someone else’s frames, finding what works for you requires a little curiosity and exploration of your own style. Flores says that first of all, it’s not just about fashion: “When I smile, for example, my glasses can’t hit my cheeks. They have to be fun, but they also have to be complementary to my face.” She also advises that you should shop with someone you’re comfortable with, ask questions, and try on plenty of frames. “At the end of the day, you should feel confident and empowered to express yourself through your lenses.”

Tracy’s Signature Frames

Longchamp Rose Glasses

Longchamp Rose Glasses

Longchamp Sunglasses

Longchamp Sunglasses

Honor Your Accomplishments

It’s often difficult as an entrepreneur to slow down and appreciate wins, especially when you’re the type of person who’s always thinking 10 steps ahead. “Setting realistic goals is so important,” Flores emphasizes. “I’m constantly having to remind myself to celebrate all of the milestones, large or small. You have to take that moment to celebrate yourself.”

Keep Positive People Around You

CLEAN(er), an entirely self-funded adventure, is now a multimillion-dollar business with two locations. Flores stresses that none of this would have been possible if she hadn’t let go of negative people and situations in her life. “Surround yourself with people who never dim your light,” she says. “It’s easier said than done, and it’s constant practice, but you should prioritize good people. Their positivity will boost your confidence.”

Celebrate Your Individuality

Flores admits that she struggles with imposter syndrome. “There’s always the comparison to bigger-box retailers,” she says. To dispel this self-doubt, she reminds herself of what sets CLEAN(er) apart. “We’re working to change the narrative in the beauty space by bringing clean beauty to everybody—regardless of identity.” She also emphasizes that it’s crucial to hold onto whatever feels authentic. “What makes the biggest difference is you. At the end of the day, you are one of a kind—and whether you’re expressing that through a bold lip or, as in my case, glasses, that’s up to you to explore.”


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