#2ndStreetSpotlight: Rae Cosmetics

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1. What inspired you to start Rae Cosmetics?

Necessity! Not only is Rae a beautiful line of makeup, gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, but it is specifically designed to be perspiration resistant. Sweaty girls want to look pretty too, and I was and am a sweaty girl. Not only active in the gym and outdoors but doing it in Texas. 

For me, no makeup is not really an option. I like to wear makeup and feel better when I feel I look my best but that was hard to do; I usually ended up looking like a hot mess. Plus, the active lifestyle and culture were changing. Now, going to the gym, to a yoga or pilates class is much more than just working out. Now it is a social experience. You don’t just go quickly and quietly workout alone and leave. You meet friends, then have a coffee or snack, you might even meet a future date and hit happy hour on a patio. You meet more people at the gym than at a nightclub or grocery store. So you want to look your best, everywhere you go, in any weather. Now, with Rae Cosmetics, you can.

2. What’s your favorite thing about being based in the 2nd Street District? 

Well, selfishly, my favorite thing is that I live about three blocks from my studio, my office, and the Rae headquarters. So it literally is home. But the real reason is that 2nd Street businesses are like a small family, a group of great, fabulously original boutiques, salons, restaurants, hotels, and people. We all want to provide exceptional service and products, and we want every one of our neighbors to be the most successful we can be. It is our home away from home.

3. Earth Day is coming up, so we'd love to highlight the earth-friendly aspects of your company. Rae Cosmetics is a cruelty-free and environmentally friendly cosmetics company. Can you tell us more about what that means, and how that sets you apart from others in the industry? 

Being a cruelty-free line is very important to me; there is no reason to do testing on animals. All safety and regulations testing can be done in some other way. We would never test any of our products on animals or use any manufacturers or suppliers who do. We believe you don’t have to be cruel to get a killer look! I have a bunny of my own and can’t even imagine anyone hurting him. Evan, my rabbit, comes to the Rae Studio with me often. You can sometimes find him hanging out in the front window of the Rae Cosmetics Studio; he likes to people watch in the 2nd Street District, just like everyone else. 

My boyfriend, Thomas, and I funded the building of Songoloi Elementary School in Kenya three years ago and just returned last week from our second visit for the opening of the two primary school rooms we funded this year. We took my family, as well, this time: Rae Team Africa. We worked with the Nobelity Project, a charitable organization that builds critically needed educational infrastructure, supports literacy and scholarship, and promotes environmental conservation in East Africa, Latin America, and the US. I am very proud of our relationship with the Nobelity Project and the lessons I have learned about this big world we all share. 

#2ndStreetSpotlight: The Bonneville

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Today, we're celebrating a couple-owned business in the 2nd Street District! Read on to learn about how The Bonneville's own Chris Hurley + Jennifer Costello got their inspiration for the restaurant, manage owning a business as a couple, and more on #2ndStreetSpotlight.

What inspired you to start The Bonneville?

Chris and I have always loved to cook, long before we decided to enter the professional world of cooking and long before we met. It has always been a source of great relaxation, creative expression and love. I know it gets said a lot but it's very true..... we put our hearts on the plate. Every cook reaches a point in their career where they "realize" their "food" and understand it's time to get their ideas on the plate. After years of working for other people and together we had reached that point. It was time to express our food, our way. We are both career changers (Chris was an Accountant and I was an Advertising Executive) who entered into this world independently, each with the same end game....to own a little place of our own and do what we love. We were fortunate enough to have found each other but also that we shared a common goal. Together, we could make the dream come true. The Bonneville.

What's your favorite thing about being based in the 2nd Street District?

Our favorite thing about being based in the 2nd Street District is our location and the diversity it brings. We are so central that our customers range from people who were born and raised in Austin, along with our local neighbors, to people from all over the United States and the rest of the world. But the best part of it all is that even with all this growth and development, our view will never change. We will always overlook Lady Bird Lake and be able to watch the glorious Sunsets every night. It's a really special little spot.

What’s it like owning a business as a couple? Favorite thing? Biggest challenge?

Owning a business as a couple is just plain tough, but that kind of goes without saying. We are fortunate, we have each other which makes it a bit easier. I don't know how people do it on their own. We have a very balanced relationship and that transfers to the business. We trust each other implicitly and know at the heart of it all we are in it together, we've got each others back. It's not all sunshine and roses. We have to consciously keep the Restaurant out of our relationship and that can be tough. Mondays are our sacred day. We close the Restaurant on Mondays so we can have one day off a week and not think about anything related to The Restaurant if possible. It's our day.

Favorite thing would definitely be working together doing what we love together. We are both trained Chefs and our hearts are in the kitchen, so all our menus are a full collaboration and a reflection of "our food". We always say there's no one we'd rather cook with than each other. We trust each others palates and can tweak our dishes together. 

Biggest Challenge would have to be finding time with each other outside of the restaurant..... as you can imagine, there's always something urgent or some crisis. As a result we've had to divide and conquer so I spend more time running the Front of House and Chris spends more time running the Back of the House. Staffing is incredibly tough in Austin right now and we are fortunate to have an amazing crew. We work beside each other every day but hardly see each other. Its all about the Restaurant and making that function. So, at the end of every day we sit down and have dinner together, share a glass of wine (or three) and digest the day. It has become such an important ritual.