In her IES Abroad Scholarship application, Brittany Lo (IES Abroad Paris BIA, Fall 2012 | Babson College) wrote about her dream of studying abroad in Paris to explore her other dream of starting her own beauty company. Fast forward five years later, and Brittany is Founder and CEO of Beautini, a company that offers hair and makeup services throughout the United States. We caught up with Brittany to hear how this IES Aboard Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience inspired her vision for Beautini, and helped prepare her for entrepreneurship.
IES Abroad: As a student at Babson College, what inspired you to study abroad in Paris?
Brittany Lo (BL): Paris is somewhere I always dreamed about, and after visiting France while in high school, I knew I wanted to one day go back. Babson College has a very diverse student body with a large international student presence, so studying abroad and exploring the world around us is very much encouraged. Thankfully, Babson College suggested that IES Abroad would be the perfect fit for me, and I could not have been any happier with my choice!
IES Abroad: What impact did the IES Abroad Scholarship have on your career path and journey to where you are today?
BL: For my IES Abroad Scholarship essay I wrote about my dream to study in the Paris while exploring the idea of pursuing my other dream, starting my own beauty company. I am excited to say that the beauty company, Beautini, that I wrote about five years ago in this essay, has now developed into a full-time job after graduating from Babson College. We are now providing hair and makeup services throughout the States! Studying abroad in Paris and being inspired by the world of beauty and culture there played a big role when branding the concept for Beautini.
IES Abroad: Tell us about Beautini. What inspired you to found your own business, and how did you get started?
BL: Beautini provides hair and makeup services for groups of women who want to look and feel their best during life's special moments. Based in New York, NY, Beautini creates the ultimate beauty experience complete with bubbly and robes. I wrote in my 2nd grade journal that I wanted to have a beauty company, and throughout the years, with the help of the different schools I have attended and people and places I have been inspired by, I was able to make my dream a reality!
IES Abroad: How did studying abroad in Paris help prepare you for the beauty industry and entrepreneurship?
BL: Paris is one of the world's greatest fashion and beauty capitals! Walking down the streets in Paris observing the beautiful architecture, people and desserts, the city to me is a piece of art. At IES Abroad I took Introduction to Luxury Brand Management that is to this day one of my absolutely favorite courses I have ever taken. Building a lasting brand takes a ton of well-thought-out strategy, and I gained a new perspective on branding from this course. To be a successful businessman or woman I think understanding different cultures and having an open mind is key. Having the chance to live abroad encourages someone to step outside of their comfort zone, and see things from a different perspective.
IES Abroad: What is one thing you learned while abroad that remains a constant in your life today?
BL: Take advantage of opportunities like this when you can! There are so few opportunities that allow you to immerse yourself into a different culture after college. If there was one good decision I made during my time at college, it was studying abroad. Two of my best friends I met from studying at IES Abroad Paris BIA. I learned so much about myself and ultimately came home a stronger, more insightful and ambitious version of myself.
IES Abroad: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of studying or interning abroad?
BL: When choosing a place to study or intern abroad find a place where you think you will grow and learn the most, not where your friends will be. It doesn't necessarily have to mean the most intense curriculum, but for example, I knew I wanted to pursue beauty so Paris was the best fit despite not having any of my close friends going there. Going abroad alone may seem scary, but it pushes you to meet new people and build extraordinary new friendships!
This article was originally published in the IES Abroad alumni magazine Exchange. The “Five Years After Study Abroad” series features alumni who received an IES Abroad scholarship, and explores how studying abroad shaped their life and career.
Interested in diving into the fashion and beauty scene while you’re studying abroad? Check out our best places to study abroad for stylish students.