Exquisite Women Entrepreneurs: Karissa Bodnar of Thrive Causemetics

March 9th, 2018

As many of you know, Nikki Khan founded Exquisite Events over 17 years ago and we are proud to have grown the company from local weddings and events to designing and planning events internationally. We are constantly inspired by women in business and are so proud to know so many who have been successful in pursuing their passions. This is why we have decided to start our ‘Exquisite Women Entrepreneurs’ series on our blog. We will be reaching out to many of our Exquisite friends who are entrepreneurs and women in business to discuss their inspirations, how they started, what keeps them motivated, etc.

Our first Exquisite Woman Entrepreneur is Karissa Bodnar. Karissa is the founder of Thrive Causemetics, a beauty brand with a very good purpose. The company is based in Seattle and the thing we love about it most is that the company gives back to women survivors of cancer and domestic violence. For every product purchased, one item is donated to one of these women and we absolutely fell in love with the company and what it stands for. We LOVE the name too!

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are starting our ‘Exquisite Women Entrepreneur’ series with the beautiful Karissa Bodnar of Thrive Causemetics.

Exquisite Events (EE): When did you start Thrive Causemetics?
Karissa Bodnar (KB): I began Thrive Causemetics in 2015.

EE: Describe Thrive Causemetics and what made you start the company?
KB: ?Thrive Causemetics creates high-performance, luxury cosmetics that are vegan,cruelty-free and made without parabens or sulfates. Our makeup is available exclusively onthrivecausemetics.com. I was inspired to start Thrive after losing my friend Kristy to cancer at just 24 years of age. Her compassionate and vivacious spirit motivated me to create a brand that goes beyond skin deep beauty to truly empower women. For every Thrive Causemetics product you purchase, one is donated to help a woman thrive.

EE: What is your background? Where did you go to school? Degrees? Or did you know a cosmetics line was your passion from the start?
KB: I began my career in the beauty industry as a makeup artist at 18 and graduated from University of Washington with a business and communications degree. My love for beauty products began when I was a young girl and I’ve always been inspired by the way makeup helps women feel confident. When a woman is confident, she is unstoppable. Upon graduation, I began working as a product developer for various luxury cosmetics brands.

EE: What was the first product you developed for the line?
K B: ?Our first products were ?Vegan Silk Faux Lashes?, the first-ever false eyelashes that work whether you have lashes or not, along with ?Infinity Waterproof Lash Adhesive?, lash glue that provides 24-hour hold designed with sensitive skin in mind and free of latex and other irritating chemicals.

EE: How do you go about finding Thrivers?
KB: We partner with charities and hospitals to host Giving Events, where we donate Thrive Causemetics products and provide makeup lessons to empower women in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Through these Giving Events, as well as our amazing nominations and friendships that come from our Thrive Tribe online community, we have been able to meet so many incredible women who exemplify what it means to Thrive.

EE: What are your favorite thrive products? Why?
KB:I am obsessed with our Cosmo Power Strobing Blush; it is the first of its kind! You can wear it as an eyeshadow, blush, highlighter and it’s so hydrating, you can wear it as a matte metallic lipstick!
Our Sun Chaser Blur + Sculpt Bronzer is another one of my favorites because it is a super creamy powder that blends flawlessly whether you are contouring or just want an overall glow. Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is one of our most popular products. Since launching in May 2017, it has sold out 12 times! Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is made from our proprietary blend of liquid fibers that stay water-resistant and flake-free all day. It is also infused with Orchid Stem Cells that condition your lashes to encourage growth.

EE: Any successful thrive stories from donation from Thrive?
KB: We met the amazing Rowan Shoemaker through Instagram and donated product to her at the beginning of her journey and is the inspiration behind our Rowan Matte Legacy Liquid Lipstick. Rowan was engaged with her wedding date set for June 3rd, 2017 but after being diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer, her and her fiance decided to postpone their wedding until they knew more about her treatment plan. As her treatment went on, her best friend nominated heron Instagram and we knew Rowan would be the perfect name for our Matte Legacy Liquid Lipstick shade. Once Rowan and her fiance set their new wedding date, we worked with her friends and family for months to plan the big Rowan reveal. While Rowan and her fiance thought they were at a photo studio in Houston for new engagement photos, the Thrive Team and all of her family and friends surprised her with her new lipstick. Rowan is the embodiment of rising against any obstacles that come in your way. In September she received the news that she had no evidence of disease and last week she finally got her dream of getting married to her husband.

E E: Where can someone go to purchase thrive products?
K B: ?We are sold exclusively on ??thrivecausemetics.com?.
EE: Advice for female entrepreneurs?
KB: When everything seems to be going against us, I always focus on my "why" and my why is our mission. Women that we've supported through our giving mission like Nalie Agustin, DionneWarner, Maggie Kudirka, Robin Roberts and more are women who constantly inspire me. My advice to young entrepreneurs starting out is to focus on your "why". When you know your why, anything is possible.

Some of Thrive's Products!


Thank you Karissa! Stay tuned for our next inspirational Q&A!

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