in partnership
Karissa Bodnar, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Causemetics (Image: Stephanie Diani)

This young Seattleite just made Shonda Rhimes' list of Awesome Women

Shonda Rhimes, creator of such shows as ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (aka my Thursday night TV binge) was asked by Good Housekeeping to help them come up with a list of awesome women. She did just that and included local entrepreneur Karissa Bodnar, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Causemetics, alongside such celebs as Candace Cameron (or Deej from Full House), and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff for the Awesome Women Awards, featured in their September issue.

Thrive Causemetics offers luxury high-performance cosmetics, and for every product you purchase, one is donated to a woman in need.

Seattle Refined: When did you first come up with the concept for Thrive?
Karissa Bodnar: Thrive Causemetics was born out of a friendship. After losing my friend Kristy LeMond at just 24-years-old, I was inspired to create a beauty company that would empower women to be confident and feel beautiful. From the very beginning, our mission has been to change the beauty industry for good, for every product purchased, one is donated to empower a woman in need. All of our high-performance products are vegan and created without toxins.

What compelled you to turn this into a business?
The thought of pouring my life savings to start a business was terrifying. To counteract my fear, I made a list of “the worst that could happen” if I chose to start Thrive Causemetics. My list had two things: I could lose my life savings and look like a fool. The upside? We could empower women to feel confident and beautiful through the gift of beauty. Building a business is not easy, but when you start with your “why”, which for me, is the women we are helping, you are unstoppable.

When did you find out you’ve been selected for an awesome women award?
Good Housekeeping’s Executive Editor, Meaghan Murphy called me to tell me the news late one evening in June and I was completely blown away!

How did it feel to know that the awesome woman herself, Shonda Rhimes picked you for this list?
I still can’t believe Shonda Rhimes and the team at Good Housekeeping selected us. Shonda embodies all things “awesome” and is the ultimate to empower women around the world, so this is definitely a “pinch me” moment!

Has the Seattle community played a part in your business?
Seattle has an electrifying entrepreneurial spirit and I’m so grateful we started Thrive Causemetics here. We’ve been blessed to have an outpouring of support from our community from local media to Seattle-based business leaders.

Being so young yourself, What advice do you have for other 20-somethings that are thinking about starting their own business?
You’re never too young or too old to be who you always wanted to be. Starting a business is not easy, but if you start with “why”, you’ll be able to overcome any hurdle. My “why” is the women we are empowering through our Beauty with a Purposeā„¢ giving mission. And like Steve Jobs said, the rules of the world were made up by people who are no smarter than you, so you can change it and make a difference.

What would you like our readers to know about you and Thrive Causemetics?
Thrive Causemetics is more than just a luxury beauty brand, we are a movement of empowerment that anyone can join. When you buy one of our products, we donate that same product to instill confidence to a woman in need. We donate our products to women re-entering the workforce and those going through cancer treatment.