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Lindsay Ellingson and Divya Gugnani Illuminate the Path for Women in the Industry

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Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, we’re spotlighting beauty trailblazers and IPSY brand partners who are putting their stamp on the industry. These women are pushing for inclusivity, breaking business barriers, creating new beauty categories, and innovating from a whole new perspective—and we’re all the better for it.

In the vibrant landscape of the beauty industry, two trailblazing women have emerged as pioneers, redefining standards and reshaping the narrative. Lindsay Ellingson and Divya Gugnani, the formidable co-founders of WANDER BEAUTY, stand as inspiring figures, embodying the essence of resilience, innovation, and empowerment.

Embracing a Shared Vision

After meeting in 2014 at a salon opening, the duo instantly bonded over their mutual love for travel, their busy lives, and their shared passion for beauty. As Divya puts it: "We felt that no other beauty brand was speaking to the woman on the go. We were both juggling a lot, didn't have time for complicated beauty routines, and felt our products could be working just as hard as we do."

The pair polled hundreds of women, and the results were aligned—they were on something big! Together, Lindsay and Divya ventured into uncharted territories, creating a brand that values authenticity, inclusivity, and simplicity above all else. In an industry often marked by unattainable standards, they planted the seeds of WANDER BEAUTY, blossoming into a haven for those seeking beauty solutions that align with their dynamic lifestyles. “We create products for women on the go, so we wanted a name that was travel inspired,” says Lindsay. “We played around with a few options but ultimately landed on WANDER. We love how it could evoke feelings of any sort of travel, whether it’s commuting to work or island hopping in the Caribbean.”

Paving Their Paths to Beauty

Before they were co-founders, both Lindsay and Divya charted distinct paths in their careers, each contributing a unique blend of experiences that enriched their entrepreneurial journey. Divya's career began in investment banking, where she showcased her tenacity from the jump. Born in Springfield, IL, and raised mostly on Long Island, NY, Divya embarked on her professional life in investment banking with Goldman Sachs. Her relentless pursuit of that dream job led her to network with alumni and secure an interview, landing a coveted investment banking position. "Walking into that role was like stepping onto the launchpad of my career," Divya reflects.

Her time at Goldman Sachs emphasized the importance of teamwork, a lesson she carried forward into the entrepreneurial realm. Venturing into private equity and later into venture capital, Divya focused on investing in earlier-stage companies, gaining invaluable experience that shaped her trajectory. “There's a saying that there's no ‘I’ in Goldman Sachs, and the same holds true for WANDER BEAUTY,” says Divya. “Building this brand is a collective effort, and it emphasizes the belief that if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Teamwork truly makes the dream work.” 

Lindsay's track to WANDER BEAUTY began in Southern California. A self-described shy and awkward kid with a passion for math and science, Lindsay found herself scouted by a modeling agency in LA, deferring the rest of college to explore the world of fashion. Her modeling career soared to incredible heights, walking in prestigious shows for Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, and eventually becoming a Victoria's Secret Angel. 

"[As a model] I learned so much not only about beauty but about lighting and composition," says Lindsay. 

Transitioning from modeling to creative director of her own brand, Lindsay applied this wealth of knowledge to her role, conceptualizing, planning, and shooting content for product launches and brand vision.

With their diverse career backgrounds, both Lindsay and Divya came together at the intersection of beauty, travel, and multitasking—a convergence that gave rise to the trailblazing WANDER BEAUTY.

Embodying the WANDER BEAUTY Philosophy

In the spirit of a self-love revolution, Lindsay and Divya advocate for a beauty philosophy that transcends the surface. The WANDER BEAUTY ethos embraces the natural beauty of every woman, encouraging them to be comfortable in their skin and confident in their individuality. Divya explains: “As an Indian woman, my journey in the beauty space has deep roots, from childhood trips to my grandmother's garden, learning about Ayurveda's power, to the vibrant colors and rituals in every celebration. Beauty, for me, transcended aesthetics; it was a tapestry woven with tradition, self-expression, and connection.”

On the flip side, mainstream beauty felt limiting for Divya. “Products didn't cater to my skin's needs, formulas felt heavy, and the definition of ‘beautiful’ seemed airbrushed and exclusive,” she says. “I craved a beauty experience that embraced my heritage, celebrated my wanderlust, and empowered me to be uniquely myself on the go and on my own terms.”

From this wish, WANDER BEAUTY was born. She continues: “It wasn't just about creating high-performance makeup and skincare, it was about crafting tools for women like us—women who wear their heritage like a crown, find beauty in exploring new paths, and believe in the power of a bold swipe of lipstick even amidst life's adventures.” Much like the mission to redefine beauty standards, Lindsay and Divya have left an indelible mark on the beauty industry, reminding us that true beauty is diverse, dynamic, and unapologetically real.

A Celebration of Triumphs

First up in the WANDER BEAUTY line was the launch of their On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator in 2015. “We wanted to create a multitasker that all women would feel was essential in their beauty routines. It’s a product that can be used in at least 10 different ways,” says Lindsay. 

Today, that debut product remains a best seller for the brand, who has expanded to include everything from mascara to brow products and even eyeshadow palettes. Divya recalls: “The most challenging product for us is Wanderlust [Powder Foundation]. It's not a traditional powder; it doesn't have fillers or binders. It begins as a liquid foundation that we transform into a powder through a proprietary process.” 

One thing all their launches have in common? They are clean, multitasking essentials to help anyone look and feel gorgeous on the go. “We set a high bar for innovation, creating value for our customers with high-performance formulations that suit their busy and active lifestyles,” adds Divya. 

The brand’s story serves as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals who yearn for a beauty industry that resonates with their authenticity. WANDER BEAUTY is not just a business venture; it's a testament to the power of collaboration, resilience, and the unyielding spirit of women creating history.

Do you want to try out products from amazing women-founded beauty brands including WANDER BEAUTY? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated February 23, 2024 12:00 AM