Desi Perkins on Launching Her New Brand and Why She Got Honest About Fertility
If you're active in the beauty space, the chances that you've watched a Desi Perkins makeup tutorial on YouTube are pretty high. Since launching her channel in 2013, she's been busy creating videos, collaborating with brands, and just, you know, changing the beauty industry. Now she's about to get even busier. The content creator just debuted her own fashion and lifestyle brand, Dezi. Oh, and did we mention she's currently pregnant and due in October? And she's doing all of this in the middle of a global pandemic?
The first debut from Dezi is a sunglasses collection featuring six styles and 26 colorways. The glasses are fun, trendy, and glam all at once, but the best part is that they're all under $100.
In addition to her impact on the fashion-and-beauty world, Perkins has been very honest about her own health-and-wellness journey. She and her husband, Steven, documented their entire fertility journey in a candid and personal series on YouTube. It has resonated with so many people and helped normalize the conversation around infertility and the struggle to conceive.
So when we got the chance to chat with Perkins about her new brand, we had to ask her about the series and how she's taking care of herself (and her baby!) during quarantine. Below, see what she had to say about that and launching a brand during a pandemic.
First, congratulations on your new brand and your pregnancy! How have the last couple of months been for you with prepping to launch the brand, being pregnant, and dealing with a pandemic?
I think being pregnant in itself is a roller coaster at times, right? That alone with the pandemic has been pretty tricky, and throw in launching a brand from the ground up is also very tricky, especially during this time. So I would say there have been a lot of emotions, a lot of growing pains, both in my belly and also with the brand. But I was given a really great piece of advice: Enjoy the growing pains because that's where the excitement lives. One day, I'll be a well-oiled machine with the brand and everything will be running much more smoothly, and the excitement won't be as prevalent in those times, even though things will still be exciting. Looking back now, all these problems that arise, all the setbacks, we have found a way to work through them, and now we can laugh about it. So that's pretty much been the journey.
What made you want to launch this brand, and what was the inspiration behind it?
I've always been interested in designing. That's something that's been really important to me. I knew that if I truly wanted to live out my vision of what I saw for myself, that I needed to just get up and do it myself. That's why we chose to self-fund the brand because I love to create without boundaries, and I knew that's really what I wanted. I've been working with other brands, collaborating with other brands, and it's all been such a great experience, and I've learned so much. I knew that this was eventually something that I wanted to do for myself, and we just picked up and decided to do it.
What have you done to take care of yourself mentally and physically at this time? What types of practices and rituals have you taken up?
I've really leaned into gardening. I find that it is better than therapy for me. It's a place where my mind is completely clear of anything going on, and I'm just focused on how things are growing. It's also very symbolic of our fertility journey, and it's always been something that I felt I had control over. So I know in times like this, we feel out of control and that we can't really do anything about the current situation, but gardening for me makes me feel like I'm in control.
It's really a beautiful thing watching things grow from day to day. Truly, you could be out there one day and something's fairly small, and the next day you wonder how it got so big. So it's exciting every single day. I can't believe I am a gardener. It's something I didn't really know I'd be so into, but truly it's beautiful to be out there and you just hear the birds. I've fallen in love with it. So I take time every day to go out there and clear my mind.
Speaking of your fertility journey, your YouTube series has resonated with so many people. Why was it important for you to share something so personal with your followers?
I think I, and a lot of people online, do a really great job at showing how perfect something can be. Everyone's lives aren't perfect, and everyone has their own struggles. I felt that not only did I want to share that so people could relate, but I needed the support as well.
When I first started going through all this, I felt very alone, and I felt ashamed and that no one could understand me, because in my personal world, all my friends had no problems having babies, so I didn't feel like I could talk about it that much. When I shared a little bit about what I was going through, I received so much support in return that I needed. I needed that from my subscribers, and I started to feel less alone. I understood that this is not just happening to me, and I shouldn't be embarrassed, that this is something that's happening to so many women, and we just aren't talking about it, so we're suffering in silence.
I think it was helpful to see that if anyone related to me—whether it was beauty, fashion, things that are more surface-level—that they can also relate to me in this and understand that there's so much that goes on behind the scenes that people just don't share. So honestly, the most important thing I've done to this day is release that journey because it had a power over me, and it was controlling me and my emotions. By putting it out there, I feel like I released that power. I wasn't keeping this secret anymore. I took control over the situation by doing that. It helped me and also a lot of other women who are suffering silently as well.
What are some surprising things that you learned about yourself when you were going through that whole journey?
I guess I would say that I learned that I can't control everything. I think I've always tried to be very in control of things that are going on in my life. I finally had to realize that I couldn't, because this is something that is out of my hands, and I can only do what I can do and hope for the best. That was hard for me because I think I've always found a way to deal with negative issues because I could control the outcome. This was something that I had to really just lean into.
How did it change your relationship with your husband?
It actually made my relationship with my husband a million times more intimate and for the better. When I had my first miscarriage, I think it was a different feeling because I felt like I was going through it by myself, and he didn't really understand what I was going through. But with IVF, I feel like he and I went through all of it together. He went to every appointment. He gave me all the injections. I never had to do an injection myself, so that's a very intimate thing. He felt pain making me feel pain, so we were both going through it.
There are just a lot of memories. I mean, he's giving me a shot on a plane, middle of a flight, in the back of an alley right before I had to walk into an appointment, in a hotel when we had eyewear meetings. It was so awkward, but we would always find a way to get these shots in no matter what. You had to do them and at the same time every day. So it was something that we really lived through together, and we just became so close during this whole process.
Photo:Courtesy of DEZI
What are you doing right now to stay well during your pregnancy?
I'm trying to stay active as much as I can, especially because we're not leaving the house very much. So I'm still working out about three times a week, and on the days that I don't work out, I try to get at least a 30-minute walk in with my mom and the dogs and try my best to eat healthy. But you know what? Some days you just want some McDonald's french fries, and that's okay.
Photo:Courtesy of DEZI
Have you changed your makeup or your skincare routine during your pregnancy?
Yeah, so there are a lot of products that I was able to use before pregnancy that I can't use because of certain ingredients, so I definitely had to switch my skincare up to make sure everything was pregnancy-safe, no harsh chemicals or anything like that. So I switched up my skincare a lot. I'm doing a lot of moisture masks these days. Because we're inside with the air conditioning, I get dried out a little bit.
My makeup's very minimal because who are we getting ready for? I mean, sometimes I get ready for myself and that's great, but with the pregnancy, I'm so tired a lot of the time that I just want a quick brow, a little bit of concealer, and just a nice "glowtion," if you will, on my skin so it's nice and glowy. That's pretty much my routine all the time. Self-care is big for me right now. Baths, hair masks, face masks—I'm just really leaning into it.
What are some of your favorite products right now?
Well, for me, I would say I've been having a lot of aches and pains with my pregnancy, and my legs get really restless at night, so one of my favorite things is actually a peppermint scrub that is from The Little Market. It is so amazing because I just put that wherever my body's aching while I'm in the bathtub, and it distracts the pain a lot because of the peppermint, and I sleep like a baby. So that is something that I've really been enjoying, and it also helps exfoliate my skin because of the scrub.
Photo:Courtesy of DEZI
What are you most excited about when it comes to motherhood? What are you anxious about?
I don't know. There's something about seeing Steven with the baby that makes me really excited. That's something that I look forward to, but also, something we talk about a lot is seeing our baby boy picking fruit and veggies outside with us. I have that image in my mind all the time, and it makes me smile. I can't wait for that moment.
The things that make me anxious—it was actually something I realized the other day. When we finally announced the brand, I said, Oh my gosh, this is never going to stop. This is one of those things where it's going to keep going. It's a no-break type of venture that we're entering. Then I thought to myself, Oh my god, the baby is also never going to stop. This is a thing every single day. I started to get really anxious thinking about how much responsibility that is. Not that I've never thought about it before, but it just freaked me out for a second. As it gets closer, it starts to get more real, that every single day you will have this little human that you have to watch 24/7. Something about that made me very anxious and also very excited.
Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom or advice for someone who is going through a similar journey or dealing with fertility struggles?
Every time I hit a roadblock, I would wonder, Why me? Why is it so easy for everyone else, and why is it so hard? I dwelled on that until one day, I just decided to tell myself, "This is just what you have to do. There's nothing else that you can say or anyone can really say to make you feel better, but you just have to have that understanding that this is just your path. It may be different than everybody else's, but it's your path, and it's just what you have to do." I just kept telling myself that every step of the way. Every time I went to another doctor's appointment and we needed to figure out the next step, I would just tell myself, "It's just what you have to do." It gave me the strength and empowered me to keep going. I couldn't think in that moment about the outcome or what if this doesn't work; that was just what I had to keep repeating to myself.
Next up: Tallulah Willis on Mental Health, Fashion, and Quarantining With Her Family