Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law can sometimes have an adversarial relationship, but that's not the case with Elexsis and Rita McCarthy -- even though Elexsis purposely ruined a brand new robe Rita had given to her as a gift.
"I think she's really happy about it now," Elexsis laughed.
Happy may be an understatement: Elexsis, 32, used that robe to help her create a multi-million-dollar business from her Peoria bedroom. For about three years she cut off pieces of the robe and used them to remove her makeup, then one day she and her husband Daniel had the proverbial light bulb moment.
"My husband and I were sitting there and realized this is something we needed to share with the world," Elexsis said.
That's how Makeup Eraser was born. It's a reusable cloth that removes makeup. Just add water.
"It's 8x16 inches, anti-bacterial and at the end of the week you throw it in the wash and no stains will remain," she said. "It's really easy."
It's really easy and now -- really popular. Beauty giant Sephora started stocking the product in its U.S. stores in 2014. The following year, Sephora took Makeup Eraser global. Now, McCarthy said, 10,000 retailers worldwide carry their products, including about 500 small Arizona salons. The company also has approximately 7,000 individual representatives in the U.S.
In 2015, they sold approximately two million Makeup Erasers, this year they're on pace to sell nearly six million.
So what makes this little piece of cloth a wonder product?
"It's the way the polyester is woven. It traps the makeup and when it's washed, it releases the makeup," Elexsis said.
Operating the company out of her bedroom didn't last long. They moved everything into their garage, then soon grew out of it. Now Makeup Eraser has a 30,000-square-foot distribution center and product fulfillment warehouse in north Phoenix. The company employs 25 people.
Elexsis' mother-in-law Rita is one of those workers. That robe may have been one of the best investments she has ever made, but she doesn't take any credit, though.
"These are two of the most energetic people I know in their thirties. They amaze me," Rita said. "This is a grassroots Arizona company."
Makeup Erasers retail for $20. The McCarthys have expanded the company to also sell mascara, cellulite remover and an organic skin care line.