Entrepreneur empowers women to take charge of their happiness
It's hard to believe anybody would ever break up with Ellie Scarborough.
She's "Sex & the City" meets heyday Hollywood film siren, a vision in skyscraper-high heels and a fits-like-a-glove, black and white polka-dotted sundress. Long, coiffed, blonde curls flowing, she sits daintily at a table at Halcyon, chatting idly into a pink iPhone and sipping an enormous frappe, capped with whipped cream and doctored with a shot of chocolate.
"In the end, I sent myself flowers," says Scarborough, leaning forward, like a co-conspirator. She's talking about the moment her life changed; the turning point when she took control.
Then a reporter for KPRC-TV, an NBC affiliate in Houston, Scarborough had been involved in a year-and-half-long, roller-coaster of a serious relationship. When it ended, he axed her over the phone. "I was an emotional cripple," she says. After months of feeling numb, months of not being able to listen to the radio for fear a pop song would come on, months of fantasizing that he would come crawling back and make her life whole again, Scarborough took her ego into her own hands. She called a florist and ordered herself a bouquet bigger and more beautiful than one any man had ever sent her. She told the florist her favorite colors and let him decide when to send it. She even composed her own card.
Her gambit worked. The newsroom was abuzz, and Scarborough was at the helm again. She felt empowered, reborn — as if she had crossed a threshold. Something stirred within her. It was a bit of inner truth that even her alma mater, Vassar College, couldn't teach. "I was in charge of my own happiness, and it had nothing to do with him or any man," she says, sipping her frappe forcefully, as if for emphasis. And so began Pink Kisses. Launched in July, this Austin start-up has your back — that is, if you are a woman and you are a lover scorned. Pink Kisses, a company offering women the means and opportunity to self-pamper, will spoil you. From its whimsical and colorful website (Pinkkisses.com), you can send yourself (or a suffering friend) flowers, a personal coaching session or virtual gifts. Some packages propose twice daily inspirational e-mails, twice-daily sassy texts, or a "Diva for a Day" photo shoot (the glam team comes to you no matter where you live). Perhaps the crème de la crème is the "Better than Sex" collection of Austin-made, irresistible truffles. I gobble some up at Halcyon, and guess what? They really are better than sex. I lick my fingers, sit back with a sigh of satisfaction and ponder which flavor is better: pink champagne or milk chocolate?
"Women are fabulous creatures who deserve to be spoiled," says Scarborough, who moved to Austin in November to begin Pink Kisses. Here, she joined forces with two other once-heartbroken, now healed, heroines. Together, they conceived a business plan with a goal of simply reminding women how wonderful and independent they are. "Nobody should battle a failed love affair alone," says Scarborough, pointing out that Pink Kisses is as much about solidarity and support as it is about treats and frivolities. As "Queen Bee" and founder, Scarborough directs her team, which includes Amy Lynch, a maven of creativity and Annie Velasquez, a life coach, among other talents.
Scarborough is passionate. "Women from 16 to 70 know how it feels to have a broken heart. Every woman is unique, but we've all been in that dark place," she says.
Pink Kisses is her way to help women fight back from failed dalliances. But, the thing is, even if your relationship isn't so rocky, the site's a fun place to visit — and get a little revenge. Imagine downloading a photo of your old flame and setting his visage on virtual fire. And what a hoot to determine your type: Are you feisty, classy or sassy? Don't know. There's an online quiz to point you in the right direction. "We're all a mix, really," says Scarborough. Once you figure out who you are, you can shop by attitude. This helps narrow down the sort of texts the Pink Kisses gang will send you, the kind of bouquets you might receive and the tone of inspirational e-mails you'll open as part of the 90-day Super Goddess Action Plan.
Yeah, breaking up is hard to do. But, Scarborough and Pink Kisses are making it a whole lot easier. The cherry on top? In honor of Scarborough's Aunt Cindy, a portion of all proceeds go to breast cancer research charities. "Aunt Cindy," says Scarborough, "was my hero and inspiration. She would have been the fourth PK girl."