Thursday, November 5, 2015

Diana Costain

November 2015 Featured Sophisticated Rebel - Diana Costain
Diana Costain
I have never been one to be awe struck by others and their accomplishments, but the day I met Diana Costain at an event for entrepreneurs, I literally turned to her and said, "I want to be like you when I grow up!"  She was embodied everything that felt defined success... owned several businesses, financially free, beautiful, healthy, happy, smart, approachable, helpful, fun and adventurous!!   Little did I know, she would become one of my dearest friends, confidants and mentors.  I am honored to feature her as this months Sophisticated Rebel and share her inspirational story with you.  

Diana was born and raised in Vancouver BC, Canada.  The early years of her life were not easy, her father was incredibly abusive (he especially enjoyed beating her on her Birthday)... after showing up at school with bruises from head to toe, child protective services stepped in, removed her from her parents and put her into a foster home.  Foster care did not to turn out to be any less traumatic... her foster father choked and raped her and told her she had to call him "dad".  Diana ran away figuring she would be much better off on her own. When CPS found her, however, they threatened that if she continued to run away from foster care that she would be put into a women's detention facility until she turned 18.  This is when Diana's heart filled with hatred.  She was determined not to return to foster care and convinced CPS that she would stay in school and get a job.  Diana was 15 years old and completely on her own.

Typically these types of challenges lead to a life of bad choice and continued cycles of abuse,  but not for Diana, she had her eyes set on greater things and used these challenges to fuel her.

Her accomplishments are nothing short of incredible, including several "firsts" for a woman.
Diana was the first female to have a paper route (an entrepreneur from the beginning).  
She was one of the first female stock brokers in British Columbia and was the first woman to stand on the floor of the Vancouver stock exchange.
Diana was the founding share holder in the largest all cash software deal in B.C. 
She hosted and produced a weekly radio show called, "The Art of Investing" and was a frequent guest investor on a show similar to Shark Tank... 
All of this while raising her two daughters BY HERSELF!

Diana with her two daughters and granddaughters
Diana now lives in Phoenix Arizona where she owns and runs a commercial real estate investment company, she is an active investor in other companies, is an integral part of the business community, a doting grandmother and  a member of a water ski club.  She is inviting, supportive, driven and loyal and the world is a better place because of her.  I hope you all get the chance to meet Diana Costain one day.  In the mean time, I grabbed a few minutes of her time to ask her some of the questions I figured we could all learn from. 

Me: "What is the biggest struggle you've overcome?"
Diana: "Learning to believe in myself, it's very hard to accomplish anything in life if you don't believe in yourself."

Me: "What have been your biggest motivators?"
Diana: "When I was in my 20's I was motivated by anger and revenge.  My motivation came from wanting to prove to all the people that said I couldn't do it and wouldn't amount to anything, that they were wrong.  Over the years that has changed a lot, once I realized that it didn't matter what those people thought of me the anger and revenge faded.  What motivates me know is learning to find a better way to do things and then sharing that knowledge with others."

Me: "What are you most proud of?"
Diana: "My independence, the ability to no longer need approval from others... I no longer care what others think of me."  "What others think of me is none of my business" she chuckles.

Me: "What advice would you give to other women?"
Diana: "Stop looking to other people and external things for your happiness, look internally and take responsibility for your own happiness.  Remove the "if" from you inner dialogue (if we had more money, if we lived closer, if the schools were better, if only ______ then I would be happy." 

Me: "If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do different?"
Diana: "Nothing... my experiences (all of them), made me who I am today.  I am proud of who I am and really like myself, so I wouldn't change a thing."

Me: "What goals do you have for the future?"
Diana: "I was always way more afraid of success than I ever was of failure, now I am ready to embrace success, be crystal clear on what I want and accept things as they come.  I am working of focusing my energy on what I want rather than what I don't want."

Me: "How would you define a Sophisticated Rebel?"
Diana: "Someone who is strong, determined, an independent thinker, has charisma, is focused and most of all doesn't give a damn... does things their own way."

Me: "Is there anything you'd like to see SoReb (the company) do?"
Diana: "No, I love the name, what you stand for and everything you are doing... I can't wait to see what is coming in the future!"

Diana and me (Kasten Spethmann co-founder of Sophisticated Rebel)
Diana is an incredible role model for women everywhere... you will never find her cutting other women down, instead you will find her building them up and helping them find their own strength.  She is truly a Sophisticated Rebel.

By Kasten Spethmann

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Keeping Women & the Earth Beautiful

The PRINTER CARTRIDGE is what allowed everyone to make lab quality prints on a desktop.  Without them we'd have to toss our old printer and buy a new one every time the color ran out.  It sounds insane but that's exactly what we do every time our lipstick runs out.  Tens of millions of applicators end up in landfills every year and those applicators are what account for 80% of the cost of what you paid for the lipstick.  So I decided to copy the printer world and named a brand exactly what it is... - JUST THE COLOR!
This of course meant I needed a very cool applicator that the cartridge could mate with so it could be filled.  My partner created an amazing stainless steel REFILLABLE applicator that you only have to buy once.  It's FLAT which means it can fit in a places traditional lipstick can't.  It's mirror polished, can hang from any chain and because it's metal - it can be engraved with your personal message or attitude.  We call it the Forever Blade and this applicator is one that's designed to never see a landfill.  So now when your lipstick runs out, you simply buy a fresh JUST THE COLOR cartridge and refill your Forever Blade for only $10.  That's $10 for some of the best quality lipstick on the planet.
Feel good about the lipstick you are using... 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

One of the Countries 1st Undercover Female DEA Agents - Michelle Deaver

October’s Featured Sophisticated Rebel


Deaver described the challenges of being one of the only women in the field. She often struggled to gain admiration from her team, especially as a supervisor.

Drug dogs and K9 officers surrounded the Louisiana auto shop. Over the last few months the owner had been visited by an airline hostess who had regularly purchased cocaine from him.  Now she stood across from him and revealed her true identitiy as a federal agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Michelle Deaver broke into an industry that was almost exclusively male and paved the trail for other females that desired careers in the drug and law enforcement agencies.  She epitomizes what it means to be a Sophisticated Rebel!!   I have so much respect, admiration and gratitude for her.  I am honored to be able to share her inspirational and energizing story with you...

"As a female it's very difficult, because you have to have the male agents respect you and you want to be part of them, so you have to work very hard to earn their respect."

"I was born and raised in Southern California by parents who instilled success in their three daughters.  I began my college experience as a “rebel” and sought a career with the US Forest Service and attend Humboldt State University where the redwoods meet the coast in Northern California.  After a dismal summer job in forestry, I decided to transfer to Cal State Long Beach to finish my degree.  I was introduced to the criminal justice system by a professor who encouraged me to apply for an internship with the US Customs Service.  I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in criminal justice and worked fulltime for the US Customs Service.  I was hooked.
While with the USCS, I developed a great ability of reading people and observation skills.  At 23 years old, I decided that I wanted to be an investigator and applied to three different federal agencies.  I had offers from all three and decided on the Drug Enforcement Administration.  My decision was based on their need for female agents not their filling a quota demanded by the government.  My time at the academy in Glynco, GA challenged me physically and mentally.  There were very few females in the agency at that time so we were always watched and critically judged.  There was never a time at the gun range that I didn’t have a range officer behind me, watching to make sure I did everything right.  It actually made me work harder and I was a terrific marksman and in great shape because of the challenge. 
I spent the next 7 years working in Los Angeles, New Orleans and then was transferred to Phoenix.  I was single at the time and probably worked 16 hours a day.  I was the only female agent at that time in the New Orleans office and did a lot of undercover work.  I did so much undercover work that sometimes I would go home at night and have to write myself notes about who I was portraying so I didn’t get my various undercover personas confused.  Mistakes like that could get someone killed.
Working in a law enforcement agency was ALWAYS a challenge.  It wasn’t that the other DEA agents questioned my ability; it was often the state and local law enforcement officers.  I was single, from Southern California and a female.  Three strikes in some minds, but I worked hard to prove my ability with passion and commitment. 
I met my husband, got married and had two children while in Arizona.  I was transferred to Massachusetts so my family was uprooted and moved.  I was assigned to work a gang task force and worked from about noon to 2am.  It was a brutal assignment for me and my family.  The work was long and very dangerous.  My husband and I had certain codes in case we ran into any gang members who knew me so they wouldn’t see my family.  We became friends with a close group of people in Massachusetts and they were our reality release.  We remain friends 15 years later.
I was transferred to Dallas and was promoted to a Supervisory Special Agent.  I became interested in public speaking and would conduct numerous presentations to parents, teachers and community members on current drug trends.  I was often surprised on how ignorant parents would be on teenage drug use, so I really enjoyed helping them and teaching.
I retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration after 30 years of government service.  Not one to sit, I applied for and was hired as a criminal justice teacher at a school district career center.  My black and white personality was changed to grey as I saw what some teenagers have to live through at home.  I loved to influence high school students to become the best they could be and introduce them to the life that I loved.  I shared my challenges, sacrifices and successes.  My favorite saying was that I hoped that they could find a career where they could lay their head down at night and KNOW that they have made a difference.   
My passion for making a difference continues as I apply to sit on the board of directors with a foundation whose mission is to help troubled and homeless teens.  I will see where this new adventure takes me.
I guess my advice to other females is to find something, anything and be the best.  There are always bumps on the path, sometimes boulders.  I guess what you do with those boulders is what defines you.  I would also encourage a release of tension, someone or something to help you through those hard times.  Everything is a balance and takes work.  But the payoff is a passion that always burns". 
    ~  Michelle
Michelle wearing her Forever Blade while enjoying on some well deserved R & R on their boat in Crystal Beach Texas!

A Custom Engraved Forever Blade for a true REBEL with a Cause - Michelle Deaver

The world needs more women like Michelle Deaver... Retired DEA, Mother, Wife, Teacher, Friend, Leader... SOPHISTICATED REBEL!!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Sophisticated Rebel has always been more than a cool lipstick… SO MUCH MORE!

We believe that every business should have 3 elements to be considered successful.  

1. A company should provide an excellent product or service.
2. A company should make A LOT of money (if not, it should be a non-profit).
3. A company should use its success to improve the community around them (whether locally or globally). 
It should use its social leverage (social media reach and voice) to bring awareness, educate, encourage, promote & praise those that are already doing the things to create change.  It should ALSO use its success to financially support organizations that are in the trenches daily doing the work to make the world a better place.  Companies like Tom's Shoes and  Warby Parker are great examples of companies that are already doing this.

The third element is why we created "Rebel with a Cause", a non-profit fund that grants money to charities that embody the sophisticated rebel spirit.   A portion of our profits go into the fund and that money is then granted to charities through an application process.
The charities might be organizations that are providing scholarships for girls who want to study engineering, protecting women in countries where their safety is threatened daily,  a group that promotes positive body images, anti bullying, etc…  The example I often use is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot for trying to get an education and is now helping other girls get educated.

RWAC has been a part of Sophisticated Rebel since its inception.  We wanted a business that would provide a vehicle that could do big things to help women.  Lipstick seems like such a perfect fit… it is the cornerstone of what women wear to feel feminine.

There are a lot of women that would love to be able to help women and girls that are less fortunate, but they often don’t have the time or financial means to do so.
Now millions of women can help others around the world by simply buying a lipstick (and a pretty darn cool one too).

I invite women everywhere to join our tribe, buy some lipstick and be part of a movement that is changing the world!!
~ Kasten

How a Chinese Tennis Star took on the Communist Chinese Government... and WON

Li Na – Tennis Phenom, took on the Chinese Government and WON!  She became the 2nd highest paid female athlete in the WORLD.  Her rebellion, determination and talent changed the rules for athletes throughout China… thousands of girls in China strive to be just like her.   She is brave, determined, smart and beautiful and we are proud to showcase her as a Sophisticated Rebel.
Here is a recent interview with Li Na on 60 mins… it’s 12 mins long and worth every second.
Li Na, Sophisticated Rebel thanks you!

How Custom Engraving Comforted a Grieving Widow

One of our first customers and biggest supporters is a wonderful lady named Lauralee Finke (she also happens to be my cousin-in-law).  Earlier this year, her ailing father's health took a turn for the worse and it was evident he only had a few days to live.  Lauralee rushed to the hospital in Nevada to be by his side with the rest of her family.
At one point Lauralee took out her Forever Blade and began to apply her lipstick... her stepmom quickly asked, "what is that?" Lauralee explained that it was a Stainless steel, refillable lipstick applicator that Andreas's (her late husband) cousin (me) invented.  She explained that it was flat so it fit in her pocket and that she had the company engrave her name on the side.  Her stepmom loved it and commented that she wanted to order one for herself.  Lauralee figured she would be too busy dealing with the loss of her husband to order a blade and had planned to order it for her as a Birthday gift.
Well within a few weeks we (Sophisticated Rebel) got an order from the stepmom (Michelle).  I didn't know anything about what had happened in the hospital, so I reached out to Lauralee and told her that her stepmom had just ordered a Forever Blade.  I mentioned that Michelle didn't order any engraving and asked if there was a special nickname her dad had for Michelle that I could engrave on it for her.  Lauralee told me how her Dad would always greet Michelle by saying, "Helllllooooooo Baaaaaaabbbbby"... so that was what I engraved on her applicator!  Before shipping the order, I wrote Michelle a not explaining how I knew what to engrave and that I hoped that every time she applied her lipstick, that she thought about her late husband (John) giving her a kiss.
I later heard that when Michelle received her order, she was speechless over the engraving and note.  Although she said it made her cry every time she looked at it, she assured me they were tears of joy and that it made her feel as though her husband was right there with her every time she put on her lipstick. She is THRILLED that it is refillable because she takes it with her every where she goes and says she will cherish it until the day she meets the lover of her life in Heaven!  

Custom engraving does more than make each Forever Blade personal and unique... it has the power to keep the memory of a loved one alive, to help a sweetie express how much they fell about their significant other, or to have a motivational or inspirational message close by as a reminder...  It has the power to do any or all of things every time someone applies their lipstick!!

What would you have engraved on your Forever Blade?? 
Log onto the site to see some examples of what our customers have had us engrave on their Forever Blades:

When I learned to become a Sophisticated Rebel

It was the summer of 1989, I was about to enter my junior year of high school in Portland Or. and I was dreading it!  I was so bored of high school… I had gotten good grades, but I hated being there and all I wanted to do was surf (yes, surf)… I spent my days that summer plotting my rebellion.
Once I felt I had a good plan, I went to my parents (both of whom immigrated to the US from Germany) and told them I was done with school and that I was planning to move to Southern California so I could surf every day.  When my father asked how I had planned to make a living and support myself, I was able to quickly answer (due to what I thought was great planning), “I am going to have a bbq and bento stand and sell lunch at the beach!”  Almost in unison my parents replied with a resounding, “We immigrated to this country to you could have a better life… you WILL finish high school and you WILLfinish college!!”
There is absolutely nothing good that comes from arguing with German parents, so I went back to plotting other alternatives for getting out of school (two other very German traits are stubbornness and rebelliousness – and I have both).   I realized that if I wanted to accomplish my goal, I had to find a smart, productive, positive way to rebel… a “sophisticated” way.
I ended up doubling up on classes (going in early, staying late, etc) and testing out of other classes.  Half way through my junior year I had enough credits to graduate AND I had a 4.0 grade point average.  There wasn’t much my parents could say against that.  I got what I wanted – out of high school – and they got what they wanted, graduate with honors.  It was that experience that sparked the Sophisticated Rebel in me and I’ve been breaking rules and doing things my own way ever since!

I LOVE Lipstick!

Hi, I’m Kasten and first welcome to Sophisticated Rebels.   Let me get this out of the way now…
I love lipstick.  I do.  I’ve been a fanatical collector since I can remember.  Back then I was windsurfing for a living, the sun, wind and waves would reek havoc on my skin, especially my lips.   I looked for products that could heal my lips instead of turning them into prunes but I could only afford cheap brands sold in drugstores, and so the hunt continued.   On my birthday my friend gave me a Tom Ford lipstick and I cherished that square monster.  I call it that because it wouldn’t fit into any clutch I owned but the lipstick inside – OMG – it was worth all the hassle lugging it around.  When it ran out, I wanted another one – my lips wanted one even worse – and that’s when I found out it was a whopping fifty two bucks!  For lipstick??  That’s when I started researching how lipstick is made because I figured if I couldn’t afford the best, maybe I could gather the right ingredients and whip up some for myself.  I mean I’m pretty good in the kitchen when I actually cook.  I found out two things really quick – it’s not as easy as making walnut brownies but it’s also not as expensive as I imagined.  Sure, the ingredients in a Tom Ford or a Dior are some the highest quality on the planet but even still, they only account for a small fraction of that heart stopping price.  What I’d really be paying for if I wanted more of that  To-Die-Forlipstick, is the NAME of course – but also that damn inconvenient square monster with the pretty gold foil.  So I started creating my own top tier formulas and yet I still had this nagging question that became an obsession –  How can a girl have the very best lipstick without paying for awesome packaging that ends up in a landfill anyway?  
You know how they say if you visualize something long enough things will align to make them happen?
I met Frank, my future partner, at a convention for Entrepreneurs.  He had this crazy concept of a Swiss Army Knife for women and had no idea then how tough that would be to pull off.  His only real experience with makeup was carrying around his wife’s products in his pockets because she didn’t want to carry a bag when they were out. Then he showed me some of the art he had done on what the “blades” might look like and it hit me like a BRICK – like when peanut butter smashed into chocolate and Buttercup’s were born!  This was the answer I was looking for – the perfect applicator for my dreampremium lipstick. We partnered up and formed Sophisticated Rebel and our history is still being written.  Log onto our and see what we’ve come up with!
My take from all this is to never quit on a goal, a vision or a grand concept even when you don’t possess all the skills to make it happen.  If you align yourself for success, you’ll be keenly aware when opportunity walks right into your life.
Thanks for listening!