Domer Diaries

My Domer Diary: Erin Potempa-Wall

Bringing Red Carpet Beauty to All


Editor's Note: This week’s Domer Diaries comes from Erin Potempa-Wall '99, co-founder and COO of The Beachwaver Co. , a female-founded, family-run company dedicated to creating innovative hair care and hair tools that is best known for its Beachwaver rotating curling iron.

Name: Erin Potempa-Wall
Class Year: 1999
Residence Hall: Cavanaugh
Major: English 
Student Activities: Students for Environmental Action, Center for Social Concerns service projects, WSND classical radio host, Huddle
Local Notre Dame club: Lake County Illinois

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In the spring of 2023, Potempa-Wall was honored as Alumna of the Year by the University of Notre Dame Mendoza Women in Business.

What was your path to Notre Dame?

Notre Dame was the only school I ever really considered attending and my goal growing up was to be a part of the University that I so adored. My dad (Gary Potempa '74) was a starting middle linebacker on the 1973 National Championship football team, so I grew up on Notre Dame lore. Walking the campus as a kid, I felt an indescribable magic that I knew would give me the foundation for a purpose-driven life.

What initially inspired you to start the Beachwaver Co. and how would you describe the mission?

I wanted to build something and to bring something new and good to the world. When my sister had an idea for a new curling iron, I left the practice of law to create our company and I have dedicated my life to building The Beachwaver Co. into a global brand. We now hold multiple global patents and trademarks and our products are available around the world. We are a values-based, independent company, with every decision we make firmly rooted in our mission statement. Dedicated to empowerment, innovation, accessibility, and sustainability, we believe that we are all beautiful and capable of incredible things. Our mission at The Beachwaver Co. is to help people feel more confident when they walk out the door.

My personal mission is to normalize ambition in women. I believe that by showing up as my authentic self, by correcting emails written to Mr. Potempa-Wall, by voicing my opinion, I am challenging the assumption of what a business founder looks like. My hope is that by carving out a space for our company, I have also carved out a space for women in business, for people to see me and realize they can do it, too!

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When you think back to your time as a student at Notre Dame, were there any formative moments or learnings that have influenced who you are today?

I was very involved in the Center for Social Concerns and that has shaped our mission statement at The Beachwaver Co. as we work to support our community. We have partnered with many organizations through the years — for example, we created a collection in partnership with the It Gets Better Project to amplify their stories on our social platforms and contribute proceeds from the sale of the collection.