The name Bobbi Brown is absolutely synonymous with makeup. Though she started her lipstick brand as a side project (she launched her business with $5,000 of her own money) to her career as a full-time makeup artist she soon realized she had quite the knack for knowing what women wanted.
For example, she expected to sell 100 lipsticks for the entire month when the Bobbi Brown Essentials line of lipsticks first debuted at Bergdorf Goodman’s in 1991 and she ended up selling 100 in just one day. She also should be commended for building her business so organically. She found her first clients by looking up models and makeup in the yellow pages, she met the chemist that would make her lipsticks by chatting him up in a pharmacy, she would ask people in parks to try out her products, her friend that was an editor at Glamour gave her free publicity, etc., Over the next 25 years Brown built a billion-dollar empire that was bought by Estée Lauder in 1995.
Though she left her namesake company in 2016, Brown was far from walking into the sunset. Last year she launched justBOBBI, a modern lifestyle platform for all things wellness, beauty, travel and everything in between that is carried in certain Lord & Taylor locations. In addition to this venture, she also just completely renovated an inn in Montclair, NJ with her husband, is continuing to write best-selling books and help empower and support women, something she has always been super passionate about.
That is why for International Women’s Day justBOBBI and Health Warrior, the superfood snack company created a 90-calorie Dragon Fruit Chia Bar exclusively for Girls Inc., the organization that empowers girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. All profits from sales of the “most beautiful” bar will go to the 150-year-old organization that is committed to helping girls so they can change the world. The Ladders was lucky enough to talk with the business mogul about her amazing career.
On her ability to network with anyone, anywhere at any time
“Just say hi to everyone … you never know who you are going to meet”
On why she prefers to be moving when she works
“Well, I’ve written nine books in the backseat of a car and I can’t type! I always like to be in motion, or in an environment that lets me breathe, and feel comfortable, and creative. If I don’t feel good in a space [or] office, and have the right team around me, it just won’t work. Some people don’t get it, but the ones that do – well, those are the people I want around me anyway.”
On her best advice to entrepreneurs
“Don’t think about it, just do it. And if you do it and it doesn’t work out, then figure out another way to make it work. Don’t give up.”
On what she would tell her younger self
“Don’t worry so much, it will all be OK.”
On dealing with failures in her career
“I take my own advice, and when something doesn’t work out, I do something else.”
On leaving the company she created after 25 years and starting a wellness brand
“Lifestyle and wellness have always been a part of my philosophy on beauty. I realized early on in my career working with models that ate right, got sleep, and didn’t party to the wee hours, what a difference it made for their skin and overall wellbeing.
“I’ve always been a health nut, so being in the beauty industry it was always common sense to me that what you ate, and how you live, play equal parts in how you feel and look. After I left the brand, it was a natural extension of the holistic lifestyle I live, to develop wellness products. Simple solutions for women (or men!) like me.”
You also just renovated The George Inn? What has that been like? How do you make time for all this?
“I’ve never done a project with my husband, and this was our first opportunity to bring our business worlds, and our love of travel together. It’s been awesome. We love design, and being able to create this cool, cozy, and unique space for other people was fun, not easy, but really fun.
“As for making the time, well, you find the time. I always figure out what needs to be done, and then find out a way to do it. It’s always been a gift of mine to solve things in a creative way — including, managing my own time.”
What is your best advice when it comes to women embracing their power more?
“I would say be comfortable and confident in your own skin and don’t try to be something you aren’t. Your power will naturally come to you when you be who you are.”