Bobbi Brown’s makeup range was the runaway success story of the 1990s, and since then the New Yorker has built upon her empire to write eight books, open 33 stores, sell 21 million units of product each year, produce six fragrances, become editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Beauty and back some great causes. Oh, and a little fact for you: Kate Middleton wore Bobbi Brown makeup at her wedding to Wills.
Bobbi was the special guest of the Business Chicks event that hit Melbourne on Thursday. The makeup mogul proved to be warm and frank, and she shared with us five epiphanies she’s had in her life.
1. You can’t change yourself, nor should you
In an era that was all about limber blondes, such as Farrah Fawcett, Bobbi saw the hit film Love Story. Its star, Ali McGraw, is a dead ringer for Bobbi, and seeing McGraw is the romantic lead made Bobbi realise that society DOES accept more than one type of beauty. Around the same time, Bobbi’s uber-glamorous mother observed, “You know, you’d be a really beautiful girl if you got your nose fixed.” Instead of feeling hurt or angry, Bobbi had a moment of clarity: this was a silly thing for someone to say.
2. ‘Flaws’ are good
Bobbi doesn’t always cover freckles on models, because she understands that our individual markings are what give us character. Think of supermodels whose ‘flaws’ have become their calling cards: Cindy Crawford with her moles, Cara Delevingne with her eyebrows, Lara Stone with her gap teeth. Bobbi is most famous for her natural products, designed to celebrate our natural looks, and that dates back to her first ever product. With the help of a chemist, she started her line by developing a lipstick that actually looks like lips (but… you know… better). Previously she’d used a beige lipstick to tone down louder lipsticks.
3. What you put in is what you get out
Bobbi learned this at college, where she studied makeup artistry and collaborated with similarly enthusiastic young kids. But you can take this epiphany literally too – at the Bobbi Brown HQ in New York it’s all about healthy snacks, whether in the open-plan kitchen or in the meetings. (There’s no dress-code either, and they all practise yoga.)
4. Don't be afraid to turn something down
Bobbi has never regretted turning down three weeks on a Ralph Lauren campaign in Bali to spend more time with her then-fiance. Her family is her priority, she says, but she is "constantly running".
5. Every now and then, press the reset button
Bobbi knows the reinvention phase of any business is valuable. And it’s valuable in your personal life, too. To put her money where her mouth is, she signed up Katie Holmes as a spokesmodel when Katie left Tom Cruise.
Want more? Bobbi also shared her ‘life rules’. We dig them. We really dig them.
1. Work hard, but smart
2. Be nice
3. Be fearless
4. Never stop learning
5. Stay positive
6. Keep on reading
7. Surround yourself with great people
8. Be grateful
9. Be open
10. Have fun