My partnership with Bloom led me to visit Omaha, Nebraska about 9 months ago, where I discovered the meaning of “Midwest nice.” It was not until this past weekend in Long Beach, CA, however, that I had the pleasure to meet the Founder and CEO of this innovative beauty / technology company, Julie Mahloch. And she might just be the definition of “Midwest nice.” And the definition of innovation, pioneering perspective, and sales persistence. She tells me about the first company she created, at the young age of 22, based on the idea of couponing. And then of her foray in the hammock industry. And about how that led to Hayneedle. And finally of her mission to make buying beauty (especially online) easier and friendlier for consumers everywhere. After all, she admits, “I get confused about which products are best for me…” She knows she is not alone, and that is why she created Bloom.com.
AP: What city were you born in? JM: Omaha, Nebraska.
AP: What city to do you live in? JM: Omaha, Nebraska.
AP: What is your middle name? JM: Elizabeth, one of my Mom’s favorite names.
AP: What is your astrological sign? JM: Taurus, and I fit that to a T according to my husband!
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JM: I rode over 400 miles on my bike across the mountains of Colorado a few years ago.
AP: What is your most prized possession? JM: The photographs and videos of my children and family. If there was a fire, that is what I would grab. Also, my coffee maker –it’s in my wall like an oven, like an appliance. I press a button and I have coffee. I just love it!
AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? JM: I would want to organize a dinner party with Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg and Ellen!
AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. JM: Comfortable, classic but not boring.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? JM: I don’t. I used but I haven’t for a few years. I think in 10 years no one will wear a watch anymore.
AP: Diamonds or pearls? JM: Diamonds.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JM: Sleep and water.
AP: What fragrance do you wear? JM: I love to try new products, so my fragrance varies. I have been wearing Tocca and the Coach signature fragrance recently. For me it’s really about the smell of the day!
AP: Botox or not? JM: I’m on the “maybe” plan. Not yet, but never say never.
AP: Hair color: natural or not? JM: Not. Gray would be my natural color… I’m on a three week plan.
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? JM: Moderation, moderation, moderation.
AP: What do you do for exercise? JM: I love yoga; as I get older, the more intense things just don’t appeal to me anymore. No more P90X for me. I do also love sports, I ski a lot, I play basketball with my kids… I love to be outside.
AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? JM: Coffee creamer, vegetables (every smoothie I make has spinach in it), and Greek yogurt.
AP: What is your cocktail of choice? JM: Red wine.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? JM: I used to get very worked up about things, moving into crisis mode all the time. Instead, today, I just know that crises are part of life, so I go with the flow, and I don’t wait for the crisis to look for balance. Nothing really is an emergency anymore. I make time each week for myself and my family, I build this into my schedule just like I do work appointments.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? JM: I travel about once a month for business.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? JM: 1. Travel when other people don’t. 2. No red eyes (anymore!). 3. Get a private jet (I am still waiting for mine!).
AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. JM: My kids use my Ipod (so I am sure there is Gangnam style and some Taylor Swifit on there!)… I am big Maroon Five fan.
AP: What book are you reading right now? JM: Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and turn Excuses into Results, by Cy Wakeman.
AP: Quote to live by. JM: Work hard, have fun, no regrets.
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? JM: I have a whole list of those… my worst would be a toss-up between laziness and negativity.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? JM: I usually get up around 6:30 am and try to sleep 7.5 hours. I dream of getting 9 hours per night, dreaming being the operative word in that statement!
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? JM: I have been so impressed by how the people in the industry are willing to help each other, to contribute to each other to make the industry better. This was surprising to me; being an outsider until a couple of years ago, I expected the industry and relationships to be much more superficial.
AP: Least favorite thing. JM: It’s an industry that is a bit resistant to change; for me coming in as a new technology business and wanting to do something a little differently, I find that people sometimes stay stuck in the “this is the way we do things” mode.
AP: Who is your mentor? JM: I have two mentors, both family members: my mother and my brother. My mother taught me to be a good person, and to give unconditionally. And my brother has great vision and business sense. I benefited from these qualities when we worked together (he is still CEO of Hayneedle, the company we founded together before I created Bloom), and still do today!
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JM: You can do it! Work had, follow your heart, play nice.