It is June 5th (June 7th by the time you read this), and I have a hard time believing that my last blog post is dated April 15th. I had promised myself as I made my 2017 resolutions to write every week. The last 6 weeks have been among the best for my brand, and I am stretched (not stressed) to my limits, which means two things. First, what is important but not urgent (such as blogging) does not get done. Second, I don’t have the brain space, the inspiration, the creativity to put pen to paper (so to speak).
However, as I sit this afternoon at the Conrad Hotel in downtown NYC, during the afternoon break of the first day of the Women’s Wear Daily Beauty Summit, I suddenly am filled with inspiration. Indeed, I am reminded of where I find my inspiration: I find it by listening to and speaking with other women in the beauty industry.
Today found renewed inspiration from three amazing women, leaders and entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. They reminded me that the world needs strong women leaders for little girls (and younger adult women!) to look up to; that entrepreneurs are the growth machine of our economy; that building a brand is hard, harder than one can ever imagine (even if one has done it before, successfully), but oh so very rewarding. These women remind me of the two keys to being an entrepreneur: passion and resiliency.
Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta, inspires me. In listening to her speak about the amazing growth of Ulta, about her plan to open 100 new stores per year when this year alone retailers have collectively announced the closing of 3,500 points of sale, and about her pride in having created 16,000 jobs in the US since 2013 (and most going to women), I am reminded of why I get up every morning: because one day I want to be just like her, I want to be as good at my job as she is at her job. May there be more like her, strong, successful women CEOs, so that all the little girls have leaders to look up to,
Kat Von D, makeup brand founder, inspires me. Unapologetically herself, Kat von D is not afraid to use the F* word on stage. Speaking after multi-billion-dollar beauty CEOs wearing suits, her goth-like style, tattoos, and authenticity are both refreshing and inspiring. She openly speaks of not having children, of not wanting children, and admits that she thinks of her products as her “children, products of her heart and mind.” All this time I thought I was the only one who thought that way! She speaks of not compromising, of creating products our of love and passion, instead of based on trend reports, and of not “selling out.”
Jo Malone, serial beauty entrepreneur, inspires me. Founder of the eponymous fragrance brand that she sold to Estee Lauder in 1999, Jo spoke of trying to do it all over again with Jo Loves. She speaks of the passion and resiliency that is needed to be an entrepreneur. She reminds the audience that “mistakes are often the doorstep to success.” She admits that it is even harder the second time around – and that she made all of the rookie mistakes she thought she wouldn’t. She doesn’t beat around the bush. And she ends her presentation with these words of wisdom: “Don’t quit on a bad day.”
Most importantly perhaps, I am reminded that I must nurture my sources of inspiration, and that I must make time to work on the important yet not urgent things.