Fern Mallis turned to an expert multi-dash beauty for the latest iteration of “Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis”.
Mallis met with beauty entrepreneur and makeup artist Bobbi Brown at 92Y Thursday night. After rewarding Brown with a Lingua Franca sweater embroidered with the phrase “Beauty Icon”, Brown talked about entrepreneurship and how her family has always been in first place.
“Honestly, there is no balance,” Brown said of juggling her myriad duties as a businesswoman and mother. “Do your best, but it doesn’t exist. The secret is the priorities, “she said.
To that end, Brown said he never missed any of his children’s music recitals or football matches. What made this possible, however, was the sale of his namesake cosmetics brand to Estée Lauder Cos. in 1995.
“Leonard Lauder said, ‘What if I told you that you could grow this company and you can do what you love and believe in, which is to be creative, be a makeup artist and be a mom, wife and friend,” he said. Brown. “And yes, I didn’t want to be one of these women who traveled the world and forgot about my family.”
When the deal ended, Brown said he went crazy for season tickets for the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets) basketball team.
Part of that deal, however, was a 25-year non-compete agreement that prevented her from working in beauty. “I thought, ‘I’m going to be 60, I don’t want to work,'” she joked, after starting three businesses including Jones Road Beauty, which launched in 2020.
“I needed something to do, because I was going to drive everyone crazy, including myself,” he said. “My husband said to me, ‘let’s make a hotel’. Then I did a Just Bobbi shop for Lord & Taylor, created a wellness brand and a Just Bobbi website. Then I had the idea of returning to beauty “.
Jones Road Beauty, named after a street in East Hampton, New York, which Brown discovered on his way to a friend’s house, took a drastically different approach to the industry than Brown’s eponymous line nearly 30 years ago. The second was launched at Bergdorf Goodman, while the first was launched directly on their website.
For Brown, it was a no-brainer. “I did all the retail and it was a great learning experience,” she said. “By going directly to the consumer, you own your customer, you own your profit and you decide what to do and when. It just makes a lot of sense. “
Jones Road Beauty expanded into Credo Beauty earlier this year, which Brown said was “the only store we plan to launch”.
That strategy is working for Brown, who was surprised to learn that “women of a certain age” were reinforcing her virality on TikTok. “My second video was about makeup for women over 50 and we got over 2,000 comments from women saying, ‘Oh my god, I’m over 40, I’m over 50,'” she said.
True to Brown’s family mentality, he sought out the brand’s employees in his own family. “My head of marketing right now is my son, and it’s so much fun working with your son,” he said.
Her aesthetic preferences – along the lines of the no-makeup makeup trend – were iconoclastic when she started her career, as Mallis noted. “It was the era of excesses, Kevyn Aucoin, of the eye contour, dark eyes, lined lips. But you were a minimalist, “she said.
“I wasn’t a real face painter,” Brown said. “My first cover I did was for an Italian magazine. I just applied a bronzer to my cheek, eyes and lips, and I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. “
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