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The Success Story of bareMinerals Founder Leslie Blodgett

The Success Story of bareMinerals Founder Leslie Blodgett
Iantha Yu

Iantha Yu

Jan 11, 2021

From starting a mineral-makeup company and selling foundation, blushes and eyeshadows; to juggling work and having a family (while hubby stayed home), and to eventually selling the company to Shiseido for nearly $1.7 billion, Leslie has done it all. Nowadays, she’s gone back to the branding and product development side of things for the company – doing what she loves best.

Here’s our chat with her…

I started on QVC but times have changed…

I first went on QVC because I had an affinity with the women that I watched on there. I didn’t know what would come of it, but it turned out that women loved the product and I started a relationship with them. But it was a new concept back then – there weren’t many people on-air that got to know women off-air.

With the bareMinerals brand, we just need to stay connected to the women on social media. We find that there’s different language being used, different customers shopping, and what social media they are landing on.

We also realised years and years ago that the influencers weren’t the celebrities. We never really hooked onto movie stars. We didn’t put Hollywood celebrities on a pedestal because we know that when you pay someone to do something, they’re going to do it for the money. It’s not authentic. That’s the beauty of social media stars and YouTubers… they’re learning how to monetize it now, but they’re genuinely doing it from the heart.

The turning point for bareMinerals…

We went from doing QVC to an info-mercial, and that was the big moment for us. We did our own show, where we produced a 28 minute program on how to achieve the perfect complexion. We sent out a kit of products that you needed to recreate the look, and a DVD so people could put it on and learn how to do the makeup in the privacy of their own home. Once we started selling millions of these kits, I knew by just looking at the sales numbers that we were onto something. They were going for $60 (which is a lot of money), and they’d leave the house knowing how to use the product. We’re teaching them, we have their hand and it’s not intimidating in any way, and they’ve got everything at once. That’s when it really hit me that it was working and people were telling their friends.

The best business decision I made…

Other than the TV part of it, the best decision has been to engage with women on a personal level. We did that by expanding boutiques. Once we opened our own stores, we were able to hold events every week in the store to meet real people and have parties. As we expanded into different hometowns, we were able to hear from them regularly and bring new products. The business decision was “what are we going to launch next?”, and we asked the people what they wanted. You do that as you open stores, and that’s how you hear from them every day.

bareminerals complexionrescue

My work ethic…

I’ve always worked really really hard. Career has always been first for me. When I got together with my husband and we decided to have a child, we made the decision that I would work and he would stay home. He was totally ok with doing that and letting me travel when I needed to. I worked long hours but I always had a great partnership with my husband, so we made decisions together for what was right with the family. The brand and the people always knew I was there for them.

My definition of success has changed…

I’m more willing to say yes to more opportunities. There were many opportunities in the past when my son was growing up and I didn’t want to take on too much. I‘m ready now, and I’m a better mother when I’m doing more.

I had a lady once tell me she wanted to have the number three best-selling mascara on the market…

There was a lady that worked for me, and when I asked her what her goal was, she said to have the number three best-selling mascara. That was a really weird answer.

You need to have a point of view. When you have your own business, you need to have a point of view that’s different to everyone else, and be able to express it. Even if it’s against what your peers are thinking, you have to go with it. What I would expect from people is to be able to express their philosophy, and why. And be able to debate, and be able to stand up for what you believe in. But you have to have a perspective to begin with, and the only way to have perspective is to have knowledge. You get that from reading and seeing and interviewing and learning regularly. If you do that, then you form opinions. Have an opinion, learn how to express it properly, and you’ll succeed.

Being a mentor means a lot to me…

It’s really fun to be a mentor because I’m learning just as much from them as I hope they are getting from me. I mostly work with women, and I find that they are really hard on themselves, and I saw myself in them when I was younger too. I try and basically share with them where I am today, and different things I would have done. Who needs that added stress, but don’t pack it on.

Meditation is really big right now in the states, and because people have to. When things are overwhelming, all you have is your breath. People are doing this on a regular basis now, and it’s just a reminder to stop for a minute, and breathe. It’s not as bad as it looks.

I did a TED talk with my sister who I stopped talking to…

For a long time I was very closed to just my family and my career. I’ve taken a deep breath and opened it up a bit more to have more personal successes in my life. Reintroducing a sister in my life has been one…

The meaning of beauty is…

I always felt that beauty was something you felt, and it came with confidence and it came with feeling good physically and emotionally. If I was born a supermodel, I might have a different perspective on that! We ask our employees that when they join… “what makes you feel beautiful?” and we take a photo of them, don’t retouch it, put it on the wall with a frame around the office. So everyone has a picture up with what makes them feel beautiful.

It’s a feeling more than a physical property. Hopefully with our products, and any of our products actually, it’s not what is physically making you beautiful It’s the feeling you get when you put it on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Iantha Yu

Iantha Yu

Iantha Yu is a journalist that specializes in writing and styling beauty, health and lifestyle content. She firmly believes that good skincare, a bright lippie, or good quality false eyelashes can change your life (or at least your mood for the day).

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