Interview with Bobbi Brown - Everything Anna
"My first collection was sold at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. We thought I would sell 100 lipsticks the first month and I sold 100 on the first day."
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Please tell us why you decided to launch Bobbi Brown. 

I’ve always loved makeup. I remember being a young girl and watching my mom do her makeup. I was amazed at how she transformed herself with her eyeshadow and liner. After graduating from Emerson College with a degree in theatrical makeup, I immediately moved to New York and started freelancing. As a freelance makeup artist working in New York in the '80s, it was impossible for me to find flattering makeup. I almost always had to mix different shades together to get one natural- looking shade. I set out to make a line of lipsticks for women that actually looked like lip colours. I had no idea those ten brown-based lip colours would turn into this.

Whenever someone follows their dream and just goes for it, there are always naysayers. I read that when you announced you were going to launch the Bobbi Brown brand, some said, “Just what the world needs... another makeup company.” How did you overcome the negativity of that statement? 

You have to be passionate about the product or service you’re offering. You also have to make sure that you have something that you really believe in and that people either need or really want. I knew that my line would fill a void in the industry. Then you have to figure out how to let people know about it. Lastly, my mantra– the secret to beauty is simple; be who you are–has always helped me overcome any negativity I’ve faced.

Was there ever a time when you thought you were up against too much, that you couldn’t do this? If there was, what did you do to overcome this feeling?

No, because at the time, all I was doing was creating ten natural lipstick shades. I did not set out to build the brand that we are today. It all happened organically and at the right moments, and I just made sure to listen to my gut and do what I believed was right.

Tell us what you had to do to get your name out there. Where was your first collection sold?

My first collection was sold at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. We thought I would sell 100 lipsticks the first month and I sold 100 on the first day. I also did not realize what PR was, but learned along the way.

In terms of volume, where is the Bobbi Brown brand today? What is your biggest seller? How many shimmer bricks do you sell in a day/week/month?
Our biggest seller is Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I came up with the idea for this product when I had to use a mascara wand for eyeliner. It stayed put all day and inspired me to create what is today one of our hero products. We sell one gel liner every minute and, globally, we ship a Shimmer Brick every seven minutes or so.

I know you launched the Everything Bobbi blog last September. (I read that your husband jokes that it should be called Enough Bobbi, which is so adorable.) I’m a huge fan. It’s my default page, and it inspires me every day. Stories about your family, your personal life, your well-being.... I think you know I met Danielle Diamond, who now writes for ANNA, through your blog, so thank you. We LOVE her. What was your goal with the blog?

One of the best things about my job is that I get to try, see and do interesting things and meet incredible people on a daily basis. Blogging is my way of giving everyone a real, unscripted look at my world and the things I love. I like that the blog is totally organic, so I post about anything from product inspirations to the über-flattering pair of jeans I just found to a healthy recipe I discovered and want everyone to try.

I read that Leonard Lauder called you for lunch one day and asked to buy your company. What was that day like for you?
It was surreal because I had always looked up to his mother, Estée Lauder, as a businesswoman. He told me that he would make it possible for me to run my company but also spend time with my family and be the wife and mother I wanted to be. How can you pass that up? It was a dream come true and such an honour.

Although both my daughter, Isabella, and I have a makeup obsession, we tend to be pretty low- maintenance and prefer the natural look. She is 15 and I am 47. What are the daily essentials we both need to get our best look every day?

The most important thing to remember–no matter how old you are–is to keep your beauty routine simple. After all, makeup should be easy and it should make you feel good about yourself. Start with basics like concealer, foundation and powder in your skin-tone-correct shades. The correct foundation shade is the one that disappears into your skin. Begin by applying Creamy Concealer under your eye area, up to the inner corner of your eyes. Using your fingers or sponge, spot-apply foundation–I love Foundation Stick–just where needed to even out your skin. If you have oily skin, set your foundation with a dusting of sheer loose powder. When it comes to colours for your eyes, cheeks and lips, you can’t go wrong with soft neutrals. On eyes, try sweeping a subtle shade with a hint of shimmer like Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow in Petal. Finish off with a coat of black mascara.

I read that people are always asking how you get that youthful glow. And you said that although you think Bobbi Brown moisturizer is the best, what you put in your body also really matters. Rather than the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthy, you now follow a 95/5 rule. Can you tell us what you do to stay healthy every day?

It’s about eating wholesome foods and exercising regularly. It sounds simple because it is.In terms of food, in my fridge you’ll always find a lean protein like salmon or chicken, lots of green vegetables (usually kale or asparagus) and healthy protein shakes. It is so important to eat well, and drinking water and exercising are crucial to healthy glowing skin. Lately, I have been practicing yoga with weights.

My daughter, Isabella, wants to know what your favourite place on Earth is.

With my family near a beach. I love being on the beach. I just find the ocean very calming.

And finally, you have launched your seventh fabulous book, called Pretty Powerful. Tell us what being “Pretty Powerful” means to you.

Pretty Powerful symbolizes my belief that all women are pretty without makeup– and with the right tools can feel more confident, or Pretty Powerful. Makeup is a way to empower women with confidence. It’s important for women to find what products bring out their individual beauty and complement their personal style. With this new book I wanted to share some truly motivating stories and amazing transformations from real women. Being Pretty Powerful means being comfortable in your own skin and being who you are. These stories reflect that idea, so I hope they will inspire others as much as they have inspired me.