Feb. 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM ET
Bobbi Brown turned her passion for natural makeup into a successful business, launching her now-famous line in 1991. Here, she writes about her key tips for how anyone can do the same with a smart idea.
I’m often asked what advice I would give to someone looking to start their own business. I started my company with ten brown-based lipstick shades created to fill a void in the market for simple, flattering and wearable makeup. To start your own business, you need an idea, followed by tons of passion and enormous amounts of hard work. You need to trust your gut – you have to be hard-headed and have selective hearing in regards to the negativity that come from other people. This is not something you'll learn in school.
Make a decision by feeling, not by thinking. I do almost everything by feeling – from hiring a baby-sitter to developing products. For me, it’s never about what market research shows. If you have something that you believe in, it doesn’t matter what other people think. Get it to market – it’s really important to be first to market – and figure out a way to tell people about it. I was lucky because I was first in my niche. I wasn’t the first cosmetics company, but I was definitely the first with natural colors designed by a makeup artist.
Be true to your vision and do things with integrity. My philosophy has been and still is the same as the day I first went into business – not to change what a woman looks like, but to make her look like herself, only better. I believe in telling a woman what’s right with her, rather than what’s wrong with her. And I also believe 100 percent in the products that I create. From start to finish, every product has to reflect my ethics and aesthetic.
Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that have really made a difference in the path that I’ve taken: