Posted by Suzanne Blecher on January 25, 2010 01:40 PM
Coming out of college, you are told to wear a nice black suit to work, sport an expensive pair of heels and always be polite. Cosmetic guru Bobbi Brown followed these same rules while building her business -- that is, until about ten years ago when she realized that it just wasn’t her.
“I’d go into these meetings and there was something wrong,” she told the New York Times. “I never knew what it was.” She was uncomfortable with her image.
So when Brown moved her office to downtown New York City, she also embarked on a personal brand makeover. “I have high heels in my bags if I need them for a shoot. But I like sneakers. I like being comfortable. I like to sit on the floor with my team and work. I don’t like to sit in fancy chairs. It’s really important to the culture of my company that people understand who they’re working for,” she said.
Brown never went to business school or majored in management, but she follows a simple rule when hiring for her team. She looks for openness and integrity in the people she hires. She knows within the first two minutes if she likes someone.
Brown prides herself on her communication skills, but not through email; she would rather be more personal and engage in conversation. When Brown goes on The Today Show to makeover real women, she is presenting a reflection of what she wants herself and her brand to be. Her new multimedia campaign, Pretty Powerful, is a platform to get real with consumers.
In a business where a tube of lipstick represents more than just a product, being an approachable brand yourself is key. “I’ve always been a sponge,” she said. “You’re around really cool, creative people, you see what they’re doing, how they’re dressing, what they’re reading, what their tastes are. I mean that’s what makes someone better at what they do -- they’re just open to what’s going on.”