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Bobbi Brown learnt lifehacks from her Russian grandpa

A believer of 'just do it', make-up maverick Bobbi Brown shares her success tips

Need a master class on how to succeed as an entrepreneur?

Just follow the career of Bobbi Brown, who went from waitress to make-up artist to founder of a now-ubiquitous cosmetics line and best-selling author.

The American businesswoman started Bobbi Brown Essentials in 1991 after working with a chemist to create 10 natural-looking lipstick shades, then she sold her company to the Estee Lauder Companies in 1995.

Brown, 59, stepped down last December as chief creative officer of the company.

Her ninth book, Beauty From The Inside Out, will be released later this month.

Here, the Montclair, New Jersey resident talks about the life lessons she has learnt along the way.

What were your first lessons about running a business?

I grew up watching my grandfather, who had immigrated from Russia and worked hard on his business, a car dealership that he founded. As a kid, I would help him stuff envelopes with brochures so that he would constantly be top-of-mind to his customers. He never stopped, not even in his 80s.


What were your early jobs?

My first job was selling shoes at a local department store, followed by a year of waitressing after I graduated from college.

My next act wasn't a job but a career. I worked hard as a freelancer to build my portfolio and make contacts, as I remembered my grandfather doing.

I realised that there is no substitute for just doing it, not talking about what you will do but actually getting it done.

As your career took off, what did you learn about handling wealth?

As someone who got Ds in maths in high school, I learnt early on to have overdraft protection on my checking account.

At the same time, I never liked how much it costs to pay interest.

I tried to spend money on things I could afford and not live off money I did not have.


Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently regarding running a business?

The amount of money I have spent on consultants to "give advice" has always boggled my mind.

If I could do it all over again, I would allocate that money to either an upgrade to the office or an outreach programme that helps people in need.

Your new book is about beauty from the inside out. Why is that an important message for you?

The better you take care of yourself, the better you feel and the better your brain functions, so you have more clarity and energy for your work.


What money lessons do you try to pass down to your three sons, aged 18 to 26?

I believe in leading by example. All three of our boys were raised watching my husband and I involve ourselves in philanthropic endeavours.

Giving back has always been a part of my DNA. I was raised to care about all people, especially those in need. We encourage our sons to follow their passions, work hard and learn along the way so that they can do anything they set their mind to. - REUTERS

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