10 things I learned from Bobbi Brown

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 23 Comments

Bobbi Brown not only gives good makeup, she makes running a multi-million business look easy.

I’m sure it’s anything but easy knowing the power of a good lippy must surely help.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Bobbi in Brisbane yesterday. Well, we were in the same room at lunch time. I’m not sure if she had the chicken or the beef but what I am sure of is that she had the room of 300 (mostly) women engaged and hanging off her every word.

She followed her trademark casual dress policy (her New York office is all about the casual) and wore jeans, tee, scarf, jacket and sneakers.

Sitting on a stool with laptop on a stand in front of her, the tiny (she’s 5ft) 57-year-old took the Business Chicks audience on a journey from her childhood through to present day.

Bobbi’s unassuming manner won me over as she explained how some of her biggest career and business wins seemingly just “happened”.

She didn’t credit that to luck but more to being open to opportunities. That sat very well with me.

As a female in business, I’m often asked … what’s your next big thing? What’s your strategy? So, you’ve released your first book, what’s your second one going to be about?

I felt that listening to Bobbi validated that not having those answers was ok.

I do work hard. I do love what I do. I am clear on why I do what I do and why I love what I do. I am open to opportunities. And I trust my gut instinct to lead me to that next big thing.

It doesn’t mean I don’t make plans but I’m happy with my organic approach to business – and life.

Have a look at Bobbi’s 10 Life Rules and you’ll get my drift. Simple, yet wise words to live by, I think.

Bobbi Brown's 10 Life Rules

I also loved hearing about how she retained (and continues to retain) the Bobbi Brown “culture” when the brand became part of the Estee Lauder stable.

The the relaxed office dress code is just the start. Healthy food is always served in meetings, there are staff yoga classes, an in-house manicurist and staff know at any time they can bring in their dogs, babies, kids, their mums and their dads. How cool is that?

Anyhoo … enough about business, let’s talk makeup because that’s what Bobbi is famous for. Here are 10 things I learned about Bobbi Brown and her passion for making women feel the best they can about themselves.

10 things I learned from Bobbi Brown

1. Bobbi may not have been immune to the perm in the ’80s but she did thankfully help us move on from the overly made-up makeup looks from that era. Thank goodness.

2. It was a radical move back in the day but for an early ’90s cover of US teen magazine, Allure, Bobbi’s makeup featured a young girl with minimal makeup and exposed freckles.

3. It was Bobbi’s quest for a lipstick colour that actually matched the colour of lips that took her from makeup artist to business owner – can you imagine a world without nude lipsticks? Me neither. That first winning colour was one that a local compound chemist in New York helped her create.

Bobbi Brown basic brown lipstick - the original formula card

4. A good beige lipstick will fix any bad lipstick colour in your bag (I hope you don’t own colours that are bad but if you do, this is worth a try).

5. Women don’t need a tonne of makeup, they just need essentials that actually work. This is the cornerstone of Bobbi’s product development – from that first lipstick through to the product range available today. My favourite essential from Bobbi Brown is one that made my Top 20 beauty list for 2014. I never leave home without it.

Bobbi Brown essentials

6. The #1 seller for Bobbi Brown is Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (pictured above). It was a product developed after Bobbi found herself makeup-less for a photoshoot at home and had to improvise. She had lip gloss and mascara but it wasn’t pulling the look together for her. So she took a cotton bud, removed the fluffy bits and dipped it into the mascara and applied it along the lash line. And then promptly rang her product development team to find out if this would actually be safe for her eyes. It was. A vintage pot Bobbi she had found became the inspiration for how it would be stored. The product was developed and the world loved it – and still does.

7. If you’re putting on a blush or foundation and you’ve got work to blend it into your skin, then you’re using the wrong colour for your skin.

8. Even skin is the most beautiful skin.

9. Feel good about yourself and learn simple tricks about makeup that will help you get there.

10. Suck your stomach in and go for it!

I love this last one. Bobbi was saying how at the age of 57 she finds herself being a model in her own video tutorials and shoots.

She doesn’t focus on the bits she may not like. She just gets on with it.

I very much like that in a woman.

Do you love a great business success story? Got a favourite Bobbi Brown product? Attended any of Bobbi’s Business Chicks events in Australia?

Comments 23

  1. I love Bobbi Brown’s Life Rules and her flexible approach of always remaining open to opportunities. What a wise lady! No wonder she has been so successful!

  2. I love Bobbi’s rules they are good ones to live by!
    I do own some great Bobbi Brown lip liners and they are staples and go with every colour.Thank you for sharing Nikki Xx

  3. Love Bobbi’s life rules- especially that number 2 is “Be nice”. And that Bobbi shows the signs of a life well-lived on her face

    I’m a big fan of the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners- once they are dry, they stay put in the most humid conditions. I also used the shimmer bricks for years, but nowadays I prefer a little less glitter.

  4. thankyou nikki, for your coverage, and tips, always good to know what is going on in women’s business! … bobbi is an inspirational, wise woman, looking very natural and comfortable in her own skin! … all for it!… sounds like a great day for women, especially those in business!
    enjoy your day! love m:)X

  5. Oh how lucky you got to meet her. As a make uo artist I have read every single one of her books. Love them. That eyeline is amazing too, oh and her lips and cheeks pot rouge. Lovely post :))

  6. Lucky you Nikki! Bobbi is so inspirational (did I spell that right? it looks wrong), I didn’t realise she is so little, I always imagined her to be model height. I love her Shimmer Brick, I have the Bronze shade. Those life rules would be worth printing off and framing – for everyone!

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