In 2007, Bobbi Brown, the makeup mogul, was my first interview as I was beginning in the field of journalism. She told me about her mother’s wisdom that helped pave her career path, it has resonated with me ever since. It’s the same career advice that seems to have guided Brown’s continuous reinvention, her latest ventures include her return to beauty with her new makeup line Jones Road Beauty and entering the wellness space with her line of supplements that promote health from the inside out, Evolution_18.
“My mom asked me if I could do anything in the world I wanted for my birthday, what would it be? I said I wanted to play with makeup. She said to go to school for that and take it to the highest level,” and that’s just what Bobbi Brown did.
At the time she went to university though, there was no such thing as a makeup degree or entrepreneurship, yet she built her own unconventional major at Emerson College, deciding on theatrical makeup, this was the beginning of her incredible career that was (and continues to be) driven purely by the passion she had for makeup, making people feel confident and Brown’s innate entrepreneurial spirit.
For who knows beauty history, you know the making of the legend: in the 1980’s Bobbi Brown entered the beauty scene as a freelance makeup artist in the landscape of bright, neon lipsticks and heavily contoured faces. She couldn’t find lipsticks that were the color of lips and out of necessity, was constantly mixing her own colors to match the model’s faces making them look healthier and natural, a novelty for the times. From this major gap in the market, she launched her namesake company, Bobbi Brown, initially with a line of 10 essential lipsticks the color of lips. In its origins, the company was an indie brand run out of her house in Montclair, New Jersey, where she would package lipstick orders from her kitchen, her first baby boy sitting in his high chair, her husband mailing lipstick orders from the local post office.
Just 4 years from her initial launch, the line grew to include more products and became the number one makeup brand in Bergdorf’s and Neiman Marcus. Then, Leonard Lauder of Estée Lauder called to make an offer. “You’re beating us in all the stores,” he said over dinner with Brown and her husband Steven Plofker. Lauder made an offer Brown couldn’t refuse that would allow her to maintain creative control as the Chief Creative Officer, the catch – a lengthy 25-year non-compete that would be up in October 2020. At the time of that deal, 38-year-old Bobbi Brown didn’t think 63-year-old Bobbi Brown would care to work in her 60s….little did she know!
When Brown originally left her namesake brand in late 2016, she wasn’t thinking of doing another cosmetic line, “it was the first time in years that I had a clean slate and was promoting my ninth book, Beauty From The Inside Out, which was 80% diet and 20% makeup and you can see even in that book, the makeup was starting to change, it was becoming less,” says Brown.
She decided to go back to school getting her health coach degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. A decision she took because she finally had some time to do it, but also because of being a self-described “lifelong health nut and foodie”. Now she was equipped with so much knowledge about the quality of products and their impact on health. At the same time, she was invited to do a Masterclass and went to India to teach at the very first makeup festival.
The timing to launch a new company was a result of the combination of this newly acquired knowledge and the revolutionary way brands could talk directly to their consumers, “I was so interested in the new ways of the world alla DTC and social. Being a makeup artist and loving makeup so much I thought I bet I could do something – I don’t want to say better – but something different,” says Brown.
Brown is showing women globally that if they believe in something at any stage of life regardless of their age there is no time better than the present to go forth and make it happen.
Jones Road Beauty launched in October, during the pandemic, just one week before the US Presidential election, “and if you ask me why the date — it was when my non-compete was up,” shared Brown. “But also what was I going to wait for? There was so much going on in the world – was I going to wait for the next quiet time? I didn’t think there would be one and really, there hasn’t been,” says Brown.
Jones Road Beauty bridges the gap between clean makeup that is good for the skin and also high performance. The new beauty line is a literal product of Bobbi Brown’s 30 years of experience distilled into a line of easy, cool, multi-purpose products that are easy to use and for all ages, skin types, and looks from easy minimal to dramatic.
Brown’s initial ideation for her brand 25+ years ago to her new brands today have always had the same ethos, “my mission has always been the same – what I’m telling people is different and modern, but my mission since I started has always been to teach people that if you wear makeup that made you look like yourself, you were going to be confident and look better.” Jones Road still is rooted in this idea of elevating the self – with Evolution_18 she also has a product line to promote beauty and wellness from the inside out. The idea being that when you feel your healthiest, it shows through your skin, hair and nails.
Evolution_18 is the first and only brand to offer easy-to-mix supplement powders that have both collagen and magnesium, that when paired together offer a powerful combo to nourish muscles, build skin elasticity and promote overall wellness and calm for both the mind and body.
“As a makeup artist for so many years, I dealt with women’s skin and I learned early on, if you take care of yourself from the inside out, your skin looks a lot better. As a makeup artist, it was really interesting to me to understand what makes a person healthy and what makes their skin look good. So these products were really based on my love for health on the inside, beauty on the outside.”
Her new brands are representative of a conglomeration of all the things Brown wanted to teach and make, “and honestly, I haven’t had so much fun in my entire life. All of that freedom is also because, with 30 years of experience, I know what to do but also what not to do.”