Leslie Blodgett is a trailblazer of the beauty industry. She is the former CEO and creator of bareMinerals, a company she grew into an almost two billion dollar business. She sat down with us to talk about how she built a community of loyal customers before the age of social media. And luckily, she's also put those tips into her new book, “Pretty Good Advice.” It gives some pretty great advice. Including: "get desperate." And also: "lead with laughter."
On Getting Desperate
Leslie: I always had to work hard to get noticed in everything I did.... I learned that when I'm desperate, when I can't seem to find my way, is when I get most creative. Like, when I'm at the bottom, feeling down, instead of being depressed for long periods of time, I just start thinking about what I would do, and little steps to get there.
On Being Introverted
Carly: Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
Leslie: I am an introvert that's had to play an extrovert.
Carly: So I want to talk about that…. One of the first things you said is that you're private and you don't want to be out there. But that at the same time you went on QVC, talked about yourself for six minutes, and truly changed the trajectory of your life in business, but also really set the stage of how to connect with customers.
Leslie: I think it comes down to [this]: I would say yes to opportunities that mattered and that I needed to do. And then afterward, after I agreed or thought about it, then it petrified me. Like, what was I thinking? Even the night before going on QVC, I'm asking, "What was I thinking right now?"
But the decision, the impulse and the instinct is to go forward because it is the right thing to do…. Being authentic, even though I'm not an extrovert, we all have two sides to us. Some of us might have a 10% extrovert in there. I just knew what I had to do, and the rest of me trusted my judgment to do the right thing.
QVC, every time, I was on air for 17 years. I would still get nervous up until the very last time I did it. It was not natural to do it. But I also think that [after] the first visit, and once I went online to hear what people were saying, people appreciated that. And I knew that people appreciate when you are so yourself that that comes through.
On Her Support System
Carly: You talk a lot about laughter and kind of having fun with people. I think one of the things that we've both been most taken with by you is what a strong support system you've surrounded yourself with. And you talk a lot about your girlfriends especially.
Leslie: Yes. Thank you for bringing this up. Yeah. I was so crazy with my career, and then raising a kid and traveling a lot, that I didn't really make time for real friendships. So it was kinda sad. By the time I was over 50, I realized I didn't have close-knit friendships. I had acquaintances. So it was Jennifer Aaker who you guys met at that same conference, who is a Stanford professor. And her mother had this bridge group, started 50 years ago, where they actually play bridge. And [Jennifer’s] like, "I wanna build out a bridge group, but we don't have to play bridge."
So there are ten of us and we operationalized this idea. We're all working women. Most of us have kids. We have very busy lives. But we also know that we need people we can trust and a space with unconditional love and non-judgment.
…. So we lift each other up, and we're honest. So I wish I had this when I was younger. But I'm just so grateful that I figured this out. You don't think that when you're over a certain age you can find deep friendships with people who you have something in common with. So it's been incredible.
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