Leslie Blodgett – Creator of bareMinerals and Author of Pretty Good Advice
Kara: Hi everybody. It’s Kara from Unstoppable. And we’re so, so excited to have our next guest here, Leslie Blodgett. Hi, Leslie.
Leslie Blodgett: Hey, Kara. Thanks for having me. Congratulations on your podcast.
Kara: Yeah. We’re on Zoom right now. And Leslie and I both live in Marin County, so she’s not very far away, but we’re in the social distancing, or whatever we call it, along this period of time. And so we decided let’s just get this, let’s do this by Zoom just so we can get talking about her amazing, amazing book that she just launched called Pretty Good Advice. So we’ll talk about that in a few minutes. But I just wanted to give a brief intro about Leslie in case you are hiding under a rock for a few years, and not knowing who she is.
I’ve known Leslie for a long time actually, back in my AOL days, and actually even before that, with a little startup called [2Market 00:01:03]. I met Leslie when she was the CEO of a company called Bare Escentuals, and the creator ultimately of bareMinerals, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But she’s been one of my favorite female entrepreneurs for many, many years, and CEOs.
Leslie Blodgett: Thank you.
Kara: And has done just so much that hopefully we’ll get to talk about as well. But she finally came out with this amazing, amazing book, which I’m so excited to reach. She’s in the pre-order phase right now, so we’re going to talk about how we can all just get her book as soon as possible, and see all of her great advice in there. But, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome.
Leslie Blodgett: Thanks.
Kara: So, in addition to doing the Bare Escentuals and bareMinerals, just a little bit about Leslie, I mean, she also serves on the board of advisors for another amazing female-founded company called Spanx. And she’s also on the board of directors for one of my favorite organization, which is run by Christy Turlington, Every Mother Counts, and also Stella & Dot, so all kinds of great with Jessica, great founders there.
Kara: And really Leslie’s new book, Pretty Good Advice is for next chapter. And I just can’t even wait to hear more about it. So, anyway, welcome, welcome, welcome.
Leslie Blodgett: Thanks.
Kara: So, first of all, actually I want to go back even further. So, what year was this at Bare Escentuals? I guess was way back when. I mean, that was what, 2000? I mean 19-
Leslie Blodgett: The ‘90s.
Kara: Yeah, 1994, 1995?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, ’95 is when I launched the makeup, which is what changed everything. In ’97 is really the beginning of the brand, because that’s when I went on QVC, and that’s changed the whole thing.
Kara: Yeah. Changed completely. I’m just trying to remember, were you at Proctor & Gamble before?
Leslie Blodgett: I was there … See, I have worked for Neutrogena-
Leslie Blodgett: … and it was acquired by … no, Max Factor, gosh, we’re talking about the … Max Factor was acquired by P&G. So I moved to Hunt Valley, Maryland with Keith, and so I ended up working at Proctor & Gamble then.
Kara: That’s wild. And so, you come out to San Francisco to take this role.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: And, as you said, you guys were … I mean, I think what I loved about you most was that, you had sort of come from a classic, sort of, company of building something that was dependent on offline, right, at offline retailers. And I remember just meeting with you at 2Market and then at AOL, and you were just open to sort of testing this new world, where many people thought e-commerce isn’t going to happen, and so you started to do some testing there, and then-
Leslie Blodgett: I know. It’s like you knew me back then. And it was like-
Kara: I know, it was-
Leslie Blodgett: … I’m like, Kara, she knows so much about what is this world that people are doing, I’m just going to listen to her.
Kara: You’re so funny. And then I tell people about you all the time, and I want you to tell the story. But then you went on to QVC. How did that work? I mean, how did you know … I mean, they weren’t really even doing beauty back then, right?
Leslie Blodgett: No. I think that the way I made all of my decisions, and I do a lot of it now, it’s just a lot of it is based on emotion, how I’m feeling, what’s working, and just listening. You do this too, like what is the right thing to do?
And we had retail stores, a few of them, and we were selling bath and body products. We only make money in fourth quarter because it was a holiday business, so we’d make these big gift baskets. And you’re just not going to sell enough lotion in March. Body Shop was our big competitor at the time.
So it was, I have my husband staying home raising the kid, and my salary, what I’m making is supporting the entire family. So it was stressful, not just me, but for everyone working for us. And there were about seven of us in the office.
So it was literally just me up in the middle of the night freaking out,sweating. I’m an anxious person anyway, but if you don’t think you’re going to make your numbers, you’re going to go under. So I ended up watching television, and my options were not good in 1996, late at night, at 2:00 in the morning. So when I saw QVC, and I saw that it was live, and I saw that these people were selling jewelry, and they were talking to me, and they were blabbing away, and chitchatting, and I’m, “I can get into this.”
So once I started watching them every night, and I made my first purchase, I thought, oh my gosh, I have this brand new makeup line, and nobody’s interested in it because it’s so unusual. It’s this innovative formula, loose minerals versus liquid foundation, which is what everyone is wearing. No one’s buying into this idea.
Kara: Totally different, yeah. Amazing.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, totally different, it’s just … The way you advertise back then was print ads, which I couldn’t afford, and I wouldn’t have known how to even synthesize it down to one copy line, because I ramble. So I had the idea, let me just apply to QVC and see if I can get in. And this was in December of 1996. I literally printed the application, filled it out, and mailed it. And I’ve got a call like five months later, and the buyer said, “Come on in.” I bought a five carat fake diamond ring because I wanted to look like I was already successful. It was from QVC.
Kara: Awesome. You bought a fake ring to actually go into the meeting.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, I bought a fake diamond to go to QVC, and I’m slashing around-
Kara: I love it. Oh my God that’s so…
Leslie Blodgett: … she knows what she’s doing.
Kara: That’s so funny.
Leslie Blodgett: And then the buyer was having a good day. She was in a good mood, and she’s like, “Let’s just give it a try.” And the deal was, they would order the product, and what did they sell, they would return. And that’s scary idea because you’re making a lot of product to being on television, and what are you going to do with all those returns?
Leslie Blodgett: I thought that was totally risky. And I didn’t tell anybody, I just didn’t … I was young. I didn’t want to fail publicly if I didn’t have to. I still don’t like failing publicly, I’d rather do that on my own time. So we didn’t have social networks, so I couldn’t promote it that way. So I didn’t even tell my mother I was going on air.
But what I did was, I showed up on a Saturday morning live on TV, and I just was the person I’ve always been my whole life, and for six minutes I talked to the host, I talked to the camera, I’ve never had media training. And somehow, the regular person that I am, I’m not obviously a model, I’m not an actress, and usually beauty brands were being sold by very glamorous, beautiful people and I’m like your next door neighbor. But I’m an expert because I’ve been in beauty my whole life, so here I know what I’m talking about. So it was six minutes, sold out, life-changing. That moment I knew that I could talk about my product.
And then what really happened was, when I got back to the office after being in Pennsylvania and I got back to San Francisco, I got a phone call to our customer service department, which was the person in the cubicle sitting next to me. And the woman from Georgia wanted to know what nail Polish I was wearing on air. And I’m like, “Oh my God,” grabbed the phone, talked to this woman. And she told me that they were having conversations on the threads on QVC. And then I jumped on the threads that day, and I stayed on for, I don’t know, 10 years.
Kara: That’s amazing.
Leslie Blodgett: And that first year was very interesting because I ended up getting to know about 1000 women by name because we were on 4 hours a night, we were in the chat rooms. And just like community building happens now, it was just getting to know real people, and falling in love with each other, and trusting that these are real relationships even though it’s business too. So there was a lot of blurring of lines between, are these my friends, is this a business? So I was serving them while they were buying products, while I was calling them on the phone, and they were calling, I was giving out my phone number.
But it ended up from the very beginning, a very trusting place to build a business, and having the support of people who were your friends. And that’s how we built the company even in their global markets as we started expanding, it was just respect for people. That is the true story of how bareMinerals became a global brand.
Kara: That’s amazing. And I read somewhere that, that in that … I don’t know if it was the first six minutes, or the first hour, or that over 1.4 million in sales, is that …
Leslie Blodgett: Well, that’s actually … We sold only 90,000 in the first six minutes, but that was more than we sold in a week in a store.
Kara: That’s crazy.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, the 1 million happened in an hour, about six months later, which is insane, I mean, totally insane.
Kara: It’s insane. Were there any other makeup brands on at that time, or who were …
Leslie Blodgett: I think, yeah, there were. I don’t know the name, but they were mostly TV brands. And we were considered a TV brand then too because most of the people knew us through television, but then we immediately started expanding into Sephora and Ulta. And we did our own infomercial too, so we had to get out … TV brands weren’t well-respected back then, because it’s like the slicer dicer infomercial type of thing. And we were prestige. I mean, we were as good, they just had a bad reputation, television brands. So I had to make sure to make this pivot and the shift to show up in places.
And I needed a visionary. So Sephora CEO at the time, who’s still there, David Luciano, who also lives in Marin, I could not get Sephora to even look at us, because we were considered low-end. But if you have someone else, they’re getting phone calls, there’s buzz about us, the industry hadn’t recognized the shit. You need one person to understand what’s happening, that there’s a shift happening from department stores, and print media, to online, you just need to find other visionaries who are seeing the future. And that’s what he did for me once he brought us into Sephora with a very welcoming idea. And he wasn’t skeptical about it.
So I think that as we’re always on the verge of new innovations in distribution, in service, in communication, you have to find those people who are not held back by their old beliefs. So that’s why I like to meet up with people, you’re on an invention mode, everything you do is ahead of the rest. Your Super Bowl ad was genius. So you’re always … And what I love about you, Kara, is that you physically bring your product to the store, you’re physically checking on it. People like us, there aren’t that many who understand that you have to be close to what’s happening, and the people, and the products. So I like to find those other people who are thinking 10 years out.
Kara: Yeah. No, I think that, that’s totally true. Well, I love the fact that, I mean, you’re just … I think there’s two things that you said in there too that I definitely practice in just my life, my business adventures, whatever you want to call it. But it’s about not really paying attention to the rules as I always share with people. I actually probably know what the rules are, but I just don’t pay attention to them.
And then the second piece of it is that, I’ve known you for many, many years, and I think even though you were running the company and leading the company, you’re also still able to answer customer service questions if you needed to. That’s not what you did every single day, but you could actually get on a hard call and talk people into being okay, right?
Leslie Blodgett: Oh.
Kara: I think you’ve understood all different aspects of the company.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, and so it’s so true. And Kara, it was never like a marketing strategy. So I don’t have an MBA. So go to Stanford, and I’ve done lectures in classes, and I never was educated in that way, where, how do you look at the analytics? For me it was always, I follow the people who have interest and I learned from them. And I never meant to be unconventional. I did know the rules because, just like you, I worked for those companies [inaudible 00:15:02] that there was a disconnect because they never really knew that the people who were using their products, or who would have been interested in the products too. So I made 25 calls a week, I gave out my number. When employees came to work, they had to write a handwritten note to someone from our list, from our email list.
Kara: I love that.
Leslie Blodgett: So that they would feel that they knew. Doesn’t matter what department you’re in, you have to know that this person’s paying for your paycheck. They’re actually responsive, that’s why you’re here. And if you don’t realize that these are human beings … we had letters from customers all over our office. I had a whole wall outside my office of photos and pictures.
So everyone had to get extremely engaged with, this is why we’re here, and you have to love these people. And even if you’re a guy in IT and you don’t like to talk. And I’m not just saying people in IT don’t like to talk to other people. I didn’t even know that was my style, or I didn’t know what I was capable of carrying so much about people until this role. I didn’t even know. So it just brings out the best in you, I think when you’re building a company, that if you just have such gratitude, you make decisions from a purely beautiful place.
Kara: Yeah, it’s amazing. And then in, was it 2006, you took the company public as well, and then-
Leslie Blodgett: Yes.
Kara: I’d love to talk about that at some point. And then the company was acquired-
Leslie Blodgett: Yes.
Kara: … for almost 2 billion, 1.8 billion. Is that correct?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: So it’s amazing. And then actually, you left, right? And then you came back as a spokesperson?
Leslie Blodgett: No, I didn’t leave. I stayed on for six years, so I never left. I left in 2016. Shiseido purchased the company, acquired it in 2010, and I left in 2016. So there was a language barrier in the beginning, and I always think that’s so interesting, we had translators with us at every meeting. But they had been around for over 150 years, so they have been serving women. And I felt that was important to be in partnership within a company that really valued the people that we were serving too.
So, I mean, now with the whole going public thing, people ask me, do I recommend it? I don’t know if you have a choice sometimes. For me, it wasn’t necessarily 100% my decision.
Kara: Dream or … Yeah.
Leslie Blodgett: You have a board, you have investors. And it was a definite learning experience, but I wouldn’t say it brought the best out in me, because the things that I did my best, the things I was really good at was not earnings calls, and prepping for these people who were vested in you on a public basis. I liked the front end of the business best.
Kara: Yeah. No, definitely, definitely. So let’s talk about your book, Pretty Good Advice: For People Who Dream Big and Work Harder. Yay. So excited. So tell us kind of what … I mean, I can imagine probably you have so many stories and so many tidbits that you’ve learned along the way. I got people who were saying, when’s the book coming out? Is that sort of what they were thinking?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: Like other consumers pushing you to ultimately write this, which is so exciting. So tell me a little bit about that.
Leslie Blodgett: So I’m a book reader and a book collector. I collect rare books. I just love the idea of people writing what’s important to them, and decide … People have to decide what they want to put in a book, is a big deal. Sometimes that takes years. So I decided to do … my format is not like a narrative story of my life, but just a little 1 page, 97 pages of different stories and ideas I’ve collected over the years. And I felt like I needed to be old enough to do that. So I’m 57, I don’t think at 30 I would be able to provide enough reflection to give people okay some insights from my life.
And I talk about my childhood. I believe that your childhood, your dad, I mean, I love a healthy choice, he’s the creator of that. I mean, of course you could see you were raised around that. And I think that what you’re raised around, whether good or bad shapes you into what you become, and what you make of yourself.
So, of course, there were childhood stories, and I have so much fun writing it. But there are, like the story about QVC I have, it’s called Trust The River in the book. And it’s just about trusting the flow, and the waves, and where it’s taking you, and sometimes don’t overthink it. So that was a big learning for me, and I wanted to share that.
Then I have the fun stuff, like Three Ways That You Can Look Older Than You Are. I mean, I think people are very focused on how to look young. I want people to know what can make them look old, which is another way of saying, look, if you want to look young do this.
Leslie Blodgett: In other words, I’m having fun with this one.
Kara: [crosstalk 00:20:40] make you look older, now that we’re on the topic.
Leslie Blodgett: So it basically comes down to if you are bitter person, and you are just nasty and mean, you are going to look old because that’s going to be on your face.
Leslie Blodgett: And people who smile and just can find a little bit of joy in their day are automatically people … that’s a compelling personality that is youthful and rejuvenating. And the basic tactical one is wear sunscreen. And you and I are on the mountain all the time, that’s where we keep running into each other in Marin. And you wear a hat, we wear a sunscreen, and that’s [inaudible 00:21:20] people know.
Kara: So important. Yeah, absolutely, so I totally agree.
Kara: So your also number 16, Count Your Lucky Pennies. Love that one. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah. And that was a good example of how do you frame yourself and in your life. And I am the luckiest person on the planet. I’ve won so many raffles, I’ve won money, I’ve won furniture, I’ve won clothes. Every time I enter a raffle, I win. In fact, I was at a fortune conference a bunch of years ago and they had 500 people, first time I was at the conference, fill out the raffle. And I told them, I said, “Listen, I can’t, because if I do, I’m going to win, and I want to give somebody else a chance.” And they said, “No, no,” because they want your email address. So I did it, and sure enough I won.
And the reason is because I believe, I know this sounds hokey, but my dad told me I was a very lucky person when I was five-years-old because I was finding lucky pennies in the street, and he would call me, eagle eye. He said, “You’re lucky.” So I always believed it. And even when crappy stuff has happened to me, other people might call it crappy, I always looked at it and said, “If it’s lucky let that happen,” because it could have been worse if it’s bad. So it’s my perspective.
And I always felt like, if you’re telling your kids, they’re lucky, or they’re good at something, they believe it, and they will take that with them for the rest of their life. I know people who think they have bad luck, and I think that’s just bull [loney 00:22:58]. I don’t want to curse on your podcast, so I won’t use bad words.
Kara: That’s okay. You’re good.
Leslie Blodgett: Obviously, the point here is, if you believe it, you will be it, and that’s the whole thing with luck. And why I keep winning? The universe is telling me, you believed it long enough, you deserve this.
Kara: What was the craziest contest you ever won?
Leslie Blodgett: I won $1000 from a People Magazine-
Leslie Blodgett: … thing, where you just had to send in who you thought was going to win the Oscars or whatever. And I don’t think I picked all the winners, but just got chosen out of, that happened [inaudible 00:23:39] situation. So, $1000, that’s a lot of money.
Kara: That’s a lot. You know what was my craziest contest?
Leslie Blodgett: What?
Kara: I won a Bubble Yum Bubble Blowing contest when I was probably seven-years-old. And it was in Phoenix, Arizona. I grew up in Phoenix, Scottsdale area, and it was at the local mall. And I believed, I dragged my mom to the mall, and I so believed that I was going to win the Bubble Yum Bubble Blowing Contest. They used to have these bubble contests. And I remember I was practicing and practicing, and then I had to run to the restroom after getting sick because I had so much sugar in me from …
Leslie Blodgett: Oh my God.
Kara: And I had no idea that this would happen to me. But I was like, no, I am going to do this, I’m going to do it. And I won. I mean-
Leslie Blodgett: So how big was your bubble?
Kara: It was, I mean, I had so much. And I was a pretty tiny person with a small mouth, and I don’t even how I got this much gum in my mouth. I remember [inaudible 00:24:43] like this. I had so much gum in my mouth. And I don’t know, I mean, it was close to, I think it was over … I wish I knew exactly. I should look up and see if … I’m sure today it would be on the internet, right?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: But I bet back then, way long ago, they weren’t doing this. But I don’t know, it was probably four feet. No, I mean it was serious. It was pretty crazy. I mean, it was pretty nuts.
Leslie Blodgett: Well, listen, I think the reason you probably sublimely have [inaudible 00:25:17] waters because all that sugar made you so sick, you thought to yourself, I am never putting sugar in anything else. That’s probably …
Kara: Yeah, it was crazy. But I mean, I remember I had to sit around all day, and then at the end of the day, I liked the original Bubble Yum. And then they ran out of the original flavor, and then they like substituted in grape, and I was like, oh, really? And so, I added a little bit of grape to it. And, anyway, it was insane. But just going back to your … That’s just an example of if you don’t try, you’re not going to win. And I kept saying to my mom, “No, I’ve been practicing.” And she’s like, “There’s plenty of kids that have been practicing.” And I was so serious about it.
Leslie Blodgett: You believed it.
Kara: And I won. And I won, I think, I don’t know, it was pretty big. It was like a couple hundred dollars.
Leslie Blodgett: Wow.
Kara: And I was seven-year-old then. I was on the platform like I just won the Olympics. I mean, that was like a whole thing. And I was so sick though afterwards because I was in sugar shock for five hours of, and my whole face hurt. Anyway, that was my craziest contest story.
Leslie Blodgett: Oh my God.
Kara: But it goes back to, you got to try. And I think you’re just a great example of somebody that’s just, you’re not afraid to try to the crazy, right? And I think there aren’t very many people I know who have done a Bubble Yum Bubble Blowing Contest, there aren’t very many people who have done what you’ve done. I mean, I think, I look back on the QVC example, and I talk about it all the time, how did you have the guts, how did you have the knowhow? However, you want to frame it, I think it really speaks to your ability to just, kind of, go against status quo, and just go try, right? You didn’t know if it was going to work or not.
Leslie Blodgett: No. And I think you’re bringing up a good point because there’s another section in the book that I want to tell you about it, and it’s called Get Desperate. And I think that’s what happens when … Some people, when they’re desperate, they go to bed and put the covers over their head. And some people, it supercharges them. And I think that the QVC thing was for me, “Oh, I can’t sit around, I’ve got to do something.” And that was it.
And then when I was looking for my first job in the beauty industry, I couldn’t get into FIT because I didn’t have any beauty industry experience that I was applying to the beauty program. And no cosmetic counter was going to hire me because I didn’t have beauty industry experience. And I’m like, “Who’s going to give me a break here?” And I got the job at Bloomingdale’s because I literally was so desperate that I would go every morning to their office, and stood outside their door, they had to bump into me. It was a really narrow hallway, and there was no way that they could get to work without brushing their shoulder against mine.
And after a week, they basically said, “Okay. You are so annoying, we’re going to give you a job.” And was because I was sleeping on couches, and I didn’t have any money.”
Leslie Blodgett: So it’s like you do it, it’s like you figure it out, and you blow a bubble, you blow a bubble, you stand in a hallway. And I realized that, for me, I guess the best thing I ever won was a warmup suit in gymnastics camp. And it was basically, you had to clean up the gym, everyone, and if you found a piece of paper that said warm up suit, you’d win the warmup. And everyone was gone for hours, if I was cleaning the entire gym, it took me all day, because they’re huge. It’s a gym, it’s an Olympic-size gym, and I found the paper.
Leslie Blodgett: And it wasn’t that I was really lucky, it’s because I spent the whole day cleaning the gym. So it’s, you want something, you get it. And it’s not necessarily hard if there’s other motives behind it.
Kara: I love it. I love it. It’s so great. And I was seeing on your Facebook actually, you went to Africa. Did you go with the Every Mother Counts too?
Leslie Blodgett: We went to India. Yes, and I just got back.
Kara: Oh, you went to India?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah-
Kara: Sorry, sorry. I thought it was Africa.
Leslie Blodgett: … a few weeks ago. So I’ve been on that board for, I don’t know, five years maybe. And Christie is so inspiring. I mean she created this organization because she had a really difficult home birth, and she just thought, if I’m having trouble, what about those people who are not as privileged? How were they managing difficulties in childbirth? So we grant different countries and programs here in the US too, Every Mother Counts. And, basically, we raise money through running programs.
And, yeah, it was wild what we saw in India. And now, obviously, there are countries closed down too, so we were able to get in there right before the pandemic hit as well.
Kara: That’s amazing. How do you get the word out when you go over to these countries? What is the sort of the PR engine? I mean, what is sort of the first step of kind of letting people know that you’re there?
Leslie Blodgett: Well, it was a trip to actually meet with the people on the ground who were helping others, so it wasn’t really a PR trip I think for them. But you’re making a good point. So the reason that we went with a group of about 18 people, and then our job when we come back is to tell the stories, what we saw. So we’re not bringing the press with us, it’s more about us learning, some of us from the board, and people on it, founders committee. So we’re all very engaged with the organization. And the more we learn about the work that we’re doing, when we come back, and we share those stories, that’s the best way to get the word out, to make it authentic.
Kara: That’s awesome. I love that you’re on a nonprofit board too, in addition to Spanx, which is another amazing female founder company. I’d love to meet her at some point. She’s always-
Leslie Blodgett: You haven’t met her?
Kara: I never have, but I talk about her all the time. And I’m not even sure if I have all of her stories straight, but I always use her as a great example. Actually, I have this one story, and I feel like I read it somewhere, but I’ve always wanted to confirm whether or not it’s true, that I always tell people, when she went out to raise money that she was pitching to a lot of men, and talking to them about wearing pantyhose, and not a lot of men wear pantyhose, maybe some of them do, so then it was harder for her to raise money from them.
And just same thing for Hint, I mean when we were going out to Sand Hill Road and Silicon Valley, and although a lot of them were drinking Hint, when I would talk to them about my Diet Coke addiction and the challenges, they just didn’t really understand because not a lot of men really drank diet soda. I mean, there were some men that drank it, but it was, clearly, the majority of consumers for diet soda are women.
And so, very similarly, I always tell people that, the moral of that story is that, if you’re going to raise money, then make sure that you understand your audience, and make sure that they really understand that they can be helpful because I really am a huge believer that you’re not going to be able to raise money from people that don’t believe that they can help you, right? And…
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah. And I had that situation too. I mean, Sarah, I think that story was about selling her product into department stores because she’s never raised money, she’s 100% backed.
Leslie Blodgett: But she has had those stories to tell through, I think, selling to wholesale. And for me, going public, and selling investors on makeup, and why it’s important that women feel good about their skin, they were all rolling their eyes. But, again, basically, go home and talk to a female in your house they’ll understand the power of self confidence through makeup. But it’s the same thing. It’s like you have to-
Kara: Same thing.
Leslie Blodgett: … you have to appeal on a different level.
Kara: Yeah, totally. And how many of them actually go home and talk to the women in the house or whatever. But I love the fact that that didn’t stop you, right? And that you still figured out, how do I go and get this done?
People always ask me, as a female-founded company, was it easier, or was it more difficult to raise money because you’re a woman? And I’m like, probably, but I’ve never been a man, so I don’t really know. Raising money as a whole, as an entrepreneur at any stage is just hard. I mean, it’s tough, right? And I think that, you’ve got to have the tenacity, and really stay undaunted, and just keep going, right? And figure if you really, really have the vision that you’re going to go and make this thing work.
So, anyway, that’s a lot of what I talk about in my book that is coming out in the fall. But she’s definitely somebody that I would love to meet along the way.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: Yeah, definitely. So what do you think are probably the proudest moments in your journey so far?
Leslie Blodgett: Wow. I think that they’re all related to the people that worked at the company while I was running it, that had such pride in their work, and them … See, we’re selling makeup, so it’s a tough thing for some people to get their head around. It seems superficial, but it’s not. So getting people to join in the category of beauty when they’re from another industry, and then believing what they’re doing is a good thing for the world.
And then seeing … It all has to do with relationships and people, that’s my pride. Is the connection, the friendships that other people have made through the brand, lifelong friendships, the fact that we were able to take bus tours, and cruises, and events, and weekends.
Kara: Didn’t you rent Lady Gaga’s bus or something?
Leslie Blodgett: Yes, we did. And I’ve done three bus tours in my life and we’ve been on the road for two weeks, and we’d stop off at Hooters and a TGI Friday’s along the way on our way to stores-
Kara: I love it.
Leslie Blodgett: … and parties everywhere.
Kara: I love it.
Leslie Blodgett: So, for me, it was just meeting new people, seeing them smile. And I know that just sounds silly too, but just all those little bright spots. And here we are, April, what is this? 9th. And our life is changing right before us. And every day is a new … We wake up, and what is this day going to look like? How long are we going to be here? And that’s why I believe in those little pockets of optimism every day, and that’s how I looked at my career. I mean, if I could just provide some, a little bit of a high once in a while. And this is a big test right now.
Kara: Yeah. No, absolutely. And I think industries are changing as a whole. And I think companies like you that have maybe started in stores, but got into TV as well as online, I think that’s a huge conversation that you’ll absolutely be a part of, and you’ll be able to sort of weather the storm so to speak.
And then I also think health. I think health is such a huge thing I know, and I put Escentuals and bareMinerals into this as well. But I feel like people are more and more, whether you’re putting something on yourself, or putting stuff in your body, gone are the days where you’re going to be sitting there eating Cheetos, as I say, as an example, after a while, you’re going to start to realize how much your health is important. I’ve been talking about this for 15 years since I started Hint, but never have I heard people say so much, and lots of different types of people that, stay well, stay healthy. I mean…
Leslie Blodgett: It’s so true, it’s so true.
Kara: Yeah. And I think it’s so important. And I think when we get back to normal, I think people are going to be like, “I got to stay healthy. How do I do that?” I’ve been hiking a little bit more, getting outside to get my exercise, but I’ve also been eating right, I’m taking … If you take vitamins, I’m taking the right vitamins, whatever. But I think that people are really, really focused on that, and it will not go away in case we have to deal with this again. And I just really believe it.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah. And, for me, stress mode, I go straight to junk food and emotional eating. And I gave myself two weeks, and I’m just back to being healthy again. But I know my routine when I’m anxious, so I’m eating chips and it’s horrible feeling. But I know that I give myself a certain amount of time that I turn the corner. But I have my Hint water in my fridge. And when we were allowed to have people over, that would be the first thing I would do, is when people join-
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: I wish I could give you one, I’d offer it to you right now. So, great. So what’s your favorite flavor?
Leslie Blodgett: I would have to say the strawberry-kiwi.
Kara: I love strawberry-kiwi too. It’s so good.
So, Leslie, what makes you unstoppable? You’ve talked a little bit about this, but I always ask our guests. I mean, let me …
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: In a couple of words, what do you think it is?
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah. I think I don’t give up. I think that’s what it is. I just always find … If there’s a block, I’ll go around it. I’ll find a different way. I just go back and think. And I sometimes need breaks in between, but the idea is I believe in my ideas.
Kara: I love it.
Leslie Blodgett: So I just keep trying.
Kara: So Pretty Good Advice, where’s the best place for people to buy it?
Leslie Blodgett: I think the only place right now is online, and Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, all three of them have doing a great job for the book. It’s a great book. I think it’s somewhat uplifting. It better be uplifting, I mean.
Kara: I love it.
Leslie Blodgett: But my mother said she laughed and she doesn’t have a sense of humor. So I think if she’s laughing we’re okay.
Kara: If your mom likes it, I mean, that’s all you need.
Leslie Blodgett: She’s not the dotty mom, so this is a big deal. So there’s a section about her in the book. She was very strict growing up, so the fact that she gave me a thumbs up, it’s a positive.
Kara: Awesome. Well, my mail has been delayed, so I know I have a copy that is arriving at the office, so I’m very, very excited to read it, really, really excited about it actually. So, very, very great.
Leslie Blodgett: And I can’t wait for your book in September.
Kara: Thank you. I know I’m really excited. I think, actually Bare Escentuals I think is in there actually. I was talking about brands back in the early days-
Leslie Blodgett: Wow.
Kara: … and who was doing things really right. And other brands like Omaha Steaks, and [crosstalk 00:41:20] Flowers.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah.
Kara: yeah. And all the oldies, right. It’s super exciting. So, yeah, I’m very, very excited to share with you when that comes out. It’s coming out in October, early October.
Leslie Blodgett: Oh great.
Kara: Very, very cool. And Leslie’s super active on social as well, especially on Twitter. She’s my Twitter buddy. So would you say that’s your biggest platform?
Leslie Blodgett: I think I have more followers on Facebook, but I just came back to Facebook. I probably post most on Instagram. But I’m now back to being more public, I’ve been very private. So, yeah, join me. I’d love to meet you on social.
Kara: Yeah, it’s Leslie Blodgett.
Leslie Blodgett: Yeah, that’s my name.
Kara: Awesome. That’s so great. So, well, thank you so much, Leslie, for taking this time. And everybody go out and buy Pretty Good Advice.
Leslie Blodgett: Thank you so much.
Kara: I’m excited.
Leslie Blodgett: It’s such a pleasure to be on your podcast. I appreciate it so much.
Kara: Perfect. I hope to see you soon live.
Leslie Blodgett: Be on the mountain.
Kara: Thanks so much.
Leslie Blodgett: Okay. Bye-bye.
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