The remarkable Bobbi Brown — honest, groundbreaking, real, and now, at 65, a TikTok star and founder of a new beauty brand. On the day her non-compete with Estée Lauder ran out, she launched her new company, Jones Road, and took the TikTok world by storm. Her first company, Bobbi Brown Essentials, launched in 1991 with the very modest goal of selling 100 lipsticks in a month — then sold out in a day. History is repeating itself with Bobbi releasing modest, effortless-looking videos on social media around how a 50+ woman can do her makeup, and getting a massive response.
The world is moving quickly and Bobbi is right there, not that she was ever not on the pulse of what was happening. She has authored 9 books, been named Glamour Woman of the Year, is a certified health coach, had her work on the cover of so many many magazines, and is basically a household name when it comes to makeup.
As she says, the world doesn’t need more beauty products. It needs better beauty products. Clean, strategic, high-grade formulations that work on every skin type and tone — and that are as simple to use as they are to master.
She is not only part of the moment we are living in, she is moving it forward showing models and faces with a range of ages, tones and skin types. Being beautiful is not about being perfect; it is about feeling simply beautiful with who you are.
Why, in your mid 60s, already successful, did you start a new brand?
I wasn’t done. I didn’t want to do the same thing the same way again. I knew I had something new to teach. I wanted to create a modern beauty company that took what I always believed in and do it my way. I was ready to be the boss again.
What did you learn from running your original namesake brand that now you do differently with running Jones Road Beauty?
When I started my first brand, I was a 31-year-old new mom and makeup artist. I knew makeup and what would make a great product from the eyes of an artist, not as a product marketer. My business education unfolded and over a span of 25 years, I learned exactly what to do but, more importantly, I learned what not to do.
“There was no question in my mind that, as I was formulating the products, they would have to be clean”
The biggest difference between launching my first brand in the ’90s and launching Jones Road just 18 months ago is knowledge and confidence. Now, I have an advantage because I understand formulas. I also know that the modern consumer doesn’t want to be marketed to and neither do I. They want to know what it is, what it does and, most importantly, how to use it.
Of course, how we acquire and retain customers now is so different than when I launched my first brand. Social media has been an accelerator for growth. And who knew I’d become a TikTok sensation at 65! My audience consists of many women who are in the 40s, 50s and beyond. They are definitely on TikTok and they are very vocal and inquisitive.
Why the focus on clean beauty?
There was no question in my mind that, as I was formulating the products, they would have to be clean. I eat organic. I use environmentally safe cleaning products in my home so it was only natural that I’d want to create products with the same ethos. I also really like a challenge and I honestly didn’t know if it was possible to create what I wanted using all clean formulations, but it was!
What does it mean to you to be beautiful?
Beautiful to me means someone who is happy, comfortable in their skin and owns who they are. The new standard of beauty transcends generations and ethnicity and the norm.
“I was curious and jumped into several endeavors both big and small”
What was it like for you to leave your company, Bobbi Brown Makeup? How does it feel to have your name on a company you are no longer associated with?
Of course, it was hard to leave a brand I spent over two decades creating, but it was also time. I didn’t have a clue who I was without being on the constant treadmill I had become accustomed to. But I was curious and jumped into several endeavors both big and small. I did a retail project; I became the creative director of a boutique hotel; and I launched a new editorial website, a podcast, and a line of wellness products. But I also realized that I missed beauty so I jumped back in and started developing what would later become Jones Road Beauty. We launched Jones Road on October 26, 2020 — the day my 25-year non-compete with Estée Lauder expired — and I haven’t looked back since. I’m proud of my legacy but I’ve learned things change. And that’s a good thing.
There is a wide range of faces, ages and skin colors in the Jones Road Beauty visuals. What attracts you to a certain face?
When I’m looking for faces, I love to see energy in the eyes and good skin. I like to see the differences in people’s faces that make them uniquely who they are. It might be a gap in the teeth or freckles. I also love a naturally aged face. We feature a diverse range of faces in our campaign — diverse in age, ethnicity, and skin tone. But that’s not new for me — I’ve been doing that for over 25 years because that’s what real women look like and it’s what is beautiful to me. We use real women and professional models in our campaigns. Sometimes I find them in the street, and I discover them everywhere. A few years ago at the height of the pandemic, I was shopping at an outdoor farmers market and saw Shona, a stunning salt-and-pepper haired outdoorsy woman who is a mother of five and is over 50. Her face epitomizes natural beauty, and I couldn’t stop staring at her. I introduced myself and asked her if she’d take her mask off and that was our first meeting. I knew she was the one I hoped to launch the brand with. Since then, she has shot a few other campaigns and is now a professional model represented by Wilhelmina.
“While TikTok might have started as a Gen Z platform, there is a strong and very vocal 50+ audience who is hungry for beauty education”
Makeup and beauty are very much tied to the culture at large. How do you keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening out there?
I’m a very visual person and quite curious. I am obsessed with Instagram. I scroll through it first thing in the morning when I’m having my espresso and see what’s happening and quickly fall down the visual rabbit hole. I also love TikTok. I started posting in January, asking women what questions they had about beauty and wellness, and I was overwhelmed with the response. I posted a video on Makeup Tips for 50+ Year-Olds and it drove six million views. While TikTok might have started as a Gen Z platform, there is a strong and very vocal 50+ audience who is hungry for beauty education. At 65, I wouldn’t have predicted I’d become a TikTok sensation but here I am.
How does actually being 65 differ from how you thought it would feel when you were younger?
When I was in my 30s launching my own business and raising three kids, I never imagined that in my 60s I’d want to launch another beauty business but here I am. Of course, in my 30s I thought 60 was terribly old. I don’t think that anymore. I see incredibly vibrant people in their 90s doing cool things.
Besides, it’s pretty great to care less about what people think. That doesn’t happen until you’re in your 60s.
Health and Wellness
We understand that you have for some time been focused on your own health and wellness. What are some of the things you are doing as far as eating and exercise?
Beauty comes from the inside out. If you eat well, drink lots of water and move your body every day, you’re not just going to feel better, you’re going to look better, too. I eat a well-balanced clean diet. I would say that after so many years of trying different things and getting my degree as a certified health coach, I finally found that what works best for me is intuitive eating. I pay attention to what I like and how it makes me feel, and adjust as needed. I like to eat real food especially ones grown in the ground. For exercise, I usually work out with a trainer 2-3 times a week with weights. I also walk a lot outside or on a Peloton treadmill. I’ve been adding some short bursts of exercise in classes that push me. But thankfully, I have a fantastic chiropractor that somehow keeps me together.
How do manage your stress?
When I start to feel overwhelmed, the first thing I do is stop, breathe, and slow myself down. I wish I could tell you I meditate but that’s a work in progress. It’s hard to stop my brain. I also find that spending time with my family and friends immediately grounds me and reminds me of what’s most important.
Top guilty pleasure streaming TV shows?
I love Ted Lasso and any documentary I can get my hands on.
What are your 3 life non-negotiables?
1. Family First Always – my husband and kids always take priority, no matter what.
2. Stay Positive and a Little Naïve – I don’t believe in failures, and I see every challenge as an opportunity. I also always believe that things are going to work out and it has served me very well throughout my life and career.
3. Just be yourself – everyone else is taken.
Main image by Amy Lombard.
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