What’s the best business advice anyone ever gave you? “Don’t try to please everybody.” This sounds obvious, but many brands lose their footing because they lose sight of who their key consumer is. Sometimes this happens out of greed, wanting to diversify and gobble up other segments which seem lucrative. Other times, it’s simply misguided. Someone gets what seems like a good idea, and BOOM, a jewelry design brand is suddenly in the business of baking designer cupcakes. Not to say that this never works. But Dermalogica’s success reflects the wisdom of a narrow focus. I love a good red lipstick, but I’ll let somebody else make it.
What is the business achievement you are most proud of? “The fact that our brand is universally respected for the company’s commitment to education, and specifically to putting women to work. Because I was raised by a very strong, independent, hard-working mother, the driving undercurrent of Dermalogica has always been to empower women financially and professionally. We do this by giving skin therapists the tools they need to succeed, both in terms of education and in terms of marketing support when they carry our brand. For the past 28 years, we’ve trained over 100,000 skin therapists worldwide, 25,000 of whom own their own skin care centers or spas. And, we’ve recently expanded our vision to reach beyond the skin care profession, through microlending. In January, 2011, through the Dermalogica Foundation, we created our global philanthropic women’s initiative called joinFITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship. You’ll find it at www.joinFITE.org. The goal here is to extend microloans to women in need around the world, in all sorts of work, so that they may provide for themselves and their families. The goal is to help a minimum of 25,000 women to start or grow a business in the next two years, and the response so far has just been thrilling! Since our launch we have helped fund over 5,000 women. A milestone for joinFITE is when I had the opportunity to meet with President Bill Clinton at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City and pledge Dermalogica's commitment to help a minimum of 25,000 women worldwide to start or grown a business. Additionally, on March 8, 2011, the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, I had the opportunity to provide a keynote address at the United Nations and share the joinFITE commitment. On that same day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon mentioned in his opening speech how organizations like joinFITE are helping to make a difference in the lives of women all around the world. This was a huge moment for me and it made us all very proud of the work we are doing."