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Ignite Your Entrepreneurial Spirit


By Albany Irvin, QVC Program Host

What does it take to create a compelling product, run a successful business and keep your passion ignited? Take your cues from Josie Maran, IT Cosmetics’ Jamie Kern Lima and Philosophy’s Suzanne Pengelly—just three of the many successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with as a program host at QVC, the ideal proving ground for inventors. (As a special treat, this year’s Conference attendees will enjoy a QVC gift from Josie Maran Cosmetics, IT Cosmetics and Philosophy.)

Dream on!

In 2007, Josie Maran started Josie Maran Cosmetics (JMC), with 100% Pure Argan Oil as the signature ingredient for healthy, nourished and revitalized hair, skin and nails. Today, JMC has become a global brand with the motto, “Luxury with a Conscience.” 

“I always believed that no dream was too crazy to come true,” says Josie. “As a kid, when I saw my first model twirling around in a mascara commercial, I decided that modeling was my dream. And even though I was told I was too short, I made that dream come true. Over the next 17 years, I worked with some of the world’s best makeup artists. The more I learned about the toxic chemicals in most cosmetics, the more I wondered: did beauty have to be bad for us? I wanted cosmetics that embodied luxury and conscience. Conventional wisdom said ‘dream on.’

“So I started dreaming! And when I was introduced to Argan Oil by a woman in the South of France who was 70 and looked 40, and I saw what pure, organic Argan Oil did for my skin and hair, I knew I’d found the liquid gold that could help me realize my dream.

“Now, my advice to my daughters and everyone I meet is that if anyone tells you to ‘dream on,’ take their advice and start dreaming!”

“No” Simply Means “Not Yet”

“From skin sensitivity to sparse brows, I could never find products I felt truly solved my own beauty woes, and I knew there must be other women out there just like me,” says Jamie Kern Lima, co-founder and CEO of IT Cosmetics. “I partnered with plastic surgeons and set out to create makeup differently and remind every woman that she deserves to feel beautiful!”

Two years after launching the brand, Jamie went on air at QVC with Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer. “Our first airing was in September 2010. I prayed nonstop, even while on air, because I knew our product could truly change women’s lives and I just hoped that I could do it justice. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. We sold out in 10 minutes and tears started streaming down my face. Since then our partnership with QVC has truly changed my life and changed our company.”

In just seven years, employees skyrocketed from five to 100, and projected global retail sales are expected to exceed $250 million in 2015. But every entrepreneur knows that the road to success has its hurdles.

“The biggest challenge for me is deciding that the word ‘no’ just means ‘not yet’! All of our most important partners said no to us initially. In hindsight it was a blessing because our company infrastructure wasn’t large enough to support the channels, but I didn’t know that at the time. We kept being persistent and eventually got a yes!”

Keep the Spirit

Philosophy was founded in 1996 by Christina Carlino, a cosmetic industry visionary with more than 30 years of experience in clinical skin care and beauty. Her dream was to bridge the gap between what was offered in doctors’ offices and retail, so women everywhere could access leading skin care technologies. Three years later, Philosophy was launched on QVC, and in 2010, the company was acquired by Coty, a leading global beauty company with net revenues of more than $4 billion.

Today VP Direct to Consumer Suzanne Pengelly champions the founder’s energy in her role overseeing all facets of Philosophy’s business that have a direct relationship to the end consumer:

“While Philosophy has all the right scientific ingredients, it’s the concept that really speaks to people. That’s why QVC is the perfect platform. It enables us to connect with viewers and develop real relationships, which is the secret of a successful brand. The QVC community provides a safe, uplifting place to feel connected with women who support one another. And after all, what makes you feel beautiful emerges from the heart.

“No matter how large we grow, at the core is our founder’s entrepreneurial energy. I encourage women, whether they are starting their own ventures or climbing the corporate ladder, to maintain that entrepreneurial spark. Remain nimble, flexible and open-minded, and believe there’s never a bad idea. Keeping that spirit alive is what makes work—and life—interesting!”

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▶ Read more from the November 2015 newsletter.