I was treated by a great friend and client to the recent Business Chicks Lunch held at Zinc @Federation Square and what an awesome treat it was!
Fearless in her approach and perhaps somewhat naïve at the time, Leslie Blodgett is one lady who has taken the opportunities that have come her way and just flown with them. Being at the helm of a make-up giant, Bare Minerals, Leslie eloquently, comically and humbly retold her story of how a small brand became one that sells One Million Products a Minute on QVC. That is quite something, isn’t it!
Leslie is a lady who is quite stunning, she’s 50 and doesn’t look a day over 40 (and we were all thinking, perhaps we need to give this make-up brand a go!) is beautifully presented, fashionable and stylish but not garish or over the top, quietly confident all with a sense of humour and as I said earlier, a humble approach. It’s quite endearing although I’m not sure she’s a lady that I would want to cross.
She told us how Bare Minerals came to her through a series of emails after she had attended a networking event. So, YES, we all need to network to grow our businesses no matter if it’s our own business or if we are an employee and how she had no real management experience, let alone the knowledge of how to be a CEO, which is where the naivety comes in – which is perhaps her saving grace. When you don’t know everything, there are certainly things you don’t know that you don’t know, so Leslie took it all in her stride (with a lot of panic, stress, sleepless nights wondering what she had done to herself and her family as the company wasn’t making any money) but, she BELIEVED that somehow she could make it work.
And make it work she did. Leslie told us that with lots of sleepless nights, she’d be up late at night (her husband is a stay-at-home Dad by the way) and watch QVC. For the first little while she wasn’t a purchaser, but then she did start to buy. Then she had her light bulb moment – if she could get her brand Bare Minerals on QVC then perhaps, she could sell the product. After a letter, a meeting and some gentle persuasion Leslie got her chance to sell her product to a TV audience. It certainly wasn’t easy as she had to compete with her powder product against liquids, but she managed to convince the viewers into buying and long story short, the brand has become what it is today.
Another piece of information Leslie shared with us is that she LOVES to get to know her customer. In fact, she is so passionate about getting to know her customers, in the early days she would reply to each letter, email and response she received about the product and asked her customer’s questions. Her Son even said to her once “your customers are more important, I’m cool” to the fact that she is a tireless workaholic who has spent the best part of the last 20 years doing her job and loving every minute.
When asked who her mentor was, Leslie replied “my Mother” and the strength of her family that has gotten her where she is today. And in my estimate, an attitude of self-belief and self-worth – she also said in response to what it’s like working in a male-dominated industry “Never change who you are, if they don’t like it, let them deal with it, that’s their business”. I couldn’t agree more!
Leslie Blodgett is an inspiring lady indeed. And she says it herself, if she can do it anyone can. And I believe her, why? Because she knows her Essential Self and she knew from a small age what she was supposed to do and she followed her dream. Her dream was Make-up and look where it’s taken her.
This is the fabulous thing about attending the Business Chicks (and other similar) events. For me, is that you get to hear some incredible and inspiring stories. I am reminded that YES, you can have it all and that anything is possible if you dare to dream and dare to call yourself to action.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small your dream is. It’s yours. You own it. You can achieve it. So, what are you waiting for?
Go out and build it!
Love Susan xxx