April 27, 2009

Beauty Bylines Interview: Meet Jennifer Walsh of Behind the Brand Media

Jennifer Walsh holds many titles in the world of beauty: entrepreneur, makeup artist, CEO, beauty writer, stylist, TV beauty expert and brand builder.  Whew!  When I was developing the concept for Beauty Bylines, my goal was to introduce you to some of the people that make or shape beauty news or are connected to the beauty industry.  In Jennifer Walsh, you get the total package.  I’m very honored to introduce you to her!

Jennifer Walsh-Beauty Expert

Jennifer Walsh

Beauty411: Have you always been interested in beauty and makeup?

Jennifer: Not always. However, my mother was a make-up artist in NYC while I was growing up so I was always surrounded by the industry.  I really didn’t really begin my love affair with beauty until my college days.

Beauty411: When and how did you decide to start turn your passion for beauty into something more?

Jennifer: After college I tried my hand at a few different jobs – financial, real estate, etc but I began doing make-up for movies ,TV ,runway, concerts and photo shoots a year or 2 after college. I knew that I didn’t have much experience so I would offer my services for FREE! That way, I could build my book of work, build my experience, and build relationships (all the while I had other jobs). People would “hire” me all of the time because I would come on set excited to help, I was eager to learn and I was free. I have had the opportunity to work on A list celebs, athletes, top models, pop stars ~ you name it, I’ve done it!

After 2-3 years of doing make-up I was asked to be a guest on an ABC segment ~ well, that was in 1998 and I have been on TV ever since.  I have just recently found out that I have been the longest running beauty expert on TV, needless to say, I had no idea.  In 11 years time, I have only missed 3 months of not being on TV (due to surgery). I travel around the country and showcase brands, their ingredients, their stories on TV.

In 2001, I founded and created a store called The Beauty Bar,  then opened 2 more locations.  During the 8 years that I was creator and CEO I sold close to 4,500 items in each of my stores, had a team of approximately 15-20 and had been trained by more than 60 brands and then in turn had to train my staff and educate customers that came into the stores to purchase their products.  Running a multi-chain store was no easy task and neither was securing high end brands.

The Beauty Bar was the only independently owned store in the entire southeast that was allowed to carry Crème de La Mer, Stila, Classified Cosmetics, and others. While I was in the midst of building a new store in 2007, Entrepreneur Magazine asked if they could follow the progress of what it is like. WOW, talk about an experience ~ every day for 30 days leading up to the grand opening of the new store I had to write a daily blog and a video camera followed me most of the day. It was always challenging to open new locations and still run a very busy beauty business but I was always up for the challenge. West Elm Catalog even featured one of my stores in its business to business catalogs since I used their furniture to decorate one of the locations – the story can still be found on the Williams Sonoma website (the parent company of West Elm ).

I stepped down from my post as CEO and began to spend more time with the very brands that I have worked with for more than 10 years ( some of them I have worked with since 1998, when I was first putting them on my TV shows ) and as the serial entrepreneur that I am, created a new company called Behind The Brand Media.  I felt that after 10 years of building upon my relationships and my knowledge about the industry, I wanted to branch out from the retail aspect.

I now travel around the country and showcase products on more TV stations, I am always doing make-up for events, I am often asked to speak at women’s functions / entrepreneur functions, and I am working on my first book.

I also help pick out skin care and beauty products for movies.  I am often called and told what the movie is about, who the actors are, the time period, etc and from there I move into action and secure the best products for those actors for that specific type of movie.  Thankfully I have wonderful relationships with so many different brands that they are always excited to get involved in great film projects.

Beauty411: You’ve got your finger on the pulse of beauty trends.  What is one strong trend you’re seeing now?

Jennifer: Organics in not only skin care but now make-up. Everyone is expecting their make-up to be organic and good for you to wear.  Consumers are smart, they are educated – they want their products to be not only good for them but for them to also be good for the environment with recyclable packaging.

Beauty411: Everyone’s looking to economize right now. Can you share a favorite budget/drugstore beauty product with readers?

Jennifer: I love Yes To Carrots for fantastic body products and I love Lierac skin care products – these items can all be purchased at local drugstores and they have fantastic ingredients. I use them on everyone!

Beauty411: If we peeked into your makeup bag, what products would we find?

Jennifer: Oh my gosh, is this a trick question?  I mean this is a tough one really!  Well, I of course have a travel kit full of the same exact items that I usually use at home but I only use it for travel so I am never without my must haves. I travel almost weekly so I need to have enough on hand regardless of where my travels take me or what kind of climate I’m going to be in.

My purse is full of products – Caudalie hand cream AND Revive Extraordinaire Hand Renewal Cream, Rodial Glam Balm, 3 Custom Color Whisper Lipstick, Fresh Red Star Lip Shine, Freeze 24/7 Freeze & Go, and Vincent Longo Love Toast Lipstick.

Beauty411: Where do you go or to whom do you turn for beauty advice?

Jennifer: I turn to many others in my industry. Since I am always in front of the camera talking about what is happening in the beauty industry, I have to stay one step ahead of everything.  I have always felt that it is most important to spend time with the brands themselves – see what they are working on, what they are doing that is new and unique, etc. They are creating trends so I am always researching and reading constantly and working with them on a monthly basis.

Beauty411: I have to ask…what are the beauty or skincare products you can’t live without?

Jennifer: Again, another tough one.  There is one brand that I truly can’t live without and that is Crème de La Mer. Since it is my job to test out hundreds of new products, my skin isn’t always happy so I know that La Mer will help my skin return to a normal state the night that I use it again. I also love Kate Sommerville and Fresh products.

Beauty411: Jennifer, it was so much fun to learn more about your accomplished background and discover the beauty products that you use and rely on.  I especially love that we count so many of the same brands as favorites and you’ve given me suggestions on ones I want to try.  Your passion for the beauty industry is inspiring.  Thank you for participating in Beauty Bylines!

Jennifer Walsh has been a true pioneer in the beauty business.  Her role within the industry began more than 14 years ago and has involved everything from becoming a CEO of her own company to being a make-up artist for movies, concerts, and runway, to being an on air TV expert, a freelance beauty writer, a creator of beauty retail stores, a book contributor, producer of shoots for magazines, a guest speaker at functions around the country, and most of all, a beauty and skin care expert. Since the late 1990’s Jennifer has been on TV showcasing products, their ingredients, and telling the brands stories to her viewers.  She continues to work closely with skin care and cosmetic companies on TV, on advertising campaigns, market research, trend forecasting, and PR.

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