Of the many wonderful mentors and role models I’ve worked with since Tatcha began, none have had a greater impact than Leslie Blodgett, the visionary behind Bare Escentuals. In addition to being a remarkable captain of industry, she is a loving mother, a passionate supporter of women’s causes, a generous mentor and all around fun-loving friend, all in one! I am honored to feature Leslie, my personal role model, as part of our ongoing entrepreneurship series. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do.
Q: Heading up a company is a time of highs and lows. Tell us about your highest high and lowest low. What did you learn about yourself during these times?
A: One of the highs has to be my first day on QVC, Aug. 30th, 1997. It was a Saturday morning and millions of people were watching. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. I also didn’t tell anyone I was going on air, including my mother. bareMinerals had no awareness so I needed to explain this new concept from scratch and the fact that it resonated from the start was pure elation. As for a low, hmmmm, let me think. I would have to say that when people you become close to leave the company for any reason, whether it’s for a personal one or another opportunity. It has always been tough for me. My work has always been a wonderful source of personal growth for me.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps, either in their career or making a change in their life?
A: I think my very first bit of advice is to be sure you are spending your days working towards something of purpose. Whether you are working for yourself or within an organization, you need to look forward to going to work and to leave the day feeling that you are making a difference. Find your passion. It’s within that motion that you find true creativity and solve your biggest obstacles. If you feel like you are in the middle of a stepping stone to the big move, make sure you are committed to the experience and contributing your very best.
“Every day is a new adventure, seize it.”
Q: Tatcha is based on the wisdom of generations, finely honed and handed down by women. Who has made your journey more beautiful and what did they teach you?
A: I would say my grandmother and my mother. My grandmother from Germany used her hands to make beautiful things. Ceramics, needlework and the most stunning wardrobe, and that knowledge was handed down to my mother and a little bit to me. My grandmother made my mother’s wedding dress that I wore on my wedding day in 1986 and my younger sister wore it as well. When you create with your hands you are making instant heirlooms that are special from the day the threads are selected. My mother reinforced feminist values. Just make it happen. Don’t depend on others to chart your way.
Q: Do you have a motto or source of inspiration that keeps you going, even when things are at their most challenging?
A: I have many, from a collection of motivational mantras that I call upon depending on the circumstances. Today, it is: “Every day is a new adventure, seize it.”
Q: For me, work and life can become one, which can seem all-encompassing. How do you continue to stay inspired and create something new?
A: All-encompassing yes! Prioritize each day for where you can make the most impact and learn how to delegate. It’s important to be a leader in all aspects of your life. If you feel that you are only reacting, you are not in control and you will always feel overwhelmed. I’ve been there. It takes discipline. Start with easy wins. Inspiration comes when you are thinking clearly. I use my downtime wisely and read everything and when others engage fully. Inspiration flows when I am open to it.
Q: How has your work changed you as a person?
A: I’ve always worked so I think NOT working would change me more. I was always a disciplined kid, even playing school on weekends (and dolls, too). I like to be smack in the middle of fresh ideas, creative minds and a humorous outlook. I think my family would agree that my contributions at home were always shaped by my exciting work life.
Q: If you could have done one thing differently, what would it have been?
A: This answer has changed a ton over the years. I used to the play the guilt card on myself for not being home enough for my son, Trent. But I see now that was wasted energy. Regret chips away at a past with good intentions. I’m an emotional human being, and for the most part it has huge benefits, but I think sometimes I let it get the best of me.
Q: What would you say to your younger self when starting the company, given what you know now?
A: “Young me: ‘You were right to keep your crazy ideas to yourself and just go with them without asking for opinions. Your intuition was right on.’ ”
Q: What are your secrets for feeling beautiful amidst your busy schedule?
A: Feeling beautiful for me starts with staying strong physically. There was one year where I gained weight and ate my way through the stressful times. I have found that making healthy choices contributed to my intellectual and emotional strength to take on the big stuff. I love that Vicky puts her entire essence in to each product at Tatcha. I am loving the Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream and the Indigo series. I have to say all of Tatcha products are luxurious and top-notch!