Bobbi Brown belongs to Estee Lauder group now. It was bought up in the 1990s, because they have threaten the cosmetic giant at one point.
Bobbi Brown started out as an indie brand. Bobbi Brown herself, a theatrical makeup graduate and eventually celebrity makeup artists created her first easy-to-wear lipstick in 1990. Without a single counter until 1993, her lipstick flew out of her home storage and, very quickly, got recognition from mainstream fashion media. (Of course her personal relationship with the media did help) But let’s backwind a little bit. What is Bobbi Brown’s easy-to-wear lipstick? Maybe it is hard to imagine today, Salmon, Beige, Brown… These colours are common today but something quite unusual in the end of 1980s.
As we all know, 80s fashion is all about “look at me” and “look at me more”. In make up too! The word natural was marginally expelled from the dictionary. Then there was Bobbi Brown. She had her opposite view about what beauty was. She thought that women should show their natural side (what we call “nude” today), so she designed lipsticks that are close to skin colour. Then the rest is history.
In branding terms, after Brown sold her baby to Leonard Lauder in 1995, the brand has lived up several more cultural innovations. Firstly, Bobbi Brown was one of the first cosmetic brands who initiates black models. Actually, besides black, Asian too. Bobbi Brown insisted yellow-based foundation as opposed to white. Secondly, Bobbi Brown was the first brand who smashed their lipsticks and cheek colour in their key visuals that later on became trend and also icon for the brand.
After Bobbi Brown sold her brand to Leonard Lauder, she stayed in the company’s creative department and has remained active to date.
Bobbi Brown’s story does not only proof once again, courage is needed to achieve great artist, but also a great company. Being innovative or even doing the exact opposite of the trend, as a company and as a brand, the real opportunity usually lies there. If we think about it, almost all the most successful businesses in our world have come out just like that.