‘I really wanted to do things differently’ Bobbi Brown talks leaving namesake company and staying true to her passion

ByABC News
April 18, 2017, 11:00 AM

— -- Bobbi Brown is a name that is synonymous with the beauty industry. She was the original "how-to" and could be credited with starting a natural looking makeup revolution. Brown began to realize her passion for makeup after a conversation with her mother about wanting to drop out of college.

"My mom said you can't drop out and I said I don't know what I want to do. And she said if you could do anything in the world and if it's your birthday what would you want to do?" Brown reminisced on ABC Radio's top business podcast "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis". "I could have said go to Paris, go buy shoes, [but] I said I want to go to Marshall Fields and play with makeup. She said why don’t you be a makeup artist?”

If you couldn't tell by the Marshall Fields reference, Brown grew up in Chicago. She first came onto the scene in 1991 when she launched her namesake brand out of her home in New Jersey, selling 10 brown-based lipsticks that she personally mailed or hand delivered. It wasn’t long before she caught the attention of The Estee Lauder Companies for her natural looking makeup and four years later, her company was acquired by the cosmetics powerhouse.

“I didn't realize I was working hard ... it’s what I did.” Brown said reflecting on the time. “It was my passion.”

Brown continued at her brand, maintaining complete control over the creative direction until October of 2016 when she made the difficult decision to leave her namesake company.

“Trust me it wasn’t an overnight decision” Brown commented on “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis”. “The last couple of years were really rough ... I always thought that I was still an entrepreneur with my own company even though I didn't own the company, that's how my mind worked and that's how I wanted to be and that’s not what it ended up to be ... [there were] a lot of people in a room making decisions ... and too many men."

PHOTO: Renowned makeup artist and bestselling author Bobbi Brown joins Rebecca Jarvis on ABC Radio's top business podcast "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis"
Renowned makeup artist and bestselling author Bobbi Brown joins Rebecca Jarvis on ABC Radio's top business podcast "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis"

Brown added, “You know honestly I don't go backwards and there's no bad feelings. I go forward, you know I left because I didn't like my day to day.”

Today she still believes that Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are the best around and while she says she is still passionate about the products, she was able to recognize she wasn’t happy at the company.

“I was really frustrated and one day we just said okay, not working, why don't you stay and be the face? And I'm like, I don't want to do that, I want to be everything. You know I'm the person that sits on the floor with my team and talks creative things. I'm the one that finds ideas and sends pictures and that's what I want to do.”

“Probably one of the reasons why I'm not there anymore [is] because I really wanted to do things differently and you know it’s a big company, it's a billion dollar brand. You know not easy.”

Since leaving the company Brown has been busy doing regular television and radio appearances and serving as the Beauty & Lifestyle Editor of Elvis Duran and The Morning Show. She is also writing her 9th book “Beauty from the Inside Out,” which goes on sale starting today. In her latest book, Brown focuses on wellness and teaching women about finding confidence within themselves, a mission that has been important to her from the start.

“It's really my belief that what you put into your body is far more important than even what you put on your face.” Brown commented on “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.” “I still love makeup I always will but it's a lot about vitamins and supplements and health food and beauty food. All these great experts that I've met in my life, that have helped me figure out what works for me, are all in the book.”

Brown also talks about the importance of recognizing that sometimes a person’s biggest critic is themselves.

“Every single woman I meet, we talk about what's bothering them and the things that people point out are just the craziest things. I never notice it.” Brown says, “There is not a woman alive that looks in the mirror and says I got this. We all have to work on it ... So that's the point of this, learn how to let go of that craziness.”

You can hear Bobbi Brown’s full interview on the latest episode of ABC Radio’s “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis”.