Bare Escentuals’s Leslie Blodgett, Creator of bareMinerals, has been awarded the 2014 WWD Beauty Inc Visionary of the Year Award in recognition of how she redefined the norm for a beauty company and transformed Bare Escentuals into one of beauty’s biggest success stories ever. Through her trademark leadership style–including spearheading beauty’s first social brand–she trailblazed a new age of direct selling, pioneered unconventional marketing tactics, and invented the idea of community with her irrefutable bond with women around the globe.
bareMinerals utilizes a distinctive marketing strategy and multi-channel distribution model to develop, market and sell cosmetics and skincare in 34 countries, with over 6,500 points of distribution, including more than 200 company-owned boutiques.
Hosted annually by the monthly publication renowned for being the leading trade journal covering fashion, beauty and retail news published by Penske Media Corporation, the WWD Beauty Inc Awards are a celebration of innovative ideas, initiatives, and products. The “Visionary of the Year Award,” in its fifth year since inception, is the cornerstone of the event and celebration of a forward-thinking leader for their exemplary leadership and significant contributions to the beauty industry.
Raised by a single mother with her siblings in Smithtown, NY, Blodgett’s passion for beauty developed at a young age. Attending FIT in New York City further fueled her passion for all things beauty and she soon found herself behind the cosmetic counter, an igniting incident in her career which would ultimately shape her singular leadership style at the helm of Bare Escentuals.
With a solid background in product development, including positions at Max Factor and Neutrogena, Blodgett joined Bare Escentuals as CEO in 1994. Launching bareMinerals the following year, Blodgett set out on her journey to educate women on the benefits of healthy makeup alternatives through unconventional marketing and selling tactics, a diverse distribution model, and spearheading a community-enabled approach.
In 2006, Blodgett took the company public in one of the largest cosmetic IPOs in the last decade. Just four years later, in 2010, Bare Escentuals was acquired by Shiseido, the Japan-based leading cosmetics company, for $1.7 billion making it one of the largest cosmetic mergers in history.
Throughout her remarkable and often chronicled journey, Blodgett has retained her trademark frankness and humor–in addition to her signature dance moves–developing a vibrant narrative and fanatic following in the process. Genuine to the core, Blodgett remains feverishly connected to women, a passionate figurehead at the heart of the community she created and the ultimate girlfriend who still keeps her customers on speed dial.
Blodgett accepted the award at the annual awards ceremony in New York City on December 11, 2014 saying, “I am beyond honored to receive this prestigious award and I am so proud to have devoted my life to this work. I love this industry. I love what it does for women. I love the people who make it happen: driven people, competitors, innovators who push through barriers and create delightful products, new technology and new ideas that create new realities. At the highest level, this is life-changing work. For the people we serve and also for us.”
Pete Born, Executive Editor of Beauty for WWD, comments, “Leslie Blodgett is a pioneer in the beauty industry who ushered in the age of mineral makeup and envisioned the future concept of community based selling. She is a true visionary whose strategic insights of 17 years ago continue to reverberate today.”