Second City Style had the opportunity to catch up with beauty-guru and CEO of ‘Behind the Brand’, Jennifer Walsh. With beauty, brains and a sensationally warm spirit, Walsh began working in the entertainment industry as a makeup artist in 1993, where she worked her magic on some of famous people in the business. The great gift of artistry runs in her family, and Walsh credits some of her craft to her mother, who also worked as a makeup artist when she was a child. In February of 1998, a television producer asked Walsh to participate in a morning beauty segment that miraculously turned into a 12 year (and running) stint appearing on television segments that are broadcast all over the country. Such successes birthed a retail chain, and numerous speaking engagements that catered to women's groups about building a successful brand. Currently sitting on a panel of entrepreneurs for Fox News where she is a regular contributor, there are no signs of her slowing down! Audiences can expect a book, website and pilot for a new show about the beauty industry in the near future! We can't wait to see what's next! Read on to find out more…
SCS: Specifically, how did you get your start in the beauty industry?
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WALSH: I began my career in beauty as a make-up artist in 1993. I began working on TV shows, movies, ad campaigns, runway shows, and concerts and have had the pleasure of working with some of the nicest and most talented people in the entertainment industry from John Travolta to Salma Hayek to Pink to Jessica Simpson and many others. When I did begin, I did it for free since I had no experience ~ I wanted to build my "book" of work and show those in charge that I was hungry to learn and work hard.
SCS: It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to stay up-to-date with all of the trends in beauty. Please explain how you stay updated with an ever-evolving industry?
WALSH: I meet with brand creators/directors every week to see what is new – this allows me to know what the trends are, what people are going to see coming up in the next season. With working hand and hand with these brands, I am them able to talk about them on TV, educate others at events; I am often asked to train new hires at some of the brands. I am also on panels about small business in America – discussing what it takes to be an entrepreneur and what it’s like to have an idea and grow it and make it an actual brand. I also travel around the country to do beauty events and I get to meet people in each city.
SCS: What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
WALSH: Challenges – wow. There are so many of them but I don't see challenges and road blocks – I see them more as learning tools. Opening my first store was a very big challenge – there were only 2 or 3 other stores in the country at the time that were doing what I was planning on doing which was selling cosmetics outside of the department store setting. I had to change the perception of my shoppers on how to actually shop for skin care and cosmetics. Another challenge was establishing relationships with these very brands that I wanted to sell.
SCS: Who inspires you most and why?
WALSH: There are quite a few people in my life that inspire me – my family and my friends truly inspire me on a daily basis. My family has always stood behind me to say you can accomplish and do ANYTHING you set your mind to and I have now surrounded myself with many like minded women.
SCS: What are your top (5) favorite beauty products?
WALSH: That's always a tough one for me to answer because it changes with season and each year as I get older. But if I had to pick my top 5 for right now 1. La Mer Lip Balm, 2. Philosophy 'Purity Made Simple – One Step Facial Cleanser', 3. Fresh Here Comes The Sun Face Bronzer, 4. Bond #9 Nuits de Noho Fragrance, and 5. Bobbi Brown Eye shadow Palettes (all of them)!
SCS: Where do you see the beauty industry headed (10-20 years from now)?
WALSH: I believe a continuation of innovation and technology in skin care. Think of it this way – today 40 is the new 20, in ten years 50 will be the new 20.
SCS: What's more important in the beauty industry; passion, talent or both? Please explain.
WALSH: One must have passion for what they are doing to truly succeed and become the best at what they do. My 50 to 70 hours of work a week truly never feel like work for me, I love every minute of what I do.
– Nicole L. Townsend