IT Cosmetics’ Jamie Kern Lima on building a billion-dollar company

Annette K. Brown

This story is portion of the Driving the Desk series wherever CNBC Make It gets private with productive organization executives to come across out almost everything from how they bought to where they are to what tends to make them get out of mattress in the early morning to their every day routines.

Jamie Kern Lima’s tale sounds like a desire.

Following functioning as waitress at Denny’s, as contestant on “Major Brother,” and as a area news reporter in Washington and Oregon, the former beauty pageant winner, Kern Lima released her have enterprise at 31. Inside eight a long time, Kern Lima marketed that organization, IT Cosmetics, to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion in funds. It made Kern Lima a really loaded girl — in accordance to Forbes, she pocketed about $410 million from the offer, and is worthy of roughly $460 million today. Kern Lima also stayed on with IT for 3 decades, creating her the initially feminine CEO at L’Oreal.

But driving the scenes, Kern Lima experienced to prevail over several years of rejection although pitching her items, as nicely as self-question. She labored 100-hour months and at a person place was down to her previous $1,000. She claims she drove herself to the issue of exhaustion.

“I lived entirely burnt out for almost a 10 years,” Kern Lima tells CNBC Make It.

Today, even so, Kern Lima, 43, has figured out a way to be bold though using far better care of herself. In 2019, she stepped down as IT Cosmetics CEO and not long ago published a memoir, “Think It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable.”

In this article, Kern Lima talks to CNBC Make It about overcoming a long time of rejection, her “toolbox” for achievement and understanding to just take time for herself.

On rejection: ‘I would read inspiring quotes’

There had been nights [early on] in which I was crying myself to slumber since of one more massive rejection [pitching the products].

I would practically pull up the notes app on my phone and I would examine inspiring offers or stories. It would remind of points like, “Oh, where by I arrive from would not have to ascertain in which I am going,” or “champions aren’t produced when the match is simple.”

Almost everything in the planet that is amazing was developed by anyone like you and me, and all those people matters just remind me of who I am, what I am created up and where by I’m heading.

I think we all require a toolbox of those points. If not in so numerous ways, we are by yourself and making an attempt to navigate every thing.

On her major error: ‘I lived wholly burnt out’

One particular of the factors that I did erroneous was I lived absolutely burnt out for pretty much a decade. I think this is so tempting for folks, in particular business people and people heading right after a purpose or a aspiration they care so much about.

When accomplishment started off taking place, it was pretty much as if I could not consider it for a though. I frequently felt like I essential to strike whilst the iron is scorching. I drove myself so hard to the level of comprehensive burnout. I did 100-hour months for almost 10 decades. And I never consider you have to do that at all to have the consequence that we had.

I had to have a actual occur-to-Jesus instant with myself, in which I’m like, “Okay, I’m fully addicted to do the job, absolutely addicted to busyness.” Busyness and do the job dependancy are like any other varieties of dependancy, when it numbs out all the fantastic and lousy emotions in lifetime and separates us from ourselves.

On not taking the small business general public: It was a parallel journey

I just realized that if we go general public, like I want the sexiness of ringing the [New York Stock Exchange opening] bell and all those factors, but at the close of the working day, I will nonetheless be operating 100 hour weeks. I did not trust myself not to do that.

So I created the conclusion that if we essentially associate with someone, at L’Oreal, then our mission can nonetheless increase and get out there almost certainly way faster than we could do on our very own.

But then also I desired to get started generating variations in my everyday living, like I went almost a ten years with out observing my mates or household incredibly generally.

My partner believes that us selecting to [sell to L’Oreal rather than go public] is why we had been equipped to begin creating variations in our have everyday living.

On her daily plan: ‘I meditate and pray’

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