Jamie Kern Lima - you are an entrepreneur who co-founded IT Cosmetics, philanthropist, mom, and an author . You’ve got a brand new new book out [‘Believe It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable']. But before we get to that, we’ve got to give you a shout out because you are also a local gal...
I grew up there [in] Federal Way then Des Moines and then I went to Washington State as well [editor's note: Jamie currently lives in California]. Almost all of my family is there right now, and all across the state of Washington. Yeah - hometown girl...I love it!
Tell us about your personal journey. You co-founded IT Cosmetics from your living room - what was the inspiration and what did you grow it into?
I eventually was working as a journalist and I thought I was in my dream job. I got a skin condition called rosacea which there’s no cure for. So for me it gets really bright red, bumps on my cheeks, a sand paper like texture. I’d be anchoring the news and hear in my headpiece from my producer there’s something on your face you need to wipe if off [and try to have my back] but I knew I couldn’t. There was nothing I could wipe off. I couldn’t find makeup anywhere that worked for me. But in that season of trying to find a product I realized 'Oh my gosh if I can’t find a makeup that works for me there must be so many people out here who maybe have sensitive skin or challenging skin that have the same situation'. So the idea for IT Cosmetics was born.
It might look like from the outside that everything went very smoothly but actually there was quite a few bumps along the way?
We were a couple years into our business. We were down to under a thousand dollars in our bank account. I didn’t know we were going to survive. A big potential investor called and said 'We love your product!' We got to the final final meeting and I thought it was going to happen and be life-changing. And the head guy was standing about three feet from me and he says to me congratulations on your business. But it’s a NO - we are going to pass on investing in IT Cosmetics. I said 'Can you tell me why?' And he said 'I just don’t think women will buy makeup from someone who looks like you, with your body and your weight.'
I remember this feeling almost like it was yesterday - but I had this feeling right when he said those words in the pit of my stomach that said ‘He’s Wrong.’ He helped me realize that it’s not just women who have been impacted by the beauty industry it’s everyone and it’s time to change and it help fuel my vision to put real woman all ages shapes skin tones skin challenges - all types of people as models call them beautiful and mean it.
You have been tremendously successful since. You sold the company to L’oreal for $1.2 billion - pretty impressive!
When we were acquired by L’oreal in our largest acquisition in U.S. history. That guy said ‘No’ to me, I heard from him for the first time in six years and he said 'Congratulations on the L’oreal deal, I’m so happy for you, I was wrong.'
And now you’re sharing your advice and your tips with the rest of us - tell us about your book 'Believe It.'
‘Believe It’ is really for every person who knows inside I’m made for more. But we end up getting so overwhelmed with self doubt that we almost talk ourselves our of our own truth. We never step in to all of who we are - and the person we were born to be.
Where do the proceeds of this book go?
I’m donating 100% of the proceeds of the book to Feeding America and to Together Rising. So many people need hope and inspiration to ignite that light inside themselves.
What words of wisdom can you share for someone who wants to go from ‘underestimated to unstoppable?’
Step one is to Believe It, to believe it’s possible and to want to do that. The biggest things I talk about in the book are how you learn to hear your own intuition, and then make that decision to trust it. You know how you never want to hand your microphone over to someone in an interview because then they’ll take it and they go off for hours? When it comes to our aspirations we have to be so mindful of who we let speak into our microphone.
Jame Kern Lima, congrats on ‘Believe It’ congrats on everything and we are so proud of you here in Washington!
For more info on Jamie Kern Lima, check out her official website. Her bestselling book 'Believe It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable' is available wherever books are sold.