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Bobbi Brown on Leaving Her $1 Billion Makeup Brand and Opening a Boutique Hotel

Q&A with the beauty guru.

Bobbi Brown

Hometown Chicago

Home Base Montclair, New Jersey

Claim to Fame Creator of global cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown, known for cult favourites like the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Current Projects Running Bobbi Brown Eyewear and promoting her ninth book, Beauty from the Inside Out, which was released last month

Travel Tip “I keep a plastic zippered bag from Muji packed with my vitamins and wellness remedies, like mint tea and ginger chews.”


You left your company at the end of 2016, after 27 years. What went into that decision?
It was not an easy one, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight. We reached $1 billion in sales, and I never thought that would be a number I could even say, so I thought, “Okay, time to go.” And being an entrepreneur, it was just time for me to do something different.

What’s next?
I am conceiving a 32-room boutique hotel in Montclair, opening this fall, with my husband, and consulting on its interior design. We’re both world travellers, so when thinking about what the hotel will be and have, a lot comes from what we’ve loved or have been frustrated by. We want to make sure that everything, from making a pot of tea in your room to having access to great exercise classes in town, will be available.

What’s in your travel makeup bag?
There’s mascara, a brown pencil and brown eyeshadow that I use for multiple things (from lining the eyes and filling in the eyebrows to covering up grey hair), a cream blush for cheeks and lips and concealer for under the eyes. And I always have a little jar of coconut oil, because it’s a great moist-urizer for anything from lips to cuticles to hair.

Any favourite destinations?
London. I love the culture — having tea in the afternoon and a martini in the evening. And everyone seems to be a combination of polite, cool and funny.

Where do you find inspiration when you’re travelling?
I get so many ideas by visiting local drugstores. I don’t get inspiration from super-luxe packaging – I love seeing what the indie, up-and-coming brands are doing.

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