11:43:00 AM

Jamie Kern Lima sold her problem-solving make-up line of 300 products to L'Oreal for $1.2 billion. She pocketed roughly $410 million and is staying as CEO of IT Cosmetics, making her the first female CEO in L'Oreal's 108-year-history. 

The former morning news anchor started testing makeup to help cover up her rosacea, a hereditary skin condition that causes blotchy, red skin.

Kern Lima, who has a skin condition called rosacea, which causes redness, has been putting on this show since 2010. That's when she began peddling her corrective productshybrids of skin care and makeuplive on the QVC home shopping channel. Since then, Kern Lima has appeared on TV hundreds of times, and IT Cosmetics, which stands for Innovative Technology, has been mentioned in 8.4 million YouTube videos. On Facebook, the brand is shared or commented on an average of 3,600 times a day, according to analytics firm ListenFirst Media. "When women find something that works, they tell somebody. That's really how we grew," Kern Lima says.

Prior to that, Lima was a contestant on the first season of Big Brother. She had also competed in the Miss USA pageant and won the Baywatch College Search in 1999, where she appeared on an episode of the television show. Lima credited her experience to first learning about body makeup.

Kern Lima who has become the it girl of the $445 billion beauty industry. Her popularity has helped make IT Cosmetics one of the hottest beauty brands in the country. So hot that the world's biggest beauty company, L'Oréal, paid $1.2 billion in cash for it in August 2016, the French conglomerate's biggest acquisition in eight years. Kern Lima, the majority owner, pocketed an estimated $410 million after taxes. She is staying on to run IT, making her the first female CEO of any of L'Oréal's brands (34 in the U.S. alone) in its 108-year history.

L'Oréal has high hopes for IT Cosmetics, planning to build it into the most popular makeup brand on the planet. For now, it ranks 35th in the world, according to Euromonitor, well below L'Oréal's top brands: Maybelline (No. 1; 2016 sales of $4.9 billion), L'Oréal Paris (No. 2; $3.2 billion) and Lancôme (No. 5; $1.6 billion).

Days after the sale, Kern Lima and Hamilton got on a plane for Singapore, followed by Thailand and Malaysia. Hamilton admits she was anxious to see how IT, whose acquisition she'd championed, would translate in Asia. She got quick relief inside Singapore's biggest mall, where women who had just met Kern Lima were suddenly crying. 

Back at L'Oréal's headquarters, Hamilton smiles, promising the deal was well worth it: "She allows herself to be vulnerable in front of women. She knows how to tap into that and make us believe in ourselves. Confidence is not something that is defined by national boundaries."

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