Meet Jill Scalamandre, President of bareMinerals, Buxom, Chairwoman of Cosmetic Executive Women Inc, she is a seasoned beauty industry executive whose rich professional experience spans the breadth of mass and luxury brands. Jill has received numerous industry awards including CEW Achiever Awards.
“Don’t lead the consumer, follow the consumer. Never assume you know what they need. Insights are everything”
Who is Jill Scalamandre? Define yourself:
I am a builder. I come from a family of builders. My grandfather, my father and my brother build buildings, airports, roadways whereas I build beauty brands. Whether it’s a brand or a product or a touchpoint, I love to connect the dots and bring together the materials to answer a consumer whitespace or need.
How were you as a kid?
Inquisitive. I always wanted to learn something new. I was sometimes called a jack of all trades and master of none because I was always trying out new things. I swam, I danced, I took piano, art lessons, skating lessons. I just wanted to experience many things.
You hold a Bachelor of Arts (BA) at Skidmore College, why did you choose that course of study?
I went to Skidmore for the language program, a major in French and a minor in Italian. I love to learn new languages and discover new cultures. Spending a year abroad in France and interning at a fashion house in Paris was lifechanging for me. It combined all my passions and set me forth in beauty – the connection between fashion and beauty, and making consumers feel good about themselves.
“A collaborative team is not a nice to have, it is a must have. There are so many steps and milestones in bringing something to the market. No one role is more important “
How did you start in the beauty sector?
A friend of my father’s owned a packaging company that supplied compacts to the beauty industry. After hearing about my fashion internship, he suggested I look into beauty. I had several conversations and landed an opportunity at Revlon, where I started as an assistant in product development and learned how to bring a product to life. From conceptualizing, to working with the lab on formulating, to learning the nuances of color, I was in heaven.
You served as Chief Marketing Officer – Skincare, Coty, and Senior Vice President, philosophy, Chief Marketing Officer at Chrysallis Inc, Avon’s Senior Vice President, Global Beauty Brands, Managing Director of Prada Beauty. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the years working for such important beauty companies?
- Don’t assume one size fits all: Consumers and cultures are different, so while a product can be global, communication may have to be tweaked.
- Don’t lead the consumer, follow the consumer. Never assume you know what they need. Insights are everything.
- A collaborative team is not a nice to have, it is a must have. There are so many steps and milestones in bringing something to the market. No one role is more important – so having a well-oiled team from R&D, to packaging, to marketing, to sales, to supply chain and many other functions, is critical to success.
“Beauty industry is about making people feel good. No matter what part of the world you are in, it’s about making people feel more confident”
You are the global leader of bareMinerals, BUXOM, and Shiseido Makeup, you are a seasoned beauty industry executive whose rich professional experience spans the breadth of mass and luxury brands, your counsel highly sought by your industry peers. Also, you have received numerous industry awards including CEW Achiever Awards, WWD Innovative Marketer, and HBA Lifetime Achievement Award in Marketing and the WWD Prestige Marketer of the Year. What´s the recipe for your success?
Curiosity, humility, and a great deal of perseverance.
You are the Chairwoman of Cosmetic Executive Women Inc., an organization with over 10,000 members that are committed to advancing the professional growth and leadership development of women in the cosmetic industry, tell us what does it drive you to be part of it?
CEW offers many programs and events to learn more about our industry and to connect with others. There is no other forum in beauty that offers this type of knowledge building and connectivity.
How does CEW help women to advance in their careers?
With a membership of 10,500+ individual members from a cross section of beauty and related businesses, its purpose is to provide programs that develop careers and knowledge of the beauty industry through industry leader talks, recognition events, trend reports, plus mentoring and networking events. It is not easy to meet colleagues in the industry and CEW facilitates that.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I am not quite sure normal exists any longer in our current pandemic state. I can tell you my daily priorities…first, early morning, I try and take my time (workout, get updated on the news, and read emails). The rest of the day is centered around working with the teams to tackle challenges, give guidance, and learn from them about what is going on with the business. As a leader, it is important for me to empower teams, help keep the process moving forward, resolve any issues, and ensure all the teams are connecting.
“Being Jill is not about being the biggest, the best and the most successful. Being Jill is being someone who brings value to both people and the business”
What do you love most about your job? & What is the most difficult part?
At the end of the day, our industry is about making people feel good. No matter what part of the world you are in, it’s about making people feel more confident. I love that part. I love working with teams, coming up with creative ways to answer consumers needs and desires. It’s about nurturing ideas and seeing them come to life. I love the complexity of all the different direct to consumer platforms where you can own the conversation with the consumer.
What is challenging is the surge of competition coming from new founder-based brands and keeping the larger brands agile enough to compete. On a more human note, trying to keep the team motivated during the pandemic is difficult…There is a connection that is lost when we don’t spend some time together. Keeping teams connected and energized is more challenging remotely.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow in your professional career?
Try and get a 360 perspective. I took roles in product development, creative, marketing, global, US market, mass channels, luxury channels, direct channels to understand our industry from the various lenses.
Do you have any philosophy that guides your career decisions?
Yes, it’s ok to take lateral moves, just as long you are learning something. I never got fixated on the titles, what drove me to change positions is when you are no longer feeling challenged and learning. That’s when it is time to make a move.
What are the do and don’ts in female leadership?
I prefer to look at it as though all leaders have do’s and don’ts. For me, I believe in being myself, and with that comes a nurturing side as well as a firm, tough love side.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
Daring Greatly. I used to have this huge fear of failure, then I read Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. It’s about how vulnerability is a strength. Acknowledging that imperfection is a gift – those changes everything.
What does beauty mean for you?
Do you have a beauty routine?
I do like to mix it up a bit but basically, I have a few do’s and don’ts:
- I am such a believer in shedding old cells and allowing fresh ones to surface to keep skin fresher, smoother, brighter. After cleansing, I use an exfoliating essence every night with a serum on top. I then use an eye cream all around my eyes.
- AM: I like to apply an eye serum and then a gel mask to relieve puffy eyes.
- For makeup, my go to products are bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Moisturizer, ORIGINAL Liquid Mineral Concealer, STRENGTH & LENGTH Brow Gel, GEN NUDE Blush and MINERALIST Lip Gloss-Balm.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel and take at least two trips annually to foreign countries. I can’t wait for a healthier world post covid so I can resume traveling. I am also an avid reader…everything from books to whitepapers. I really do have this fear of missing out on something when it comes to news, ideas, trends. And with the pandemic, I am watching more and more connected tv – from documentaries, to docudramas, to international movies.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you have a child, I don´t know if you are married so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I do think you can have whatever you seek, but you may have to make some compromises here and there. I have a child, and sometimes I had to make decisions on what I could and couldn’t be there for. It cannot be 100% one way or the other, there are moments you may have to say no to something. The most important thing is to have an open line of communication so that they understand the what and the why.
What are your plans for the future?
Pay it forward. I want to continue to be a part of CEW and help build tomorrow’s leaders. I want to share out what I have learned for young women aspiring to come into the industry.
I want to see more women running companies. As the opportunities aren’t yet there in beauty in the larger established companies, we are seeing women start their own brands and do it themselves. Kudos for them. It takes courage, and I admire them and their entrepreneurial spirit.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to work in the beauty industry as you?
For any young person entering their careers, I try and tell people that it is great when you can combine your passions with your career. That’s what makes waking up every day such a joy. I love beauty and I love building. It’s a perfect synchronization of my two passions. I feel very lucky.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Jill and what´s not?
Being Jill is not about being the biggest, the best and the most successful. Being Jill is being someone who brings value to both people and the business.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I admire so many women – from Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, RBG. But I think the woman who has influenced me the most is my maternal grandmother. Widowed very young, she raised two daughters and balanced a career, and was always there for us. She represents such love, strength, and courage to me. I also must mention my daughter, who has taught me tolerance and the true meaning and appreciation of diversity.
Name: Jill Scalamandre
Company: bareMinerals, Buxom, CEW
Designation: President / Chairwoman