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Memorable Moments From WWD’s Beauty CEO Summits

by News Desk

Leonard A. Lauder

Photo courtesy of the Estée Lauder Cos.

 “Just as the 20th century was the American century, so will the 21st century be the Asian century. There’s a wave of Asian consumers entering the middle class, and that wave is enormous and they will dominate this business in the next 10 to 15 years.”

— Leonard A. Lauder, chairman and chief executive officer, The Estée Lauder Cos., 1997


Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones

Courtesy Photo

“We believe that to stay alive and survive and to be really good in terms of technology in the 20 years ahead of us, we have to amortize that technology over as many different sectors and activities and brands as we possibly can. That is the only way to fund the research which will take us forward to the next century. More and more, it will be the access to technology [that] will be the decisive factor in determining the future of brands and companies.”

— Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, chairman and chief executive officer, L’Oréal, 2002

Christopher de Lapuente, Sephora Inc.

Rainer Hosch

“Since 2010, we’ve tripled the business worldwide. We’re in 32 countries, [are] market leader in about half of them and [are] two, three and four in a few others. But in answer to the question [as to] whether we are challenger or leader, the attitude is still the same. At the end of the day, what we aspire to do is to delight customers better than anyone else.”

— Christopher de Lapuente, global president and CEO, Sephora, 2018

Jamie Kern Lima

Ahmed Klink

“When I see competitors knocking off something we do, whether it’s how we use before-and-afters, or our product or our message, I know that they’re confused and they’re getting distracted. Every brand connects and speaks with customers in a new and different way, and the moment that way isn’t authentic to a brand’s DNA is when the potential of their great success gets diluted.”

— Jamie Kern Lima, founder and CEO, It Cosmetics, 2016

Madonna Badger

Harvey Bilt

“In today’s world, where consumers have just about everything they need and so many choices and a lot of superlatives, we must now innovate through empathy. True innovation comes when we listen with our hearts, and it is then that we begin to get a clear picture of how a woman really thinks. And, of course, it’s not one track but rather multifaceted, multilayered and multitasking.”

— Madonna Badger, founder, Badger and Winters Group, 2010

Eva Chen

Davide Maestri

“Our readers live and breathe the internet. We’re looking at a point in time when teens and youth in general can influence the larger masses.”

— Eva Chen, health and beauty director, Teen Vogue, 2012


Francis Kurkdjian

Courtesy of Parfums Christian Dior

“A perfumer is not a nose, the same way a dancer is not a body and a painter a pair of eyes or a pair of hands. I love the intelligence of the hand. It is moving to watch the transformation of material under the guidance of a creative mind.”

— Francis Kurkdjian, founder, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, 2013

Mazdack Rassi and Zanna Roberts Rassi

Astrid Stawiarz/Courtesy of the Fashion Scholarship Fund

“It’s crazy to believe that a consultant who went to Harvard Business School is going to predict cultural trends for you and your companies. Of course, I say that with envy — I wish I had that kind of education. But it’s not the background to build a relevant brand today.”

— Mazdak Rassi, cofounder, Milk Studios, 2018

Alex Keith

Stephen Leek/WWD

“Our journey is not the pursuit of becoming the biggest. It is simply the pursuit of becoming better until better becomes best.”

— Alex Keith, president of global skin and personal care, P&G, 2015 

Nicky Kinnaird

Courtesy Photo

“The marketplace is changing and evolving at a rapid pace. At the end of the day, the customer is evolving even faster, so we’re all playing catch-up and trying to work out how to really give them the satisfaction they’re seeking.”

— Nicky Kinnaird, founder and CEO, Space NK, 2002

Deepika Mutyala and Alicia Yoon

Chris Carter/ra-haus/WWD

“As an emerging brand, we are redrawing the lines. We don’t have to play by the rules.”

— Deepica Mutyala, founder, Live Tinted, 2022

“[The customer] wants services out on a store floor, where there is activity and action, not in a quiet room. It’s one thing to know the statistics on your customer, it’s another to see them in their store habits. We learn by talking to and watching them.”

Marla Malcolm Beck of Bluemercury

Jenna Greene

— Marla Malcolm Beck, founder, Bluemercury, 2016

Lynn Tilton

Stephen Leek

“We no longer live in a world of survival of the fittest. It’s really survival of the adaptist. If you hold on tight, you will die.”

— Lynn Tilton, CEO, Patriarch Partners, 2014

“To be clear, multicultural is not a race or a color of someone’s skin. It’s a landscape that houses a mindset that young adults and teenagers share, brought on by three primary forces: proximity; the influence of MTV, music videos and entertainment, and the internet. These combined forces have lent transparency to cultures, access to cultures. And yet we still, as an industry, want to put people in boxes…and demographics and charts and Q ratings, and it neuters us from understanding cultural impact and what affects these consumer groups.”

Steve Stoute

Mike Nagle

— Steve Stoute, chief creative officer and founder, Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging, 2006

Gail Federici

John Aquino

“The first rule is don’t follow anyone else’s rules. Our mantra became ‘We must outthink because we can’t outspend.’”

— Gail Federici, CEO, Federici Brands, 2014


Lexie Moreland/WWD

“Prestige lines such as YSL and Laura Mercier have been making an effort to diversify their foundation shades. Mass retailers: It’s your turn. It’s time to acknowledge women of color as a growing section of the market that cannot be ignored.”

— Iman, founder and CEO, Iman Cosmetics, 2012

Carole Bellaiche

“In 1996 or 1997 we competed for the acquisition of Sephora, but we were not prepared at that time to pay such an unreasonable price. Now, those businesses are much bigger and closer to maturity in terms of size and still very, very expensive. So, no acquisition.”

— François Henri Pinault, chairman, Artemis, 2004

William P. Lauder

Mark Mann/WWD

“Change is a constant. If you are standing still, you are going backward. We are in a consumer industry and that means you are running up the down escalator. If you stop for a moment, you are going backward. You have to be running faster than the speed of the escalator to make some progress. If you’re not, someone else will.”

— William P. Lauder, executive chairman, The Estée Lauder Cos., 2016

CEO Tarang Amin


“I’ve been in the consumer space for 30 years, and every success I’ve ever had stems from an initial insatiable curiosity for the consumer.”

— Tarang Amin, CEO, E.l.f. Beauty, 2021

Tom Ford

Alberto Rodriguez/Variety

“How do we get back in touch with that risk-taking gene that we all possess, yet that is muffled as business gets bigger and the stakes get higher? We need to trust our intuition. If we’re bored while we’re designing a product, the consumer will be bored. If we’re excited, we can actually endow that product with an excitement that will translate to a positive reaction from the consumer. Today, more than ever, the customer wants something significant and bold. Half-hearted attempts to please everyone and offend no one will simply come off as second-best.”

— Tom Ford, 2006

Violette Serrat

Courtesy Photo

“Beauty is something that has nothing to do with society’s criteria. It’s actually much more deep than that.” 

— Violette, founder, Violette_FR, 2021

Pharrell Williams

Courtesy of Kristen White

“The universe is alive, it’s moving. It was here before you, it’ll be here after you, and it will give back to you. So when you see a founder of color who has a company and they’re in this space, lean in the same way you are in this room. It’s going to be awesome. This is the Beauty Summit. I don’t think anything could be more beautiful.”  

— Pharrell Williams, founder, Humanrace, 2022

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