Interviews

The Interview — Jamie Kern Lima, Co-Founder & CEO of IT Cosmetics

Co-Founder & CEO of IT Cosmetics

Jamie Kern Lima is the Co-Founder & CEO of IT Cosmetics, a top-selling makeup and skincare brand recently acquired by L’Oréal, making Jamie the first female CEO in L’Oréal’s 100+ year history.

Jamie is passionate about inspiring and mentoring entrepreneurs, building businesses, making a difference in the lives of women and girls, and giving back in a big way.

Before launching IT Cosmetics, Jamie was an award-winning TV news anchor with beauty challenges, including sparse brows and sensitive skin, and she could never find products that truly worked. That’s when Jamie’s mission to empower every woman to believe in her own beauty was born.

Jamie graduated Valedictorian from Washington State University and received her MBA from Columbia University. She was recently featured on the 2019 Forbes Richest Self-Made Women list, Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, WWD’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Beauty, Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women list, and is a member of the CBS Board of Overseers and the Harvard Women’s Leadership Forum. She also received numerous awards including the 2019 Columbia University Medal of Excellence and the Fashion Group International Star Award.

Jamie is energized by an unremitting passion for inspiring and empowering girls, women, and entrepreneurs. She's been featured on Good Morning America, Today, CBS This Morning, CNBC, Nightline, The Wall Street Journal, and more. She’s also appeared in more than 1,000 live television shows to date on QVC.

In addition to founding and leading IT Cosmetics, Jamie works passionately with many philanthropic causes, including Look Good Feel Better®, where her organization has donated $40 million in products to help women face the effects of cancer with more confidence. 

You can keep up to date with Jamie by following @jamiekernlima and @itcosmetics on Instagram!  

August 12, 2019

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R&S

What inspired the idea behind It Cosmetics:

Jamie

I have a skin condition called rosacea, and I couldn’t find any makeup products out there that could cover it without making it look like I was wearing a thick mask. After trying everything out there, I realized that if you have perfect skin, most makeup works, but if you have something that needs coverage, there really wasn’t anything out there that covered but truly looked like real skin. That’s when the idea for IT Cosmetics was born. We’re all about game-changing, skin-changing, life-changing products that give you your most beautiful skin and your most beautiful you!

R&S

Biggest challenge you faced when starting your company and how did you overcome this obstacle:

Jamie

I had no idea how hard it would be to be an entrepreneur! I’ve worked hard my whole life, but once it’s your own company it’s unremitting 24/7 pressure, and it’s all on you. It’s also the most exciting journey at the same time! One of the biggest challenges for me was when I worked 100-hour weeks for almost 10 years to build IT Cosmetics into what it is today. 

View Jamie's Essentials

R&S

What do you love most about your work:

Jamie

I love the countless emails, letters, and DMs from real girls and women everywhere who share their stories of gaining their confidence back. When they tell me they feel beautiful for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, it reminds me of my "why!" What makes me jump out of bed each morning is reminding every woman she’s beautiful and deserves to feel confident, and she alone is worth it! 

R&S

Best career advice you’ve received:

Jamie

Your gut is stronger than anyone else’s advice, make sure to listen to it! When all of the experts told us what we needed to do to succeed in beauty and what type of models we needed to use, my gut told me something different. We were the first brand to launch on QVC and into stores using real women of all ages, skin tones, skin challenges, and sizes as models. This was nine years ago before anyone was doing it, and I just knew it was the right thing to do even though everyone told me it wouldn’t work. Today, IT Cosmetics is the second-largest luxury makeup brand in the country. Go with your gut!

R&S

Describe your personal beauty routine:

Jamie

Every day I have staples that I love! Confidence in a Cleanser, Miracle Water, Confidence in a Cream for skincare. I use our Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ as my foundation most days. And my go-to's after that are Bye Bye Pores Powder, Brow Power, Superhero Mascara, Superhero Liner, and Je Ne Sais Quoi Lip Serum.

R&S

Walk us through a typical work day:

Jamie

We’ve grown from one employee in my living room to now over 1,000 employees across the country. During the first three years of the company, I heard “no” from everyone and every retailer, and today we're so blessed to have amazing partnerships with everyone who once said “no,” and we’re actually the number-one brand in most of their stores. So, every day is different! Just over two years ago, L’Oreal acquired 100% of IT Cosmetics, making me the first female CEO in their 100+ year history, and with that position comes new, exciting challenges of expanding IT Cosmetics internationally. So many of my days recently are focused on upcoming country launches. 

R&S

Three words that best describe you:

Jamie

Light-filled, faith-filled, love-filled

R&S

A secret talent we should know about:

Jamie

I often have a photographic memory. So in college, even if I didn’t understand something, I could often recall what it looked like written on my study notes, so I would remember what the answer looked like and that helped me on tests. 

R&S

Share your #1 beauty tip:

Jamie

Confidence! And being of service to other people. When your heart comes from that place, it radiates from you, and you’re your most beautiful! I’ve never met someone where this isn’t true.

R&S

What’s next:

Jamie

What lights my soul on fire is my mission to inspire women to step into their power—to spark that light inside of them and to reclaim their own confidence. My passion is to do this in the most impactful ways in my lifetime, and I’m just getting started!

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