Female beauty brand founders continue to energize and advance the beauty industry – from elevating ingredients and the social conversation, to redefining what beauty means today. No matter their medium or innovation, female beauty entrepreneurs set the bar high.
For its fourth year, CEW is honoring the industry’s brightest entrepreneurial beauty stars on May 17th, 2022 in a virtual event, CEW 2022 Female Founders Awards, in partnership with Sage. At the heart of the event will be a panel discussion moderated by WWD’s Executive Editor, Beauty, Jenny B. Fine, that will touch on what keeps these entrepreneurs motivated, what it takes to operate a winning DTC site, when to take on funding, and tips on how to navigate retail partnerships. The eight 2022 Female Founder Honorees are:
Bobbi Brown, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Jones Road Beauty
Bobbi has been revolutionizing beauty since she launched her namesake brand in 1991 with a collection of lipsticks in natural shades to better compliment women looking for a less-is-more makeup look. The line, which became synonymous with the new standard of natural looking beauty, was acquired by The Estée Lauder Cos. in 1995. Bobbi stayed on for more than two decades as she retained creative control of the makeup brand, evolving and growing Bobbi Brown Cosmetics to generate more than $1 billion in revenue, and the launch of dozens of free-standing stores. In 2016 Bobbi left Lauder but kept close to the beauty world by launching beauty podcasts, makeup masterclasses, and her editorial website, JustBobbi. She also ventured outside of beauty in 2018 when she opened a hotel, The George, with her husband in Montclair, NJ. Over the years she has authored nine beauty books and became a certified health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. In 2020 Bobbi re-entered makeup with the launch of Jones Road, a clean beauty line formulated to work on every skin type and tone. Jones Road, which operates a stand-alone store in Montclair, NJ, is sold on the brand’s website and in Credo Beauty stores.
Shani Darden, Founder, Shani Darden Skin Care
Celebrities swear by Shani Darden, the esthetician to the stars with the most flawless of faces. Whether a client’s glow is a result of a visit to Shani’s Beverly Hills studio, or from an item within the Shani Darden Skin Care product line, fans are fiercely loyal to the clean, vegan brand. Shani didn’t know what an aesthetician was until she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling. But she learned all about skin care when she took a detour to attend cosmetology school. After graduating, Shani landed a job at the office of Dr. Erma Benites, where she says she “learned everything about skin.” From there Shani ventured out on her own and eventually built a skin care studio along with her eponymous brand, the latter of which is now sold in the majority of Sephora stores across the U.S. Her line consists of six products including its signature product Retinol Reform, as well as a skin care device, a Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer, and a Sake Toning Essence. Today, Shani is busy creating innovative formulas so more people can achieve their best skin.
Éva Goicochea, Founder & CEO, maude
Éva Goicochea began her career as a legislative aide in healthcare, then shifted to e-commerce, social media, and brand strategy—working with Squarespace, Adidas, and on the early team at Everlane. Believing that sexual wellness had long been the last frontier in personal care, Éva launched maude in 2018 with the goal of destigmatizing the category with unassuming, gender-neutral items. Maude expanded into the bath category in October 2019, followed by body care in 2020. In early 2021, the company released an all-body massager and a new scent collection to further its commitment to making sexual wellness synonymous with self-care. In January, the four-year-old brand began international distribution and is now available in Australia, the EU, UK, and Canada. Today, the brand has raised more than $10 million, making Éva one of only 15 Latinx women to raise more than $7 million. Maude is sold in Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom.com, and Sephora.com.
Jeanine Lobell, Founder, Neen
Jeanine Lobell, a beauty exec and makeup artist who by her own admission is not particularly tech savvy, has predicated her next beauty venture almost entirely on tech. The founder of Stila Cosmetics unveiled Neen in February 2022, an 11-product cosmetic offering designed to work across all skin tones. With Neen, Jeanine aims to use the idea of video tutorials to define the brand, reach shoppers, and generate sales while at the same time minimizing waste and overconsumption, particularly now that in-store makeovers seem to be a thing of the past. Jeanine entered beauty in 1994 with the launch of her makeup line Stila, which at the time upended the market with its vintage-looking silver paper packaging and ability to grab a 20-to-30-year-old prestige beauty consumer. Estée Lauder bought the brand in 1999; it is now owned by Patriarch Partners.
Deepica Mutyala, Founder & CEO, Live Tinted
Deepica Mutyala, a social media influencer of South Asian descent, set the beauty world on fire in 2015 with a beauty hack video showing her use of red lipstick all around her face to even out the imperfections on her dark skin. The content went viral, igniting her beauty career, and in 2018 she launched a digital community focused on inclusive, diverse beauty, Live Tinted. The community helped shape a storytelling platform, and provided feedback on what would become the brand’s first product, Huestick, a 4-in-1 multi-stick color corrector designed to balance discoloration and dark spots under makeup. Today, the makeup brand generates more than $5 million and is sold on its website and in Ulta Beauty. To date, the brand has raised $4.95 million in financial backing.
Ju Rhyu, Founder & CEO, Hero Cosmetics
Ju Rhyu, the co-founder and CEO of Hero Cosmetics, was a pioneer in the acne segment in 2017 with the launch of a transdermal patch to fight acne—a test on the Amazon platform. Today, a box of Mighty Patch is sold every three seconds, and the product line now includes brightening products, cleansing pads, and serums. Ju, a former executive at American Express and Samsung, has increased revenue by nearly four times since launch, with sales now totaling $100 million. The brand is sold at Ulta Beauty, Walmart, CVS, Amazon, Target, and Urban Outfitters.
Rochelle Weitzner, Founder & CEO, Pause Well-Aging
Rochelle Weitzner took her decades’ worth of experience in the corporate world—she was CEO of Erno Laszlo and held the CFO post at both Laura Mercier and RéVive—and created the industry’s first clean skin care line targeting an overlooked demographic: women living through the three stages of menopause. To bring her dream to life, Rochelle partnered with New York-based early-stage investment firm, Grace Beauty Capital, which acquired 50 percent of the company. Pause Well Aging launched in January 2018 and includes serums, moisturizers, a mist and a tool, all of which are sold in Macy’s, on Amazon and the brand’s own site.
Wende Zomnir, Co-Founder, caliray, Founder, Urban Decay
Wendy Zomnir has been a force in the beauty world for decades—and she’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Wende first turned the beauty world on its head in 1996 with Urban Decay, makeup-with-an-edge that ultimately produced the wildly successful Naked eyeshadow palettes, propelling the nude eye trend the world over. The brand was sold twice, first in 2009 to private equity firm Castanea Partners, and then in 2012 to L’Oréal (for a reported $350 million.) Wende stayed on overseeing the brand, with her creative edge and pulse on what women want propelling Urban Decay to become a $1 billion brand. Not one to stay away from the creative mix for long, Wende saw an opportunity to innovate and elevate clean, sustainable high-performance beauty, and in 2021 launched caliray with entrepreneur Jenna Dover. The brand’s sexy, beachy, California-girl vibe uses fresh visuals and clever product names for its collection that includes eyeliner, mascara, a tinted face elixir and a lip infusion. Caliray is sold in Sephora and on the brand’s website.
Learning from leaders is core to CEW’s mission, which is why this virtual event will be free to CEW Members. Reserve your tickets now for CEW’s 2022 Female Founders Awards.