309Write - Janet Gurwitch Left Her Top Executive Position to Start a Business From The Scratch

Janet Gurwitch has revealed that she’s the only female investor in Houston Astros. While many may not know, Gurwitch who is also a board member of the baseball team, began her career from the retail industry.

In 1993, she was the executive VP of Neiman Marcus and was nursing the ambition of becoming its first female CEO.

She said she was just a step away before she met Bobbi Brown. According to her, Brown was doing a good job at the store and till that moment, beauty appeared so formulaic. She said she loved how Brown came with a different approach to beauty

It was at that point she realized that the beauty business was edging closer to a different inflection point.

She was so certain of the positive change in the beauty industry that she gave up her chance of becoming the first female CEO of the company. She decided to start her own company even though she didn’t know much about the industry

Building A New Business

She began to interview different makeup artists who were accomplished professionals known in the celebrity and magazine worlds even though they were not known to the outside world.

She had Laura Mercier on her team and her licensing agreement, and she approached a lab to hire a chemist.

She said in less than 2 years, her team of three had succeeded in building a brand. The primary focus of glamour in the late 90s revolved around a flawless face. As such, they launched a quartet that featured a primer, foundation, concealer and then a translucent powder. These products are still best sellers even two decades after they were first released.

In the fourth year of business, she got investment from her former company, Neiman Marcus. She said she needed more money and during that period there wasn’t really private equity investors that had an interest in beauty.

In 2005, when Neiman Marcus decided to sell to Warburg Pincus and Texas Pacific Group, Mercier had no option but to sell. In 2016, the brand was later acquired by Shisiedo.

She said by the time they sold, they had moved to $100 million and she was so proud of the tremendous growth.

Gurwitch’s Private Equity Investments

In recent times, Gurwitch is invested in supporting other founders and being an active player in the private equity industry. She is capitalizing on her experience with building brands and her market intuition to make a difference in the industry

She is of the opinion that starting a company is now different since the model is totally different and that explains why there are several entrepreneurs.

In addition to Gurwitch’s investment in Houston Astros, she has also invested in Sugarfina, a luxury candy company that makes Dom Pérignon, and in the Dollar Shave Club


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