Only do business with people who share your values. We spent a lot of time vetting both our vendors, brokers, and partners. It became obvious who shared or didn’t share our values quickly. We learned to move on from those who don’t align quickly, and the right people will show up to replace them. Every time.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gina DiStefano, CEO of Mom Bomb, a luxury bath and beauty brand that gives 100% of its profits to charity. Having worked with household brands in the past, Gina brings her philosophy that empowered women, empower women to the organization that exists to serve women in ways beyond normal consumer brands.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Having been a single mother, business owner and passionate about helping others, I was drawn to this career path as a natural progression from my last position as an executive coach. I’ve always wanted to be in a position to help a lot of people and the cause of struggling moms is near and dear to my heart. Leading Mom Bomb allows me to use all my skills while having an impact that goes way beyond interacting with our brand.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Of course. The path to this position was certainly interesting. I originally came to the organization through its parent company where I was hired to be the Chief People Officer. I had not been in the position for more than 6 months when the founder of Mom Bomb came to me and asked me to help coach some of the leaders in the organization. As I learned more about what this brand was, I was more and more drawn to it. Over time, the founder and I grew the impact we were providing to our charitable recipients by adding services and opportunities to help struggling mothers. We created different revenue opportunities for selling our luxury bath products, as that is how we fund our charitable giving. From there, the opportunity to lead the organization presented itself and I was able to move from CPO to CEO of this division.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The tipping point was being able to identify what was holding the company back and addressing it swiftly so that it could grow. This was a difficult situation, as there were obvious shortcomings that needed to be addressed, however, once I hit the issues head on and addressed them, the path was clear for success and that is just what we are seeing right now. We are just over that tipping point.
I credit my experience dealing with the issues to being an outsider that was able to clearly see the problems. The people within the organization had become numb and a shake up was needed to get the company back on course. It’s funny, in the past, I’d dealt with the same situations in my own business, and through my executive coaching firm that I ran for over 10 years, so I was more than prepared to address it in my new position. Having me address the issues freed up everyone else to soar, and soar they have. We have a women now running our marketing department that had no marketing experience, but was so passionate about our mission that she self-educated in order to bring more value to the company. There aren’t a lot of people like this in the world, so I consider myself especially blessed to get to work in an organization that has true passion behind it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
This is going to be a wild one but the person I credit with helping me along the way is my ex-husband. Had I not found myself suddenly single I never would have known the internal strength that I possess. I will admit that at first I was overwrought with fear but through inspired action and time, I was able to show my sons what a strong person who takes personal accountability for their life looks like and I couldn’t be prouder. Sometimes our biggest detractors give us the best gifts.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
The innovation our company brings is legions ahead of others, except for maybe Paul Newman’s brand which is similar. Our way of doing business is different in that we have a for profit company that funds our non profit charity. We don’t believe that winning in business is a zero sum game. A lot of companies have philanthropic characteristics, but mostly use charity as a marketing ploy. Buy one/Give one models for shoes and socks are popular. We believe that true philanthropy is the only way which is why we donate 100% of our profits to charity. Moms give 100% and so do we.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
Being able to sell direct to consumer is huge. Without a middle man, we are able to raise more money by selling directly to the consumer. While we are in large big box stores, we find that our support comes from all areas; local real estate offices, small boutiques, hotels and inns are all places that carry our products because they want superior products that actually support a charity in more than name only.
The ability to be nimble is also very exciting. We can quickly assess what products are most popular or searched for an create new products to fill that void. Men’s beauty has been a sector we see growing and as such, have had great success creating and selling male targeted items.
Being an indie brand allows us to be so much more flexible than some of the longer standing legacy brands. We don’t have layers of management and large overhead costs like some other brands, so we can operate lean and have more money to give back to moms in need.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
I honestly don’t have any concerns — we are laser focused and growing double digits, I honestly didn’t think it would be this fulfilling.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
Being locked in the house can make even a super model feel less than beautiful so we always talk about setting up the bathroom to mimic a spa. Having that oasis, even if it just means some great smelling soap and a candle can make all the difference when you need a change of scenery. Transforming a dull bathroom into a tranquil escape can make you feel like the pampered beauty you are, no matter what is going on outside that door (kids, pets, spouses, etc!)
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
- You need a tribe to succeed. In the beginning we didn’t have a lot of capital to pay staff so we found other like minded individuals who shared our desired outcome — help women in need — and together we built the company. There is no way to do this alone, and having that support means the difference between success and failure.
- Only do business with people who share your values. We spent a lot of time vetting both our vendors, brokers, and partners. It became obvious who shared or didn’t share our values quickly. We learned to move on from those who don’t align quickly, and the right people will show up to replace them. Every time.
- Your brand needs to stand apart. It’s a crowded space and more and more indie brands are coming online daily. Your differentiating value is everything and ensuring that you can succinctly communicate what that is, is crucial to success.
- Marketing is a science. Things have changed and quickly. It’s very unlikely that a brand manager from a legacy brand will have the tools needed to market your product. Learn how to create messaging that emotionally resonates with your audience, but first, ensure you know your audience.
- Winning is not a zero sum game. Find ways in which all stakeholders win and perpetuate that philosophy in every interaction. Vendors will want to work with you more, journalists will want to talk with you more and employees will want to succeed more when everyone is left better off after the interaction.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d say Mom Bomb is the movement and I’d love to invite anyone that is interested in lifting up women to contact me to get involved!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite is by Tim Ferris and he says, “Your life is measured by how many uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.”
How can our readers follow you online?
They can visit us at www.BuyBombsHelpMoms.com to purchase luxury organic bath and beauty products and know that 100% of our profits go to our 501c3 charity. They can apply for help at www.MomBomb.org and they can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BuyBombsHelpMoms
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.