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Jill Scalamandre: “Instinct with Facts”

Instinct with Facts: Facts for the sake of facts is a data dump. Instinct is good, but you need facts to back up your thoughts. So the magical formula is reaching into your instincts and backing it up with facts. An example of this is in 2017 when I approached my management with the concept […]

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Instinct with Facts: Facts for the sake of facts is a data dump. Instinct is good, but you need facts to back up your thoughts. So the magical formula is reaching into your instincts and backing it up with facts. An example of this is in 2017 when I approached my management with the concept of bareMinerals being a clean brand. At first, I had a poor reception because no one knew what clean was at the time. I had to pull facts about the consumer and her ingredient awareness, take a deep dive in some of the emerging indie brands, and prove this was an up and coming movement.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Scalamandre, President of bareMinerals. She is a seasoned beauty industry executive whose professional experience spans the breadth of mass and luxury brands. An expert in multi-channel distribution, her proven reputation as a forward-thinking brand builder makes her counsel highly sought out by industry peers.


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?

It all began in Paris — I was a language major studying abroad, and had the exciting opportunity to intern at a fashion house. I loved watching them design with colors and textures. When I returned home, a friend of my fathers suggested I look into the beauty industry as it is very much about color and texture. I was offered a job at Revlon and haven’t left the industry since.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I am not sure I have just one story, but it’s great when I get to look back and see what I have done during my career, such as traveling the globe and meeting some of the most influential women. From Miuccia Prada, to Hilary Clinton, to Salma Hayek, Dolly Parton, Hailey Bieber and Naomi Osaka, Ariana Huffington and Glenn Close to name a few. These are women with a strong point of view and who use their voice to spread the power of good.

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?

Success comes in so many shapes and forms. At the end of the day, it’s really seeing how you are making an impact in people’s lives. When I was at Avon, I saw how the beauty industry gave back by financially enabling women; the representatives would sell the products and receive commissions. It put food on the table for many women, and it also enabled women to send their children to college. At both philosophy and bareMinerals, we started funds to fight the stigma of mental health, while bareMinerals is helping young girls receive the education they need to achieve their dreams. There were so many emotional stories, and for me, that meant success. The key takeaway is to think beyond the makeup bag, and think of the purpose.

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?

It was at Revlon, where I started in the product development department working with marketing and the labs to develop formulas and colors, where I was having the best time. Then, I had a conversation with the President at the time, asking her how I could make more of an impact. She suggested that I take on marketing, as well as, product development. I was unsure of myself, as I hadn’t been trained, but she had such confidence that I would succeed that I took the leap and have never looked back. I think the lesson is that when you don’t fully believe in yourself, turn to others for help. Find a mentor to help — if it weren’t for that President, I am not sure I would be where I am today. She saw things in me that I hadn’t seen.

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?

For 25 years, bareMinerals has had a “do not use” ingredient list due to potential harmful effects. When the clean movement started, I had the opportunity to move to bareMinerals and reveal the clean story behind the brand. Clean beauty for us is making mindful choices on healthy, naturally derived formulas in sustainable packaging, and giving back so we can help others in the community.

It’s all about making an impact. I love this industry and it’s been a dream come true to work within it, but we knew we had to help others achieve their dreams. With the alignment of management, we set out to start the Power of Good Fund to give back 1% of sales to young girls and women in need to help fund education, mentorships, and enable women to become entrepreneurs. To date, we have raised over 1M dollars in just 15 months.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

Clean beauty. First, it’s becoming more about health & wellness, and consumers are taking the time to self care.

Second, it’s becoming so much more accessible than it has in the past due to the digital tools at our fingertips.

And last but not least, it’s giving back.

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?

First would have to be the plastic we use. The beauty industry produces around 120 billion units of plastic packaging annually. We need to find alternative materials.

Second, I think we can all do a better job at inclusivity and we need to be more conscious of this.

Third, is with the explosion of channels and brands and influencers in the beauty world today, how do you rise above the noise? There is a saturation out there.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

Take care of your skin, because when your skin is in good health, you don’t need to camouflage, you just radiate naturally.

Exfoliate, treat, hydrate, and always wear a sunscreen.

And as I age, less does more when it comes to makeup.

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.

  1. Curiosity: I believe curiosity is critical to succeed. Wanting to know more, know why, and what’s next demonstrates an open mind that is always reaching. My family used to laugh at my regular weekend visits to the drugstore because I had to speak with consumers, know the competition and see what else influences a purchase decision. I scour everything — from pop culture, to magazines, the web, to dermatological reviews.
  2. Humility: Leave your ego at the door and don’t always think you know the answer. This is something I TRY and practice all the time. It’s so important to listen — to lead is to listen, and I know that sounds very cliché, but I truly believe it.
  3. Tenacity: One of the toughest challenges is when someone tells me it can’t happen without really going back to figure out how it may be. So many times I was told no and pushed, and all of a sudden, it was achievable. So, don’t give up if you know it is the right thing to do!
  4. Instinct with Facts: Facts for the sake of facts is a data dump. Instinct is good, but you need facts to back up your thoughts. So the magical formula is reaching into your instincts and backing it up with facts. An example of this is in 2017 when I approached my management with the concept of bareMinerals being a clean brand. At first, I had a poor reception because no one knew what clean was at the time. I had to pull facts about the consumer and her ingredient awareness, take a deep dive in some of the emerging indie brands, and prove this was an up and coming movement.
  5. Being present in the moment: This is something I am leaning into with COVID. It’s difficult connecting solely on Zoom. I want to connect a little deeper. So I ask people to put on the video, talk a little about what is going on in the world, where they are etc. I am always about connection.

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 love that question… I want to spread goodness and want to help other people achieve their dreams.

At bareMinerals, we have our Power of Good fund to help young women receive an education. Everyone has a right to an education and have the tools to achieve their dreams. This is what we are so mindful of.

For me personally, I want young women to achieve their dreams in industry leadership. I love to mentor young women and work with the Cosmetic Executive Women organization (where I am Chairwoman) because I have been blessed with a great career and I want to pay it forward.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? “You are never too old to learn.” Everyday I wake up and hope to learn something new. It is what keeps me going.

How can our readers follow you online? I am very transparent. Jill Scalamandre on LinkedIn, IG and Facebook.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


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