I feel beautiful and good about myself when my team is happy and succeeding and when I’m surrounded by people that challenge, teach and inspire me. I find it extremely uplifting and empowering, which gives me a real boost in my confidence.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Natasha Cornstein, CEO at Blushington.
She joined Blushington in January 2015 as the company’s President. In this role she is leading the expansion of the brand. Utilizing Natasha’s extensive experience in marketing and tactical brand building, Blushington is poised for significant brick and mortar and digital growth within both new and existing markets. She leads strategic planning, playing an integral role in the development of partnerships and product development that align with the brand’s luxury aesthetic, yet cater to the everyday woman.
Natasha’s previous experience includes a tenure as the Director of Brand Management for CIRCA. While in this role she led the strategy for all marketing and communications globally. Prior to joining CIRCA, she served as Vice President of Client Services and Media Relations at Pinnacle Management Corp. She also served as Associate Producer at The Fox News Channel.
Natasha is a graduate of the CORO Fellows program and earned a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She shares her love of New York City with her husband and son.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Natasha! 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?
Coming into this career path with Blushington was truly a chance of fate.
I was in Los Angeles in June 2014, launching a new store for the previous brand I worked with. I led the Global Marketing and Communications and was doing editor meetings, and as the brand spokesperson our PR team asked that while I was in town I get formal headshots done. They sent me to Blushington and it was love at first sight.
I had never before had an experience like this or such an emotional response to an environment — inviting, accessible and delivering a luxury service that felt truly transformative.
The following morning in one of my meetings I was raving about Blushington and the person I was with represented them. Later that afternoon I was introduced to the owners, 3 months later I was hired as President and 15 months after that I was appointed as Chief Executive Officer.
I walked in to Blushington as a customer, and it was because of that meeting I chanced upon what would become my career and my passion.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Walking into a business as a customer and later emerging the CEO is the most interesting thing that has happened to me!
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?
I think the biggest “tipping point” in my professional career came when I was Director of PR at Circa back in 2012. I was sitting for my annual review with the Chairman of the Board, and he said while I had everything it takes to become a CEO one day, I needed to learn to slow down and bring my team along with me on the journey.
At that time, I was so busy getting to the destination and focused on the end goal. I learned very quickly that your work and your results always fare better if you are in lock step with your team, understanding that leadership is as much about being in the circle as it is as being on the outfront.
In the moment of getting my best review and biggest promotion, I was also brought to tears and a moment of reckoning on how I would evolve my leadership style for the remainder of my career.
From that day forward I learned that success was about leading my team to find their success and moments of triumph not my own personal achievements.
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?
In my time with Blushington, I am most grateful to one of our largest shareholders who was also a former CEO of global consumer brands.
Our business relationship didn’t have the usual beginning when a professional is hired — in fact, he was first opposed to bringing me on in 2015! At the time, he didn’t think the role was necessary for where the company was in its life-cycle nor was it the right decision to move HQ from Los Angeles to New York City, where I would lead.
Coming in to a new role with this type of challenge is what helped push me to not only establish myself, but grow my position and stand behind the decisions I was making and why.
You want to work with someone who challenges you and pushes you to be your best self, both personally and professionally.
When the pandemic first began back in March, he was the first person I reached out to and felt such a partnership in the way I was able to call on him in probably the most difficult moments of my career — to make the hard business decisions, with mutual agreement and mutual respect.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
Blushington is a brick and mortar business. When we closed the doors to our six salon locations on March 13, our business was up 40% YOY — we were having our strongest first quarter in the history of the brand — and in shutting down went to zero revenue overnight.
That gave us the opening to explore a digital platform — considering technology in a way that we hadn’t before. We’ve since launched a virtual platform to bring the Blushington experience to customers well beyond our four walls — translating the brick and mortar to digital through Zoom technologies.
Our perspective on beauty is not about how you look, but how you feel — with education at the core of all our services and experiences. Technology has enabled us to expand our audience — something I am most excited about.
We’ve seen more customers booking classes in towns and cities where we don’t have a brick and mortar presence — so we’re really thrilled that technology has opened up this access and democratized the experiences nationwide and globally.
Knowledge is power and when you apply that to beauty, this knowledge and education we provide helps them feel like their best selves during a time that’s very difficult for us all.
Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
At this point, this is not where our focus is. While Blushington is using technology to reach our consumers, we are still focused on the live, personal interaction between client and makeup artist.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
1. Access and ability to reach a larger audience
2. Ability to take intimate and personalized beauty experiences and translate them to the digital, to deliver the same premium services we also offer in salon
3. Last and most certainly not least, is mental health. We want all our clients to feel their best — no matter what that means to them — and technology allows us to continue the personalized experience to give connection and a boost of confidence.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. The biggest concern I have is our ability to reframe the traditional views and definition of beauty. Our industry has an opportunity here to improve and continue to broaden what beauty means to society today.
There are still too many ad campaigns, billboards, tv shows and movies that, I believe, represent beauty in a way that is idealized and limited relative to modern mindsets and definitions of beauty which are more relatable to everyday women.
2. Over consumption is another concern. At Blushington, we’ve always taken the approach that less is more — focused on an ‘edit’ rather than overconsuming to achieve a sense of well being.
We all have beauty products in our makeup bags that are seldom or never used. I believe there is an opportunity here to look at quality over quantity and really think about what we want to use, what’s good for you personally — whether you only wear mascara or a gloss or love a full camera-ready glam look.
3. I hope to see beauty consumers continue to drive demand for independent up and coming brands across mass and prestige categories. In many ways social media has democratized consumer discovery and redefined luxury. Let’s keep that going.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Be a learner. Knowledge is power and education builds confidence. Any opportunity to learn can help you feel beautiful. As CEO of Blushington, I have taken dozens of makeup classes and continue to do so — every time I sit with one of our artists, whether in person or over virtual, I learn something new.
2. I feel beautiful and good about myself when my team is happy and succeeding and when I’m surrounded by people that challenge, teach and inspire me. I find it extremely uplifting and empowering, which gives me a real boost in my confidence.
3. I think when we identify a ritual — something that feels very personal to you — that can help us feel beautiful. Working at Blushington, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with many different products and have since developed a nightly skincare ritual.
This ritual is not only part of my daily beauty regime, but also provides me with a sense of calm and center before I go to sleep. No matter who you are or what you do, our days are full — and allowing those 5 minutes is something I look forward to each night and allows me to unwind.
4. Participation. Don’t sit on the sidelines or let fear hold you back from exploring a new hobby or relationship or career path. Failure is one of the most beautiful experiences you will have and while it may not feel like it in the moment, when you pick yourself back up and forge ahead it is a thing of beauty.
5. Beauty is truly about how you feel not how you look. That may sound incongruous coming from a beauty executive however this is our perspective and our passion. Guiding beauty experiences that drive a sense of well being and confidence, not society’s idealized messaging on beauty. Pursue what makes you feel good and you will be beautiful.
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. 🙂
Something that has stuck with me throughout my career and I have really learned to live by in my life is, the journey is the destination.
We live in a world of rush, rush, rush. Mentalities to achieve this, get to this place. And it took me time to realize, but it isn’t about getting to that point, it’s about what happened along the way. If you’re focused on getting there, you’re missing everything.
Find joy, build your community and your relationships. I’m not sure if this is a movement per se, but I think if we as a society could value and prioritize the journey we would feel so much more fulfilled.
I try my best to live by it, it’s my hope for my son and our family. Embracing the journey and having aspirations are not mutually exclusive.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Your next hello can become your future”
I am not a fan of the concept of “networking” as a means to an end — for the purpose to meet someone and get to that next point in your life. I believe you can learn something from everyone you speak with, if you open yourself to any and all conversations you never know where it will take you.
It’s important to care to develop your relationships for the purpose of community, communication and learning — that, to me, is what opens doors and takes you to unexpected places in your life. In listening to others, that is where you will find your growth.
How can our readers follow you online?
Follow Blushington on Instagram at @blushington or visit our website www.blushington.com!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.