Laura Geller


Laura Geller New York

Do you have any tips for getting the most out of CEW membership?

First of all, anybody in the industry in any capacity should be a member. I tell that to everybody who I ever meet. The first thing I’ll say is, “Oh wait, are you a CEW member?” because I don’t think people recognize the amount of connections and help that can be offered.  I would tell anybody who is just joining or thinking of joining that if you want to avoid the pitfalls, you are coming into the organization that’s going to help you bypass those. You should absolutely go to every event, because the speaker series, the network connections, when you go, you can’t even put a price tag on it. It’s that important and part of this business is about networking. If you work in a silo, you don’t get the benefits of what CEW has to offer. So, I would say “take advantage of any opportunity and everything that they ask you to be a part of, you should go to”.

How important has mentorship been in your career journey?

Until CEW came into my life, I really was a one-man band and I really didn’t have mentorship. I would say to you that back in the day when I was going on QVC, I started in 1997, I looked at brands that already had a lot of distribution, like Leslie Blodgett, when she owned Bare Essentials or like Christina Carlino from Philosophy and I would always try to saddle up next to them and go, “OK, what do I do next and what’s next?”. That’s the beauty of CEW now, is that you find those very people, either who have sold their companies or still involved in some capacity. I think it’s critical, because you have to find a person who’s in your space that you can model after and say, “that’s where I eventually what to get to” and so, mentorship is everything. I didn’t have mentorship early on but, once I was able to get involved in CEW, I never felt that I was on my own island. I always knew that there’d be somebody that I could talk to and ask advice.

Do you have any career regrets or something you wish you would have done differently? If so, what and how did you learn from it?

I do. Anybody would not be telling the truth if they didn’t have career regrets because that’s what you learn from, that’s what really makes your story that much more interesting when you share with people. I’m a makeup artist and I know how to apply makeup. I didn’t know about the different labs, the different warehouses, the fulfillment. There’s so many things I could have tapped into. I think one of the biggest regrets I have, if I had to pick one, would be that I didn’t look into venture capitalists and partnering with a group that had the business acumen I needed, as a working makeup artist, for my brand. So, I’m very proud of the fact that I was 100% stake owner of my own company and I kept trying to build it and build it and thought, “You know, I’ll put that on the back burner and grow the business to a certain size and then take on a partner”. I didn’t take on a partner until 2012 and looking back, I would’ve much benefited had I taken on private equity much earlier on in my career, because I tried to pretend to know or hire people that could help me build the business out, but none of them had a stake in it. When you have a partnership with people, obviously that know what they’re doing, and have a stake in it, they’re going to try and help you build your business. So, I think getting private equity and doing that sooner would’ve benefited my brand.