Kimberly Hairston-Hicks, a former C-suite beauty executive, spent the last 20 years building brands, inspiring teams, driving innovation and being a champion for women.
During her tenure at DRM-JPC Brands an (L.Catterton Partners Company), she spearheaded a portfolio of iconic brands and led the ‘Undo the Hurt‘ brand movement; a provocative conversation to help empower women of color to stop condemning one another about physical appearance and beauty choices.
Before joining DRM-JPC Brands in 2013, Kimberly served as Vice President of Marketing at Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Kimberly authored Fashion Fair’s global brand positioning, elevated the brand’s image and executed multi-channel integrated marketing campaigns. Before Fashion Fair, Kimberly held senior marketing and leadership positions with Unilever, L’Oréal, and The Coca-Cola Company.
She is a wife, a bonus mom and a 20-year corporate executive turned social entrepreneur who earned an M.B.A from Clark Atlanta University and a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Kean University. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and National Black MBA Association and serves as a board member for promscholars.
PIVOT caught up with this beauty dynamo to understand why and how she chose to pivot after a long, prosperous career in corporate.
Tell our readers a little about your corporate background that shaped your expertise in the beauty industry
I have spent the past 20 years building successful consumer and beauty brands, by driving innovation, creating robust strategies, inspiring teams and a being a champion for women. During my career, I have worked for the Titans in the beauty industry like
L’Oréal, Unilever, Coty to Private Equity firms like -L.Catterton as the Chief Marketing Officer for DRM-JPC BRANDS, where I spearheaded a portfolio of iconic brands and led the ‘Undo the Hurt‘ movement; a provocative conversation to help empower women of color to stop condemning one another about physical appearance and beauty choices. It has been an incredible ride and through hard work, passion and great mentors, I have been able to achieve what some would call the top echelon of success as a C-Suite executive.
What motivated you to pivot out of corporate America to launch your own beauty business?
Unfortunately, there is an ugly side of big beauty. The decision makers in most of the major companies are fifty-something, white men with profit first mentalities. So, after many years of fighting an uphill battle for inclusion, meaningful product development and an accurate representation of black beauty, I decided to take my mother’s advice and re-focused my energy to re-imagine beauty!
Talk about Good Beaute and your mission and vision for the brand.
Three core principles are the driving force behind the Good Beaute’ mission:
Good Beaute’ is The First Beauty Company
a. To make Black Women the priority by developing product formulations that are tested and proven to meet our beauty needs. That means, if the product is not effective on melanin-enriched skin, we will not launch it no matter what the newest trends are.
b. To give back to the black community by donating $1.00 for every product sold to a non-profit that supports mentoring and educating young black women. My partnership is with a Trenton, NJ based non-profit PROMSCHOLARS.
c. To create a movement “It is beautiful to be good” that provides affirmational images to uplift black women and to cultivate a healthy, happy, good life.
What career advice to women who want to pursue their passion outside of corporate America?
A few months back I wrote a blog on my website goodbeaute.com titled “Fear is a dream Killer,” and it spoke to how I was allowing my fears to provide all of the evidence why I should delay launching my business. Thankfully, my husband told me I was playing scared and asked me a critical question. If fear wasn’t an issue what would I do? It is a crucial question for business owners, but especially for female entrepreneurs. As women, we too often are fearful that we are not enough, of being judged and need for perfection before we begin. So my advice would be to embrace the fear and have faith that the universe will conspire to provide you with all the tools you need to make your purpose possible. Now, I will not pretend that I do not have days where building my business is not overwhelming, but at my core, I know that this is my purpose and I give myself permission to take the risk and fail forward.
What can we expect from Good Beaute over the next 5 years?
There are no accidents. As we were planning the first product launch Good Face Vita C a 3-step skin care regimen, I realized that products were being finalized during my birthday month in October and from the time I was five, my mom told me that I always wanted to give gifts to others for my birthday rather than receive them.
This year I am giving the gift of healthy skin. I am so excited and blessed to introduce Good Face Vita C skincare: Cleanser, Serum and an SPF 50 Moisturizer formulated, tested and proven to reduce dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging for Melanin Enriched Skin.
In 5 years when we sit back together for my cover interview (insert huge smile), I will be celebrating a dream fulfilled of becoming the fastest growing, most respected beauty company for black women! The playbook to achieve this is by
- Remaining committed to our consumers and innovating beyond her expectations,
- Hiring the best people and allowing them to do their jobs and
- Having some fun while doing it!