“If we as beauty companies want every woman to buy our products…”

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Jamie Kern Lima, CEO of IT Cosmetics (image courtesy of IT Cosmetics)
Jamie Kern Lima, CEO of IT Cosmetics (image courtesy of IT Cosmetics)

Related tags Cosmetics

Jamie Kern Lima, speaking at this year’s CEW Achiever Awards, urged beauty leaders to change the way images and models are used to market cosmetics and personal care products to women.

The annual CEW Achiever Awards luncheon was held last Friday in New York City at the Hilton Midtown. This year’s honorees are: Barbara Calcagni, president of NARS Cosmetics; Maureen Kelly, CEO and founder of Tarte Cosmetics; Jamie Kern Lima, co-founder and CEO of IT Cosmetics; Gemma Lionello, EVP and GMM of accessories and beauty at Nordstrom; Loretta Miraglia, corporate SVP of global brand product development and innovation at La Mer; and Kelly Vanasse, VP of communications for P&G’s global business units.

Linda Marshall, owner of Elysee Scientific Cosmetics and founder of the James E. Marshall OCD Foundation, was honored with an Achiever Award for her philanthropic work. And, Judith Amores, PhD student and research assistant at the MIT Medialab, was recognized with the Scent Innovator Award presented aby IFF.

But, it’s the speech that Kern Lima gave at the event that evoked quite a response—from the crowd in attendance to consumers on social media—and has been making headlines ever since.   

The cosmetic gaze

In essence, Kern Lima asked the beauty leaders in attendance to stop selling beauty products with images of an unrealistic youthful ideal and instead create marketing and advertising that shows real women in all their imperfect, un-uniform variety.

She shared an anecdote about a time she was meeting with a prospective IT Cosmetics investor. He told her that he was opting not to invest because, “I’m just not sure women would buy makeup from someone who looks like you.”

And she recounted her choices early on to cast unconventional models and show her own rosacea in QVC product demos.

Kern Lima called on the industry and the leaders and future decision makers in the room, from companies and brands like “L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Channel, Coty, MAC, Clinique, Lancôme, YSL, Revlon, CoverGirl, Kylie, Too Faced, Dior Huda, Glossier, and more” ​to change the status quo.

She pointed out that “sitting in this room right now are the people who single handedly decide the images billions of women see around the world.” ​And she asked them to use their power to make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

Listen to Jamie Kern Lima’s full remarks in this video​.

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