The one big lesson I learned from Bobbi Brown

bobbi brown

I had the great pleasure of going along to a Business Chicks lunch last week, where the special guest speaker was Bobbi Brown, and I came away with one gigantic key lesson I’d like to share with you.

For the sake of clarity, this wasn’t Bobby Brown, of course, because that would be weird (although I did hum Every Little Step pretty much that entire week).

(Can we just pause for half a second to remember a time that a man could wear bike pants and braces and not be laughed out of town?)

We’re of course talking about pioneering makeup artist and successful cosmetics producer from New York, Bobbi Brown. How successful? Her cosmetics business is expected to make more than a billion dollars US this year. That is not a typo.

There was so much that Bobbi talked about that was fascinating and inspiring for women in business who are rearing to go and eager to make a big splash. You can read 10 things that Nikki took away from that day over at Styling You.

But I wanted to talk about was this one big thing that made me go, “AHA!”

bobbi brown

The funny thing was, I don’t think it was even part of Bobbi’s presentation. She perched her tiny self (she’s 5 foot nothing and, by the by, looks incredible for her 57 years) on a stool on the stage and proceeded to share her journey from high school all the way through to where she is today. Lots of interesting hair choices, lots of interesting fashion choices and, you know, the Rolling Stones. And so many of her stories – in fact every one that led to a significant career leap – started with, “I happened to meet…” or “I was talking to X and they knew someone who was looking for…” or “I was having lunch with X and she mentioned…”

I sat listening to these stories and a giant penny began to drop in my brain. Afterwards, a group of women from my table were talking, and there was a consensus amongst them that clearly Bobbi Brown just got lucky. “Talk about being in the right place at the right time!” said one.

“What can we possibly learn from that?” chimed in another. “Be lucky – that’s it?”

But these women entirely missed the point, I think. Here’s what I learned from Bobbi Brown that day about how to get “lucky”:


And that can be broken down into three parts, if you like:

  1. Hone your elevator pitch – be prepared at a moment’s notice to talk about your ideas and why they are exciting.
  2. Leave the house – go to events, meet new people, and be nice.
  3. Make sure everyone knows what you do and what you want to do.

This works, whether you’re trying to promote your own business, trying to get ahead at work, or marketing your blog or other creative project. It works for everything.

Seems simple, right? But tell me, could you be doing it better than you’re doing it right now? I know I could.

So let’s agree to make more of an effort to put ourselves out there. You with me?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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