IT cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima: “I was told no one would buy beauty products from someone who looked like me”.

Posted by
Jo Hoare

From being told she ‘didn’t look the right way’ to start a beauty brand, to running a 1.2 billion dollar business, Jamie Kern Lima is the ultimate beauty boss.

When you started IT an investor said no one would buy products from a woman with ‘your body type’ how did you get the confidence to power through that and prove him wrong?

Hearing these words hurt me deeply. But when he said this, I felt something deep inside of me that also knew he was wrong. I knew I couldn’t relate to most of the photo shopped images of beauty that we’ve been told for years are “aspirational” and I felt like there must be other girls and women like me who are tired of seeing images that don’t look like them. I decided to listen to my intuition instead of listening to him. Now years later we are so blessed to be a top selling makeup and skincare brand and just this last year I got an email from that investor saying “congratulations on all of your success. I was wrong.” When I got it I smiled. Not just for me, but for women everywhere! 

Image courtesy of IT Cosmetics

What advice would you give to anyone who is told they ‘can’t’ do something?

Never let hearing the word, “no,” equate to doubt in your own head. You know in your gut when something is right and you have to believe in your mission and yourself. A lot of times, doing something disruptive means no one else is doing it yet, so people will tell you it’s wrong. You just have to remember that your gut’s more powerful than anyone’s advice—so stick to it. I would have never made it where I am today if I did not keep my faith bigger than my fear. 

You suffer from rosacea- what works for you in terms of controlling and concealing it?

Yes, I suffer from hereditary rosacea which there is no cure for, and millions of women and men suffer from this skin condition. When I was working as a TV news anchor, I repeatedly sought out products to control and cover redness, but my skin is very sensitive and every product I tried irritated it further and would almost never give the full coverage I need. This inspired me to create IT Cosmetics – I knew there had to be a better way. It’s hard to create products that can really address the skin issues that so many of us share, this is why we work with plastic surgeons and dermatologists to create skin-loving products that provide life-changing results.

Doctors recommend limiting things like wine and chocolate to reduce rosacea flare ups but that’s no fun, we all need wine and chocolate, So I conceal it instead, I use our Bye Bye Redness™ Correcting Cream – it color corrects redness instantly; we’ve micronized the green and yellow pigments and infused them into a full coverage treatment cream. It also has soothing skin care benefits from colloidal oatmeal, anti-aging peptides, collagen, aloe and avocado.   

What’s your hero product?

Our best-selling product in the UK is our Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream. I only launch products that I truly believe will change women’s lives and make them look and feel their most beautiful. CC+ Cream delivers 7 products in one and has everything your skin needs —your full coverage, anti-aging skincare and SPF 50+ physical sunscreen—all in one simple step! I have rosacea and hyperpigmentation and feel like I’ve spent most of my life trying every foundation and concealer out there, and they almost all crease and crack and make us look older, especially if you need coverage.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to set up their own business?

Get ready to work harder than you ever thought was possible and to have unremitting stress! I wish this weren’t true but it is. I started IT Cosmetics in my living room and in the early years had to learn how to do almost every job in the company because all of our money was going into research & development and our advisory board so we couldn’t afford to hire, and I also wasn’t able to pay myself the first three years. It was really hard especially when all of the retailers said no.

It was actually real women getting results and spreading the word and posting their own before and after photos online that helped us grow and stay alive as a company. Then we eventually got a yes from retailers and the rest is history. The first 8 years of our brand I worked 100 hour weeks, and this is the first year I’ve been able to get more balance in life. But the journey of an entrepreneur is extremely challenging. You have to truly believe in your heart and soul in what you’re doing for it to be worth it! 

Image courtesy of IT Cosmetics

What makes IT Cosmetics different?

Our brand name speaks to our differentiation – IT stands for Innovative Technology. We work with plastic surgeons, the experts in skin rejuvenation and aesthetics, and look at makeup completely differently At IT Cosmetics, we’re all about colour-infused skincare. This is very different than simply colour cosmetics with a few skincare ingredients mixed in. Our products start their life as anti-aging skincare and are then infused with full-coverage pigments – so you actually get full coverage from a skincare product. What I hear most often from customers is “I get compliments on my skin, not my makeup.” To me, that is everything! I truly believe that great makeup can give you great skin, and the mission of IT Cosmetics is to make women look and feel their most beautiful and confident.

Main image courtesy of IT Cosmetics