June 20, 2019

Corner Office: Gregg Renfrew of Beautycounter on Toxic Chemicals and Getting Fired by Messenger

First, she made a list of more than 1,500 potentially harmful ingredients that she vowed never to use in her products. Next, she turned the conventional business model on its head, eschewing department stores in favor of a network of independent consultants — think Avon rather than Estée Lauder. Finally, she embarked on a campaign to introduce new regulation to the personal care industry, noting that the last comprehensive law governing it was passed in 1938.

Beautycounter, which is privately held, has raised some $86 million from investors including the U2 frontman Bono and the private equity firm TPG, and is valued at about $400 million.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted in New York.

What was your childhood like?

My father worked in finance. He was quite successful early on, but then fell on hard times. My mother started working to support the family, selling real estate, and also buying houses and renovating them. We moved 11 times when I was little, and it was a good learning experience for me. From a very early age I understood the value of money, how quickly it can come and go, and the need to be financially independent. I’m not driven by money to be extremely wealthy. I’m driven to not have to worry about money, which is a different thing.

What did you do after college?

When I graduated, my mother gave me a black briefcase with my initials on it and a check for $5,000 and said: “This should be enough to get you your first and last month’s payment on an apartment, and some furniture, and a suit. You’re on your own.” I wanted to go be a ski bum. My mom said, “You can do whatever you want to, but this is the only money you’re going to get.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/business/gregg-renfrew-beautycounter-corner-office.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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