Serial US entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore has spent the past two decades building and selling million-dollar beauty businesses, but she says when it comes to true success, entrepreneurs need to start by getting their heads sorted.
The founder of celebrity spa Bliss, soap and beauty brand Soap & Glory and footwear brand FitFlop spoke to the How I Built This podcast last year to explain how she found the motivation to build several successful businesses after landing in New York in the early 1990s with only $300 in her pocket.
Kilgore started Bliss cosmetics in 1996 and after expanding the brand, eventually sold a 70% stake in to beauty giant LVMH for between $US30 and $US50 million in 2001.
Not content with that initial success, she promptly started Soap & Glory. By 2014 she had sold it to UK pharmacy giant Boots in what The Telegraph reports was a deal worth £50 million.
There was still plenty to keep Kilgore busy, however. She had launched footwear business Fitflop in 2007, and is now building up designer makeup retailer Beauty Pie.
Podcast host Guy Raz asked Kilgore how she has managed to sustain inspiration to build brand new businesses straight after successfully selling stakes in, or moving on from, her successful brands.
She says it all comes down to understanding what drives you as an entrepreneur.
“I will come up with these ideas and think, ‘I can’t do that’. And then I’ll think, ‘well, come on, I have to do that’. And then I’ll think, ‘God, if I don’t do that fast, somebody else is going to do it. And I don’t know why I care’,” she explains.
Kilgore says being able to question what is truly possible — as well as harnessing her desire to solve problems fast — has helped her achieve multiple successes.
For other entrepreneurs, she says the most valuable thing they can do is understand their own brains.
“I also tell wannabe entrepreneurs, I always tell them that one of the tools that they should have is an understanding of how the human brain works,” she says.
Having this perspective can help you understand whether your own perspective is holding you back, rather than reality, and means “you can understand how your brain is fooling you when you might be reacting to something, rather than making a sound decision”.