IT Cosmetics’ Jamie Kern Lima on building a billion-dollar firm

This story is component of the Behind the Desk series wherever CNBC Make It will get particular with productive business executives to find out almost everything from how they got to in which they are to what helps make them get out of bed in the morning to their each day routines.

Jamie Kern Lima’s tale sounds like a desire.

Right after functioning as waitress at Denny’s, as contestant on “Massive Brother,” and as a nearby information reporter in Washington and Oregon, the previous attractiveness pageant winner, Kern Lima introduced her have business at 31. Within eight yrs, Kern Lima bought that firm, IT Cosmetics, to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion in cash. It manufactured Kern Lima a incredibly loaded girl — in accordance to Forbes, she pocketed roughly $410 million from the offer, and is worthy of about $460 million right now. Kern Lima also stayed on with IT for a few a long time, generating her the to start with female CEO at L’Oreal.

But powering the scenes, Kern Lima had to conquer a long time of rejection whilst pitching her goods, as very well as self-doubt. She worked 100-hour weeks and at just one point was down to her last $1,000. She suggests she drove herself to the point of exhaustion.

“I lived totally burnt out for pretty much a decade,” Kern Lima tells CNBC Make It.

Now, nevertheless, Kern Lima, 43, has figured out a way to be ambitious even though getting improved treatment of herself. In 2019, she stepped down as IT Cosmetics CEO and lately printed a memoir, “Believe It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable.”

Below, Kern Lima talks to CNBC Make It about beating yrs of rejection, her “toolbox” for success and learning to get time for herself.

On rejection: ‘I would read through inspiring quotes’

There had been evenings [early on] where I was crying myself to snooze for the reason that of one more huge rejection [pitching the products].

I would practically pull up the notes app on my cell phone and I would examine inspiring rates or tales. It would remind of things like, “Oh, where by I come from isn’t going to have to figure out the place I am heading,” or “champions aren’t manufactured when the match is effortless.”

Every thing in the globe that is incredible was made by a person like you and me, and all all those things just remind me of who I am, what I am produced up and the place I’m likely.

I imagine we all need a toolbox of those issues. Normally in so lots of means, we are alone and hoping to navigate anything.

On her largest blunder: ‘I lived fully burnt out’

One particular of the factors that I did completely wrong was I lived totally burnt out for nearly a 10 years. I think this is so tempting for people, in particular business people and people going after a objective or a desire they care so much about.

When good results commenced taking place, it was pretty much as if I could not consider it for a when. I continuously felt like I necessary to strike when the iron is scorching. I drove myself so tricky to the point of entire burnout. I did 100-hour months for pretty much 10 several years. And I don’t believe you have to do that at all to have the end result that we had.

I experienced to have a real arrive-to-Jesus moment with myself, exactly where I’m like, “Okay, I am absolutely addicted to do the job, absolutely addicted to busyness.” Busyness and get the job done dependancy are like any other kinds of habit, when it numbs out all the superior and lousy emotions in daily life and separates us from ourselves.

On not taking the company general public: It was a parallel journey

I just recognized that if we go general public, like I want the sexiness of ringing the [New York Stock Exchange opening] bell and all those issues, but at the conclude of the day, I’ll continue to be doing work 100 hour weeks. I didn’t rely on myself not to do that.

So I produced the final decision that if we essentially spouse with someone, at L’Oreal, then our mission can nevertheless mature and get out there in all probability way more quickly than we could do on our own.

But then also I essential to start out building adjustments in my lifetime, like I went pretty much a 10 years without observing my good friends or relatives really frequently.

My husband believes that us deciding on to [sell to L’Oreal rather than go public] is why we had been able to start off producing adjustments in our individual daily life.

On her each day schedule: ‘I meditate and pray’