Bobbi Brown
Cosmetics entrepreneur, makeup artist, author
Born: April 14, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois
Lives in: Montclair, New jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2013: Enterprise

The origin story of Bobbi Brown’s entrepreneurial saga starts with 10 lipsticks. From that single line, she created a brand known around the world.

Born in Chicago, Brown attended Emerson College in Boston, graduating with a degree in theatrical makeup and photography. Heading to New York to work as a professional makeup artist, she developed a style that emphasized natural tones and steered clear of bright colors.

Working with a drugstore chemist, Brown developed that line of 10 subtly shaded lipsticks. Her goal was to fill a void in the cosmetics market for simple, flattering, wearable makeup. The lipsticks, marketed as Bobbi Brown Essentials, debuted in 1991 at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. An immediate hit, the line surpassed all sales projections.

With her brand off and running, Brown started expanding into other beauty products. In 1995, Estee Lauder Companies bought the company and retained Brown as its creative chief. Within the Estee Lauder beauty empire, Brown’s company, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, continued to grow. Soon, there were some 30 free-standing Bobbi Brown Cosmetics retail stores around the world.

In just over a decade, Bobbi Brown had become a household name, instantly associated with natural beauty and a healthy lifestyle. Brown wrote or co-wrote nine beauty books, became an in-demand makeup artist for the world’s biggest stars, and made high-profile guest appearances on such popular TV  programs as “The Oprah Show” and “The Martha Stewart Show.”

After parting ways with Estee Lauder in 2016, Brown created a series of new brands, including a wellness line, a fragrance line, and an eyewear collection. In 2020, she launched Jones Road, a beauty brand featuring cosmetics, balms, washes, and other products—all emphasizing a clean, natural look. Other ventures include 18 Label, a film and TV studio in her adopted hometown of Montclair; and the George, a 32-room boutique hotel in Montclair, which she opened with her husband, real-estate developer Steven Plofker.

Brown’s substantial philanthropic work has focused largely on her commitment to helping empower women and girls. This commitment has included financial and in-kind backing for Dress for Success, a global career support network for women. In 2010, she launched the pioneering Pretty Powerful campaign, a global initiative providing women and girls with education, job skills, and work experience. The same year, President Barack Obama appointed Brown to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation.

At her 2013 induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, Brown summed up her guiding principle, declaring, “Do the best you can do and be the best you can be.”

Intro/Acceptance Video