In early March, Bobbi Brown, CEO and Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, paid a visit to Willamette University’s campus and delivered a rousing presentation on success and entrepreneurship. A freelance makeup artist, Bobbi aspired to transform the look and feel of makeup for women. She found most products looked artificial when applied and sought a way to make a more “natural” alternative – both in production and in look.
Her brand of lipstick debuted in 1991 and from that point forward Bobbi Brown Cosmetics grew into a global company. Aquired by makeup giant Estee Lauder just four years after the company’s inception, Bobbi still maintains creative control.
Most recently, Bobbi’s story has added a new, Willamette MBA twist. Several Willamette entrepreneurs, including Willamette MBA graduates and College of Liberal Arts graduates, have now collaborated with Bobbi Brown on a natural ingredient for her products.
Natural Plant Products’ corporate parent was founded in 1984 as a collaboration of 7 grass seed farms committed to developing a new crop called meadowfoam. Since that time, the cooperative has expanded to over 50 farms stretching the length of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Meadowfoam Seed Oil has gained broad acceptance as an emollient in the global personal care industry. Natural Plant Products’ crop selection is driven by the need to identify sustainable rotation crops for Oregon seed farmers, with an emphasis on oilseeds with novel chemistry. The tightly held cooperative production base allows the organization to emphasize supply chain transparency, actively developing a portfolio of durable, supply assured vegetable oils for the personal care industry.
This mission resonated with Bobbi Brown and during her visit to Willamette she made it a point to meet with the “Bearcat brains” behind Natural Plant Products’ operation.