Career Diaries: Why the Founder of West Elm Started a New Beauty and Lifestyle Brand

October 16, 2019
Genesis Rivas
By: Genesis Rivas | by L'Oréal
Career Diaries: Why the Founder of West Elm Started a New Beauty and Lifestyle Brand

Lisa Versacio is a force to be reckoned with in the home decor and beauty industries. She first began her career when she created and launched West Elm, a wildly successful home decor brand and has been a go-getter ever since. Most recently, she founded c’est beau 1872. This lifestyle company was made specifically for women who are on-the-go, and it now includes a lineup of beauty products that pay homage to the simplicity that is French beauty. To learn more about Versacio, including why she founded c’est beau, what French beauty means to her and her best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, keep reading. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and began my career in fashion. That was followed by expanding into the home area where I created and launched the West Elm brand. Then I moved into beauty and jewelry products. How did you get started in the beauty industry?  I was developing new brand concepts for a European company that owned, among other things, an amazing beauty manufacturing facility. I gained invaluable knowledge of the industry by working first hand in the lab and with the product manufacturers on a daily basis.  Can you tell us the story about c'est beau 1872? What inspired you to start the brand and include beauty products? I’ve had the concept for c’est beau 1872 for several years now. Watching my nieces who were all soccer players as they were growing up, especially once they got to Division 1 college level, it became clear that although their lives were dominated by sports, they were still interested in nurturing their feminine side. They just had no time to shop at a million places. Their only option became Urban Outfitters, where they could get something to wear, decor for their rooms and beauty products. I realized there was an opportunity to create an alternative lifestyle brand for not only them but all young women who were looking for another choice. A few years ago I was introduced to a company that also owned a French football (soccer) club and partnered with them to bring c’est beau 1872 to life. The club was actually founded in 1872, which is why that became part of the brand name. The inspiration to include beauty products was to fulfill the lifestyle brand concept but also to develop products that were clean, simple, used important ingredients and possessed attributes like long-lasting wear, SPF-infusion and portability, which are all key elements for women with active lives.  What does French beauty mean to you? Simplicity.  What does a typical day look like for you?  

I’m up at 5am. Then I make my list for the day, check international emails, walk my puppy and get ready for the day. I really don’t stop for a minute, especially lately, but it’s part of the deal with starting and running a company.  What’s your favorite part of your job? Seeing the tangible manifestation of a concept or an idea is so fulfilling.  What inspires you? So many things, but I would have to say my travels have always been most inspirational. Having the opportunity to travel to so many places around the world, learn about different cultures and see beautiful architecture, art and things that are part of a particular place’s heritage. What’s your favorite beauty product from c’est beau 1872? I use most of them, but my two favorites are the erase today eye treatment and the light touch color tint. The eye treatment is truly a miracle product. My under eyes have never looked smoother. It must be those peptides! The color tint is something I've been looking for forever. It is light as air but does provide beautiful minimal coverage and I get my SPF 20.  What is your daily makeup routine?  I use almost all c’est beau 1872 products at this point. I’ve never been happier with everything from a single brand before. I use the lights out smoothing cleanser, erase today eye treatment, bring me back daily hydration SPF 15, light touch color tint, here's my # lip gloss and don't forget about me mascara all in five minutes.  What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs?  Love what you choose to create and build. When you are so tired at the end of the day, there will always be something to keep you excited about tomorrow. Understand that it’s about rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty with everything. Of course you will have help, but you need to be that person who can do many things at once and make smart decisions constantly. Be thoughtful and strategic with everyone in your world, including partners, employees and vendors and make sure you do your diligence before joining with anyone. This is your vision and you need to be surrounded on all sides by people who understand and respect that. Also, know it’s going to be hard and won’t happen overnight but also know there is nothing more rewarding.  Makeup is______? A way to express yourself, not cover it up.  Read More:  Career Diaries: Eleanor Langston Reinvented the Nail Salon as We Knew it When She Created Paintbox S.O.S! I Applied Too Much Blush The Best Red Nail Polish for Your Skin Tone