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At first glance, the two don’t seem to belong together. A biochemist and a customer-centric business dynamo? But by taking a broader look at both, it makes perfect sense. They’re both about chemistry—understanding it and building it.
Marie Renée Thadal was on the path to a career in the medical field, but armed with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Rutgers University, she took the fork in the scientific road toward cosmetics and then entrepreneurship. She built a base of varied knowledge, earned a master’s degree in cosmetics science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and earned more than a paycheck at Mary Kay.
“Being a consultant for Mary Kay taught me so much,” she says. “First, it is the art of selling, goal setting, having the desire to be successful in life. Most of all, I learned leadership skills. Not just managing and using people to get to where you want to go, but I learned that if I help enough people reach their goals and I treat people fairly, I can achieve the success that I seek. It is simply a matter of determination, hard work and not giving up when the going gets tough if you want to reach your goals.”
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Thadal, who is active in the New York chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, qualified for directorship status at Mary Kay, requiring sales of approximately $50,000 and recruiting, training and qualifying as many as 30 new consultants within three to four months. Once the unit was created, she set a goal of qualifying for the fabled Mary Kay pink car—which she did. She also reached a point at which she felt that she had spent enough years learning under someone else’s corporate banner.
“I completed an entrepreneurial and business development program, and I went on to write the business plan and put in place the team of professionals around me. Soon after, Bajchem Services, LLC, was incorporated.”
The New Jersey based company, an approved small business and fully certified minority and women owned enterprise, serves as a broker/distributor/agent between suppliers and end-user clients, offering suppliers an outsourcing alternative for business development and growth, and providing technical sales services.
A niche player in fine chemicals and selected commodity raw materials, Bajchem focuses on value added products and services, suppling product lines aimed at higher performance, speed to market and competitive edge.
“My life seems to be about my customers and their needs, which I balance with taking care of my three children,” she says. “I also try my best to make sure when I am around my customers it is a positive experience. They understand that I am here to help them make a better product.”
Maintaining a heavy travel schedule to explore trade shows and attend conferences, to uncover emerging trends as well as the latest concepts and the materials behind them, has allowed Thadal to build an understanding of the personal care market. Knowledge of the manufacturers, the brands and the product line concepts, limitations and restrictions, in turn, allows her to be proactive in selecting the trend and material that best fits a particular customer.
Understanding and chemistry has allowed Thadal and her company to manage many global brands and successfully position high-performance materials in its product lines.
“The reason I love promoting active ingredients is because I understand what is happening at the molecular level. A biochemist understands how certain chemicals or molecules affect the physiological functions of body organs, including the skin, and the true reward comes when I see a commercial launching of a product that I contributed either to the concept or the material for the claim.”