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Added Value Q&A (unabridged)

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: January 23, 2008, from the January 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Q: Who is your business role model?
Although I have always followed the “ups and downs” of Estée Lauder and Coco Channel's business journey, my business role model is undoubtedly, my husband. Chet is brilliant and is able to look at the “big picture” unlike anyone else. By concentrating on the high points, I have witnessed the success he has earned in many business ventures.

Q: You can ask your role model one question. What is it?
Lucky for me, I live with my business role model! The question I do ask my husband and would most certainly like to ask of Estee Lauder and Coco Channel is, "Did you ever think business success could be so hard and take so long?” I would follow up by asking, “What was your secret to keep going when times were difficult?”

Q: What is key to balancing your business and personal lives?
In my entire adult life, I almost never stop thinking about business. Whether it was initially my first brainchild, Bare Escentuals, then my manufacturing company Body Chemistry and now Colorescience, I have always thought about business. In fact, even of my sleep I dream of business! Most of my best ideas, problem resolutions and formulas come in my sleep.

At Colorescience, I have been blessed to surround my business life with my personal life. I work with my husband and we bring our dog to the office. Their presence keeps me grounded and surrounded by love at all times.

In recent years, Chet and I have committed to taking a month long vacation each year. We go somewhere where they do not have television, phones or email. We do leave one number with the Controller of our company, but with the understanding it is for emergencies only. This enables us to totally put business on the shelf and recharge our batteries. I believe this keeps my creative brain sharp and fresh, allowing our bodies to recover from very long work weeks.

Q: How do you relieve stress?
Let’s be honest, sometimes I have to “vent” to keep stress from building up and becoming unhealthy. All businesses will have difficult days, but by and large, I will walk, swim, do yoga or get massages to relieve stress. You have to relieve stress different ways on different days. One thing that I do everyday -- indulge in a little daily “guilty pleasure” called General Hospital. It helps to transition my brain from work to home.

Q: What is your favorite destination?
My favorite destination depends on the amount of time I have to escape to a respite. For short trips, I love La Selva Beach. I recently spent a long weekend there with my family and found myself dreaming of owning a place there someday. For long trips, I enjoy the Cayman Island’s Seven Mile Beach.

Q: It's mandatory karaoke night, what are you singing?
Can I have two?!? I love songs where the lyrics speak to you and deliver a message, as if it was written to say the things you are thinking. I would definitely sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones and follow up for my encore with “Because You Love Me” by Celine Dion. Although I don’t typically listen to much of her music, this song just speaks to me.

Q: Would you prefer a trip to the spa or an outdoor adventure?
My preferred trip would most definitely be to a spa. My husband jokes that I have a “black belt” in spa!

Q; Do you choose a good book, a great movie or 150 channels of television?
Oh, this comes down to a choice between a good book and a great movie...lots of television channels not even in the running! If I have the time, and need to escape, I choose a good book. I love to read, but a really good historical novel can take a few days, which I rarely get unless on vacation. A good book can be truly life changing.

At home on the weekend, my favorite thing to do is watch a great movie. It can totally revive me!

Q: What cosmetic/personal care product can't you live without?
It is said that 80% of aging is due to sun exposure, and if I can only have one product that I can’t live without, let it be a product that is multi-purpose! I can’t live without is Sunforgettable SPF 30. It has changed the way I (and all others who have used it) think about sunscreens forever. Sunforgettable enables me to comply with daily sun protection guidelines, while benefiting from the natural cosmetic value too.