As part of the Toronto Beauty Bloggers Network, I enjoy fabulous invitations to some of the coolest beauty events happening in and around the city. Unfortunately, being very pregnant and juggling family life, I haven’t been able to take part in many of the recent events (though I’m hoping that will change once I welcome the little guy and restore some balance).
One event that I was really sad to miss was the Balmshell Beauty Bloggers event. Balmshell, a Canadian company, was created by identical twin sisters Jennifer and Fiona Lees.
With no experience in the cosmetic industry and only the love of lip-gloss on their side, the sisters decided to take on the industry and with determination, hard work and a lot of style they turned their dream into a reality.
These self-described “cosmetic junkies”, followed their passion and entrepreneurial instinct and developed what they considered to be the perfect lip-gloss. After years of working with a cosmetic manufacturer they developed a formula using only the finest ingredients to produce a high-shine, moisturizing lip-gloss. It looks and feels fabulous.
One of my favourite beauty bloggers, Anjali Handa of Rock that Look, sat down with the sisters for a fabulous interview about the company, their products, and celebrity following! Of course, Balmshell lip glosses are all about the packaging –
The Balmshell glosses are not only non-sticky and extra moisturizing, but they come in the cutest packaging I’ve ever seen! These ladies truly hit the unique mark by incorporating fun and girly float art into their packaging. Check out their line of lip glosses on the Balmshell lip gloss page and click on the product of your choice to see the float art in action! The best part is each gloss comes with a key chain attachment – you can keep your float art even after the gloss is finished – genius!
To read her entire interview, click here.
I wanted to highlight my very favourite Q&A – one that provides oodles of inspiration, regardless of what industry you’re in, walk of life, or stage in your career. Check it out…
Anjali: To date, what has been Balmshell’s proudest moment?
Jenny: We have many, but this is a story that we always remember from the beginning.
“You only get in life what you have the courage to ask for”. Remember that quote. I was watching an Oprah Winfrey show and one audience member stood up and asked if Oprah would come and visit her small hometown. Everyone in the audience laughed because they assumed there was no way that Oprah would go. Two months later, Oprah dedicated a full show on visiting that small town. The woman was so shocked when Oprah arrived at her door with a TV crew. When asked why she obliged that audience member’s request, Oprah said “You only get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” I always remembered that.
A year after seeing that show, Fiona and I were in the process of deciding what our brand name would be. Fiona was reading an article about Gwyneth Paltrow titled “The Blonde Bombshell”. Starring at the name, we realized we could change the spelling to BALM (as in lip balm), and there it was, BALMSHELL, the perfect name for a cosmetic line. We went to trademark our perfect name, thinking it was not being used. To much disappointment, we learned that REVLON owned the name. Our lawyer was quick to advise us to think of another name. We had fallen in love with the name Balmshell. I started researching the U.S. trademark database and found that the trademark was going to expire in 6 months. I was so excited when I told my lawyer the fantastic news. However, he informed me that after the six months, Revlon still had an additional six month grace period. I was so upset. There was no way we could wait for a whole year for the name.
That’s when it dawned on me, “Why not just ask Revlon to drop the name?” Our lawyer laughed at me and said he could write a letter, but it would probably sit on a desk, never get opened, and it would be expensive to assemble (not to mention how much Revlon would charge, if they decided to give us the name). We wanted that name so badly. Then Fiona and I were reminded of that episode of the Oprah show and that quote that spoke so strongly to us. I decided to take matter in to my own hands, and call the Revlon trademark lawyer in New York, directly. I left a message explaining the situation. Two weeks went by and I had heard nothing. Then, one day while at work I got a call from John O’Shea (I will never forget his name). I gave him all the information and politely asked if Revlon would drop the name. He said he would look into it. Two days later, he called back. “Okay” he said, “Revlon will drop the name but it is going to cost you.” I held my breath and asked “How much?” He answered: “$100 US to transfer the name over.”
Two days later Revlon ended up dropping the trademark for us and we picked it up without spending a cent. Right away we went to register www.balmshell.com and of course it was taken. I called the owner, determined to not give up. I told the woman on the phone that we wanted the unused URL. She said that she was going to start a lip balm company, and that once the trademark had expired from Relvon she was going to pick it up. I explained to her that we now owned the name. She quickly looked it up the U.S. database and saw that we did indeed now own it. She then asked, “How did you get it?” I simply told her “I just asked”. So she handed over the website address.
“You only get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” It is important to understand that we didn’t own the name “Balmshell” in the beginning. If Revlon said “no”, it didn’t matter as we had nothing to lose.
What a truly inspiring story! So the question is… what are YOU going to ask for today?