Which product didn't do as well as you expected? What did you learn from that experience?
That would have to be a holiday collection I created a few years ago. I was so inspired by my travels around the world and geometrical impact in architecture and fashion, I thought I would infuse it into the Elf packaging. We created these beautiful gold and white modern boxes with a geometric pattern and geometric makeup palettes. I think it was a bit too early for the trend to hit the mass market, so it didn't translate as well as I had hoped it would. I learned that trends need to be easily identifiable and translatable, and they should not be too abstract or early.
Tell us one unexpected way you use a cult product.
I love the Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia — it's one of my staples! And since I hate traveling with a million products in my makeup bag, this is my go-to product for working overtime and slaying the day! I use the bronzer also as an eye shadow and brow powder. And the blush as an eye shadow and as a mattifier top coat on top of my lip color.
What is your best advice to someone trying to break into the beauty industry in 2016?
Work hard and never lose your inner beauty. I remember when I first moved to NYC, a woman told me to lose my California vibe and dye my blond hair dark and not to smile as much. I took that as a challenge to stay the happy-go-lucky and vivacious individual that I am, because no career is worth losing your beautiful and unique identity.