Tarte Cosmetics: Maureen Kelly


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Let’s say you had a passion but thought of it only as a hobby; certainly never the seed of a billion-dollar company. Plus, you are studying for a career in something unrelated to business. That’s Maureen Kelly’s story, CEO of Tarte Cosmetics. She was pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and already had TWO Master’s degrees when she realized she didn't want that to be her career. What she wanted was to launch a makeup company—despite having no significant start-up money, no experience, and no connections. How she did it is a story of pure moxie. She relentlessly knocked on the doors of chemists, manufacturers, retailers, and the fashion press. She maxed out her credit cards and enlisted the help of friends and family, turning Tarte into a wildly successful brand.

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