Name: Kimberly Brown Lemler
Location: Elkhart, Indiana, U.S.
Reason for starting: I started the fragrance business for three reasons: 1. to help my husband to be able to retire. 2. for philanthropy 3. to show victory over the illness that told me I could never breathe fragrances again.
I was diagnosed in 1993 with MCS… Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I could not wear anything with a scent. I had to throw out all perfumes. As I was bedridden and battling sickness all of those years in the 90’s, I was determined that I would someday overcome the illness and go so far as to create and sell fragrances…. the very things which were making me ill. Mission accomplished!
How do you define success? Success, in my definition, is to be able to give away more than I keep. My goal with my business is to live on 10% of my income and give away 90%. I hope to make that happen one day.
Biggest Success: My biggest success within my business has been building fresh water wells in India in order to help relieve the suffering of water-borne disease as well as the suffering of the women who have to normally travel on foot long distances and carry heavy pots of water on their heads.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? The top challenge in the beauty industry is attracting the attention of beauty editors and store buyers. Hiring PR firms has not been the answer for us. We have found that PR does not have the passion for our company and products like we do. Therefore, we are now doing in-house PR, which has worked out much better.
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Who is your most important role model? My mother is my role model. She was a war bride, coming to this country in 1947, and had an incredible work ethic. She could sew, cook, clean, build cabinets, swing a hammer, wallpaper, garden, mow the lawn, and paint the house. You name it, she could do it. My husband says I have followed in her footsteps. I am happy to be my mother’s daughter!
Edited by The Story Exchange