EPISODE 114

 

After 12+ years in marketing positions for various Estée Lauder brands, Maura Cannon Dick needed a break. After the birth of her second child, she took it. Treasuring the time for her family and herself, she also knew when she was ready she to get back to the beauty world. But this time she wanted to do it on her own terms. Through thorough networking, thoughtful skill sharpening and a unique ability to show potential clients what she was worth, she has built an impressive consulting business that lets her keep her fingers in all the things she loves about the beauty business. But now she takes time for her family and herself and structures her work so that it enhances but doesn’t dominate her life. Hear Maura’s full story, complete with helpful hints on how she did it…and how she continues to do it.

AnnouncerWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty™, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey there, it's Jodi Katz, your host of Where Brains Meet Beauty™ podcast. Thanks for tuning in. This week's episode features Maura Cannon Dick, she's a consultant in the beauty industry who I met at the Beauty and Money Summit last September. And if you missed last week's episode, it features Victoria Watts, founder of VictoriaLand Beauty. I hope you enjoy the shows.

Hey, it's Jodi again. Before we launch into this week's episode, I want to tell you about an organization called Helpsy. I first came across Helpsy thanks to our Base Beauty team member Julie Chen's Instagram. And she was with her friend walking into Bloomingdale's to see Helpsy containers, and I didn't know what that was, and I did a little research, and I really believe in their mission, so we wanted to partner with them for the month of July. So it's hard to believe, but over 85% of clothes wind up in the trash. Helpsy makes reusing and recycling your clothes and shoes more convenient and easier than ever with over 1800 collection containers and growing. You can find your closest collection container and learn more at helpsy.co, I hope you check it out. Thanks so much. Enjoy the show.

I am so excited to be sitting again next to Maura Cannon Dick. She is an operating advisor for North Castle Partners, CMO of FitSkin, and working on strategic projects at MAC. Welcome back to Where Brains Meet Beauty™.
Maura Cannon DickThank you for having me today, Jodi, I'm excited to be here.
Jodi KatzSo, full disclosure, you and I recorded our pod a few months ago, and the file was just corrupt, and we couldn't use it, so you have generously agreed to come back so we can do this again together.
Maura Cannon DickYes. Happy to be here. It's a much nicer day than back in December, right?
Jodi KatzWell, I'm super grateful for your time, and you have many roles that we want to talk about. But let's start with my favorite question, which is, how will you spend your day today?
Maura Cannon DickGreat. So I was up bright and early with my children and we had breakfast together, and then I headed into the city. I had a second breakfast with a friend this morning in the beauty industry, and then after this I'm heading into the office for the day. I'm working on an interesting project at MAC Cosmetics.
Jodi KatzAnd you'll be there all day today?
Maura Cannon DickYes. Be there all day today, and then I'm seeing another friend for dinner before I head back.
Jodi KatzYou make the most of your city days.
Maura Cannon DickI do, I do. Pack it in.
Jodi KatzThat's my strategy to stack them. I just make the days as stacked as I can.
Maura Cannon DickExactly.
Jodi KatzSo what is a normal day for you, right, if you're an operating advisor and a CMO, and working on strategic projects, like, how do you organize your time?
Maura Cannon DickSure. So you know, what I wanted to do, my goal after leaving a full time career after 12 and a half years, was to really create a flexible new career, right? That has diversity in my day. So I've been able to create, wear multiple hats, have multiple jobs, and really be able to plan out my time accordingly. Currently I'm at MAC so I'm in an office two or three days a week for that role, and then my other days when I'm not necessarily in the city I'm able to plug in my time as needed and it's been great, and I've been able to build in more time for me and for my children, which has been the goal as well.
Jodi KatzAnd do you all of our collaborators understand your personal goals in crafting what you want this career to be?
Maura Cannon DickYes, yes. And I've been able to really work for some nice people that understand that, which I think has been really important. And if you don't ask, you won't get what you're looking for, and I think it's really important to really protect your family needs and needs for yourself as well, as much as you can. Obviously there's some weeks where I have to let that go a little bit, but I do try to maintain that as much as possible.
Jodi KatzOn the weeks where I'm having like, this feeling of, "This is not what I signed up for," I just think to myself, well, it's over in a week.
Maura Cannon DickExactly.
Jodi KatzRight? It's like short term, and after that everything gets back to normal.
Maura Cannon DickExactly.
Jodi KatzAnd I'll have my like, work at home, going to Trader Joe's days.
Maura Cannon DickYes, exactly. And it's a total balance, right? Like I'm constantly looking at my calendar like a puzzle, figuring out which pickups and drop offs I can be at, which games I can make, what activities I can drive them to. And then when I can't, right? And then balancing that and making sure it works.
Jodi KatzLet's talk about how you organize your calendar. Are you a digital calendar person? Are you a write it down on paper type of person?
Maura Cannon DickCompletely digital.
Jodi KatzOkay. So are you blocking off? Like I actually just started doing this.
Maura Cannon DickYeah.
Jodi KatzBlocking off like, this is my gym time.
Maura Cannon DickTotally.
Jodi KatzThis is my like, feeding kids breakfast time.
Maura Cannon DickCompletely.
Jodi KatzHow detailed do you drill down?
Maura Cannon DickYeah, no, I block off, I block off the whole day. So I really can stick to my goals and make sure things happen and errands happen, calls happen, independent work time happens, et cetera. No, I've always done that. But I've always done that in an office as well. Any spare time is blocked off with what I'm supposed to be doing then. To stay focused.
Jodi KatzSo this is really new for me.
Maura Cannon DickYeah.
Jodi KatzMy whole life, I thought that structure, like we're talking about right now, was locking me into a prison. And what I've realized really very recently, like in the past few months, is that is actually freedom.
Maura Cannon DickWell you can always move it. If I don't get to it, I just find the next open slot and bump it up there, or you can always do, you know, the evening shift, or the next day. So I mean, I definitely, things get moved on my calendar. But I make sure, then it happens the next day.
Jodi KatzI was spending, I think, so much what they call psychic energy thinking, "Which train am I going to take home? When am I going to go to the gym?" Like, and it took up so much time and space in my head that now that I'm actually blocking these things off, I have freedom.
Maura Cannon DickTotally. And coordination with your family as well.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickWhich is so important to do.
Jodi KatzSo let's dive into your history in this industry. How did you start your career in beauty?
Maura Cannon DickSure. So I was working out of undergraduate business school, I was working in advertising as a media planner. And it was an interesting job, but it was very specific. So I was working closely with my clients, who were brand managers, and I quickly realized that I wanted to be working on the whole picture and developing products and bringing them to market and working on all aspects of the job, versus just the media. So I quickly identified that I could work at a beauty company or a fashion company in New York City, where it's headquartered, and work in a global marketing role, and be at the center of the wheel. Versus, yeah.
Jodi KatzYou know that I'm going to ask you who you were buying media for.
Maura Cannon DickYes. So I was buying media, my first role out of college was for AT&T Wireless. And I unfortunately delayed my start date by a couple weeks to get settled in New York City and buy some extra time and home with friends, and so when I arrived my first day at Media Edge I was informed that I was switched to the 1-800-Call-ATT account. And Jodi is giggling, because the talent was Carrot Top, which is a comedian who's actually still performing in Vegas. When I was at CES this January, Carrot Top was performing at my hotel. So that was clearly not super exciting for me, but I really look at the bright side. My management clearly showed me that I had a $100 million media budget, right, for 1-800-Call-ATT, which was an opportunity, right, to learn all about buying TV, national spot TV, etc. So that was interesting.

But after a year, I really begged to switch accounts, and I switched to Pepperidge Farm. And I worked on cookies, swirl bread, Texas toast, etc. Which was interesting, it was more print, so I got to learn the print side of the business, some radio. I think we had one TV commercial for Milanos back then. But I got to work closely with Y&R, who was creating the assets, and then we were the media company. So it was fun. But I was definitely itching to get into a category that I felt much more passionate about, personally and professionally.
Jodi KatzThis is the first I'm hearing about Pepperidge Farm.
Maura Cannon DickYes.
Jodi KatzAnd I'm excited about that. We actually are big consumers of the cinnamon swirl bread.
Maura Cannon DickOkay.
Jodi KatzI make french toast with it.
Maura Cannon DickNice.
Jodi KatzAnd my son loves to call the cookies farm made or something.
Maura Cannon DickCute, so he falls for all the marketing.
Jodi KatzTotally.
Maura Cannon DickThat's perfect.

It's all from Westport, it's all from Westport, Connecticut, and in the meetings they had swirl bread, like, you could toast it and bring it into a meeting, it always smelled amazing at their offices. And Goldfish, I also worked on Goldfish, which was like, the big key media account.
Jodi KatzRight, oh my god.
Maura Cannon DickAnd we did product placement in a movie back then, you know, probably 18, 16, 17 years ago. Which was a really big deal, as well.
Jodi KatzAnd what was the movie?
Maura Cannon DickGarfield?
Jodi KatzOh wow, that is a big deal.
Maura Cannon DickYeah, there was a big display, end of the aisle in this grocery store that Garfield crashed into. And I think maybe he ate some of the Goldfish.
Jodi KatzDid you ever see the movie Mr. Mom?
Maura Cannon DickProbably. I'm trying to remember. Steve Martin?
Jodi KatzNo. I'm blanking on his name.
Maura Cannon DickOkay.
Jodi KatzBut Teri Garr who plays the wife in the movie, she goes to get a job in advertising.
Maura Cannon DickYes, yes, yes, I'm remembering this. I'm remembering the baby like, diaperless and, okay.
Jodi KatzAnd she works on the Schooner Tuna account, and it just makes me think of, I don't know. Thinking about like, packaged food goods makes me think of the Schooner Tuna account.
Maura Cannon DickExactly. It was interesting, you know, I learned a lot. I definitely, it was great, two years out of college, you know, I learned how to be in an office and be professional and work with clients. And we were entertained a lot working in media, which was fun. I went to Broadway shows, the US Open, basketball games, you know, it was a really fun way to experience New York. But I was excited to get over to brand marketing, for sure.
Jodi KatzHow did you find your way into beauty?
Maura Cannon DickSure. So I started talking with friends and telling everyone this is what I wanted to do, and a lot of people politely smiled and said, "Those jobs are very competitive, you know, good luck." Or, "You might need your MBA to get those jobs." I did study business as an undergraduate, so I felt confident that I could do an entry level type marketing job. I had previously been advised to go to advertising first, you know, and then I could maybe segue or then get an MBA. So I started talking with people and doing a lot of cold calls, a lot of emailing to HR people. But ultimately it was my personal network that helped me get an in. So a good friend of mine from growing up said, "You know, I do know Jane Lauder, would you like to meet with her?" And I said, "Oh, that would be great." So I had a catch up with Jane, and you know, expressed my love of the company and excitement to work in beauty, and I'd also been talking to other friends of friends within the company. So it all kind of came together.
Jodi KatzSo you're like 25 years old at this point?
Maura Cannon Dick24
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon Dick24, and she asked me what I thought was the most interesting brand. And the one I shared in that meeting was a brand they had just sold, you know, the week before.
Jodi KatzOh!
Maura Cannon DickAnd I didn't know. But that's okay. She still, you know, forgave me for that. It was a little embarrassing, but she was super nice.
Jodi KatzWait, but she was about your age, too.
Maura Cannon DickYeah, a couple years older.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickA couple years older. Working at Beauty Bank, I think, which had just started.
Jodi KatzOh, yeah. That's a good idea.
Maura Cannon DickWhich was fun. Yeah. So it was great. And I started at the company on Clinique fragrance, actually, my sister's friend had told me about the opening and so I started as an associate in marketing on Clinique fragrance. Which was 100% fragrance free brand and I was in the fragrance department so it was definitely not the sexiest category or the one that got the most attention, but I had a terrific mentor and leader as my boss and learned a lot, because it was very leanly staffed, fragrance. But we did have a big media budget, again, which was interesting, and I think my media background appealed to them. And I worked on Clinique Happy, and the flanker, Happy Heart, Happy to Be, and the Aromatics Elixir, limited edition bottle and all these exciting projects that I can still remember today. I saved them, actually, I remember.
Jodi KatzOh, really?
Maura Cannon DickLike my first production pieces, first, I was like, "Oh my goodness, I made this!" You know, and had it, I think I still have them. So that was really fun. And I got to understand the passion about the fragrance industry, you know, from all of our affiliates trying to bring back certain scents. You know, we still made something for the UK every year, for Harrods, that had been discontinued, and a limited edition solid perfume, you know, that certain markets really, really passionately wanted. So it was exciting, and I loved it.

But after a year I was then promoted to work on the promotional business. So I worked on the gift with purchase for Clinique, which actually drove a third of our business back then, you know, in the US department stores, very traditional model, but it was exciting. We got investment money to make the program more enticing. We partnered with editors to curate and select different sets, which was actually really fun, and we did our first designer collaborations on bags. So Trina Turk was our first designer, and then Milly, so that was really an exciting time to be on promo. But I definitely got itchy to get back to product and started, you know, having my conversations after about a year again, and got back over to product. And then I worked in makeup marketing for two years on the face category, and at that time I was also in graduate school at FIT for the beauty cosmetic and fragrance marketing and management masters program.
Jodi KatzOh, that's so cool.
Maura Cannon DickSo I was doing that in the evenings, which was great. And then I moved over to skincare, where I was so excited to finally get, after many years at the brand, because skincare is really the heart of the Clinique brand. So I ran Clinique Three Step. I also worked on the anti aging category at one time. I ran Clinique For Men, devices, cleansers, makeup removers, almost every category I worked on by the end. But it was really an exciting, amazing brand to work for.
Jodi KatzAnd how many years in total were you at the brand?
Maura Cannon Dick11
Jodi KatzOh my gosh, that's a long time.
Maura Cannon DickA long time.
Jodi KatzSo, go back in time 11 years when you started talking to your friends.
Maura Cannon DickSure, yes.
Jodi KatzWhen you were working on Pepperidge Farm. Did you know that your network would be able to get you, like, to Clinique? To Jane Lauder?
Maura Cannon DickYou know, I hoped. I really hoped it would, you know, because I, through, I feel like, this was really, predates LinkedIn. This predates almost all of our resources, right? It was really just talking to friends, going out and having coffee with people. Every time I had dinner with someone, emailing friends, I had some friends in beauty that would send my info to HR and give me a name and number to follow up, you know, that I would go to a conference room and call them, you know, once a week, once a month. Depending who it was. So it was just persistent follow up, I have to say. I did have to take my role as a long term temp. It wasn't even a permanent role, when I made the switch.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickWhich I think at the time, Estée Lauder kind of looked at me quizzically, "Why are you leaving a full time job to come do this?" And I said, "I really want to do it, this is where I want to be, I'm willing to take this risk." And, you know, I think, I was excited. I was hoping it would work out. It definitely took six to nine months, I would say.
Jodi KatzWhere did you learn to actually ask for what you were looking for? Like, where did you learn to, as such a young person, be able to say, "I really want a job in beauty. Do you know how I can get connected with anybody?" How did you know how to do that?
Maura Cannon DickI guess from just talking with friends. You know, I was also in the undergraduate business school at Georgetown, which was very career focused and career oriented. My dad always was, ran his own business for 40 years and was always an amazing influence in instilling confidence, encouraging me to ask questions, "All questions are good questions," he would always say. "Go after what you want," whatever. And he would always coach saying, "Whatever you're most passionate about, you'll be most successful in. Really try to align that as much as you can." So I think I would just, I think I just, I don't know. I guess I just started chatting with people and asking and, I knew living in New York, it's such an exciting place with so many dynamic opportunities, that something was bound to, something was bound to work with all the balls I had going in the air.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome. I'm very impressed by it, because when I was that young I didn't think that, I didn't know I could ask friends for help, I really didn't. I mean, I could ask them to go out with me and do this, or travel.
Maura Cannon DickYeah.
Jodi KatzBut I didn't know that for those really meaningful things, that I could lean on people. It wasn't until like, I had kids, and I was still acting so self-sufficient, then I'm like, "Oh, I need someone to help pick my kid up at gymnastics," and I like, finally asked a friend for help and I'm like, "Oh my god, that feels really good."
Maura Cannon DickYeah.
Jodi KatzSo I didn't learn that. I didn't know that. I had to figure it out. So I'm super impressed that you knew that at such a young age.
Maura Cannon DickYeah, well, and even being reminded now, in my alternative career, that I'm creating and constantly sculpting and evolving and changing, the career coach I work with who I absolutely love always encourages me to go back to my personal network first and foremost. That will be your best, you know, best results, from people that know you, willing to help you, and that people, I think she always says people are always happy to give advice, to make a referral.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickAnd there's a third that I'm forgetting at the moment. But it's easy, right? Don't ask, don't tell them your life story.
Jodi KatzRight.
Maura Cannon DickA quick breezy email. Asking for one specific thing. And that people are usually happy to help you. And I'm always, and I always, you know, pay it forward and give back, and I've been currently helping two family friends find their first job in beauty upon graduation. One has an internship and one has a full time job. So I'm super excited for them.
Jodi KatzOh, that's so nice.
Maura Cannon DickAnd it's been really fun kind of like, reliving, you know, pounding the pavement, staying on people, reminding people. Because you get really busy, working in this jobs. And that it's okay to check back in, don't wait around.
Jodi KatzRight.
Maura Cannon DickSo I've been reliving it with some current 22 year olds right now.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome.
Maura Cannon DickWhich has been fun.
Jodi KatzSo why did you leave Clinique?
Maura Cannon DickSure. So I was really, I was there for so long, you know. I felt like I grew up there. Some people, some of the senior team looked at me like I was still 24, I think, and some of them, you know, that were newer, met me later on in my career. It was an amazing experience. I felt like I really got the most out of it. I traveled the world, I had led lots of interesting insight projects. Interesting launches. I got my masters degree when I was there, I had worked on almost all the categories. So I was really excited for a change and to do something new, and they knew that. And they allowed me to go to the Origins brand, which was part of the cluster at the time that Lynne Greene was overseeing. So it was a wonderful experience to go to Origins and oversee all product marketing, not just a segment. At Clinique I was always running a piece of the business because it was so big. So Origins, I was in charge of everything and it was even smaller than my one category.
Jodi KatzWhat do you mean, everything?
Maura Cannon DickAll products.
Jodi KatzReally?
Maura Cannon DickYeah. So all product marketing at Origins, and it was smaller than my one category at Clinique. But it was really interesting, and we had a huge focus on the mask category, and a lot of fun there. And the mask category was traditionally quite small and prestige and really doubled, tripled, you know, year over year for the past few years. And we went into Sephora as a brand when I was there and opened new markets. Launched a lot of interesting innovations, because we were smaller, we could partner with third party and launch fairly quickly some really incredible breakthrough innovation, as well as partner with our R&D team and bring things to market much faster than a bigger brand like Clinique, which was really fun and exciting. And Origins was a little bit more laid back culture wise, as well as in the marketing and the consumer communication, so that was a fun change as well. We were doing incredibly well in China, which was also a really fun experience to spend time in the market and understand the consumer and what was really resonating about our brand.
Jodi KatzWhat years were you at Origins?
Maura Cannon DickSo I was at Origins 2015 through the end of '16. So like, a year and a half.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative). That feels like a minute ago.
Maura Cannon DickIt was a minute ago. I know. But I had a second baby when I was at Origins.
Jodi KatzOh, you did, wow.
Maura Cannon DickWhen I arrived. I arrived pregnant, which is, you know, always interesting when you're starting a new job. I arrived six months pregnant. So I had three months, got fully up to speed, and then had a baby and came back three months later. So that was definitely a little disruptive, but the team was so supportive and amazing and kind, and really helped me as much as possible. So after realizing coming back from my second baby, I traveled I think four weeks internationally in the first couple months back. Especially in the first month back, I went on two big international trips and it was definitely a lot, with two young boys that really needed mom. And I ultimately decided to leave the company later that year to focus more on my kids, and really be around more. I loved Estée Lauder, and it was an incredible experience. Amazing mentors, wonderful company, beautiful brands, but it just wasn't the right fit for me at that time. Full time with conference calls in the evenings, conference calls early morning, travel, et cetera. So one of my, my older son needed extra attention, developmentally, so I really needed to be around to manage that.
Jodi KatzAnd how did you come to that decision? This was, I'm sure, not an easy decision.
Maura Cannon DickYou know, I honestly 100% thank my mother, who started chipping away, years earlier, right. And I was always like, "Okay, yeah mom, I'm fine, I can do it. I can do it. I can do everything," you know. But then quickly realizing, I really couldn't do everything and you can't do everything well, right?
Jodi KatzYou certainly can't do it all at the same time.
Maura Cannon DickAnd that you'll never regret pausing to help a child that needs that extra attention. And she really, really made that clear for me and helped me see it. And someone who was a wonderful mother, I only aspire to be as the wonderful mother my mom was for us. So I think she really helped me realize that. And that I think now I've been able to show her that I can have a career, it's maybe not that level, it's slowly ramping up towards that level again and I know she's getting a little nervous. She was like, "Okay, well, you're doing this, and this, and quickly it's going to lead to greater things." But I think, you know, they're getting older and they'll both be in school full day a year from now. So, you know, you blink and I think it's really great I've been able to stay relevant and do operating short term engagements as well as having an ongoing relationship with the private equity firm I work with, as well as the startup I work with. So it's been interesting and fun, but I think it was a super hard decision, but I realize now you can always go back, too.
Jodi KatzRight.
Maura Cannon DickIf you stay engaged and relevant, the company, knowing the company language, knowing people there, it just, it works very fluidly.
Jodi KatzI do think that there is a huge fear for women that if they take a break, coming back will be a huge mountain to climb or not possible at all.
Maura Cannon DickYes.
Jodi KatzAnd, what would your advice be?
Maura Cannon DickSure. So you know, I've been working more alternatively, having more remote work for the past two years, and I just started a few months ago in a short term engagement like, back at an Estée Lauder brand, and it was like no time had passed at all.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickAfter two days, you know. I quickly was like, plugged back in, you get right back into it, and I sort of said to my boss, she was like, "Okay, I really need you, I really need you." I said, "I've changed a little bit. I have other priorities, you know. I'm not going to be here at 8:00 at night." And she was like, "No, I totally understand." I said, you know, "I might leave, and I can keep working, I'll have my laptop and my phone as needed. But I definitely have priority, I have trains to catch, I have, you know, kids to get home to." And you know, they've been great about it. And I think you realize that you can totally do it. And I encourage all of my friends that have exited their careers, that are starting to think about it, just to do it, just to go, you can always try something, right? And as I said to them, I said, "Can I try it for two months and see how this goes? And we can scale up or scale back, and take it from there." So you don't have to bite off something too permanent, either.
Jodi KatzRight.
Maura Cannon DickAnd that it's important to try to test the waters and see what the best fit is for you. But to definitely take the leap and do it, because especially the sooner the better, to stay relevant.
Jodi KatzYou know, what I hear in your voice is a lot of courage. And I'm sure some of our listeners who might be in a similar position, like thinking about, "What am I going to do next? How am I going to get back into it" Would think, "Oh, I can't say to somebody, for this high profile opportunity, 'I'll just give you two months and we'll see.'"
Maura Cannon DickYep.
Jodi KatzLike, that, this sort of resigned sense that you're not in the driver's seat, but you are in the driver's seat.
Maura Cannon DickYeah. No, and you're busy with other clients. And you've got other things going on, too. So it's not, I think, you know, I couldn't give up my other two ongoing opportunities that I have, which I made clear that I needed to keep those going. I could scale back a little bit on one of them as needed, but you need to, you know, I needed to keep those opportunities going and they totally understand. I think it's worth having the conversation. I level set, right? I level set with them immediately. I think as long as you do that, and it's clear, then you'll know if it's a good fit or not. And the good, the best, there is a great fit for everybody out there. Whether it was, you know, this conversation could have gone very differently.
Jodi KatzRight.
Maura Cannon DickDid I have a lot of butterflies in my stomach? Yes. And my subsequent calls with HR, of course. But you have to stand for what you need and assess. I do think the world is evolving and changing and more and more companies understand remote work. Not all the time, but flexible schedules, half work weeks, et cetera. So I think it all depends. And if you carve out and define what your scope is, I think that's very clear as well. And then you have your specific projects, you're showing your deliverables, and then you can always take on more or pare back.
Jodi KatzRight. I mean, this is what companies need to do to be able to hire talent like you, right?
Maura Cannon DickYes.
Jodi KatzAnd my guess is you're supremely efficient, right?
Maura Cannon DickTry to be.
Jodi KatzIn a way that maybe you wouldn't even have been at 25, right? Because there's like, "Oh, let me shop online," and like all these other things, right?
Maura Cannon DickOh yeah.
Jodi KatzThat you spend your time doing when you're at work every day, five days a week.
Maura Cannon DickTotally. And so when you're there on a limited basis, like, I have my head down, getting stuff done, and I'm in an open work environment now, which is also very different. Much harder to concentrate for me. And the team's all very curious, and you know, have a lot of questions about, if they want to get my opinion on something, or you know, various situations throughout the week. So it is a juggling match concentrating in those environments. But it's fun, and it's much more collaborative, and everybody's all sitting together, which is interesting too.
Jodi KatzWell let's talk about FitSkin.
Maura Cannon DickSure.
Jodi KatzBecause this is, FitSkin is actually, I think, how we met, right?
Maura Cannon DickYes, exactly.
Jodi KatzWe were at Beauty and Money and you told me all about it.
Maura Cannon DickExactly.
Jodi KatzSo what is FitSkin?
Maura Cannon DickSo FitSkin is a piece of proprietary hardware and software that you attach to your smartphone. And through a custom software application, we read and analyze your skin for dryness, dullness, lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation. We can also do highly accurate foundation color matching. So we launched, we're a startup, a beauty tech startup. We launched with Neutrogena a year ago, September. So September '18 as our first partnership. So B2B partnership.

And they're actually selling our tool to clients, who can then download the custom app we created with them called Skin360, and they can better understand their skin and what's going on, track results over time, and really solve that pain point, "Are my products really working?" Right? "And which products should I be using from the Neutrogena brand?" Because Neutrogena has 40 cleansers, right? Tons of moisturizers, a whole interesting breadth of product. So this helps the client curate and understand what they should be using, and they also get a discount as part of their membership, right? Having this device.

So that's been really fun, we launched with Sephora Asia, so beauty advisors are using it in-store when a client comes in, to try to improve skin care sales. Which has been really exciting as well. And we have a few other clients being announced later this year in different categories like hair, foundation color match, et cetera. So we're really excited. It's been a terrific year, it's totally different working at startup from working a big company, but it's been an awesome experience for me working on business development, you know, going in and pitching to all, you know, my network. And really being put in the hot seat as the vendor, right?

So it's an interesting time, too, because the consumer is shifting and relying on phones and apps for a lot more aspects of their life. Consumers haven't really gotten into skin in this capacity yet, I think it's coming, right? It's definitely much more Asia-led in terms of analyzing your skin at, when you get a facial and things like that. So I think it's definitely a little ahead of its time and it's coming, the wave, and I think consumers are demanding more and more information and data and I think it's going to be really interesting, you know, what we can do.
Jodi KatzSo this is a B2B business.
Maura Cannon DickB2B.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickExactly.
Jodi KatzIs this your first time working in B2B?
Maura Cannon DickYes. My first time working in B2B and partnering with the marketing teams and our software developer, et cetera, so I'm able to impart insights but at the end of the day the client is always right and is in charge of what they really want. So it's been interesting on this side, but it's been great and an awesome learning. And it's really a testament to our company as well, that we're all remote. Our founder/CEO's in Toronto, our designer's in Toronto, and our developers are all in Romania, Lithuania, and we come together on calls, and emails, and really create, you know, what I think is some pretty interesting work for our clients. And it works.
Jodi KatzSo for a startup to get its first client as Neutrogena is a pretty big deal.
Maura Cannon DickYes.
Jodi KatzHow long did that process take?
Maura Cannon DickYou know, it definitely takes a long time. Lots of meetings. I have to say, the team really believed in us. The R&D and the digital marketing team were amazing to work with and really took a chance on us. And co-developed and co created and edited, you know, our algorithms and skin analysis and did clinical trials. So it was super interesting that, to work together and you know, they were truly best in class partners.
Jodi KatzSo as you evolve your alternative, what did you call it? Alternative work?
Maura Cannon DickAlternative career. Flexible.
Jodi KatzWhat do your friends ask you about the most, when they're curious about it?
Maura Cannon DickYeah. I think people are just curious, like, even how do I start? You know, I do probably a session a week with someone that's like, "How do I get started? What should I be doing? Okay, should I sign up to do expert network calls as a start?" Like, yes. The minute somebody leaves a job, sign up to become an expert in your field and you can talk about all this knowledge you have in your head that you're not even aware you have on the topic.
Jodi KatzWait, what is that? I don't even know what that is.
Maura Cannon DickOh, there's a ton of expert network companies that quickly find you when you leave a career and recruit you to their network to talk with clients such as private equity firms, hedge funds, consulting firms, et cetera on topics. Like, oh, I need to learn about the foundation category. And it's oftentimes more junior analysts learning about categories and spaces. Understanding bringing a brand internationally, how do you start? What do you do? How to optimize business in North America, or how to, what are best practices in D to C. Or the creative process. Like there's honestly, I've done calls on so many topics. So it's fun and it's a great way to stay engaged, keep up on your reading, you know.

What I learned through that process was that I really liked the private equity clients, and that that's, I wanted a longer term private equity relationship. So from having done that, it was really interesting, and that's how I got my position with North Castle Partners, was just, again, talking to friends saying, "This is what I want to do." Most people politely smiling, saying I need to be 50 plus and have to have been a CEO, right, to get an operating advisor role. But North Castle was excited to hire someone younger that really was at the pulse of the business and took a chance. And it's been a great relationship, helping them analyze beauty deals that come their way, help make introductions in investment process.
Jodi KatzSo then after you advised your friends in these sessions ...
Maura Cannon DickYes, yes.
Jodi KatzInformal sessions. What's the next step you advise them on?
Maura Cannon DickThe next step would be to really do some soul searching and think about what they want to be doing with their time. How much time they want to work each week. I mean, I know that's a basic question. What type of work they want to be doing. Do they want to be in an office? Do they want to be an advisor in their field? You know, some people immediately want to get right back into full time.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm (affirmative).
Maura Cannon DickAnd I think it's important to pause and do some soul searching, you know. When I left Estée Lauder my dad said, "Don't do anything for a year." And, I can't do that. I took three months off. I organized the closet, I, you know, did everything in the house. Was like, completely in perfect shape. And then I was ready to take on more. But I think it's important to do some soul searching, really think about your skills, what you like, what you really like to do. Because that's what you'll do best, right? What are your core skills? What are you not good at? What do you not really want to be involved in? And then you can really carve and create what the best career would be for you.
Jodi KatzI sort of see coaching in your future.
Maura Cannon DickIt's fun. I mean, I think it's fun. I think I love to share what I've learned from my amazing friends and network and mentors, with other friends. It's often repurposed advice that I will quote, you know, cite to them. But it's been great, and I've been really lucky to have a few people to rely on in this world as well in terms of negotiations and rates and, you know, because I started getting calls right away and people would say, "Well, what's your day rate?" And I was like, "Oh. Can I get back to you on that?" So now I have a good sense of all of those things. But it definitely, you need some coaching, whether it's from friends, networks, or a professional, I think, to really make sure that you're optimizing your time, using it effectively, and really mapping out what you'd like to do.
Jodi KatzWell, I am so grateful that you shared your wisdom with us again.
Maura Cannon DickOf course.
Jodi KatzAnd Maura did teach me something today, which is that I'm asking people to like us, and star us.
Maura Cannon DickYes.
Jodi KatzBut I just don't know where yet. So-
Maura Cannon DickWe'll figure that out together. I'll get back to you on that.
Jodi KatzThank you for looking out for us.
Maura Cannon DickYes, of course, thank you for having me.
Jodi KatzAnd for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Maura. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show follow us on Instagram, @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty™, with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

 

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