Lessons from Desiree Rogers

Written by Jodie Patterson, Cofounder of Doo Bob Beauty.com

“Transitions of any kind require patience”, says Desiree Rogers, and then a swift and courageous power move.

I had the opportunity to sit with Ms. Rogers, the CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. – owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. As the former Social Secretary to the White House, Ms. Rogers is known for thinking out of the box and making bold moves. We chose to meet at NYC’s posh private member’s club Norwood. Ms. Rogers arrived in a well- tailored dark pants suit with a crisp white collar-shirt. Her makeup was impeccably done in all neutrals (both skin and foundation were flawless). Her hair, her signature, was the most sophisticated pixie I’ve ever seen. I had asked for this meeting in order to get a deeper understanding of Fashion Fair’s positioning and to hear directly from The Boss, what her next steps would be.

Over coffee Desiree walked me through, her ideas, her inspiration, her vision for this giant of a company. She is a woman who doesn’t think small, ever. Her plan is to go from First to Best. To take the cosmetics brand we all respect as a pioneer of Black beauty in the 70’s to being the brand we all actually use today.

Fashion Fair is a classic, it’s well loved and sells out on our site, my very own grandmother earned her PhD in the 70’s while wearing FF. Plain and simple, FF is our Chanel. It will forever be on a pedestal. But, is it sexy and spontaneous? Does it feel fresh? Can it seduce you, grab your attention and hold it? Desiree Rogers believes so.

As a 43 year-old woman and someone who’s used to being on the older side of the industry, these questions ring true for me. Can something old(er) be something hot? Can something we’ve loved for years be something we lust right now? Women ten and twenty years my junior are dominating the beauty industry. Think Elaine Welteroth, Beauty Director at Teen Vogue, and Katia Beauchamp Beauty Tech mogul of Birchbox. There are smart and beautiful younger women all around.

While I sit with Ms. Rogers, I’m reminded that in life, we must evaluate our positioning and then make a power move. And so I ask myself, “Where do I stand. As an older woman, what is my position? What does being in my mid 40’s actually mean? Well, let me tell you, compared to being young, it is like night and day. It is like winning vs. winning the gold at the Olympics. Young ladies, this is not a diss, it’s a fantastic peak into your future.
Oder women are sexier. We just are. And I believe it’s because we’re no longer glued to our bodies or those damn mirrors. Older women are having what I call outer body experiences – where we’re in our zone. Busy, determined, and egocentric in the best way. We’re tuned into what works for us – from product to lifestyles to friends to indulgences. And we’ve cultivated our favorite things.

As we get older, our beauty is more about our feelings than our features. And we start to use product as our tool. Think Oprah and Faye Dunaway, Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad, Desiree Rogers. These women are some of the most beautiful babes we know, because they’re confident. They’re sexy because they own it. Even if they weren’t mega stars, you’d stop and notice them first in a crowd.

If truth be told, there are things that are happening to my old(er)body and my aging physical beauty that I really don’t prefer. Follicles are failing, skin is shifting and fat has taken strange detours. But that’s when outstanding products and good routines becomes essential. I religiously use a hair regenerating tincture, an under-eye cream, a body sculpting lotion and an all-eyes-on-me lipstick – there’s no shame in my game. The beautiful flip side to getting older is there are things that happen to our confidence and our drive that give our beauty the most powerful boost.

You may be asking how I went from Desiree Rogers and Fashion Fair to me myself and I. It’s just how the mind of an old(er) woman works. We’re forever connecting the dots, finding deeper meaning and driving home a strong message to our team. To my ladies: There are many things that can make an older woman feel pitiful, hair loss and sagging skin are the nicest of the bunch. But we can be pitiful or we can be powerful. We can’t be both. Find what makes you powerful and then make your move.

Will all the older ladies, please stand up!

Follow Jodie Patterson on Twitter @Doobop_beauty | Image Source: Doo Bob Beauty | Desiree Rogers