Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For YPO member Charles Edouard Barthes, it's more than an aesthetic preference--it's business. No entrepreneur can afford to be a wallflower, but some markets can make it especially tough for a newcomer to shine. Barthes learned to stand out in the colorful world of cosmetics, rising to prominence in the fashion world as managing director for Jean Louis Scherrer before striking out on his own to found EviDenS de Beaute. This revolutionary anti-aging skin care line has been featured in such prominent publications as Vogue, Elle and Bazaar for its unusual marriage of East and West.
On a recent episode of my podcast, YPO's 10 Minute Tips From the Top, Barthes identified four key traits that help any leader look good.
1. Empathy -- Beauty is as beauty does.
Barthes drew inspiration from his wife's disappointment with available anti-aging products. Understanding her pain points were shared by many women,EviDenS de Beaute was founded on commitment to honesty. "There's too many lies going around in this business, and I wanted to create something that would not lie to women. Other companies were overpromising and not delivering." EviDenS de Beaute stands out from the pack because they "actually say what we do and do what we say for women."
2. Excellence -- Be as good as you look.
Barthes's commitment to honesty forced him to avoid the hype other companies use and focus instead on developing high quality products that keep customers coming back. "It's impossible to be 20 years younger using an anti-aging product," he explains. "But it's possible to slow down the aging process." Barthes quickly saw that could be a key differentiator. "It's a very crowded business field, but it is not so crowded when it comes down to good products. If you have the right product then it is not so hard to find the right clients." If you're the best at what you do, then other pretty products don't seem like real competition.
3. Expertise -- Cultivate beauty and brains.
Barthes began by establishing a lab tasked with developing products that worked, but he didn't stop there. EviDenS de Beaute maintains that lab to constantly study and test the company's products, and to explore ways of improving them. He recommends continually studying your product and industry to seek out its trends, and to identify new gaps and emerging problems.
4. Realism-- Practical is beautiful.
His products may help erase signs of the past, but Barthes is keeping a realistic eye on the future. He's not content to simply maintain the level of success he has already achieved, and has current plans to roll out a replicable business model across different countries. "The whole idea is to open 50-boutique spa in the next three to five years," he told me. "I want to say three but let's be realistic, it's going to take five years."
Each week on his podcast, Kevin has conversations with members of YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.