What's it like to start your own cosmetics company from the ground up? A thrill ride not for the faint of heart, to be sure! To get the straight facts from someone who's been through it all, we talked to Michael Perich, founder of Camp Cosmetics. The burgeoning brand has already made its way to QVC and offers a variety of unique SKUs, plus the mission behind Camp is truly remarkable.
See what Michael had to say about his career and experience -- from looking fabulous around the clock to the importance of family and what's possibly the best '80s flick of all time!
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Q: Hi Michael! So tell us about your background. What was your early life like, and how did you become interested in beauty?
A: Well, I grew up with three older sisters and my mother, and as a child I was always amazed and intrigued by the way makeup transforms
a woman’s confidence and self-esteem -- especially when she's challenged with a full day ahead of herself. But I was raised around women who didn't leave the house until they knew they looked the very best they could -- even if they were just going to the mailbox! There is a certain admiration I have for women who want to look their very best every day, because it says "I care how I look," even if for no one else but themselves.
Q: When did you take your first steps into the beauty industry?
A: I was inspired to pursue my career directly after high school by actually stumbling into the industry due to always being (and I still am!) a very inquisitive individual. So I said to myself, “Self, give it a go!” And here we are, 20 years later, moving along at full steam ahead.
Q: How did your company, Camp Cosmetics, come about?
A: About nine years into living and breathing this industry, I became turned off by the constant pressure of selling for the sake of selling. That, coupled with the fact that [my hometown of] Chicago is in the smack center of the Midwest -- and despite being a top global city, it didn't have any ultra-modern end-user product that blew everything else out of the park -- led to the birth of Camp Cosmetics. I didn't want any of the stuffy, all-black clad, overused nonsense verbage, no ego and no "selling." Beauty and looking good should be fun, uplifting, memorable and it should by no means have the level of seriousness that comes with saving babies from a burning building! So many people in the world today take themselves way too seriously. It's life, not a dress rehearsal, you know?!
Q: Where did the name come from?
A: "CAMP" stands for Cosmetic And Makeup Professionals, but I play on the word “camp” with the marketing and names of our products. The real definition of being “camp” is simply:
adj.- being so extreme that it has an amusing and perversely sophisticated appeal.
Q: What's your business mission?
A: My mission is to continue to brand a Chicago-bred, born and raised line that keeps gaining momentum, while showing women how simple and easy it can be to look good and have truly healthy skin. Every day at our location in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, I hear women say, “I should have come in sooner!” Which is why, in spring 2016, we're moving our to a new location seven times the space we have now. It's a very exciting time for me and this company. Life is about evolution and challenging yourself -- I mean, how boring would it be to constantly read the same page of a book all of your life? So many memorable stories have happened in our location, and many more will no doubt be had in the new location!
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: The free time that I do have, I love spending time with those in my inner circle and showing them how loved they are by me. I cannot fix the world, and you'll go crazy if you try. So never let someone occupy a space in your soul if they're not paying rent, and the rent fee is love.
Q: What are your words to live by?
A: I pretty much live by: “Do not worry, for worry is the thief of joy.”
Q: What's your fave movie?
A: Favorite movie hands down, of all time, without an eyeshadow of a doubt, is Big Trouble in Little China. I have seen it over 1,000 times easily since 1986. You either love it or detest it.
Q: Can you share with us the most important lessons you've learned along the way?
A: The most important lessons I have learned in life:
1. Faith, period.
2. To love unconditionally and forgive completely, self included.
3. NEVER try to change someone; pros with pros and rookies with rookies.
4. To never dim my light or shrink myself. Hate me, loathe me or love me; that has no bearing on how I view myself. I know COMPLETELY who I am, where I've been and where I'm going.
5. No one can make anyone feel inferior; people do that to themselves.
6. DNA makes one related; actions make one family.
7. Always hold a place for people in your heart whom you've outgrown or grown apart from.
8. Do not tell me you love me, show me. Do not tell me you're sorry, show me. (Actions matter most.)
9. Lotions, potions, powder and paint will make you what you ain't!
10. Never forget where you came from, your roots. A zip code doesn't define who you are.
11. Money cannot buy you happiness, but it can buy you stuff. And stuff doesn't mouth off to you!
12. Auntie Mame said it best: “Life is a buffet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live, I say! LIVE, LIVE!”
13. Consider the source.
Read on for more info on and photos of some of Camp Cosmetic's best sellers!