Celebrating Women Leadership in Consumer Products
WhenOctober 17, 2019
The Second Event in our Series Highlighting the Contributions of Women in the Consumer Products Industry
Presented with Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP
Thanks to everyone who joined our lively discussion with Divya Gugnani (Co-Founder and CEO of Wander Beauty), Maureen Lippe (CEO and Founder of Lippe Taylor), Lucy Wallace Eustice (Co-Founder of MZ Wallace) and Estelle Bailey-Babenzien (Co-Founder, Interiors & Experience Designer of NOAH), moderated by Carolyn Sekosan (Director, Consumer Products Group at Anchin).
This event served as a community for networking, discussing hot topics, and hearing first-hand stories from women who have made their mark in the consumer products industry.
Meet Our Speakers
Divya Gugnani - CEO & Co-Founder of Wander Beauty
Divya Gugnani brings 20 years of investment and entrepreneurial experience to her role as CEO and Co-founder of Wander Beauty, a company focused on multitasking beauty essentials created with global inspiration. Launched in 2015, Wander Beauty has proven to be one of the fastest emerging brands in the country, with over 20 highly prestigious beauty awards under their belt, plus a loyal following of A-list celebrities, top journalists and notable beauty and style influencers. Prior to that, Divya co-founded Send the Trend, an e-commerce site focused on personalized fashion and beauty, and sold it to QVC, where she focused on digital innovation. She is a serial entrepreneur and has co-founded multiple companies. Divya started her business career in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs and then moved on to private equity and venture capital at Investcorp International and FirstMark Capital. Divya is a self- proclaimed startup junkie, a food and fashion lover, as well as a beauty experimenter. She has appeared regularly on several shows on CNBC, NBC and MSNBC. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, BusinessWeek, TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Deal, and Crain’s, among several other publications. Divya has contributed to The Huffington Post, TODAYshow.com, Daily Beast, The Nest Magazine and Woman’s World. She is the author of the book Sexy Women Eat: Secrets to Eating What You Want and Still Looking Fabulous, published by HarperCollins. In addition to a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Divya attended the French Culinary Institute.
Maureen Lippe - CEO and Founder of Lippe Taylor
Maureen is obsessed with cracking the code on what makes women buy one brand and not another. A former beauty editor, brand spokesperson and TV personality, she’s always been fascinated with understanding the total woman -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. Maureen is dedicated to discovering the most impactful ways to connect brands with women, their families, and their health and wellness.
Maureen began her career in beauty editorial and left a lasting impression; at Harper’s Bazaar she was the first editor to incorporate health content into beauty pages, and at Vogue she forecasted trends to America’s top fashion designers. She also made her mark in the beauty industry; at Shiseido she led new product development, packaging and studying how trends affect purchase decisions.
Maureen went on to become a spokesperson for major beauty brands including Clairol, Dove, and P&G, and an on-air personality for ABC-TV’s “Live with Regis Philbin.” Maureen not only performed the first televised makeover, she also completed over 2,000 transformations around the country. And her weekly segment wasn’t simply focused on the external -- she worked with women on exercise and diet, body image and self-esteem. Throughout her career, Maureen has been a trailblazer in studying women, inside and out.
Maureen founded Lippe Taylor in the early 1990’s, motivated by the lack of PR/marketing innovation she witnessed as an editor. By developing creative strategies for connecting with consumers, Maureen has successfully launched more than 100 brands. She has provided high-level, brand-building solutions for global leaders including Procter & Gamble, Clairol, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Galderma, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, The Gap, Kmart, Sears and Nordstrom. From product development and consumer product marketing, digital communications and issues management, Maureen has helped her clients decode the female consumer to build brands and grow sales. Most recently, Lippe Taylor partnered with a leading social influencer platform to introduce the “Lippe Taylor She Speaks Women’s Buying Behavior Index,” which continues as ongoing research. With this proprietary research, Maureen continues to study women’s purchasing habits and anticipate trends.
Maureen is deeply committed to cause-related marketing and providing brands with charitable connections. In addition, she was the only non-physician member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, former board member of Fashion Group International, Cosmetic Executive Women, and the Women’s Venture Fund, and was honored by the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation as a Woman Who Cares. Maureen also sits on the board of the PR Council and is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society.
Maureen is also a supporter of multiple women-focused charities such as Save The Children, Unicef, Look Good / Feel Better and Step Up Network for Girls which she has aligned with brands like Elizabeth Arden, P&G, RB, and IKEA. Maureen has worked for many years with Women in Need where she spearheaded multiple inner city initiatives aimed at elevating women and their children out of poverty and into private housing. Maureen also launched The SHEQUALITY Project, which she designed to help women executives rise in the ranks of PR agencies.
Maureen wants her colleagues and clients to walk into Lippe Taylor and feel like they’ve stepped into their second homes. To do so, she has considered every detail of her unexpected and innovative loft offices, which have been featured on NBC Live, Time Out and mediabistro.com. As a mother and wife, Maureen knows the importance of a work/life balance and encourages colleagues to have lives outside of the office. Not surprisingly, Lippe Taylor continues to win the “Top Places to Work in PR by PR News. A strong believer in mutual trust and respect, she has created a unique culture of consideration that begins within the agency staff and extends to all of her clients.
Lucy Wallace Eustice - Co-Founder of MZ Wallace
Lucy Wallace Eustice is the cofounder and designer of MZ Wallace — a New York City-based brand that designs innovative bags and accessories. Prior to launching MZ Wallace, Lucy established a career in fashion editorial, culminating in the role of Accessories Director at Elle, before turning to design and product development to work with European luxury brands such as Manolo Blahnik and Patrick Cox. Seeing an opportunity to address the needs of the modern, on-the-go consumer, Lucy founded MZ Wallace with Monica Zwirner in 2000, intent on establishing a brand that seamlessly combines timeless appeal and solution-driven design.
Estelle Bailey-Babenzien - Co-Founder, Interiors & Experience Designer of NOAH
British born and of half Ghanaian descent, Estelle graduated with a B.A. in Fashion at Central Saint Martins School of Art in London. Estelle moved to NYC in 1999 where she worked in creative management with musicians D'Angelo & Mark Ronson among others, for several years. In 2007, she formed her consulting company, 'Dream Awake' which started as stream of inspirational curation in the form of her popular Tumblr blog. Through this business she continued her design career as an independent creative designer where she concepts and creates interiors, retail & hospitality spaces, furniture, photoshoots, events, and travel experiences. Estelle has over 15 years of experience in the creative realm, developing visuals & brand direction working with an array of companies; from commercial brands such as Donna Karen & Victoria’s Secret; to start ups and boutique brands such as Lois London & The Crabby Shack restaurants. Today, Dream Awake Inc. is a full service Interior Architecture and Experiential Design studio focused on sustainably enhancing life.
Estelle is the the Co-Founder, interiors & experience designer of menswear brand, NOAH, which was re-birthed in 2015, with her husband, founder & designer, Brendon Babenzien. Together, they seek not just to be arbiters of culture, but active participants, striking the consummate balance between making healthy profits and leading an exemplary life. They believe their business responsibility is not just about the relationship with the environment, but the relationship with each other. Their staff, suppliers, stockists, and consumers are treated with the same amount of reverence. Noah is about more than the business itself. The retail space is a cultural hub where ideas are shared, generational gaps are bridged, and relationships are strengthened. It’s about creating an active community, not idle consumerism.
Noah has stores in New York & Tokyo, and ‘shop in shops’ inside Dover Street Market’s of London and Los Angeles.
NOAH plans to open more national & international retail locations within the next year.
Estelle & Brendon reside in Brooklyn with their four year old daughter, Sailor.
Carolyn Sekosan - Director in Consumer Products Group at Anchin
Carolyn Sekosan, CPA, is a director at Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP and a member of the Firm’s Fashion Industry Group. She has more than 20 years of experience providing audit and accounting services to privately held businesses in the commercial sector.
Carolyn has worked extensively with retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and service companies. She serves a range of clients from developing companies to well-established businesses with specialties such as apparel and jewelry, art, and law. Her experience extends to assisting clients in securing financing.
In addition to serving her clients, Carolyn also assists in the career development of the Firm’s professional staff and is involved in Anchin’s mentorship program. She is a member of Anchin’s Women’s Initiative Network (AWIN) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).