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Boom or Bust: Beauty Business in Bethlehem

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PBS39 News Reports



Behind the scenes at the Lehigh Valley-based cosmetics company that has expanded its produ

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (WLVT) - “Bounce, bounce, bounce!”

That is the technique one uses to achieve a flawless face with the now-iconic, egg-shaped sponge called the Beauty Blender.

And according to Beauty Blender president, Catherine Bailey, it’s a unique product that has changed the way people around the world apply their makeup.

Bailey said, “The tool itself actually created a category in the beauty industry. There was nothing ever like it out there...and from there we moved from the system to be able to clean it.”

The sponges are edgeless, re-usable and last for three months. Prior to the development of the Beauty Blender, Bailey said used sponges had to be thrown away on a daily basis.

“When we said this is a ‘keep’ sponge, re-use it, wash it, we’re charging $20 for it, people were like why would we want to do that when we can get a bag of wedges?”

Bailey added, “Our biggest hurdle was convincing people you’ll never go back once you try this.”

Beauty Blender is now an international company, being sold in countries from France to the Philippines.

The company’s roots began in Los Angeles. Hollywood makeup artist Rea Ann Silva designed an edgeless, egg-shaped sponge in the wake of HD television. She reached out to product developer Catherine Bailey in the Lehigh Valley with the idea.

Rea Ann’s past clients include Brandy, P. Diddy and Carmen Electra.

Bailey said, “Once some of the stars began to use it, their credibility is amazing.”

Now Beauty Blender works with several social media influencers like Kandee Johnson, Desi Perkins, and Mario Dedivanovic. Mario is Kim Kardashian's makeup artist.

Beauty Blender has won the Allure ‘Best of Beauty’ award eight times. The company has branched out from sponges to sponge cleansers, and most recently to primer, foundation and setting spray. The foundation is named “Bounce,” after the technique used to apply makeup with a Beauty Blender sponge.

Bailey calls the pair a “power couple.”

“We have the Blender (sponge) and we have Bounce (foundation). Together, it’s an amazing future ahead of us.”

She added, “What Rea Ann has catered to is all undertones...forty shades for all ethnic backgrounds.”

“It would be very difficult for someone not to find the right undertone or shade.”

From 2015 to 2017, Beauty Blender was recognized as the fastest growing company in the “Lehigh Valley Business” Fastest Growing Companies list.

And according to Reuters, the global cosmetics industry as a whole is expected to grow from $523.43 billion (USD) in 2017 to $805.61 billion (USD) by 2023.

“Charles Revson said a woman could always afford to buy a lipstick to feel better,” Bailey said.

“For very little, you can still look your best. And when we look our best, we feel our best.”

Bailey added, “We continue to grow. We’ve been here in the Valley since 2012.”

“We’ve expanded from, actually, my bedroom, to now about 65-thousand square feet. We have offices in New York and L.A.”

There are over 140 employees in the three offices. Although Beauty Blender has offices in New York and Los Angeles, Bailey said the Lehigh Valley office makes for an ideal headquarters.

She said, “It’s very cost-effective. It’s business friendly, environmentally-friendly, logistically-friendly.”

“We can ship anywhere and we ship all over the’s proven to be very advantageous for us.”

Six out of the seven leadership positions at the company are held by women. Those positions are Chief Executive Officer, President, Vice President of Global Sales, Vice President of Field Sales, Vice President of Global Communications and Vice President of Marketing.

Bailey has some advice for budding female entrepreneurs.

“It has to be your passion, because you have to dedicate the time, the effort, have the financial backing... and you have to believe in it.”