Maureen Kelly and Tarte Cosmetics define Glam on the Go – make-up for real women on real time schedules. Why did Maureen trade in her PhD to found Tarte? How did she build her multi-million dollar success from a one bedroom apartment? In this episode of Women on Top, we find out how Maureen Kelly did it all despite a horrific personal loss on 9/11.
Maureen was born a make-up maven. At six, she mixed her own blush with a shaving cream base. But by college, to please her parents, Maureen pursued an unglamorous academic career – a safe choice, although she often confided in her husband Mark that she wanted to start a make-up company. And Mark got completely behind her. He felt life was too short not to follow your dreams. So Maureen maxed out her credit cards, created smash products and broke into the tough cosmetics world. But just as Tarte hit the consumer market, Mark died in the World Trade Center attack. Maureen’s world stopped.
Wracked with grief, Maureen could barely get out of bed, let alone run a company. However, Maureen wanted to honour the dream that Mark and she shared and could not abandon her employees. She kept Tarte going. With time, she rebuilt her life and built her company. Today, Tarte is booming. Its cosmetics are in the goody bags at the Oscars and on the cheeks of stars like Mischa Barton, Jennifer Garner and Britney Spears. Maureen just signed with Victoria’s Secret to supply them with exclusive products. Recently remarried, Maureen keeps an upbeat attitude in a very tough business. After all, Maureen feels, make-up is meant to be fun.