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What does it take to make a great brand?

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

What does it take to be a great brand? Janet Gurwitch, operating partner of Castanea Partners and former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics & Skincare, shares what she looks for in a good brand, such as staying true to your customer.

Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics – an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, vice president of strategy at Savage and I’m here today with Janet Gurwitch, founder and former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics. So Janet, welcome to the show.

Janet: Thank you, Robin, for having me.

Robin: Well, Janet, I want to talk today about some of the great brands that you’ve influenced, such as Laura Mercier Cosmetics, Urban Decay Cosmetics, and now even La-Z-Boy. I want you to tell us – what does it take to really cultivate a great brand?

Janet: I think the common denominator in those three brands is they were all very true to their customer. All three – Laura Mercier, Urban Decay, and Lay-Z-Boy are very true to their white space. They know exactly who their customer base is and everything they do from the product to the marketing is all about who they are going for.

Robin: Well, now, in addition to that brand building, you now invest in brands. So through your work at Castinaya Partners, which is a private equity firm based out of Boston, what are you really looking for when you’re making a good branding investment?

Janet: Great question. We recently, in fact a year ago, invested in Dry Bar. Dry Bar is a blow dry bar based in Los Angeles, and now we have 26 locations in the United States, and it’s a simple – I mean it’s interesting because all we do is wash your hair and blow it dry, but the experience is so fantastic, and if you go into one of our Dry Bars, I’d like to say it’s similar to Starbucks in that Starbucks has their own nomenclature, they have their own environment, and so does Dry Bar.

Robin: Well, I’m going to vote that we get one here in Houston, ’cause I think that type of brand experience is really needed here.

Janet: Thank you, and we hope to have three or four very soon.

Robin: Well, thank you for sharing that. This has been another edition of Brandonomics. Stay tuned next week for another look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Castanea Partners is a middle market private equity firm focused on investing in dynamic consumer brands, multi-channel retail and marketing services companies. The firm draws on the leadership, advisory and investing experience of its partners and professionals.

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