“When you google my story, you see Denny’s waitress built billion-dollar empire, you see the highlight reel,” says Jamie Kern Lima, the founder IT Cosmetics.
Those parts are true: In college Kern Lima worked at Denny’s, and in 2008, she and her husband both quit their jobs (Kern Lima was a local news anchor at the time) and started a makeup company. Kern Lima wanted a foundation that would cover her rosacea (a common skin condition that causes redness on the face), so she created one.
The makeup line expanded from there, and eight years later, L’Oreal bought IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion in cash. Kern Lima pocketed roughly $410 million from the deal, according to Forbes, and for about three years she stayed on as CEO of IT Cosmetics, which made her the first female CEO in L’Oreal’s history.
But the rags to riches story is not the