Bluemercury: Marla and Barry Beck

The story of Bluemercury is packed with business lessons—for starters, it’s always good to have a backup plan. That’s what Marla and Barry Beck discovered in 1999, when they realized their startup online cosmetics business was going nowhere fast. They begged the bank for a second loan so they could invest in a brick-and-mortar store in Washington, D.C., and Bluemercury was born. More lessons followed: as they grew, they distinguished themselves by offering high-end brands and personalized service, and by locating stores in fashionable urban neighborhoods, not malls. Today, Bluemercury is owned by Macy’s, with nearly 200 locations across the U.S. And Barry and Marla—who got married somewhere around the launch of store 4—raised three children along the way.

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