If you visited IBN's flagship website home page this week, or if you are one of the 3,100+ people at our social networking site then you know about my report that IBN's first member, Kathleen Lewis of Kathleen Lewis Beauty Worldwide, passed away last week after a brief illness. While I only met Kathleen in person once, the meeting was extraordinary. Over the past decade, I shared many phone calls and emails with her, and I got to know her well as a business woman and professional colleague. Here are some of Kathleen's products, which arrived today from Rubber Ducky, one of the high end online boutiques that still has some of her goodies in stock.
Featured in this photo from left to right are: Sage Travel Soap, Good Plain Travel Soap, Narcissus Soap (full size bar), Verbena Bath Salts, Sage Lotion, Vitamin Bath and Body Oil, Sage Travel Candle, Sage Travel Bath Salts and Sage Bath and Body Oil.
Kathleen made many of her products by hand from scratch. Everything smells delicious! Under normal circumstances, I would have already started using them. These products are different though. I will keep them in a special place. They will be a continuous source of inspiration and encouragement for me.
Kathleen was witty, down-to-earth and friendly. She was everything a role model should be. She was a true leader. She was an incredible mother, a loving daughter, a beloved wife and a remarkable friend to many. She was healthy and fit. She was an avid runner. In fact, when I run these days, I often think of Kathleen.
Earlier this year, when Kathleen renewed her IBN membership for the 9th straight year, she told me that, even though her busy schedule did not allow her to participate actively in IBN, she wanted to continue her membership so she could do her part to inspire and encourage other women that they too could accomplish their goals in the beauty industry.
Her words, “I will always be a member of the IBN.” I cried when she said it.
Kathleen is one of those people who demonstrates the best part of humanity. Her spirit lives on in the products I now surround myself with, and also in the lives of the many people she touched around the globe.
Kathleen's soul is a part of the fabric of the Indie Beauty Network. After all, Kathleen's membership application was received when I didn't know whether my idea for a trade organization to serve small cosmetics manufacturers would survive or die on the vine.
If it had not been for Kathleen Lewis, IBN may never have become the organization it is today. It is 800+ members strong, each one of us propped up by the work she did to ensure that handmade beauty products took their rightful place on the pages of magazines like Women's Wear Daily, O the Oprah Magazine, Lucky, Self and so many others that had previously ignored the handmade movement.
Everyone who makes and sells artisan, Indie and handmade beauty products stands in some way on Kathleen's shoulders.
When you think you can't take one step further in your business — that it's just too much work and too hard and you're dog tired — think of Kathleen. Then proudly stand on her shoulders. She would want you to.
Question: If you've ever tried Kathleen's products or her life has inspired you in some way, please share your experiences in the comments section here.