On April 12, Belmont Abbey welcomed 1993 alum Jennifer Walsh to campus to speak about her experiences as an entrepreneur. The talk was in a question and answer format to keep the mood more informal. Walsh majored in Business while she was at the Abbey and after graduation, she held a number of positions at different businesses but she never found anything she felt called to do. She began learning about makeup artistry when she wasn’t at work. One day she got pulled onto a television show to talk about makeup because the planned guest was unable to attend. Since then, Walsh has appeared on television in some way or another at least once a month.
After her first few television appearances, it seemed like her new-found passion for makeup could turn into a successful business. In 1998, Walsh founded a store called Beauty Bar. “I was doing something no one else was doing,” Walsh stated, “there was no Ulta or Sephora at that time.” Within a couple of years, Beauty Bar was a huge success. Walsh had opened multiple locations in Florida and launched what became a massive website business to coincide with her stores. At that time no one was selling beauty online yet. “I wanted my stores to feel like my home,” Walsh told the students. She sold Beauty Bar in 2010 and worked a year with the new business. In the middle of that transition, Amazon ultimately bought Beauty Bar.
Walsh spoke about how your business ventures may not always be successful but if you see an opportunity to do something no one else is doing, take the chance and never to let the fear of failure stop you. As an entrepreneur, one should never start a business for the goal of only making money. “You have to have a passion for what you do,” she said.
As a serial entrepreneur, Walsh is working on something new. Her latest venture is into the wellness space with her platform, Walk with Walsh. She invites business leaders, innovators, and community leaders to walk with her in New York City’s iconic Central Park to discuss what it means to be a healthy leader and how that effects teams, the bottom line and the community as a whole. Walsh is truly focusing on the importance of being outdoors, walking in nature, and green space for our overall health, especially our brain health. Walsh even launched an Alexa Skill called the Walsh Wake Up where she shares daily business tips while walking in nature. Walsh believes that it is important to share our stories. Our stories make us who we are and by sharing them, we become closer to one another.