Client Connections

Client Connections

Most of my clients at Turnkey Beauty Inc. are a pleasure to work with. But every once in a while, there’s one who seems determined to make things as difficult as possible. Or I should say, their employees do. 

The client, who shall remain nameless, was, indeed a sweetheart, someone you know and love. She wanted a line of bright blue cosmetic brushes, and because she was constantly on tour, she hired four women to manage the project.

From the get-go, their demands were far more complex than those outlined by the client. It didn’t take but a hot minute to know that they were going to be PIAs (pains in the ass). 

The first demand involved the Pantone Matching System (PMS)® that contains every variation of every color used in manufacturing. The system is hundreds of pages long, and to the cosmetic business, it’s like the Bible. You are virtually not allowed to go into production for ANYTHING without a PMS number. 

None suited the four women. They wanted the exact color of the royal blue Range Rovers that were popular year. We had to request color chips from the dealership, then spend months trying to match the PMS colors to the paint color on that friggin’ SUV. 

The next glitch was that the PMS number assigned to the matching color was considered “bad luck.” They insisted on finding a number that had good karma. You can imagine my rich vocabulary at that point in the process. 

Finally, finally, the color was agreed upon. Next came the brushes themselves that have three parts: the bristles, the ferrule (that little piece of metal that holds the bristles to the handle), and the handle itself. Instead of leaving the number of bristles to the experts, they wanted exactly 1,500 hairs. 

Eighteen months into what should have been a six-month process, I presented the brushes for review. I watched in disbelief as those ladies took out a hammer, nailed the brush to a board and proceeded to count the bristles for two damn hours. 

The result: 1,487. They rejected the brushes.

That was the last straw. For the first time in my career, I fired a client—not because of anything the celebrity had done—but because I couldn’t deal with those lunatics she hired for another minute. At TurnKey, Inc., I only take on a limited number of projects and I had prospective clients waiting.

Then there are the clients who are super fun and defy description like The Real Housewives of Orange County that aired on Bravo. They commissioned me to develop an energy drink called OC Energy, plus a lipstick. It was crazy from the get-go. The gorgeous, young, voluptuous, girls were jealous, gossipy, volatile, and snarky. In other words, they had all the elements required for successful “housewife” stars. 

I appeared on the episode where they introduced OC Energy and a hair-pulling, name calling, hitting fight broke out between two of the women on camera. It got so out of hand that one of the head honchos, Lou Knickerbocker, had to separate them. The entire experience was a blast and a half!

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