DC-born Bluemercury celebrates 20 years in the beauty industry this fall

As husband-and-wife duo Barry and Marla Beck step down from the company, CEO Marla looks back at the legacy she will leave behind.

marla beck with mascara at desk
Photo courtesy of Bluemercury

Barry and Marla Beck first started Bluemercury as a neighborhood cosmetic company in historic Georgetown and now, exactly 20 years, more than 150 stores and several awards later, the husband-and-wife duo is stepping down. 

The recent announcement by brand owner Macy’s, Inc. came just after the company celebrated its 20-year anniversary this month. From the annual anniversary beauty bag to in-store events with well-known brands, CEO Marla Beck wanted this year’s celebration to stand out. 

Bluemercury, which is widely recognized as one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing luxury beauty chains, also debuted several exclusive products in honor of the milestone, ranging from a dry shampoo bottle to limited-edition highlighter. Another addition this year includes the Blue Rewards program, which offers clients experiences like exclusive access to in-store events and new brand launches. 

“We wanted to launch a program that not only rewarded our clients for shopping with us through beauty reward cards, but through one-of-a-kind experiences,” says Beck. “We are the first retailer to go beyond treating our client to a birthday gift, but offering a birthday experience with a complimentary spa treatment and makeup service.”

While COO Barry Beck officially left the company on Sept. 20, to pursue new ventures, according to a press release, Marla Beck will continue as CEO until Macy’s, Inc. finds a replacement. 

Here, Beck shares her experience with the ever-changing beauty industry and what she hopes women across the globe will take away from her 20 years leading Bluemercury. 

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four products from Blue Mercury
These four products either received a new label or are brand-new to the shelves of Bluemercury, in celebration of the 20th anniversary. The R+Co Anniversary Death Valley Dry Shampoo, $32 (left); Lune+Aster Limited Edition Real Glow Highlighter, $34 (middle); LAFCO Bluemercury Spa Diffuser, $48 (top); Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Duo, $375 (right). (Product images courtesy of Blue Mercury)

How has your strategy changed to match the current beauty trends over the years?
Our mission has always been to be the best at giving beauty advice and creating a friendly, open and energetic atmosphere around helping people find the best beauty products. We are always listening to what our clients and beauty experts are loving—and what they think is missing from our shelves. In 2012, clients were coming into the store looking for skincare with powerful ingredients but without parabens. This led us to create M-61 Skincare, which is the top selling line at Bluemercury today. We followed by launching Lune+Aster Cosmetics in 2015, a line of vegan cosmetics. As our client’s lifestyles shift, we make sure our merchandising shifts along with them.

What is it about your job that keeps you coming back to work every single day?
Our beauty experts and clients continue to inspire me and keep me motivated to bring them the best in beauty! My favorite part of my job is when I go into the stores and hear what they are thinking about and what they are interested in. One of the first questions I ask is, “What are you loving right now?” It tells you so much. So many of the ideas for new products come from our customers.

You’re a successful CEO at a booming company. How do you see that impacting young women right here in NoVA and across the country?
For young women, I believe it is important to see role models that look like you. When I was growing up, there were very few female leadersmuch less any female CEOs. However, it’s also important that young women know that Bluemercury was not an overnight success.  If you asked me 20 years ago if we would be here today, with almost 200 stores, I would have never believed it! I’ve had many failures in my life that brought me to this place today. I’ve also had countless people tell me no and that my idea for Bluemercury would never work, yet I kept pushing. I hope young women can see meand Bluemercuryand know that if they have an idea or dream to keep pushing, keep finding ways to move the needle day by day, to make it a reality.

What are you loving right now?

lune+aster black bottle of cosmetics
Lune+Aster PorePerfect Primer. (Photo courtesy of Bluemercury)

Lune+Aster PorePerfect Primer
The new, vegan primer blurs and diffuses the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, while providing a gentle mattifying, ‘filtered’ effect. 

Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow collection.
This limited-edition trio of weightless, micro-glitter eyeshadows—which includes two exclusive shades for Bluemercury—are infused with light-reflecting pearls to create high impact, sparking eyes.  

Heretic Parfum
A new addition to our conscious beauty program, Heretic Parfums are made entirely of naturally derived materials, blended in organic sugarcane alcohol. The ‘dirty collection’ is available in eight gorgeous scents.

m-61 skincare gel from bluemercury
The m-61 Limited Edition PowerGlow Peel is the company’s bestselling product. In honor of the 20th anniversary, the product is sold in special silver packaging. (Photo courtesy of Bluemercury)

M-61 PowerGlow Peel
This one-minute, one-step exfoliating peel resurfaces, clarifies and helps to firm the skin for a radiant, renewed glow. The No. 1 bestselling product in the entire Bluemercury store, with one box sold every eight seconds.

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