Founder & Former CEO, Laura Mercier Cosmetics
Janet Gurwitch is the founder and former CEO of Gurwitch Products, the company that produces, manages and markets Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare, a global brand of high-end niche cosmetics now celebrating its 14th anniversary. Gurwitch managed and oversaw Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare’s day-to-day business operations, as well as strategy development and retail negotiations.
Gurwitch joined forces with famed makeup-artist Laura Mercier in 1996, after realizing the imminent paradigm shift in the beauty industry, propelling niche lines to the forefront of the cosmetics business. The combination of Gurwitch’s business savvy and foresight coupled with Mercier’s talent provided a solid basis for a strong, growing business based on technique and a high-quality product.
Now available in more than 800 stores in 27 countries, the Laura Mercier line includes an extensive color collection, skincare line, bath and body collection and instructional video and website, which cumulatively grossed more than $200 million in 2009.
Prior to founding Gurwitch Products, Janet Gurwitch was the executive vice president of Merchandising at Neiman Marcus, where she set the strategy and oversaw the ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes and cosmetics departments from 1992-1995. Gurwitch began her career at Foley’s Department Store, where she was the senior vice president of Merchandising.
In 1999, Gurwitch was named a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for Houston, TX, and in 1994 BusinessWeek included her as one of the “Top 50 Chief Executive Prospects in the Nation.” Gurwitch was the 2008 co-chair for the March of Dimes’ Best Dressed Luncheon and was inducted into the March of Dimes’ Best Dressed Hall of Fame. She was also named one of Houston’s “50 Most Influential Women” of 2010 by Houston Woman Magazine.
Gurwitch is on the board of La-Z-Boy, Inc.; board of Urban Decay Cosmetics and advises Castanea Partners Private Equity Group in Boston. At Rice University, Gurwitch is a member of the Jones School Council of Overseers and an adjunct professor in management. She is also on the board of the University of Texas Health Science Center. She lectures at the following business schools: University of Texas, Rice University, University of Houston and University of Alabama. Gurwitch was the recipient of the Cadillac Texas Spirit / KHOU-TV Award in 2007.
She resides in Houston, Texas, where she’s the chairman of Gurwitch Interests.