On February 28, the School of Business organized the first of three entrepreneur lecture series for the semester. Lilit Caradanian, a graduate of the MBA program, spoke about her extraordinary entrepreneurial experiences to an audience from throughout the Woodbury Community. Lilit described her bold move from being a financial analyst at Disney into the realm of beauty educator as a pathway to starting her own brand, Elcie Cosmetics.
Lilit reflected on a course she took at Woodbury on Sunday mornings in 2008, in which the professor, now the dean of the School of Business, Dr. Joan Marques, asked the class, “If money was not an issue, what would you want to do?” The intention of this question was to get students thinking about their greatest professional passion, and exploring ways to engage in that.
Lilit carried this question with her after graduating, and realized that being a financial analyst, even at a prestigious employer like Disney, was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Ultimately—perhaps fortuitously—Lilit was laid off from Disney, giving her the opportunity to explore her options in the area of her passion. She had been performing as a makeup artist on the side for many years, and decided to dive fully into this passion, in spite of the many doubts that were cast in her mind by people who intended well, but were afraid that she might fail.
Despite the reservations, Lilit soon became a successful and highly coveted make-up artist and she started exploring the option of providing beauty courses to her many clients. Slowly, one student became four, then eight, then 12, and finally 14 in each workshop that she held. By that time, she had opened her own studio in Sherman Oaks—Lilit’s Makeup Studio—and brought a decade of experience and a modern perspective into workshops and beauty seminars. She used insights gained from her Woodbury MBA to develop growth strategies of her business. In addition to her work as a teacher, Lilit amplified her career through the digital space with her well-known fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, LilitCaradanian.com.
To her utter amazement, Lilit found that she was now making far more money doing what she was passionate about than she ever would have has a financial analyst. She credits her perseverance, and dedication for much of her success, and encouraged the student audience to cultivate those skills in order to ensure success in whatever their career path would be in the future.
Lilit shared with her audience how her dedicated online following helped inspire and encourage the launch of her own cosmetics brand in 2015, Elcíe Cosmetics. It was through that brand that she realized her goal of offering every woman the tools to recreate the looks she was teaching. Elcie’s first product, Micro Silque Foundation, won many awards including the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards in 2015 and Lilit has been featured in WWD, a world leading fashion and beauty publication, for her success as the owner and creator of Elcie Cosmetics. She has become a frequent traveler, presenter, lecturer, and cherishes her success as a brand owner.