Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


Meet Bee Shapiro, Founder Ellis Brooklyn

IBA member Bee Shapiro is living proof that beauty is in the details. Having started her career as a hedge fund attorney focused on regulatory compliance and securities regulation, transitioned to writing for the New York Times, and established her own business to create new perspectives on fragrance, Ms. Shapiro’s attention to detail is undeniable.

Named after her first daughter, the Ellis Brooklyn brand is nearly six years old and has thrived, even during the pandemic. Business doubled this past year. “Creating anything that people buy and enjoy is a huge accomplishment!” Ellis Brooklyn products are carried by retailers Sephora, Ulta, Blue Mercury, and Credo. They now offer 13 different scents and recently expanded into China.

Often described as a clean or sustainable fragrance line, Ellis Brooklyn is globally compliant, which means it can distribute in all international markets. They have a No-No List, barring certain ingredients in their formulae. Bee also highlights that the company infuses diversity into the mix. Ellis Brooklyn is woman-owned in an industry traditionally dominated by French men. As a world traveler and first-generation Chinese American, Bee presents a world view of fragrance.

As a new member, Ellis Brooklyn relies on IBA to help advance into international markets. Bee has an interest in serving on an IBA committee is an area that interests her and where she can make a difference.

Words of advice to the industry Newcomer:

If you are starting your career or transitioning from another path, “come with an open mind and some humility.” Do not necessarily assume that your skills will transfer if you are experienced and senior in another field or segment of the economy.

“My experience as a hedge fund attorney has enabled me to work well with corporate lawyers and trademark attorneys.” However, “as a long-time writer for the New York Times, I thought I knew a lot about beauty and skincare. And I did.

But I did not know the difference between press and marketing. I had to catch up fast.”

“Treat becoming an entrepreneur a new adventure, a whole new thing. There are aspects of running your own company you do not focus on when you are an employee. There are so many things to keep up with if you want to have a successful business and thrive.”

For anyone already in the beauty and skincare industry, there is a lot of trench work that needs to go on. “I encourage everyone to step back from time to time to look at the Big Picture, to re-set your focus.”

Comments on work-life balance?

“I do not believe there is such a thing as work-life balance. I put everything on the calendar and prioritized. Going to recitals is just as important as taking a meeting, which is as important as working out. I schedule these activities. I ask myself how to get the support I need from my network to thrive. Great staffing helps! I am fortunate to have a nanny. I need to show up for my family; I cannot be too tired or distracted by work. We must look at what we need to have a successful business and a thriving family.”

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