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Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea that Can Change Your Life Hardcover – May 6, 2008

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this breezy business how-to, Australian cosmetics entrepreneur King seeks to empower other women to start their own companies. King launched her business at the age of 18 after a fruitless quest for the perfect matte lipstick incited her to create her own brand. Within a year, she was the sole owner of a million-dollar company, Poppy Industries. King intersperses vague exhortations to daydream and fantasize with snippets from her success story to illustrate her business basics: Keep it real, she says and Watch out for bad omens. She also includes exercises so rudimentary they're almost patronizing. For example, she exhorts the reader to go online and punch in, then start entering different key words that describe your idea. More nuanced content does arrive later, when she breaks down the elements of successful marketing and cold calling, but even this advice is undercut when King reveals that her company eventually failed. One of her last lessons to her readers is how to bounce back from depression, in keeping with the general direction of this book, which offers less pointed business advice than simplistic self-help. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Breathless, energetic, and somewhat disjointed in chronology. This is the rise-and-fall-and-rise-again story of Poppy King, a young Australian entrepreneur who began a lipstick-only manufacturing company at age 18. It’s told in a series of more than 60 lessons (repeated at the end of each chapter), interspersed with “My Story” monologues, covering every conceivable business question from “Where do I start?” to “How do I find financial partners?” Learn about her successful cold call to a Barney’s cosmetics buyer, her commonsense approach to marketing and public relations, and her do-it-again attitude as she loses her company and starts another venture, Lipstick Queen. Don’t expect facts, figures, statistics, or even lists of resources. Do expect to get engaged, to laugh, and to be inspired by the ups and downs of Business Life 101. --Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743299574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743299572
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book a lot. It's a book written by a female entrepreneur who started her own company in Australia when she was 18. She winged it, and somehow it grew to be a real success despite her lack of a formal business plan. But eventually her lack of proper planning caught up with her and the company was forced into bankruptcy and as a result she lost control of it. This book is a compilation of 61 lessons she learned from her experience riding the wave of success as her company grew and then fell. The lessons are grouped in the following 12 chapters:

1. You already have ideas (1-6)
2. From ideas to decisions (7-13)
3. Research is simpler than it sounds (14-19)
4. Looking closer (20-23)
5. The road map (24-27)
6. On the money trail (28-33)
7. Marketing: Anyone can do it (34-38)
8. Putting yourself on the line (39-43)
9. The greatest show on earth (44-48)
10. Now you're moving (49-53)
11. The err is human (54-58)
12. Keep the flame alive (59-61)
Epilogue: The last word on the very beginning

This book is about following one's dream, taking risks, and going with an idea that could be built into a company. It is filled with words of wisdom regarding entrepreneurship. It is motivational, and includes tips and annectdotes that just about any wanta-be entrepreneur will find useful on their road to starting a small business of their own.

I wish I could list all 61 of the lesson titles in this review. But that wouldn't be fair or right. However, the 14 lesson titles that were my favorites were:

5. Fantasizing is essential
14. Avoid Complication
15. The destination determines the journey
16. Go back to school
24. Close the information gap
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F. del Castillo on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is about following your dreams and learning from your mistakes along the way. It is about never giving up even though the journey ahead appears hard and painful. It is a truly inspiring positive book filled with insight and wisdom.
Poppy King's honesty and humor makes this book a real joy to read.
Enjoyed thoroughly the "My Story" sections that were written with the specific lessons.
This is a truly beautiful book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Blair on May 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Poppy King, a self-taught entrepreneur who started a multi-million dollar company at age 18, shares her insight and wisdom in this beautiful book. Her specific lessons - ranging from how to make a fantasy an idea and an idea a decision, how to benefit from SWOT analysis, and how to shrewdly navigate the market - lead the reader through the journey of creating and maintaining a successful product (something she has done more than once!)

King's honesty and humor inspire but never overwhelm. Her advice is generous, logical, and level-headed. Keep it simple, keep it true, and be YOU, she tells us.

Having this book on my shelf makes me feel like I've got a big wonderful secret at home. It is truly hard to put down. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever dreamt of making a difference - in any field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca K. on June 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
After reading the first few pages of "Lessons of a Lipstick Queen", the reader will understand that Poppy King's recollections of her life lessons are heartfelt and genuinely meant to inspire and educate future female entrepreneurs. She does not write in an arrogant manner and claim that she is a business "guru", rather she admits her mistakes and humbly relates her successes. These are the lessons she wishes someone had told her about but also the experiences that she knows one has to live personally to understand. "Lessons of a Lipstick Queen" is both the traffic sign warning of a bend in the road and the car in front of you who confirms that it can be maneuvered successfully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Bassick on May 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this and couldn't manage more interest than casually flipping through to read the "My Story" sections. The advice itself seemed too vague and general to really be helpful.

Possibly helpful for someone who just needs some inspiration. Not so helpful for anyone looking for specific advice.
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Format: Paperback
Let me preface this review by saying that, growing up an aspiring young female entrepreneur in Australia, Poppy King was my first and for many years my only role model. Her influence on me was profound and to this day she remains one of the "5 people I'd invite to any dinner". As you can imagine then when I saw her book on the shelves I jumped at it straight away. I've always wanted a greater insight into the "Poppy story", what went so well and also what went so wrong. Let me get the parts I didn't like out of the way straight away. The book was a little too Americanised for me. I get that it's being published in America and is predominantly for an American readership, but this little Aussie thought it strange to hear examples about Thanksgiving that could have just as easily been examples that would be relevant world wide. The voyeur in me also would have liked a bit more of an insight into exactly what didn't work in Poppy's business partnership, it was mentioned but forgive the pun "glossed over" a little. I also found that the "her story" parts of the book jumped about and were a little difficult to follow sequentially. That aside - did I enjoy the read? Yes. It was written from the heart, by a real person and by someone that's obviously had to go through a whole heck of a lot in her journey from being the media's darling to being raked through the mud. Will this book change my life: probably not, but there are some great nuggets in there for any aspiring entrepreneur.
Kirsty Dunphey, Author [...]
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