Winning the beauty game may be about speed to market for some, but for Nars chief executive officer
Louis Desazars and his team, it’s all about endurance. In April, Desazars and 11 of his colleagues participated in the Lavaman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Team Nars— which spanned the management ranks from Barbara Calcagni, vice president of global marketing, to Ratna Rao, associate manager of inventory and forecasting—raised more than $110,000 for the cause, an amount that surprised even Desazars.
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“When we started, we were nervous about achieving our goal of $75,000,” says the ceo. “I believe business is about making this world better, and I was amazed by how committed people were and how generous everyone was.”
The idea to participate came about last December, when Desazars was riding on the subway with Maria Aristizabal, Nars’ manager of visual merchandising, who participated in the Lavaman in 2011 to celebrate her triumph over cancer. Desazars himself had recently completed his first triathlon, and the duo decided to send out a company-wide e-mail inviting participation for the April 1 race. Thus a team was born. “I was amazed by the people who signed up,” says Desazars, “and how competitive some people are. I have a lot of achievers in the group!”
After three months of post-work and weekend training sessions, the group was Hawaii-bound and ready for the race, which consisted of a 1.5-K swim, a 40-K bike ride and a 10-K run. Everyone was assigned to different groups depending on their age, but all were immediately recognizable thanks to the vivid red Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil they wore. (“That was our signature,” laughs Desazars. “As soon as they saw the lipstick, everyone knew who we were.”)
Desazars completed the race in 3 hours, 2 minutes and 32 seconds (a team best). He plans on competing in more triathlons and is intent on finishing in under three hours, but this experience transcended personal ambitions. “Working as a team, sharing your tricks, what you’re eating, best practices — that passion and enthusiasm, it’s contagious,” says Desazars. “I had never experienced before being a part of a competition. There’s a lot of learning you can bring to your business life.”