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Trendsetters at Work: Urban Decay's Newport Beach Office

Trendsetters at Work, Wende, Urban Decay Courtesy: Miha Matei

Just south of Hollywood, rests the headquarters of one the hottest beauty brands: Urban Decay.

Inside the stylish yet funky (there are walls of cool graffiti) Newport Beach, Calif., office dwells Chief Creative Office and Founding Partner Wende Zomnir.

The makeup maven took a break from her product testing (best job ever, right?) to chat with us about all about her nearly two decades in the beauty business:

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Trendsetters at Work, Urban Decay Courtesy of Urban Decay

What's a typical day like for you?
My first love is creating new products (because I am a beauty junkie), and I definitely spend time on that each day. But I also immerse myself into the marketing side, and work on how we want to talk about our brand and our products.

Describe the Urban Decay office.
It's a big, barrel-ceilinged purple space with concrete floors. We allow dogs (I think there are about 15 regulars right now), and the bathrooms each have a different theme. For example, one is "Alice in Wonderland," another one is a hunting lodge.

I love interesting light fixtures, so each conference room looks completely unique and features a showpiece chandelier. We have some great outdoor space to have a meeting or lunch, because it's Newport Beach, and our weather is always nice. We just installed a basketball court with purple lines and a purple rim. The workstations are built with formaldehyde-free composite material, accented by purple and silver file cabinets, and they all include rows of little shelves, sized just right to fit makeup. 

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Trendsetters at Work, Urban Decay Courtesy of Urban Decay

What do you typically wear to work?
The vibe is laid back people can wear whatever they want. My office style is all over the map. Sometimes I am dressed up. Other days, I wear shorts, cute shoes and a great top. And I wear a lot of jeans. I own denim in all different colors and prints—and love dressing them up or down!

Where do you shop for work clothes?
I love Net-a-Porter, and Shopbop because I like to get my shopping done while my boys are sleeping. But I also love some of the local boutiques for unique pieces and amazing service. I always have a hard time finding great shoes.  I am 5'11" so I do not need to add 5 inches. And I refuse to be uncomfortable. So I am always on the lookout for gorgeous shoes with a 3"-4" heel!

My favorite thing in my office/on my desk is. . .
It's either the large mirrored sign that says "Vanity Kills," pictures of the heli-snowboard trips to Alaska that I take with my husband, or a crazy feathered frog lamp (a gift from a good friend and UD employee).

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Trendsetters at Work, Urban Decay Courtesy of Urban Decay

I never leave home without . . .
Urban Decay's Naked Skin Beauty Balm on my face. It's sunscreen and skincare plus blurring pigments that protect and make you look good!

What is your guilty pleasure?
 Salted caramel gelato. A stop by the gelato shop and tasting new flavors is regular adventure for our family date night. 

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
I was agonizing over the look of our merchandising unit back in the early days of Sephora. Someone said to me, "You know, it's never done." That was so freeing because I was always trying to get the brand to this perfect place.  But that piece of advice made me realize two things:

1. I was free to keep evolving and reinventing Urban Decay.

2. We better never, ever rest on our laurels.

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What are your travel must-haves?
Wisps, my iPad mini, a wrap for the chilly airplane, lip gloss, Downy Wrinkle Releaser in a mini spray, Naked Skin Pressed Powder, squeeze packets of almond butter, a knitting project and sachets of Truition Energy that I can pour into water for an instant energy lift.

What are your beauty must-haves?
I must-have all of it. Seriously, my list of UD favorites is long, but awesome: Flash Eyeshadow, Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil, Naked Skin Beauty Balm and Liquid Makeup.  Supercurl Mascara, Brow Box in Brown Sugar, 24/7 Concealer Pencil, Naked Flushed on my cheeks, Naked Skin Pressed Powder, Strip Lip Junkie Lip Gloss, Super Saturated Lip Pencil in Big Bang, and Moondust Eyeshadow in Zodiac and Diamond Dog, All Nighter Setting Spray, the Naked Basics palette, and of course, Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

What keeps you fueled during the day?
In the morning, my boys make me a double espresso to go (I love my Jura Micro 9 machine!). You can often find me snacking on almond butter, and my go-to lunches are usually salads from Greenleaf, A Market or Wahoo's.

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My favorite gadgets for work and play are. . .
For work, I think that iPhone 5 is my lifeline, but my iPad mini is a close second.  And I have a love/hate thing with the Outlook calendar. For play, I love my tennis racquet, surfboard, snowboard, stand up paddleboard, my custom volleyball net and my mountain bike.

Can you share some advice for aspiring career girls?
Strangely, I will quote Sarah Silverman's memoir: "Make it a treat."  It's easy to go overboard with drinking, eating, shopping, sex, or whatever turns you on when you are newly out on your own.  How freeing to get away from your mother and do what you want, right?  Well, my advice to you is not to go overboard.  Whatever your "thing" is, make it a treat, and you'll always be OK. 

Second, take good care of yourself. That means eat right every time you can, and try to get some exercise.  You might be hot now, but unless you're a genetic freak, it won't last forever.  Besides, if you don't take care of yourself, no one will.

Third, wash your face every night.  I mean it.  And finally, try to learn everything you can about the business you're in. Don't just focus on your part. Even if finance and forecasting aren't your thing, try to understand the big picture and how it all fits together. For a long time, I thought if I just built a cool brand, made great products, and got good PR coverage, the rest would take care of itself. I was wrong. Good thing I married a CFO.

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