Michelle Pfeiffer Image Credit: Entrepreneur
Michelle Pfeiffer Image Credit: Entrepreneur

Michelle Pfeiffer: "Follow Your Own Rules"

Michelle Pfeiffer wanted the fragrance industry to change its ways. The fragrance industry said no. That’s when she discovered what it really means to be an entrepreneur: If you want something done, you do it yourself.

Jason Feifer

When Michelle Pfeiffer calls someone, they generally answer. It’s a benefit of celebrity. And so, many years ago, when Pfeiffer wanted to solve a problem, she assumed the solution would be that simple. “I did what, traditionally, a lot of celebrities do, because that was really the only thing that I knew,” she says.

She wanted a fine fragrance company to create a “transparent” product—that is, a perfume or cologne that would list every ingredient it contains, just like you’d find on the side of your morning cereal box. Nothing like this existed, but perhaps, she thought, that’s just because nobody like her had asked for it. She started reaching out to major cosmetics brands (she won’t name names, but think about the bottles you’d find at Macy’s) and offered her services to them: If they made a transparent fragrance, she’d attach her name to it.

They all said no. “They were unwilling to be 100 percent transparent,” Pfeiffer says. A movie star’s unstoppable star power had met the immovable object: the secrecy of the fragrance industry.

Pfeiffer never really desired to start a business. She’d accomplished plenty as an actor, and a new career wasn’t on her bucket list. But now she faced the kind of crossroads that creates entrepreneurs: Something doesn’t exist in the world; there is a problem to be solved. And there’s only one way to solve it. I w

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