2013 Enterprising Women: Normajean Fusco
Founder, Equibal Labs
Normajean Fusco’s career in beauty spans more than 30 years and includes diverse industry experience—from aesthetics to consulting to beauty industry giants. Fusco studied in the U.S. and Europe, before spending several years teaching abroad. A pioneer, Fusco was among the first to introduce the European concept of skincare and the total approach to women in America, which is currently considered the standard protocol at luxury spas today. In 1981, she founded Equibal Labs, which manufactures a professional line of beauty products featuring Nufree, the only self-preserving antimicrobial, antibacterial hair-removal process in the world. Equibal also produces finipil antiseptic, which is used after hair removal to kill 99.999% of germs, reduce swelling and replace cataphoresis after electrolysis.
From where does your entrepreneurial drive originate?
From my family upbringing—everything revolved around education and business. The depression caused parents in my generation to preach hard work, intuitiveness and ambition. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and learn!
As you grew your company/brand, what “ah-ha” moments of clarity helped you shape its future course?
Change is constant (technology, advertising, and even beauty education). Everything is not used or made the same. You have to be willing to change and learn! Also, using the internet to educate.
As you shaped your company, what have been some of the biggest stumbling blocks?
The internet—There are no restrictions on marketing. There are good and bad qualities—not all people know how to distinguish the truth—but this is the electronic century so we have to learn how to use it well, including cell phones, computers, iPads, etc.
How would you describe your management style? What do you think makes you a good leader, and in what areas would you to improve?
I am too easy on people. I demand much more of myself than I do of them.
How do you set goals for yourself? For example, do you prefer more small accomplishable goals or fewer large goals? How do you hold yourself accountable?
The buck stops with me. This is a 24/7 job and I do not take failure well.
Throughout your professional history, what’s the best lesson you’ve learned after making a mistake?
Don’t make it again.
From whom or what do you draw your strength, courage, vision?
The universe? My upbringing? DNA? I don’t know. But when I had a life-threatening disease the infectious disease doctor who saved my life said I was too ornery and too much of a fighter to give up.
As you grew your company, what, if anything, has held you back?
Being a purist and a nice guy. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs?
What’s the best thing an employee/colleague ever said about you?
I never learned so much about the business or how things worked until I worked for you.
If you were training another woman to takeover your job, what’s the most important advice you would offer her?
Learn everything about everything and have the stamina of an Olympic athlete.
If you were to look at scrapbook of your professional career, what would be your favorite page? Which page would you like to remove?
My favorite page are the formulas created, my least are the death of people close to me.
If someone were to write a book about your life, what would be an appropriate title?
At What Price Beauty?
If you weren’t in the beauty industry, what would you be doing?
Science, industrial applications, creating things to be better.
What are you working on now? What’s your next professional step?
Research development and patent work on antiseptics/sanitizers/disinfectants, FDA registrations and all the work that comes with it. Next is to invent the next pet rock.
How would you like to spend your retirement?
On a beach with my dog! No hurricanes, limited e-mail, no media, but a great library and a kindle.