Marcia Kilgore: Bliss, Beauty Pie, Soap and Glory, FitFlop

I learned about Marcia Kilgore on the “How I Built This” podcast published by National Public Radio. Her story is incredible.

Raised by a single mother in a rural Canadian town, Marcia decided at a young age to earn her own money. She worked hard and was accepted to Columbia University in New York, where her sister lived and worked as a model.

Unfortunately, Marcia wasn’t able to make her tuition payments and never attended Columbia as full-time student. Instead, she earned money providing personal fitness training while taking classes at NYU at night. She noticed her skin health deteriorating, and one fateful day Marcia went to get an expensive facial. She had a terrible experience. This was the unlikely event that set in motion her career as a parallel entrepreneur.  

After taking a crash course in skin care, Marcia started giving facials to her sister’s model friends in her apartment. She maintained her personal training practice too, working those gigs in parallel with her growing skin care business.

Word of her outstanding facials spread and a couple of years later, in 1993, she opened her first small office. In 1996 she expanded into a first three-room spa and named it Bliss. Three years after that, in 1999, Marcia sold Bliss to Louis Vitton. She stayed through the acquisition and remained for a couple of years after Louis Vitton sold Bliss to Starwood in 2004.

Marcia took some time off and in 2006 launched Soap & Glory, a distributor of affordable designer cosmetics. The following year, while still running Soap & Glory, Marcia launched FitFlop, a shoe designed to properly align your body ergonomically as you walk.

Marcia sold Soap & Glory in 2014 to Boots, a large department store in the United Kingdom. She continued to launch more businesses, building Soaper Duper in 2015 and Beauty Pie just last year, in 2017.  

Today Marcia is actively working on FitFlop, Soaper Duper, and Beauty Pie. This is parallel entrepreneurship executed to perfection.