Janet Gurwitch

Operating Partner, Castanea Partners

Ms. Janet Gurwitch is the founder and former CEO of Gurwitch Products, the company that produces, manages and markets Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare, a global brand of high-end niche cosmetics now celebrating its twelfth anniversary. Gurwitch managed and oversaw Laura Mercier’s day-to-day business operations, as well as strategy development and retail negotiations. 
Ms.Gurwitch joined forces with famed makeup-artist Laura Mercier in 1996, after realizing the imminent paradigm shift in the beauty industry, propelling niche lines to the forefront of the cosmetics business. The combination of Gurwitch’s business savvy and foresight coupled with Mercier’s talent provided a solid basis for a strong, growing business based on technique and a high-quality product. 
Now available in over 798 stores in 27 countries, the Laura Mercier line includes an extensive color collection, a skincare line, a bath and body collection, an instructional video and website, which cumulatively grossed over $200 million in 2008.
Prior to founding Gurwitch Products, Ms. Gurwitch was the Executive Vice President of Merchandising at Neiman Marcus, where she set the strategy for and oversaw the ready to wear, accessories, shoes and cosmetics departments from 1992-1995. Ms. Gurwitch began her career at Foley’s Department Store where she remained for 18 years, the last five of which she was the Senior Vice President of Merchandising overseeing the merchandising of women’s dresses, intimate apparel, junior sportswear and children’s wear. 
In 1999, Ms. Gurwitch was named a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for Houston, TX and in 1994 Business Week included her as one of the “Top 50 Chief Executive Prospects in the Nation.” Ms. Gurwitch is on the Board of the University of Texas Health Science Center. Recipient of the Cadillac Texas Spirit / KHOU-TV Award – September 2007; Co-chaired March of Dimes Best Dressed Luncheon – 2009; Best Dressed Hall-of-Famer; Board of Castanea Partners; Adjunct Professor in Management at Rice University for 2009-2010 academic year. 
She resides in Houston, Texas, where she’s the Chairman of Gurwitch Consulting Group, LLC.