Founding Partner and executive creative director
As Executive Creative Director and one of the original co-conspirators of Urban Decay, Wende’s chief priority is to keep Urban Decay one of the hippest, most aggressive niche players in the burgeoning cosmetic industry. Her diverse lifestyle and extensive world travel have opened her eyes to creative approaches that, though not always conventional, have proved truly innovative and powerful.
Originally from Texas, Wende was raised in part in Belgium and attended St. John’s International School in Waterloo. While in Belgium, Wende studied French, did some modeling, ran track and played basketball (she’s, like, 10 feet tall!). She also became proficient in the fine art of hitchhiking as a way to go out dancing. Due to the central location of Belgium, Wende was able to spend time in most countries throughout Europe, including The Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Soviet Union (where she and a friend traded a pack of Marlboros for access to a secret club). Wende and her family returned to Texas when she was seventeen. It was quite a culture shock to realize that not only were her club days over, but she didn’t even know how to drive (in Europe the drinking age was 14 and the driving age was 18). Always the trooper, she became a proper Texas teen in no time at all.
After high school and a failed attempt at the Miss Texas title (her hair was not big enough), Wende worked behind an Elizabeth Arden counter (can you believe it?) while completing her degree at the University of North Texas. She then moved to Chicago to work at the Leo Burnett advertising agency on “youth accounts” like Reebok and Nintendo. But the Southern California sun and surf beckoned, and she moved her life out west to bring her Gen X/Y/Z marketing skills to a promotions agency. At this time, she learned to surf and nearly gave up corporate life to devote her time to writing and scuba diving. Instead, she met up with Sandy Lerner and found herself mixing nail polish in her Laguna Beach cottage and assembling Urban Decay press kits from hardware store supplies.
With Wende’s experiences, worldliness and creativity, Urban Decay has become a very important player in the fashion industry. She credits her staff for helping her to make Urban Decay what it is today, and takes pride in the sister-like bond she shares with her employees, excepting days when PMS hits. She works hard to maintain a unique and creativity-enhancing atmosphere in the office by a strict “dogs allowed” policy, no dress code (except “the crazier, the better”) and an unusually high tolerance for loud laughter and swearing.
Today, Wende lives in Newport Beach, California with her husband Doug and little boys Crash and Cruz. She is interviewed almost daily by magazines all over the world, has served as guest editor at several magazines, and takes an active role in tons of charity events. In her spare time (as if she has any!), Wende is surfing, diving, snowboarding, mountain biking, practicing yoga, running, painting, and dispensing advice on natural child birth.
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This month on the Lucky Community, we're all about masculine/feminine fashion.